Cody Cole’s rise in the training ranks could include a Group 1 contender next month. After being a successful weight-lifter whose highlight was representing New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Cole (28) has followed in the race horse training footsteps of his father, Tony.
Cole has been turning heads with his horses and his strike rate, so much so he has been forced to up his status from a permit to train license to a public trainers’ license.
Cole started out with just a few horses, but now has 31 in work with his major client being Gary Harding, whose stable runners include Astor, Spree, Tattle and last-start placegetter O’Hara.
Cole saddled up two winners in the space of three days last week, winning at Te Aroha last Wednesday with Midnight Brawler for Mapperley Stud’s Simms Davison then at Tauranga last Friday with Shine for Gerry Harvey.
Midnight Brawler, a three-year-old son of Burgundy, had run an encouraging debut at Ruakaka earlier this month and has been the focus of offers from bloodstock agents since his Tauranga win over the promising Standing Ovation.
“There has been quite a bit of interest in him and if he’s not sold he will run at El erslie on Saturday in a rating 65 1400m,” Cole said.
“If he goes well and bounces through that there’s the definite possibility he could go down to Riccarton for the 2000 Guineas. He’s not nominated, but we would pay the late nomination fee.
“I’ve had a lot of time for him since I got him. He’s very well-bred, being a half-brother to Infantry, the Singapore Horse of the Year.
“Nigel Tiley has a big opinion of the filly he beat at Te Aroha.
He was talking of maybe taking her over for the Queensland Winter Carnival.” Shine, a daughter of Redwood, was most impressive at Tauranga, sprinting clear in the run home to win by seven and three-quarter lengths in her 1600m assignment.
“She came to me during the winter and wanted better tracks,” Cole said.
“She ran fourth at Taupo second-up, but that was six weeks between runs and she really needed it. She had a good blow afterward and I knew she would go a big race at Tauranga, but I didn’t expect her to almost put eight lengths on them.
“She keeps improving, but she’s having a short break now. She’ll be back in the stable next week.”
Cole is happy with the recent progress of Astor after undergoing a minor wind operation following her disappointing fresh-up run at Pukekohe last month.
“She had the operation the Tuesday after the race and has been back in work a fortnight,” Cole said.
“I’m hoping she can do an exhibition gallop between races at Pukekohe on Friday then run in a rating 72 1150m at Te Awamutu the following Wednesday.
“I want to get her to the Counties Bowl. She’s absolutely flying and looks great.”