Day At The Track

Babies come out to play

09:29 AM 09 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Stunin Cullen and Anthony Butt

He won 18 races and just under $1.5 million in stakes and tonight at Alexandra Park (Friday) Stunin Cullen gets his chance to prove himself as a sire.

The now 11-year-old son of Christian Cullen and Vicario will have his 2-year-old colt, Royal Tribute, line up at the races for the first time in the $8,500 Breckon Farms 2yo Pace at Alexandra Park tonight.

Canterbury trainer Paul Court said Royal Tribute was the most forward of his 2-year-olds currently in work.

“We’ve got a few Stunin Cullens and we like them all. They all seem to have a bit of zip and this fella is a lovely horse. He has improved every time he has stepped out on to the training track – especially from his first workout to his second,” West Melton-based Court said.

Court said Royal Tribute qualified 2.1 seconds under the required time when third behind Ocean Ridge and John The Plumber at Ashburton on November 15.

“Then he improved a heap when winning well at the Chertsey Trials a week later. He paced the (mobile) mile in 2:02.5 that day. He's settled in well in Auckland and I couldn't be happier with him,” said Court.

Tonight’s juvenile race is a 1700m mobile, the same distance as the two Breckon Farms Young Guns heats at ‘The Park’ on December 16 and 31.

“The Alexandra Park way around shouldn’t bother him, but you can never be too confident when 2-year-olds step out on to the racetrack for the first time.

“But this fella developed a lot earlier than the others and he has a bit of toe. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t make it as a racehorse. Whatever he does on Friday he will be better for it,” Court said.

He said Royal Tribute’s dam - Ians Choice (by P Forty Seven) was a half-sister to the champion Group One winning mare Nearea Franco.

“He’s got the bloodlines and the gait and the early in indications are promising. Ricky (May) will give him every possible chance from his nice draw,” Court said.

As well as Royal Tribute, who starts from gate three, there will also be two Bettor's Delights colts (Spankem and Bettor B Abeliever); two Art Major colts (The Bus and The Brooklyn Brawler); one Somebeachsomewhere colt (Arden’s Winstar); and an Art Official gelding (Lagarto) lining up in the seven-horse opening event.

Their Trials and Workouts form (with trainer and driver) reads:

1) THE BUS (Trainer: Mark Jones; Driver: Mark Jones) - Winner of his last two Trials and Workouts - the former when qualifying 0.9 seconds under the qualifying time at Addington on November 2, and then bolting in by four lengths in a six-horse workout at Rangiora on November 23 - mile rate: 2:02.9

2) LAGARTO (Gavin Smith/Jay Abernethy) - A first, three seconds and a fourth in his last four Southland and Canterbury 93) Workouts and Trials. Best mile rate: 2:02.7 when second behind Royal Tribute at Chertsey on November 22.

3) ROYAL TRIBUTE (Paul Court/Ricky May) – Qualified 2.1 seconds under the required time when third behind Ocean Ridge and John The Plumber at Ashburton on November 15; and then won decisively over the mobile mile (2:02.5) at the Chertsey trials on November 22. Ricky May drove the gelding both times. Racing in Angela Purdon's (Pukekohe) name.

4) THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER (Robert Dunn/ Maurice McKendry) - Followed up his Workout win (2:06 mile rate) at Pukekohe on November 26 with a nine-length second in a Maiden Pace here last Friday. He was fourth favourite that night.

5) ARDEN’S WINSTAR (Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen/Tim Williams) - Third behind stablemate Spankem in a slow time at Rangiora on October 26 and then he got a bit more serious when going 2.3 seconds under the qualifying time when a length second behind Spankem at Addington on November 2.

6) SPANKEM (Purdon & Rasmussen/Rasmussen) – SCRATCHED

7) BETTOR B ABLEIEVER (Steven Reid & Simon McMullan/Zac Butcher – Runner-up to Alta Maestro and Jack Mac at the Pukekohe Workouts on November 19 and 26. The latter performance saw him g 4.2 seconds under the qualifying time. Shame about the draw.

Duane Ranger

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