Lord Spencer clears maiden ranks

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  • August 14, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Wanganui hurdler Lord Spence was rewarded for his consistency at Riccarton on Saturday when breaking through for his maiden hurdle victory in the Speight’s Summit Ultra On Tap 0-1 Win Hurdles (3100m).

The son of Zed had placed in his four previous hurdle outings, including at Riccarton a week prior, and trainer JJ Rayner was delighted to see him score at the final day of the Grand National Festival of Racing.

“He is a neat horse and deserved to win. Stephan (Karnicnik, jockey) rode him perfectly yesterday, he sat and waited, settled nicely and saved ground.”

Rayner was quietly confident heading into the race, but was wary of $1.60 hot favourite Afterallthistime, who subsequently finished third.

“He has done well since the first day. He really needed that, and I think it brought him on a bit,” Rayner said.

“I was a bit worried about the Myers horse (Afterallthistime), but we got past them yesterday, which was good.”

Lord Spencer will make the long trek back to Wanganui where he will enjoy a freshen-up before Rayner looks for his next target.

“He has come through the race really well. I will give him a week off at home and we will just play it by ear. I have no big plans at the moment,” she said.

“I don’t want to do too much this season. I think we will look to next season for some biggies.”

Meanwhile, Rayner is looking forward to heading to New Plymouth this coming weekend with stakes performer Hacksaw Ridge.

The six-year-old gelding has enjoyed a freshen-up following his fourth placing in the Whyte Handicap (1600m) last month and will attempt to capture the lion’s share of the $80,000 purse on offer in the ITM New Plymouth Interprovincial (1600m) on Saturday.

“We gave him a week freshen-up since his last run and he is on target for the Interprovincial on Saturday with Craig Grylls on,” Rayner said.

“He does show a lot of promise. He likes bad ground so the wetter the better for him.”

The son of Power has been in good form, highlighted by his runner-up result in the Listed AGC Training Stakes WFA (1600m) at Wanganui in June.

The Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) was in Rayner’s sights following that run, however, she soon shifted her aim toward Saturday’s test.

“I was heading in that direction (Winter Cup) with him this year, but he is not a good traveller so I don’t think he would have handled the trip down there,” she said.

“If he grows up a bit, he might head that way next year. The Interprovincial is his main target. $80,000 on your backdoor, you might as well be there.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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