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After winning two trials in July at Te Rapa, Glenhope (4 g O’Reilly – Sapphire Belle, by Danske) debuted with a comprehensive victory in the $10,000 Blandford Lodge – Melbourne Cup Trendsetters Maiden 1200 metres on 28 August at Matamata.

In the presence of the Melbourne Cup, on Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Raceday, Glenhope worked forward outside the leader and after finding a couple of lengths to the 200m he stayed on strongly to score easily by one and three-quarter lengths under rider Cameron Lammas.

“He’s still learning, still quite green, but it was very nice,” Lammas said. “He can be a little bit erratic but came back to me and only got pulling because there was a horse three wide outside me.

“He did everything well though, quickened really good and hit the line easing up towards the end. He had a gawk around once he got clear, but he’s matured a lot in his behaviour since I rode him at the trials and he’ll keep improving with more maturity. He’s a nice horse.”

Owned and bred by Valachi Downs owner Kevin Hickman ONZM, and trained by Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard at Matamata, Glenhope became the fourth individual winner from stakes winning dam Sapphire Belle, including dual stakes winner Merion (O’Reilly), a $200,000 yearling selected by Paul Moroney from the Valachi Premier draft in 2013 at Karaka, and trained by Mike Moroney at Flemington, Melbourne.

“He still has plenty to learn and a big rangy type that derived immense benefit from a stint at EventStars,” Gerard said. “He had worked up well following a jump out, before winning his two trials, and although very green and new he has plenty of natural ability.”

On course, acting as ambassador for the Melbourne Cup, Mike Moroney said: “I’d like to thank the sponsors, Graham and Helen-Gaye Bax at Blandford Lodge, and Jonathan Scully and Kevin (Hickman) at Valachi. I’ve got horses in work in Australia for both establishments and you’ve been really good supporters.

“As Scully said, I had the full-brother to this horse, Merion, and we won a couple of stakes races and sold him on to Hong Kong, after buying him from Valachi as a yearling.

“This horse, Glenhope, Pam has done a great job with him and the same with the people at Valachi, because he’s been there a fair bit as well. Between both of them they’ve done a great job with a horse that has been pretty slow maturing, had a few problems, and not that easy, so it’s a great result.

“Even down to the sponsors of the wine, Millsreef, we’ve got a horse in work for the Preston family in Melbourne. Paul (Moroney) paid $8,000 for him and he won the first two and $150,000 from his four starts, and they were over to watch him in a Group Three race at his last start.

“It’s always great to be here at Matamata. It’s been a great place to me, being born and bred here, and to come back with the Melbourne Cup is a terrific honour.

“So, I appreciate what everyone involved in racing at Matamata has done for me and I’m sure our stable will keep going well because Pam is doing a great job and getting a lot of support from the breeders as well.”

Valachi GM Jonathan Scully said: “We’d like to thank the sponsors, Mike, Pam, and their team, and Gina Schick (EventStars) for the educational dressage and jumping, which has all culminated in him coming out and winning his first start.

“We tried Graham (Bax) last year for Zacinto, but all his mares had been booked to Australia, and when I got back from Ireland, after securing U S Navy Flag, Graham phoned to say we had his attention. And we’re so appreciative of his support to the stallion.

“The overall support to U S Navy Flag has been overwhelming and shown it’s what the New Zealand breeders want when we’ve got a speed horse of his quality. He’s a seriously good-looking horse and we can’t wait for the season to begin.”

Glenhope was strapped by Alannah Reid.
[28 Aug 19]


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