IN Racing
Wheeler produces local quinella
John Wheeler had a great day at New Plymouth Raceway with just three runners.
NZ Racing Desk | July 23, 2022
The Big Boss. Photo: Grant Matthew

New Plymouth trainer John Wheeler was light on numbers with just three runners for his home meeting on Saturday but still managed to saddle up a quinella in the third race of the day.

Wheeler produced honest performer Zeefa Zed as one of the favourites for the rating 65 1800m contest and he looked likely when he swept to the lead on the point of the home turn, however it was his enigmatic stablemate The Big Boss, who tracked him into the race, that produced a grinding finish in the hands of Sam Spratt to take the victory by a head at the line.

Wheeler had felt the six-year-old daughter of Gallant Guru was ready to produce an improved performance after being unlucky at her last start at Waverley, but he wasn’t confident she could top off her stablemate.

“She has always shown a little bit but she mixes her runs quite badly, so you are never too sure what you are going to get on the day,” he said.

“She got knocked over at Waverley last time, so the run wasn’t as bad as it looks on paper and I thought Sam rode her an absolute treat today.

“She is only a very slight mare and I think as she matures, she may go on with it as the one thing about her is that she is very tough.”

Wheeler was also pleased with Zeefa Zed who could be seen over fences later in this campaign.

“He (Zeefa Zed) went a good race as well and might have just hit the front a little soon,” Wheeler said.

“He had the full 60kgs on his back today and he might have felt that as well inside the last 100m, but he never gave up and kept trying like he always does.

“We’ve been schooling him lately and he jumps super, so he has a bit of a future in that role later on.”

The Big Boss is a daughter of outstanding South Island racemare Inferno, who won ten races including the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) on two occasions and is the older half-sister of Listed Pakenham Cup (2500m) winner Smokin’ Romans.

Wheeler also reported that his talented jumper Chief Sequoyah had pulled up badly after his run in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3500m) at Pakenham last Sunday and would be sent for an extended break.

“He wasn’t very good after the race and when we gave him a lung wash it revealed a pretty bad infection,” he said.

“He had a touch of travel sickness when he first arrived so he has been sent for a spell and I’m just hopeful we might be able to get him back sometime next year.”

Wheeler also advised that last season’s Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) runner-up Beaudz Well was making good progress towards the start of his spring campaign and would have a jumpout on Monday to kick off a preparation aimed at going one better in the New Zealand Cup at Riccarton in November.

John Wheeler Zeefa Zed Gallant Guru Sam Spratt The Big Boss Smokin’ Romans Beaudz Well Chief Sequoyah