NZ Briefs for 11th February 2019

Otaki assignment for Ladies First; Australian raid possible for On The Rocks;Four new cases of EI identified in Britain

Otaki assignment for Ladies First

Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Ladies First will be on a Group One path at Otaki later this month in a further lead-up toward a Sydney campaign.

The six-year-old thrilled trainer Allan Sharrock with her first-up solid-finishing sixth behind Flamingo in last week’s Listed Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1600m) at Tauherenikau and will start next in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki on February 23.

“She went massive first-up and she looks outstanding,’’ Sharrock said. ‘’The Otaki race will still be too short for her, but she might run a nice fifth or sixth. She needs it to get ready for the Sydney Cup.

‘’After that she will possibly go to Ellerslie for the Bonecrusher and if she gets a shower of rain there she could run a place. She won’t be peaking until she gets to Sydney.’’

After the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 9, Ladies First will use the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick on April 6 as a final lead-up to the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on the same course a week later.

Australian raid possible for On The Rocks

Multiple stakes winner On The Rocks may head across the Tasman in the coming months in a bid to boost his stallion prospects.

The Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard-trained entire was victorious in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on Saturday and his connections are keen to add to that tally, with the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) a likely target.

“I would like to start him in the Bonecrusher, but obviously still being an entire, Mike had thoughts of maybe going straight to the Doncaster. But we are just unsure of how good he is and that is a big step up and it’s a hard race,” Gerard said.

“There are plenty of options for him over the next few months, we can do a number of things. We’ll just get him through this week and we’ll make a plan from there.”

Gerard, who recorded her first Group One victory as a trainer with Saturday’s win, said On The Rocks has pulled up well after the win.

“He seemed quite happy in the paddock the next day,” she said.

“He ate up and was bouncing around the paddock like he hadn’t had a run. He went up and had a bit of a trot this morning and I really couldn’t fault him.”

Four new cases of EI identified in Britain

Four cases of equine influenza have been identified in vaccinated thoroughbreds at the Newmarket yard of trainer Simon Crisford.

The findings are a blow to racing's hopes to resume on Wednesday following an enforced six-day shutdown following the three cases - which subsequently rose to six - of the infectious disease found at Donald McCain's stable in Cheshire.

The British Horseracing Authority said on Sunday night (Monday AEDT) Crisford had been named "in order to ensure the Newmarket community is aware of the yard at which an infection has been identified".

"No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard - including by the media - and anyone who wishes to travel to the yard is advised to first contact the trainer's office," the BHA said.

"This yard is one of the 174 which has been required to undergo testing due to the fact that runners from the stable competed at the fixture at Newcastle on February 5, which had been identified as a potential risk fixture.

"At the moment the affected horses are all contained within this yard."

The news comes after what had appeared to be a positive weekend in the fight against the disease, with no fresh cases being reported either on Saturday or up to a previous BHA statement issued shortly after 4.30pm on Sunday.

Some 720 tests had returned negative on Saturday and around the same total was estimated in addition to that on Sunday, from over 2000 received by the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket.

NZ Racing News