Unition back on track; Milestone for Hutchings;

Trainer: MURRAY BAKER after, Long Jack winning the Roderick Ins. Geelong Classic
Trainer: MURRAY BAKER after, Long Jack winning the Roderick Ins. Geelong Classic Picture: Racing and Sports

Unition back on track

Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are hoping the gelding of Unition has done the trick.

The China Horse Club-owned three-year-old stood out as an early juvenile when winning the Listed Fasttrack Insurance 5K Bonus 2YO Stakes (1100m) on debut before placing in the Gr.2 Wakefield Stakes (1100m) in his only other two-year-old start.

However, the son of Fastnet Rock and Group One winning mare Diademe disappointed his connections with his first-up eighth-placing in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) and the decision was made to geld him.

Unition came through the operation well and showed positive signs when winning his 1000m trial at Te Aroha on Tuesday.

"It was a nice win," Baker said. "He ran very disappointingly at Te Rapa first-up and he was immediately gelded.

"Let's hope he is right now and has his mind on the job and can transform that form onto raceday."

Nominated for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld 48th New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November, Baker said they are yet to decide his next step towards the three-year-old feature race.

"We haven't really decided yet," he said. "We will pick something out in the next few days for him."

Meanwhile, the spring campaign of Group One winner Quick Thinker has ground to a halt, with the four-year-old entire currently undergoing a veterinary examination in Ballarat after his fifth-placing in the Gr.3 JRA Cup (2040m) last Friday.

"His campaign is on hold at the moment," Baker said. "We are going to know more in the next couple of days. He was very disappointing the other day and we are just looking into it.

"He hung very badly so there is obviously something not right."

Milestone for Hutchings

Former top New Zealand apprentice Rory Hutchings achieved a milestone in his career when notching his 500th win last Sunday.

Hutchings recorded the highlight on Henschel at Port Macquarie for trainer Allan Denham, taking his tally for the new season to six.

As a result of his constant struggle to keep his weight in check, Hutchings is restricted with raceday opportunities, but is pleased to be race riding after a break when returning to New Zealand last year to regroup and get his career back on track.

Hutchings rode a personal best of 109 wins in the 2013-14 season when apprenticed to Graeme Rogerson and also recorded his two Group One  wins for the Tuhikaramea trainer on Soriano in the 2014 Zabeel Classic (2000m) and the Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).

A shift to Sydney to team up with Chris Waller resulted in him becoming the first Kiwi-born jockey to win apprentice titles in New Zealand and Australia when taking the Sydney Apprentice Jockeys' Premiership in 2015-16 (his first full season in Sydney) and he joined fellow Kiwi James McDonald as a four-time champion apprentice.

During his four-year stint with Waller, Hutchings rode 149 winners, including Burbero in the 2015 Gr.2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.


NZ Racing News