Champion jumps trainers Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal took out the jumping features on Sunday at Te Rapa, headlined by No Tip’s thrilling victory in the CLC Pakuranga Hunt Cup (4800m).
The 11-year-old gelding came with a perfectly-timed run under Shaun Phelan to prevail by the barest of margins over high-class mare Magic Wonder, who returned to the sort of form that saw her land the Pakuranga Hunt Cup – Great Northern Steeplechase double back in 2020.
Ridden by Aaron Kuru, who returned from Australia for the meeting, the well-supported Magic Wonder set the pace throughout and looked to have several of her rivals gasping with just under a lap to go.
Patiently handled throughout, No Tip came from towards the rear of the field and loomed ominously at the top of the straight, however the runner up showed plenty of pluck to fight on when challenged to go down by a nose.
A delighted Paul Nelson, who owns and bred No Tip with wife Carol, paid credit to his training partner’s contribution to the steeplechaser’s success.
“The Pakuranga Hunt Cup is one of those races that you really want to win and it is a thrill to win, especially with this little horse. We bred him, we own him, we train him — the lot. We gave him away and we got him back again. He has done us proud,” Nelson said.
“My training partner Corrina does a wonderful job and No Tip is her horse. She looks after him and rides him and it is full credit to her.
“He is tough, he is from a really good family. His granddam is actually a half-sister to the great sprinter Manikato. It has been a good family to us and he is adding to it.”
No Tip was the last foal out of the Grosvenor mare Grosveness, who was a prolific producer of winners and quality jumpers including No Change (11 wins), Ho Down (eight wins), No Cash (seven wins), No Governance (three wins) and No Credit (two wins).
No Tip will return to Te Rapa in a fortnight for the Great Northern Steeplechase (6500m) and Nelson said the patient tactics of Phelan worked to a tee.
“Shaun wanted him to settle and do nothing. He rode him accordingly and the horse responded,” Nelson said.
“It was a good ride by Shaun and also Aaron and fortunately we get access to both of them from time to time.”
Earlier on the card the stablemate Nedwin made it back-to-back feature jumps wins when successful in the Pakuranga Hunt Sesquicentennial Open Hurdle (3200m).
The last-start Wellington Hurdles (3400m) winner led throughout under Aaron Kuru to eventually prevail by half a length from Kajino, with topweight Dr Hank a further five lengths away in third.
“Aaron said he was a bit green over the last two or three fences in the straight, but to that I would say he missed quite a bit of work through an injury and we thought that he might have been short today,” Nelson said.
“Hopefully he will be back in a few weeks (for the Great Northern Hurdle, 4200m) but their health comes first.”
With Shaun Phelan engaged to ride Dr Hank in the Peter Kelly – Bayleys Great Northern Hurdle on September 18, there is a good chance Aaron Kuru will return to again partner Nedwin.
Nelson said the leading jumps stable had made a concerted effort to get behind the sport this year.
“We probably targeted it a bit this year as we knew that the stakes had gone up and we wanted to make sure that jumps racing was well-supported,” he said.
“We need maiden stakes high as we want to encourage not only ardent jumping people but we would like to see some of the good public trainers have a horse and it is an incentive.
“If our maidens can run around for a good stake and we get recognised for winning a race, then we will fill the next grade.
“We are racing a lot of middle grade horses in our top races but if we build the bottom, then we will strengthen the top.”