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Emily Farr confident of Grand National glory

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Emily Farr has a black-type win on the flat to her record and she is confident she can add an important jumps race to her CV on Wednesday.

The Cambridge-based jumps jockey is the regular rider of Laekeeper, the favourite for the Hospitality NZ Canterbury Grand National Hurdles (4200m) at Riccarton.

Farr won the 2016 Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) on Pump Up The Volume in the start before the Ralph Manning-trained stayer landed the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m). But it’s riding over fences that 27-year-old Farr loves best and she got a thrill from her first Riccarton win last Saturday aboard Laekeeper in the Sydenham Hurdles (3100m).

"That was pretty awesome," she said. "He’s my star and I can’t wait to ride him in the Grand National. "Winning the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles on Just Got Home was special, but this will top that if he can win the Grand National."

Farr has had four wins and a third placing from six rides on the Simon Rees-owned and trained Laekeeper, who will be her second Grand National Hurdles mount. She finished ninth in 2015 on Red Magic.

Trainers eyeing first juvenile race

Johno Benner and Holly Wynyard have stepped out their first couple of two-year-olds with a view to being strongly represented in the first juvenile race of the season at Wanganui.

The opening day of the new season last Wednesday marked the first two-year-old trial at Foxton and Benner and Wynyard had two of the three starters in the 600m heat.

Victory went to the Fraser Auret-trained Miss Sweet Pee (by Mossman), but the Otaki trainers were pleased with the performances of Springsteen (by Stratum) and Alto Potenza (by Proisir). Springsteen finished a length and a half behind Miss Sweet Pea.

"It was good education for them and they’ll go to the Foxton trials on the 21st (August) then on to the first two-year-old race at Wanganui," Benner said. "We’ve had eight yearlings through the stable and a few more will jump out this week."

The Wanganui event is over 800m on September 8.

Cooksley to make the call

Shelley Hale will leave it to Grant Cooksley to make the call on which of her stable representatives he will ride in the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday week.

Hale plans to tackle the weight-for-age event with Close Up and his brother Seventh Up.

Cooksley has been the regular rider of both horses and was runner-up on Close Up in last year’s Foxbridge Plate before the pair headed to Hastings to win the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and finish second to Gingernuts in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m).

Cooksley got a taste of the Shinko King nine-year-old’s readiness for this month’s Foxbridge Plate when fourth on him over 1200m at Te Rapa last Saturday with the Group One winner carrying the hefty impost of 63.5kg.

"He went really well," Cooksley said. "He’ll take a lot of improvement out of that. If I could have got out further on him in the straight he could have finished a bit closer."

Cooksley also tested out Seventh Up last Saturday with an exhibition gallop and was equally pleased with the Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m) winner.

"He quickened from the half-mile and was doing it well," Cooksley said. "I’m happy to ride either one in the Foxbridge."

12 Winners for Charm Spirit

Exciting young Windsor Park shuttler Charm Spirit added a 12th winner to this tally in Europe overnight with a resounding victory at Windsor for Lively Lydia.

Trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, Lively Lydia bolted clear to win the 1200m maiden by five lengths in a field of 14.

A triple Group One-winning son of Invincible Spirit, Charm Spirit has made a positive impression at Australasian yearling sales this year with his first Southern Hemisphere bred yearlings.

His yearlings sold for up to $400,000 with his top seller. a filly from Lady Kipling, sold by Windsor Park at Karaka and bought by Ciaron Maher/Waterford Bloodstock.

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