NZ racing news: Hale’s Easter stocks boosted

Go Nicholas strengthened trainer Shelley Hale’s hand in the upcoming Group 2 Easter Handicap (1600m) when he came from last to win at Rotorua on Monday.

Under 59.5kg in the Carters Your Building Partners 1400m, the Danroad six-year-old improved around runners near the turn for rider Grant Cooksley and quickly put the issue beyond doubt in the straight.

“I was a bit anxious about being at the back with the big weight and then come around them, but he got the job done,” said Hale, who also co-bred and part-owns Go Nicholas.

“Hopefully, he’ll be a good second stringer in the Easter. He’ll get in on a lowish weight.”

At the other end of the handicap will be stablemate Seventh Up, who will be the defending Easter champion.

“He’ll go to Te Aroha on Saturday and then the Easter again,” Hale said.

Mare delivers overdue win

Local trainer Bill Pomare broke a lengthy run of outs on his home track when Donna Anne Billy was successful in the opening event at Rotorua on Monday.

“It’s about time, I can’t even remember my last win here,” he said.

Donna Anne Billy had been racing over more ground this preparation, but a drop back to 1400m in the ISCL Handicap proved to the liking of the Tavistock mare, who was ridden by champion jockey Chris Johnson.

Iffraaj strikes again

Haunui Farm’s successful shuttle stallion Iffraaj secured his ninth individual Group 1 winner when Jungle Cat took out Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at Meydan in Dubai.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Jungle Cat produced a telling late burst to down Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (1000m) champion Stormy Liberal by half a length with a length and half.

Iffraaj, who stands at Dalham Hall in Newmarket during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season, has sired 58 stakes winners in total.

His Southern Hemisphere Group 1 success stories includes Australian Derby (2400m) winner Jon Snow, Emirates Stakes (1600m) winner Turn Me Loose and Rosehill Guineas winner (2000m) Gingernuts.

Rogers re-joins Waikato Stud team

Leading New Zealand thoroughbred nursery Waikato Stud has announced plans to grow their presence across the Tasman and in markets further afield.

To that end, the Matamata farm has welcomed Jeremy Rogers back into the fold with his appointment as their Australian business development representative.

“We are always looking at ways to improve and grow our business and to have an Australian representative is something we have been considering for a while,” stud principal Mark Chittick said.

“To have Jeremy back on board as business development manager is a great way forward for us.

“He has a great knowledge of the Australian industry and he’s well-liked and respected.”

“We’re all really looking forward to having Jeremy back as part of the team.”

Prior to returning home for a seven-year stint from 2010 as racing manager for champion trainer Darren Weir, the Victorian-based Rogers was employed in an administrative role for Waikato Stud.

His new position, effective from April 12, will see him focus on increasing the farm’s presence in Australia and in Hong Kong, China and Singapore.