(By John Jenkins)
Another superb ride by top jumps jockey Aaron Kuru paved the way for a third Wellington Hurdle success for Hastings trainer Paul Nelson at Trentham today.
Nelson, who is nowadays training in partnership with Corrina McDougal, had won the 3400-metre race previously with Solid Steel (2010) and The Shackler (2017) and today the stable lined up the talented but inexperienced jumper No Tip in the $75,000 event.
The seven-year-old Mettre En Jeu gelding was having his just third start as a jumper, finishing fourth in his debut at Te Aroha in September last year before a maiden hurdle victory at Trentham last month.
Kuru, who has built up an outstanding record on Nelson-trained horses in recent years, has ridden No Tip in each of his two jumping wins and today’s victory credited him with his second Wellington Hurdle success after he also saluted aboard The Shackler two years ago.
Kuru is patience personified when it comes to riding over fences. He immediately dropped No Tip back to the rear in today’s race and got him to settle perfectly, while those horses up front were going reasonably hard all the way in the very testing track conditions.
No Tip was still giving the leaders a big start entering the last 1000m but Kuru then started to improve his position, sticking to the inside and saving every inch of ground, as he stalked the leaders coming to the turn.
Kuru hugged the inside rail with No Tip rounding the home turn and they went up to challenge race favourite Laekeeper for the lead at the second to last fence. The two horses jumped that obstacle practically on terms, but No Tip took over soon and, with another good leap at the last, he surged clear to win by 2-1/4 lengths.
Bad Boy Brown got up to take second off Laekeeper by a long neck, with El Corby weakening a shade to finish fourth after looking likely when challenging on the home turn.
The victory eased Kuru further ahead in the race for the Jumps Jockey premiership this season where he now has 15 wins, three clear of his nearest rival Shaun Fannin.
No Tip is owned by Nelson and his wife Carol and they bred the gelding out of the Grosvenor mare Grosveness.
Grosveness has now ceased breeding but has been a prolific producer of winners for the Nelsons over many years. Others out of the mare include No Change (11 wins), Ho Down (eight wins), No Cash (seven wins), No Governance (three wins) and No Credit (two wins).