Wolverine shows plenty of X factor in NZ return

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  • November 02, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Wolverine showed she has lost none of her x factor when making her New Zealand return at the Te Rapa trials on Tuesday.

Initially trained in New Zealand by Roydon Bergerson, the daughter of Tivaci won three of her five starts as a juvenile, including the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) and Gr.2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m), and was runner-up in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

During her marvellous two-year-old run, a majority stake in the filly was sold to Australian Bloodstock, and she continued her career in Australia under the guidance of Kris Lees as a three-year-old.

While she didn’t post a victory across the Tasman, she was stakes placed on five occasions, including the Gr.2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m).

She was subsequently offered at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale earlier this year where  she was secured by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis’ bid of A$850,000.

Coming near full circle, Wolverine returned to New Zealand and is now trained by Roydon Bergerson’s son, Sam, alongside Mark Walker at Matamata.

Sam Bergerson previously part-owned the now four-year-old and he was excited to see her comfortably win her 900m heat at Te Rapa on Tuesday.

“I was in the ownership of her when Dad trained her and he is now retained in the ownership. I gave him plenty of stick when he was training her and now he is giving it to me,” Bergerson quipped.

“Hopefully we can get some results and keep the pressure off.

“It was really exciting to see her trial like that and see her back out in a public setting in New Zealand. She seems very well and is on the right track.

“It is very exciting for the team – a lot of the ownership group from the time Dad was training her have stayed in, and there are some good new owners and some really loyal existing owners involved.”

New Zealand punters won’t have long to wait to see Wolverine back at the races, with the mare set to tackle the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) at Te Rapa next week.

“We are going to kick her off here on Saturday-week in the Legacy Lodge Sprint, which is tracking to be a pretty good field. It should be interesting,” Bergerson said.

“Longer term, we are thinking about something like the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) or Railway (Gr.1, 1200m). We think 1200-1400m (is her best distance) at this stage, but whether we do stretch her out to a mile will be guided by her first couple of runs.”

Wolverine beat home stablemate Aotea Lad in her heat and Bergerson said he is tracking well ahead of his race return.

“He is back for another campaign and I thought he trialled really well,” Bergerson said.

“He is getting a bit longer in the tooth now, but he is still showing that he has got a zest for racing and he jumped well and put himself there.

“Jess (Allen) rode him and she was really happy. He is getting a bit tougher to place now but hopefully he has got a few more wins left instore.”

Wolverine was thwarted of a Group One scalp as a juvenile by now stablemate Maven Belle, and now the two are on a collision course to meet as four-year-olds.

Maven Belle dead-heated her 900m heat with stablemate Aris Aris, and is now on an identical path as Wolverine, with the pair renewing their rivalry in next Saturday’s Legacy Lodge Sprint.

“She was building up towards the Foxbridge (Gr.2, 1200m) but didn’t really come up so we gave her a bit of a freshen-up,” Bergerson said.

“She will hopefully kick-off next week in the Legacy Lodge Sprint and is another who has got some nice sprinting targets over summer – something like the Railway or Telegraph.”

Bergerson was also pleased with Group One performer Wild Night’s win in his 900m heat.

The Vanbrugh gelding was impressive as a three-year-old when winning five of his nine starts, including the Gr.2 James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) and Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m). He also placed in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

“He has had a few setbacks and niggles, but he is another one that it’s really exciting to see back out in a public setting,” Bergerson said.

“Opie (Bosson) rode him and said he jumped well, was keen, and felt really good – which was the main thing.

“He takes a bit of minding but at this stage he is coming up the right way and is on track. We will probably given him another trial and map out a plan towards that four-year-old Karaka Million.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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