Well, we’ve come to the end of another Hawkes Bay Carnival and boy, wasn’t it a doozy! The whole carnival is a credit to Andrew (Butch) Castles.

I had the utmost privilege to continue my partnership with Te Akau’s Avantage. What an incredible little filly she is. She has the heart of a lion and it was just a great thrill to be a part of that. I hope to continue with her and her promising career. I know Jamie was worried about Xpression but Avantage dug deep and found a few hidden gears to get across that line first. She’s just such a racehorse. She knows her job and that she’s good at it.

Speaking of Te Akau trained horses, How good was Melody Belle?! Just incredible strength in that mare. Both girls are a credit to Jamie and the team.

Over the winter racing period (and some of spring) there have been some abandoned meetings. I know this can be incredibly frustrating for owners, trainers and race goers. But I think we can all appreciate that safety is the most important thing for: horses, strappers and jockeys. There’s that saying: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

On a happier note, I’m really looking forward to the Ready to run breeze ups at Te Rapa on the 15th and 16th of this month.

I have 22 rides over the two-day event before the ready to run sales. I’m looking forward to sitting on some young horses and seeing the future potential.

Around this time, I always fondly remember when I rode the former Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained Turn Me Loose in his breeze up all those years ago back in 2013. You could feel his power and his potential. I had a feeling that he’d be something special. $1.7 million dollars in prizemoney for a $52,500 purchase was quite the investment. Unfortunately, I never got to ride him on race day, but just watching the horse I knew as a two-year-old grow up and become to the stallion that he is today, there are just no words really. I’m just glad that he is enjoying his retirement at Windsor Park Stud.

I’ve had a busy race day at Taupo today and have a busier day at Taupo trials tomorrow.

Until next time,

Johnson out.