NZ Briefs for 16th September 2020

Inferno smouldering ahead of Guineas; Hayes camp pleased with Beauty Generation ahead of return; National Breeding Awards cancelled

INFERNO  Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Inferno smouldering ahead of Guineas

Exciting three-year-old Inferno has pleased connections with a barrier trial this week ahead of a tilt at the S$400,000 Singapore Guineas (1600m) on September 26.

Inferno posted a dominant win at his last start in the Singapore Classic (1400m) and with a gap of one month between runs, trainer Cliff Brown decided a barrier trial wouldn't do Inferno any harm ahead of his grand final next week.

"There is a month between runs," Brown said. "As he is a lazy trackworker, I thought he'd get more out of an easy barrier trial."

"He did enough without doing too much, which is just fine. He was good, he was not out to break any record, and he still ran on well.

"He only pulled up by the time you get to the place where the horses enter the track from the tunnel."

Looking barely out of second gear at the tail, Inferno was hardly ever bustled up by race-jockey Valid Duric, but he still attacked the line once he had the winning post in his sights at the top of the straight.

Inferno could have won easily, but Duric just allowed him to stride into second place, hard held, half-a-length off Sacred Don.

A son of Holy Roman Emperor, Inferno was purchased out of Westbury Stud's 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 draft for $140,000.

Hayes camp pleased with Beauty Generation ahead of return

Beauty Generation's campaign ramped up a notch on Tuesday at Sha Tin with a 1000m turf barrier trial that connections hope will lead to a fourth consecutive win in the Gr.3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) in a fortnight's time.

"He's come out of it well," trainer David Hayes said. "He was beaten a bit for speed in the middle stages, but I thought through the line was pretty strong and more importantly Zac said he felt like his old self."

The Road To Rock gelding returns for his sixth season with a Hong Kong record of more than HK$100 million in prize money in the bag and searching for his ninth Group One.

"He'll be better at a mile and what I'm trying to do is have him at his best in December (for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races) – just building him up," Hayes said.

"I'm still learning with him, but I think he'll tighten up and improve and have a gallop next week and he should be ready to go in two weeks' time."

Hong Kong's two-time Horse of The Year joined the Hayes yard in the off-season following the departure of his previous handler John Moore from the Sha Tin training ranks.

 "When you've won 18 races and over HK$100 million you don't need to change much," Hayes said. "I'm keeping him in a similar build-up to what he would normally have. I do most of his main gallops just for protection on the grass and he does a little bit of 1400 to the furlong work on the all-weather."

"I take him to Penfold Park, he quite likes that, it's a bit of a change for him," Hayes said, referencing the trotting path in the public park inside the centre of Sha Tin racecourse.

Hayes indicated his plans for the champ following his intended bid for a record-equalling third HK$25 million Gr.1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).

"If he's running well I think he'll probably go to the end of the season, there's a lot of races for him, like the Stewards' Cup, so I'm sure if he's racing near his best then he'll keep racing and if he loses his form then they'll retire him," Hayes said.

National Breeding Awards cancelled

The 2020 Ebbett VW National Breeding Awards has been cancelled due to the constraints and complications of holding a large event during the current COVID-19 situation.

"We are all disappointed the event could not go ahead but we were left with little choice for obvious reasons," NZTBA council member Shannon Taylor said.

"The organising committee had been trying to work around the different alert level scenarios. We'd already had a change of date and venue, but for the event to go ahead at the standard it deserved, we just couldn't operate within the time frames and uncertainty."

In association with the Waikato Branch, this year's event was set to break new ground with Ebbett VW on board as the naming rights sponsor and SOHO wines also partnering with the NZTBA.

"The support from our sponsors has been amazing," Waikato Branch President Dave Duley said. "As has the support from members and all those who purchased tickets to attend, but to hold an event with over 400 people in attendance is just not possible at the moment."

"I'd like to thank the raft of sponsors who generously donated to our Silent Auction, their generosity in such uncertain times is truly appreciated and we look forward to next year when we can and will, celebrate the successes of our Group One breeders in style."

The NZTBA has already announced two of the major award winners, Waikato Stud as the winner of the Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan Breeder of the Year and Meleka Belle as the winner of the Arion Pedigrees Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year.

Over the coming week the National Awards organising committee will work on a solution to present this year's awards to the individual Group One winners.

Tickets will be fully refunded and a member of the organising committee will be in touch with ticket holders by the end of this week to organise refunds. The NZTBA and the Waikato branch thank everyone for their patience with this process.

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