Veteran Pep Torque in form for Wairoa Cup

  • user
  • February 16, 2024
  • No Comments

Veteran Pep Torque in form for Wairoa Cup

By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Now 10 years old and with 90 starts under his belt across seven seasons of racing, the remarkable Pep Torque is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Nadeem gelding will shoot for the 11th win of his career when he contests Sunday’s Affco NZ Ltd Wairoa Cup (2100m) at Hastings.

This will be the second Wairoa Cup start for Pep Torque, who ran third behind He No Opilio and Felaar in the 2021 edition of the historic Hawke’s Bay feature.

Pep Torque has added another three wins to his record since then, headed by the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) in October of 2022 and a placing in the Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata.

Although he has yet to win in his 10-year-old season, Pep Torque has placed in four of his nine starts including all of his last three.

In his first three races with apprentice jockey Ace Lawson-Carroll in the saddle, Pep Torque has run third behind Mehzebeen in the Taupo Cup (2000m), third to Coruba Jak at Tauranga and a last-start second at Matamata behind leading Gr.2 Eagle Technology Avondale Cup (2400m) contender Terra Mitica.

Lawson-Carroll retains the mount again on Sunday, reducing Pep Torque’s topweight from 60kg to 57kg.

“He’s such an honest old bugger,” trainer and part-owner Kirsty Lawrence said. “If every horse in the stable was like him, life would be easy.

“He just loves his racing and we’ve got a great group of owners involved with him, including Susan (Best) who works for me and a couple of other really good people that we’ve known for a long time.

“He doesn’t know he’s a 10-year-old. He was rearing in his paddock this morning. I’ve been lucky that he’s been so sound all the way through his career, and it’s just been a matter of looking after him and keeping him happy.

“Everything’s gone well with him leading into Sunday. The only problem for him is the lack of strength in our staying ranks at the moment. We had that placing at Matamata last start, where he picked up another three rating points, and we’re going straight from 51kg last start to 57kg after the claim on Sunday. He’s been a good horse and has earned that weight, but it’s much harder to get rid of rating points than it is to pick them up. Claiming is definitely the go with him.”

Fortunately for Lawrence, Pep Torque has shown a real affinity for apprentice riders.

“He’s such a good horse for the apprentices,” Lawrence said. “If you go through his record, only two of his wins have been with senior jockeys. Alysha Collett rode him in his maiden win, and then Kate Hercock won the Fielding Gold Cup on him. All of his other wins have been for apprentices.

“Ace has ridden him really well in his last few races, and Ciel Butler won a race on him last season and look where she’s got to now. He just seems to be a really neat horse to ride for apprentices that are coming through.”

Sunday marks the Wairoa Cup’s welcome return to Hawke’s Bay after last year’s edition was relocated due to the devastating effects of Cyclone Gabrielle.

“It’s a bit weird looking back to what happened last year,” Lawrence said. “I had a look the other day to see who ran in last year’s Wairoa Cup, and it was only then that I remembered the race ended up being moved to New Plymouth.

“It was a horrible ordeal for Hawke’s Bay, and I saw a lot of that with the things I had do as part of the recovery at this time last year.

“To have the Wairoa Racing Club’s big day back on in the Bay this year is pretty cool. Coming from a tenant club myself at Waipukurau, I know how important these big days are and how hard you need to work to try to get the locals to come along the road to Hastings.

“I’m looking forward to a really good day on Sunday, even if it’s not the same as it used to be on their home track.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.