IN Racing
Former Kiwis on song at Sandown
Former Kiwi gallopers Netanyahu, Riverplate and So Unusual took out successive races at Sandown (Hillside) on Saturday.
NZ Racing Desk | January 07, 2023
Riverplate was successful over 1800m at Sandown. Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Former Kiwi gallopers Netanyahu, Riverplate and So Unusual took out successive races at Sandown (Hillside) on Saturday.

Alamosa five-year-old Netanyahu was first to salute in the Become An MRC Member Handicap (1300m) for trainers Leon and Troy Corstens.

Sent out a $10 chance, Netanyahu sat handy to the speed under John Allen and got the better of favourite Merry Mac Boy who set the tempo.

It was a strong performance from the gelding who commenced his career with Cambridge trainer Roger Lang. He was five weeks between runs and freshened from a mile back to 1300m after a good second behind Tasman Park at the same venue at the beginning of December.

“He has been in terrific order this preparation and we thought he was ready to win,” stable representative Dom Sutton said.

“We didn’t want to waste a run. He drew wide here a couple of weeks ago and then we had him accepted to run at Flemington and he scoped with a little bit of mucus a couple of days out, so we saved him again.

“He is just so tough this horse. He is not the most fantastic at home in his work, he is just a real workhorse and he definitely deserved that today. He is so versatile and makes his own luck – he puts himself on speed and I think a mile is his peak distance.”

Netanyahu is raced by a syndicate which feature’s Mark Burckhardt’s Regal Bloodstock with the gelding sourced from New Zealand by Leonard Russo of Bluegrass Bloodstock.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-prepared Riverplate took the 1800m of the Roderick Bowman Handicap in his stride under a heady-ride from Damien Oliver.

The four-year-old has now won three of his past four outings since being gelded mid last year.

“The ride was ten out of ten. There was a question mark as to whether he would get the 1800m but on that he should have no problems getting a mile and a quarter or even further,” stable representative Brendon Hawtin said.

“His runs this time in have been first class. Andrew Campbell back home (in New Zealand) has always had faith in this horse and now he is starting to pay dividends. Well done to him and it’s great for the ownership group – Tommy Heptinstall and the crew.

“He is just hitting his straps now. He is in a rating band now where there are a lot of options and good prizemoney, so he is certainly on his way to getting a few more wins hopefully.”

A son of Flying Artie, Riverplate was knocked down to his original trainer Andrew Campbell out of Leanach Lodge’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 yearling draft, with Campbell, who these days is focused on a bloodstock career, sharing in the ownership of the progressive galloper.  

Lightly-tried four-year-old So Unusual continued the roll of the former Kiwi-trained runners when successful in the Shaun Morris Handicap (2400m), advancing his career record to three wins from six starts.

The son of Unusual Suspect was a winner at Woodville for Fraser Auret in April last year and has made a good impression with two wins from four starts from his new quarters with Tony and Calvin McEvoy.

The gelding was roared home by a vocal group of owners, with jockey Dean Holland sporting the silks of My Racehorse, a micro-share syndicatior.

“It is a bit of a mosh pit behind me, but it is great to have another winner with the My Racehorse team and there are also some really loyal owners in this horse as well,” stable representative Rayan Moore said.

“Credit must go to Phill Cataldo (bloodstock agent) who found this horse in New Zealand. He put it to us and we were very taken by him. Tony said ‘let’s get this done’ and I think there is plenty of upside.

“It was a ten out of ten ride and Dean was very patient. He knew what he had under him and he was very excited to be on this horse as he trialled him at Murtoa.

“I think the mile and a half is his go at this stage, but there are a couple of Cups down in Tassie that could be options. I think next preparation we will have an even better horse.”

Alamosa Andrew Campbell Bluegrass Bloodstock Brendon Hawtin Damien Oliver Dean Holland Dom Sutton Flemington Flying Artie Fraser Auret John Allen Leon and Troy Corstens Leonard Russo Mark Burckhardt My Racehorse Natalie Young Netanyahu Phill Cataldo Rayan Moore Regal Bloodstock Riverplate Roger Lang Sandown So Unusual Tasman Park Tommy Heptinstall Tony and Calvin McEvoy Trent Busuttin Woodville