(By John Jenkins)
Two successful Hastings trainers, Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal, have joined forces in a partnership and will have their first runners together at Te Rapa this Saturday.
Nelson said the necessary paperwork was completed last weekend and the new partnership came into being from May 1.
Nelson has been one of Hawke’s Bay’s top trainers for many years, concentrating mainly on jumpers but also achieving great success with flat performers and has posted 24 wins in Group or Listed events. He has produced more than 210 winners since he started training in the mid 1970s, with his first major success being the 1987 Wellington Steeplechase with Storm.
He has since won most of the feature jumping races on the New Zealand racing calendar, many of them several times, and recently brought up a first when No Change dead-heated for a win in a Jumpers’ Highweight at Wanganui. He had never before been involved in a dead-heat decision.
McDougal has worked, off and on, for Nelson for the past 20 years and has been a regular employee at his Air Hill Station property for the past four. She has also been a licensed trainer for 15 years and has produced 17 winners in her own right.
Her first win was when Kipling was third past the post in a maiden highweight over 1600m at Hastings in April, 2007, but later promoted to first after suffering interference from the first two horses in the final stages. Her biggest training feat to date was when she recorded a winning double, with Noess and Our Destiny, at Foxton in May 2011.
McDougal has only trained one or two horses in recent years as she has battled debilitating health issues. She has undergone a kidney transplant and has had to endure regular dialysis treatment.
However it has not stopped her from fulfilling her life-long ambition to be involved with thoroughbreds, whether she be training them or just riding work.
Her last win was with Tavijazz in a 1200m maiden race at Woodville in January last year and she broke new ground that day as it was the first time she had trained a horse to win at a distance less than 1600m.
Paul Nelson said this week he was looking forward to training in partnership with McDougal, whom he says is a great worker and a very competent horsewoman.
“Corrina has worked for me for a long time and it is probably time she was given a bit more responsibility,” Nelson said.
“She certainly deserves it after all she has been through.”
The Nelson/McDougal partnership will have four starters at Saturday’s Waikato meeting at Te Rapa.
No Change will have another run on the flat before he resumes over fences when he lines up in the Rating 82 race over 2200m, with talented apprentice Ryan Elliot booked to ride him.
The well performed jumper Perry Mason will have his first jumping race since finishing second in last year’s Great Northern Steeplechase (6300m) at Te Aroha when he lines up in the Restricted Open Hurdle over 2800m while Zardetto will contest the Restricted Open Steeplechase over 3900m. Aaron Kuru has been booked to ride both horses.
Look Out, who is the winner of three races from 15 starts, will have his second start back from a lengthy spell in the Rating 72 1600.