Local trainers Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal gave no one else a look in at Hastings on Monday as they provided the winners of five of the first six races.
Included in their winning haul were the two feature jumping races on the card, the KS Browne Hurdle (3100m) with last season’s champion jumper The Cossack before No Tip outstayed Zamora to capture the Poverty Bay Hunt Ferguson Gold Cup (4000m).
The victory of The Cossack left many good judges searching for superlatives as the eight-year-old Mastercraftsman gelding lumped topweight of 73kgs to a stunning 11-length victory.
Settled in a handy position by rider Shaun Phelan, The Cossack measured his fences well throughout and was cruising as he took over at the 800m. Chased hard by eventual runner-up Chief Sequoyah, The Cossack never looked like faltering as Phelan had the luxury of easing him down at the line as he recorded his 11th win from 44 starts.
Phelan had more of a fight on his hands aboard No Tip who came into his race off the back of a win in the Manawatu Steeplechase (4000m) at his last start.
The ten-year-old son of Mettre En Jeu jumped nicely throughout and lodged his challenge out wide on the track as the field approached the last fence in the home straight. Zamora, who had been in or near the lead throughout, went with him and the pair slogged it out to the finish where No Tip gained the upper hand to win by just over a length.
Nelson went into the day with high hopes for his team, however he felt that maiden hurdler Nedwin, who took out the opening event, was their best winning chance.
“It has been a wonderful day and we have had a bit of luck and some very nice wins which is great for all of our owners and the whole stable,” he said.
“I did say I thought Nedwin was our best for the day and he got the ball rolling followed by Motivation winning his maiden jump race and then The Cossack showed his class.
“It was a terrific win by The Cossack as we didn’t know if the weight might pull him up, but he beat a field of handy jumpers with a degree of ease.
“Shaun said the biggest problem was trying to hold him back as he just wanted to charge away for most of the race.
“He is a very easy horse to train as he does most things under his own steam and his record now is that of a good horse.”
Numbered amongst The Cossack’s 11 career wins are all of the major jumping races in New Zealand with victories in the Great Northern Hurdles (4190m) twice along with the Grand National Hurdles (4200m), the Wellington Hurdle (3100m) and the Waikato Hurdle (3200m).
Nelson will now consult with the owners of The Cossack before deciding on his winter path, with the option to take him to Australia on the agenda.
“We will have a committee meeting and decide where we go but there is an option to take him to Australia for a couple of races over there,” he said.
“Planning for a trip there is a lot easier than it was twelve months ago and he could well head there if we think it is the right thing to do.”
Wins with Dictation in an amateur riders only 2200m flat event and No Tip rounded out the day for the Nelson and McDougal team, with Nelson advising No Tip would most likely tackle some of the feature steeplechase events over the winter.
“No Tip will follow a path to the bigger races over the steeplechase fences but we have to be mindful of the weights he might have to carry as he is only a pony really,” he said.
“He can finish off his races strongly and he showed that today although I think the benefit of having a steeplechase race under his belt made the difference as the runner-up was having his first for the season.
“I was delighted for Leah Zydenbos who won the amateur race on Dictation as she is a very hard worker and a talented horsewoman.
“She is completing a degree at the moment but if she turns her hand to race riding, she has the ability to make a real go of it as she showed with her ride today.
“She works for Guy Lowry and Sue Thompson-Brown before she comes out to us later in the morning, so I’m pleased we could give her a winner today to reward her dedication.”