Jackfrost for Great Northern Hurdles
The New Zealand Grand National Hurdles winner Jackfrost has been confirmed for the $125,000 Great Northern Hurdles at Te Aroha on September 9 with Buddy Lammas the rider.
"He had a few days off after the National and seems bright as a button,'' said co-trainer Brian Anderton.
"He will race on the flat at Ashburton on Thursday and will head north providing he runs a reasonable race."
Lammas, who won the NZ Grand National Steeplechase on August 11 on Shamal is the replacement for Stuart Higgins, who was suspended for eight weeks until October 10 and fined $800 for unnecessary use of the whip over the concluding stages for the National which Jackfrost won by eight lengths. Higgins has ridden Jackfrost in his seven starts over hurdles for four wins and three seconds.
Brian is finding it hard to reconcile the nine points given Jackfrost in the ratings for his National win.
"He (Jackfrost) has only won two maiden hurdles, a restricted open and the National," he said.
The stable had a second with Lord Venture behind Gogong in the 1985 GN Hurdles (then run in June), the year before he won the National Hurdles.
Jackfrost emphasised his fitness when he won over 2100m on a heavy track at Ashburton from stablemate Satin Guru. He was ridden by WRL jockey Courtney Barnes, who is in charge of the grey Gallant Guru 8yr-old gelding on his trip north. The win revived a memory. Barnes, who served her apprenticeship at WRL, had her first win on the grey hurdler Cheap Date in a 1600m flat race at Wingatui in March, 2012. Barnes was then 17 and the WRL -trained 7yr-old Cheap Date (by Personal Escort) was resuming from a six month break and at odds of 23 to one.
WRL apprentice Corey Campbell continued his good early season form when he won three races as a six-raced card at Oamaru on Friday. Campbell was leading flat rider at the Grand National carnival with four wins.
Londonderry Air, winner of four flat races for WRL, is convalescing after leg surgery.
"He had a torn ligament and had a hole where the tendon goes on to the sesamoid," said Brian. "Shane noticed something was not quite right after he finished third at Wingatui in June."
The Raise The Flag gelding was operated on by veterinarian Peter Gillespie, then boxed for several weeks. He is now in a small paddock to restrict his activity.
Sire matings have been decided for the recently retired well performed WRL mares Coulee and Fascinate. Coulee, winner of the group three White Robe Lodge Handicap and gr three South Island Breeders' Stakes twice, is to be served by Savabeel. Fascinate, winner of the listed Great Easter Handicap at Riccarton, will be served by WRL resident sire, Ghibellines.