(By John Jenkins)
Jockey Jonathan Parkes was the toast of the crowd at Thursday’s Waipukurau meeting, kicking home half the winners on the eight race card.
Parkes started the ball rolling when getting Road To Reign home first in the opening event and then proceeded to take out race 3 aboard That’s Incranibull, race 4 on Charlie Zulu and race 7 on Marietta Lane.
The 30-year-old has now ridden 36 winners on the Waipukurau track, which is an impressive strike-rate given there are normally only three race meetings held on the course each year.
Parkes was seen at his vigorous best when getting Charlie Zulu home for a neck win in a maiden 1200m event. The horse was in front but looked to be in danger of defeat when under siege from several rivals inside the last 200m but the jockey never missed a beat on him over the final stages and the horse responded, sticking his neck out on the line.
“There is no doubt that Johnathan Parkes won the race,” Charlie Zulu’s Hastings co-trainer Guy Lowry said.
“It was the horse’s first start for a long time and he was gone at the 200 but Parksy managed to get him to find a bit more.
“The horse was blowing a fair bit after the race and will take a while to get over it but he won for his connections and that’s what you want.”
Charlie Zulu was having his first start for the Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen stable after previously being trained at Cambridge by Roger James. He hadn’t raced since finishing sixth of nine over 1400m at Rotorua in November last year.
The horse has spent several weeks working over hills and on the beach at a property in Porangahau to help strengthen him up and showed he was ready for a big fresh up run when finishing second in a 750m jumpout at Hastings at the end of last month.