Hammer Down destroys rivals. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Trained by Stephen McKee, Hammer Down (3 B. G. O’Reilly – Our Prized Rose, by Prized) shortened into $10 for the 2000 Guineas after a devastating win in the Motorsports Car Sales Rating 70 over 1400-metres at Rotorua on Saturday.
At his previous start, after setting a genuine pace he kicked when asked for an impressive win in smart time at Ruakaka over 1200m on Dead4, having debuted prior with a solid third to talented type Undisclosed (Pins), also in a tidy time at Ruakaka over 1200m.
Following his last start win McKee suggested Hammer Down could be his next group horse.
With a good eye for a horse, bloodstock agent Bruce Perry purchased him for $60,000 from the draft of Esker Lodge at the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale, and he races for the Homebush Partnership No 2 Syndicate put together by Perry.
Esker Lodge have prepared a half-sister by Volksraad (Green Desert), Lot 460, for the upcoming Ready to Run Sale at Karaka on November 16 & 17.
Continuing the association with rider Samantha Spratt, Hammer Down sprung out nicely to lead, over-racing a touch early on before settling to travel like a well oiled machine through the mid stages. Sprinting off the home turn when slipped a bit of leather, he displayed the action of a very promising galloper before easing near the line with a four-length buffer.
On footing the better side of genuine slow, Hammer Down ran the 1400m in 1:24.19, beating the hot favourite Rockburn (Thorn Park), who improved after being slowly away to race on his outside, with Safe Access (Danasinga) two-and-three-quarter-lengths afield in third.
His dam, Our Prized Rose, performed best on slow footing, while also winning on good and heavy, and it would seem he has a bright future.
Deputizing for his son, Trevor McKee said, “He won terrifically well and very, very pleased with how he’s come through handling the conditions and going left-handed. He’s always shown us plenty.”
Spratt echoed the sentiments, saying, “He’s a lovely horse. He’s got a lot to learn – still green and all over the show. He was trying to fight me early, but once he settled he travelled really nicely.”
The $1m, Group I, 2000 Guineas is held at Riccarton Park Racecourse in Christchurch on the first day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival, November 6.