Group 1 performer Kiwi Ida is set to fly the South Island flag in the Group 2 Valachi Downs Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on September 5. Owned and trained by John and Karen Parsons, the high-class mare has been off the scene since February, but she warmed up for her return with impressive trial wins at Rangiora on July 14 and August 18.
Karen Parsons, who has spent recent weeks in the North Island with well-performed jumper Delacroix, reported that Kiwi Ida has made pleasing progress in the build-up to her return. “She’s coming up well in this preparation, we’ve been very happy with her so far,” she said. “I haven’t been there to see many of her gallops, but John has been delighted with how she’s been working. “As long as we’re able to get her up to Te Rapa, the plan is for her to start out in the Foxbridge Plate next weekend. Then we’ll carry on to Hastings after that.”
Bought for just $4000 by the Parsons as a weanling, Kiwi Ida has won 14 races and more than $470,000 in stakes for the Balcairn couple. The daughter of Squamosa was a standout performer in southern ranks last season, winning four races including successful North Island raids on the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni and Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie. She closed out her 2019-20 campaign with a third placing behind Te Akau Shark and The Mitigator in the Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
The six-year-old will have the chance to add to that Group 1 record during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, with nominations for the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on September 19 and the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on October 3. “We’ll definitely go for the first one, and we’ll wait and see about the mile,” Karen Parsons said. “She’s never gone a mile before, but there aren’t many other options around for her at that time of year, so we’ll have to think about that. John’s not very keen on it, and Chris (Johnson, jockey) is a bit apprehensive about that distance for her as well. So we’ll see. But we’ll definitely be there for the Tarzino.”
Closer to home, the Parsons team will saddle four runners at Riccarton on Saturday including the resuming black-type performers Pippi Rea and Camino Rocoso. Pippi Rea won a Rangiora trial on August 18 and has won twice in a fresh state. A past placegetter in the Group 3 Stewards’ Stakes (1200m) and Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) during the New Zealand Cup Carnival, the Pins gelding will resume in Saturday’s Hygain/Mitavite Rating 98 (1200m) as a first step along the road to another shot at those November sprint features. “He’s come up extra well, we’ve been really happy with him,” Karen Parsons said. “His trial was very good and he’s been working nicely.”
Camino Rocoso, a bold front-running winner of the Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) in January, placed in a recent trial and will kick off in the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Rating 94 (1600m). “We’re extremely happy with him too, John thinks he’s really improved and is twice the horse he used to be,” Parsons said. “We don’t have any specific targets in mind for him at this stage, but we’ll look at something during Cup Week. “We’re really excited about what he could do this season, and it’s the same with Killarney – he’s come up a different horse this time in as well. He’s looking fantastic.”
Killarney has won seven races, headed by the Group 3 White Robe Lodge WFA (1600m) in February. He is expected to kick off his new campaign in the coming weeks. “The ground can always fall out from under you at any time in racing, but at the moment we’re really happy with our team,” Parsons said. “We think we’ve got a bit to look forward to in the spring.”