Talented Field for Inaugural Alf Kneebone Trans-Tasman Trophy

12 November 2021

NZB is the proud sponsor of a  New Zealand-themed raceday at Newcastle.

The first-ever running of the A$130,000 Alf Kneebone Trans-Tasman Trophy (1850m) will be a key component of Saturday’s New Zealand-themed raceday at Newcastle in the Hunter Valley, proudly sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock. 

The new race is restricted to trainers born in either New Zealand or Australia. Named after the highly respected racing journalist Alf Kneebone, it celebrates the talented trainers produced by both countries. The winning trainer will receive a NZ$5,000 NZB credit towards the Karaka 2022 yearling sale.

Fittingly, four of the 12 starters for Saturday’s inaugural running are trained by Chris Waller. The expat New Zealander has swept all before him since setting up a stable in Sydney in the early 21st century, earning induction into the Racing Hall of Fame on both sides of the Tasman.

Waller has enjoyed another stellar spring, winning the A$15 million The Everest (1200m) with Nature Strip (Nicconi) and last week’s Group One Melbourne Cup (3200m) with his champion kiwi-bred mare Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed).

Respected racing scribe, Alf Kneebone. Photo: NZ Racing Desk.

Other trainers represented in Saturday’s field are Richard and Michael Freedman, Matthew Smith, Richard Litt, Ian Finn, Clint Lundholm and Greg Preston. The Alf Kneebone Trans-Tasman Trophy will be run as Race 5 at Newcastle on Saturday, with a start time of 2.40pm AEDT (4.40pm NZT). 

Saturday’s New Zealand-themed races are part of Newcastle’s rapidly growing The Hunter raceday. NZB is proud to be at the forefront of developing the innovative concept, playing an integral part as the principal sponsor of the entire meeting and four undercard races.

NZB’s Director of Business Development, Mike Kneebone, has been a driving force behind the sponsorship and major investment in Australia.

“This is something I have been determined to see happen for a number of years now,” he said. “This is so much more than just another raceday, it will be totally unique with the aim of taking NZB and the New Zealand industry in general to a new level in Australia.

“We are delighted to be working alongside NJC and its Committee, who are in my opinion, the most progressive and forward-thinking race club in New South Wales,” he said.

Another notable race is the A$300,000 Visit Karaka 2022 The Beauford (2300m), featuring the Argentinian Group One winner He Runs Away (Heliostatic), along with local Group Two performers Shared Ambition (Born To Sea), Yonkers (Medaglia d’Oro), Sweet Thomas (Dylan Thomas) and Hush Writer (Rulership).

The A$160,000 Group Three New Zealand Bloodstock NJC Spring Stakes (1600m) has attracted an exciting field of emerging three-year-old talent, while Saturday’s other New Zealand-themed races are the A$130,000 NZB Airfreight Max Lees Classic (900m) and the A$130,000 Te Akau NZ/Australia/Singapore (1600m).

The overall feature race of the day is the A$1m The Hunter (1300m), which has three New Zealand-bred contenders including the early favourite Lost And Running (NZ) (Per Incanto).

Bred and part-owned by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock, the exciting sprinter has won six of his 11 starts including the Listed Luskin Star (1300m). In his last two starts, he has finished fourth in The Everest and second in the A$1m Classique Legend Stakes (1300m).

Alf Kneebone Trans-Tasman Trophy (1850m) Field

1 Love Tap 2 Love Tap (Tapit) got his career off to an electrifying start last year, winning all of his first four starts including the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) before finishing fourth in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m). He has experienced setbacks since, but won a race at Kembla Grange in September and was only three lengths from the winner in the A$7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) on October 30.     Richard & Michael Freedman Nash Rawiller
2 Milk Man 5 Bred in the United States and stakes-placed in France, Milk Man (Kitten's Joy) relocated to Australia two years ago and initially struggled, winning only one of his first 20 starts Down Under. But trainer Matthew Smith has turned things around in more recent times, producing him for back-to-back wins at Warwick Farm and Eagle Farm in October.     Matthew Smith Jenny Duggan
3 Mightybeel 6 Fitting the trans-Tasman theme of this race, Mightybeel (NZ) (Savabeel) was bred and sold in New Zealand, is raced by Kiwi syndicators Go Racing and has the unstoppable expat New Zealand trainer-jockey team of Chris Waller and James McDonald. Mightybeel boasts three wins and three second placings from 10 starts to date. Karaka 2019, Book 1 Go Racing, $200,000 Chris Waller James McDonald
4 Lord Ardmore 12 A second runner in the race for Go Racing, Lord Ardmore (NZ) (Reliable Man) began his career in New Zealand and showed real promise with fourth placings in the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Group Two Avondale Guineas (2100m). He was a last-start winner at Rosehill. Karaka 2019, Book 1 Go Racing, $65,000 Chris Waller Lee Magorrian
5 Ma And Pa   Scratched.        
6 Shibli 10 Yet another runner in the Go Racing colours, British import Shibli (Muhaarar) has won four times in an 11-start career to date. The first of those wins came in France in February of 2020, but the gelding has found rich form in more recent times with three wins in his last four appearances.     Chris Waller Tommy Berry
7 Master Shuhood 4 Master Shuhood (Tamayuz) is a six-race winner who finished a close fourth in the Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) in early September. In his last couple of starts, he has been unplaced in strong fields in the Group Three Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) and the A$500,000 St Leger Stakes (2600m).     Richard Litt  
8 Avion Fury 1 Transferred from the stable of Glen Thompson to Ian Finn earlier this year, three-race winner Avion Fury (More Than Ready) finished fourth at Rosehill in November 6 in his first start from his new quarters.     Ian Finn  
9 Ambitious Prince   Scratched.        
10 Solar Apex 11 Solar Apex (Deep Impact) is racing in strong form in this campaign, winning twice at Gosford in September before finishing third at Randwick and fourth at Rosehill. Overall, the four-year-old gelding has had three wins and eight placings from 14 career starts.     Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy
11 Notabadidea 8 Kiwi-bred Notabadidea (NZ) (Highly Recommended) has won six times in a 52-start career. He is backing up from an unplaced finish in the Country Classic (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday. 2017 Ready to Run Sale Mr PK Bibby, $100,000 Clint Lundholm Grant Buckley
12 Reposition 7 Owned and trained by Greg Preston, So You Think gelding Reposition has had 41 starts for four wins and seven placings.     Greg Preston Tyler Schiller