Day At The Track

Hughes has first sniff of victory

03:00 PM 09 Aug 2017 NZST
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Brian and Gareth Hughes

Hughies Sister is nothing like her big brother – the 2015 Auckland Cup runner-up, Hughie Green, but it appears they do possess one thing in common - their mother’s ability to pace.

That’s the opinion of her new co-trainer Gareth Hughes. As of August 1, the 31-year-old officially joined forces with his father Brian (Bunty) at Ardmore. He has, however, been working alongside him for much of his life.

The Bunty Hughes trained Alta Serena was a multiple Group One winning mare, who won 21 races and $593,618. Hughie Green is her third and most successful foal with 11 wins here and four in Australia (A$227,438).

His full Art Major sister, Hughies Sister (foal number five), won effortlessly the right-handed way around at the Pukekohe Workouts yesterday (Tuesday). The Hughes’ trained filly was having her first start as a three-year-old.

Hughes (Gareth) liked his first sniff of victory with his father – albeit a low key winter workout. 

“She couldn’t be more different to her older brother. For one, she’s not as big, and two she also has a completely different nature. She’s kinder.

“The filly is a real work in progress. Every time she has stepped off the track she has gone better. She has a lot of stamina and tries hard, which is encouraging. That’s all we can ask for,” Hughes said.

Driver, Josh Dickie, trailed with Hughies Sister and they were then three-deep before going to sit parked at the 800m.

They then cruised home to win the maiden 2050m mobile by a length stopping the clock in 2:41.7 (mile rate 2:06.9) and came home in 60.6 and 28.2.

Hughies Sister qualified 1.3 seconds under time (left handed) at Pukekohe on November 26. Hughes said she would finally make her race-night debut at Alexandra Park on August 25.

He hopes by then he will have officially trained his first winner.

Hughes and his father have two horses nominated for Friday’s first meeting of 2017-2018 at Alexandra Park, and he thought either of them could break his duck.

Tony Herlihy (MNZM) will drive Marcy Runkle from gate five in race four, while Todd Macfarlane will steer Kaitlyn from barrier three in the last of the nine races.

“I think they are both good each-way chances. It would be a great way to kick off our training career together if either, or both of them won.

“It’s a bit of an honour to be training with Dad. He’s taught me a lot over the years and given me a lot of confidence with the horses. He’s also put a fair bit of trust in me. Not many people get to work with their fathers. It’s a privilege,” Hughes said.

The well-bred Marcy Runkle (Mach Three - Pullover Brown) should start one of the favourites after finishing fourth and then second (both from gate one) at Alexandra Park on July 14 and 21. Both of those starts were over the 1700m mobile and the step up to 2200m should suit her nicely.

Kaitlyn can also go close in the $14,500 NISBA Winter Bonus Fillies & Mares Pace. Her only win came on the track and over Friday’s distance back in November - when she also drew the ace.

Her most recent form-line of 2-2-4 says it all really in what looks a match-race with the Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson trained Pakipaki (Philip Butcher), who has drawn three spots wider at six (of seven).


Duane Ranger

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