Tinseltown and Craig Grylls have the Group II Counties Cup in safe keeping. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Ballymore Stables continued their recent run of Group Two successes when top-weight and favourite Tinseltown (7 B. G. Pentire – Tinsel, by Jetball) recorded a comprehensive win in the $100,000, DHL Counties Cup (2100m), in the hands of Craig Grylls, at Pukekohe on Saturday.
The win for trainers Mike Moroney and Andrew Clarken by Altered Image (Strategic Image) in the Group II Coupland’s Mile at Riccarton 10-days earlier came on the back of the stable producing Brazilian Pulse (Captain Rio) to win the Victorian Oaks at Flemington on November 4.
And, getting the winner of five Cup races back to his best is something the stable is entitled to be proud of.
Having previously being treated for a heart strain, Tinseltown was unable to break through during a four-start stint in Brisbane during the winter, with his best result being a second to Ironstein (Zabeel) in the Caloundra Cup.
Clarken said, “He was a bit unlucky not to win in Ozzie, but he ran a nice second there, and I just don’t know whether he’ll get two miles, that would be my only question mark, but we’ll just keep going forward to the Waikato Cup now.”
“This was always our goal, third-up, and we’ll probably go to the Waikato Cup and a couple of races after that”, said Clarken. “Any starts he’s had at two miles he hasn’t quite run it out, but he’s another preparation older, so I’ll have to talk to the boys.”
“His work had been enormous going into this and it was a beautiful ride by Craig (Grylls)”, added Clarken.
Carrying 57-kilograms to victory, Clarken said, “He’s not a big horse, but he’s a tough horse and that’s why he’s able to carry that sort of weight.”
To some degree, Tinseltown made light work of his impost as he sprinted when Craig Grylls presented him four off the fence at the 350m to quickly find a length on his opposition and he kept up a strong gallop to win by one-and-a-half-lengths.
With the defection of group one winning mare Veloce Bella (Volksraad), the second best credentialed staying horse in the field, Six O’clock News (Zabeel), finished second when arriving with a strong finish, while He’s Heroic (Zerpour) capped a last start victory in lesser grade by claiming third.
Favourite yet still quite juicy on the NZ TAB, Tinseltown returned $5.10 & $2.30 after running the 2100m in 2:10.58.
Owned by G J Duff, M J Gatt, I E McCarrison, P A Moroney, J S Myers, R P Rosenberg & G J Williams, Tinseltown has now won eight times for earnings of $470,026.
Described by Paul Moroney as the miniature of Xcellent (Pentire) after he won the Avondale Cup in 2008, he purchased Tinseltown for $70,000 from the 2005 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sales.
Brazilian Pulse, Altered Image and Tinseltown are all procurements of the deft judgment by Paul Moroney at the NZB Yearling Sales.
The win for jockey Craig Grylls followed a resurgence of winning form in recent times, as he had ridden a treble at Rotorua two days earlier, after also gaining a treble of wins at Dargville on November 12.