Magical four-timer at Pukekohe

Magical four-timer at Pukekohe7 Nov 2023

We enjoyed a memorable Melbourne Cup Day at Pukekohe with a clean sweep of the feature events and a double on the undercard.

Our quality pair of Aquacade and Habana led the charge as respective winners of G3 Balmerino Stakes over 2050 metres and the Listed Fulton Family Stakes over 1500 metres.

Earlier in the day, About Time broke her maiden at just her second appearance while Flamebird downed her Rating 75 rivals with a good degree of authority.

It was a case of all’s well that ends well for our gifted performer Aquacade.

We were given a fright when she had to be backed out of the gates to pass a veterinary check, but once into stride she had no trouble justifying her short odds to claim the G3 Balmerino Stakes over 2050 metres.

A big thanks to our trainer Lance Noble, who has skillfully managed the home-bred daughter of Dundeel who advanced her stakes record on the course having also won the G2 Avondale Cup over 2400 metres during her last preparation.

“To win like that in her first start at weight-for-age was great, we’re very happy,” Noble said.

“We are deliberately not trying to send her too far too soon, we’ll keep her legs nice and fresh for 2000m and she’s showing a bit more dash than last prep.

“The Zabeel Classic is the target for her and a Group One in New Zealand would be terrific.

“I’m not sure what happened at the start, it makes your heart skip a beat when something like that happens but she’s a really good mare.”

Aquacade coasted along in midfield before rider Warren Kennedy set her alight before the turn and she proved too strong for her rivals in the closing 200 metres.

“We had a little bit of a scare when she kicked out and got her leg caught, but the boys at the gate did a good job and fortunately she didn’t take any skin off,” Kennedy said.

“She’s definitely a lot stronger this time and smarter.”

Kennedy said he had no worries during the race with Aquacade always travelling kindly.

“She just cruised around and when she hit the front she loafed a bit, she really enjoyed her day out.”

A daughter of the unraced Irish-bred Sea The Stars mare Forest Of Seas, Aquacade has now won times and posted a further five placings from her 15 appearances.

Habana turned his fortunes around in Kennedy’s hands in the Fulton Family Stakes following his luckless resuming run when third in the G3 Sweynesse Stakes at Te Rapa.

“He came through that well, he’s a lot stronger this year than he was last year and his record at Pukekohe is really strong,” Noble said.

Habana has now won five races on the course and also finished runner-up on the track in last season’s G3 Easter Handicap.

He was a private purchase out of the trials and is a son of the Mossman mare Jeter, who won on four occasions and finished fourth in the G1 Schweppes Oaks.