Black Chevron (centre) and Jay Abernethy take out the Manawatu Gold Cup. Photo: Royden Williams.
Victory went the way of the locals in the Manawatu Gold Cup in Palmerston North on Thursday evening when Black Chevron got the chocolates in the hands of Jay Abernethy.
The progressive son of Bettor’s Delight is trained just out of Bulls by Doug Gale, who moved to the region three-and-a-half years ago after training a big team in Helensville, north-west of Auckland.
“We’re in the process of scaling down; there are three two-year-olds ready to qualify and another one that will take a bit more time.
“I just bought a yearling at the sales and that should be the basis of our team next season, perhaps with Black Chevron and the odd older horse thrown in.
“I’m not looking to race on a larger scale any more and would ideally like to get down to about six horses.”
Despite scaling down, Gale has lucked in to a good one in Black Chevron, a son of a mare he used to train, Waihemo Rainship.
“I would say he’s the nicest horse I’ve had since Five Star Anvil.
“He hasn’t been the easiest horse to get going – he was difficult to gait up and it took him a few starts to click on to what being a racehorse was about.
“For his first four starts he would just go around with them and didn’t have the slightest inclination to try and run past them.
“But once the penny dropped, he hasn’t looked back.”
Black Chevron has now won six of his 19 starts and over $40,000 in stakes and Gale is quietly optimistic about taking him north for some feature races.
“He’s a rating 80, but should still be ok to race at ‘Palmy’ for now, and then there is the Hawera Cup, too.
“If he keeps improving I’d like to take him north to Auckland for the four-year-old features and he is also high up the list for the Jewels at Cambridge, too.
“The only thing is he has been a difficult traveler before and how he copes with those trips might dictate his future.
“We will make that decision at the end of the season.”
Gale’s wife Wendy races Black Chevron in partnership with longtime stable client Graham Beirne, who raced and still owns the dam, Waihemo Rainship.
“I trained her and, while she was a handy mare when I got her at four, she really improved at five and went right through the grades,” said Gale.
“He’s similar to her and I think when he fully matures, he will be the same.”
Classie American was a close-up second in the $17,850 feature while Canterbury visitor Shillelagh finished in third.
Blair Orange drove the first three winners on the card to take his haul for the two-day meeting to seven.