IN Racing
Candle hoping to ignite black-type opportunity on home turf
“She’s turning into a great mare for the stable, and she put them away really nicely last time. We think she can repeat that again tomorrow."
Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | January 05, 2024
Candle will seek back-to-back victories at Hastings on Saturday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

There will be plenty of local interest at the Hastings meeting on Saturday, with Candle looking to prove she is a black-type mare in the making in the Complete Flooring HB Handicap (1200m).

Apprentice jockey Lily Sutherland was given praise after a smart ride aboard Candle last start at the Hastings course, coming from last on the home turn to storm down the rail in a slick 33.57 last 600m.

Sutherland is booked to partner the daughter of Super Easy on Saturday in the Rating 75 contest, which is a hopeful stepping stone onto black-type targets according to Leah Zydenbos, who trains in partnership with Guy Lowry.

“She’s turning into a great mare for the stable, and she put them away really nicely last time. We think she can repeat that again tomorrow,” she said.

“Should she win tomorrow, there’s definitely some nice fillies and mares races coming up that we would look at, and we’d love to get black-type with her.”

Another runner of interest to the wider Hawke’s Bay public will be Testwin, a three-year-old on debut in the Linden Estate Winery Maiden (1600m).

The son of Time Test is a half-brother to Hawke’s Bay-owned galloper Nedwin, a 12-race winner and a talented jumper, with his impressive record including last year’s Great Northern Hurdle (4200m) under the care of fellow local trainers Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal.

With staying quality in his bloodlines, Zydenbos indicated the stable are setting their sights on a potential Gr.1 Trackside New Zealand Derby (2400m) bid this preparation for Testwin, which was kicked off on a positive note with a trial win over Smug One, who was victorious on debut at Otaki on Thursday.

“He’s an exciting horse and we’re looking forward to kicking off his campaign. He’s Derby nominated, but that will be entirely performance-based, so we’re hoping he’ll go well tomorrow,” she said.

“He trialled really well and Johnathan Riddell was really keen to stick with him, so we’ll leave it up to him.”

Completing their competitive trio will be Eparaima, the lightly-raced four-year-old, currently rated a $5 TAB second favourite for the AHD – Animal Health Direct Handicap (1400m).

Eparaima was a luckless third last start at Hastings behind Vera Rose in the hands of Sam Weatherley, who retains the ride aboard the daughter of Per Incanto.

“She was really unlucky last time out, she copped a lot of interference but we’ve been patient with her and we think this is a nice race for her.”

Guy Lowry and Leah Zydenbos Time Test Testwin Candle Emparaima Per Incanto Johnathan Riddell Nedwin Lily Sutherland Super Easy