Hastings-trained Okie Dokie pulled off a huge betting plunge when making a winning debut at Saturday's Hawke's Bay meeting.
The Sandtrap 4-year-old opened up at odds of more than 30 to 1 on the TAB fixed-odds market on the eve of the race and shortened dramatically to start at $10.50 on the tote.
Okie Dokie is prepared by James Bridge, who owns the horse in partnership with his father John. The horse had not had an official barrier trial before Saturday but had won two jumpouts held on the Hastings track in recent months.
Jockey Jonathan Riddell hunted Okie Dokie out of the barrier to take an early lead in the 1200-metre maiden event and he was never headed. Riddell kicked him clear early in the home straight and he held on to win by half a length.
Okie Dokie was bred by Takapau's Craig Harvey and Taradale's Duncan MacLean in partnership with Australian-based Tim Morris. They sold the horse to the Bridges as a weanling.
His dam Pennies In Heaven is a Pompeii Court mare who won five races.
It was James Bridge's second training success for the new season, after Bolt Action scored in a 1400-metre maiden at the Hawke's Bay meeting on August 6.
Okie Dokie was one of two Hastings-trained winners at Saturday's premier race meeting, the other being The Knight in a $30,000 Rating 85 event over 1200 metres.
The No Excuse Needed 5-year-old completed a winning hat-trick on his home track, following victories in a Rating 65 1200 there in April and a Rating 75 1200 on August 6.
The Knight has now won four races from 17 starts. He has been a model of consistency with four seconds, four thirds and two fourths among his other performances.
He is trained by John Bary, who shares in the ownership with the horse's Hawke's Bay breeders, Kevin and Shirin Wood, their daughter Tina, Michael Corbett, Mike Newall, Zane Hinton, Chris Cowan, Belinda Buchanan, Grant Dias and Simon and Crystal McAuley.
Campbell bags strike-rate award
Patrick Campbell had the best winning strike-rate of any trainer in the Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay region for the last racing season.
Campbell, who only prepares a small team, totalled 10 wins from 56 starters for a winning strike-rate of 5.60. In second place was John Bary with his 23 wins from 193 starters giving him a strike-rate of 8.39 and third was Paul Nelson with his 13 wins from 110 starters (8.46).
The strike-rate award was one of several presented at last Friday's annual Hawke's Bay & Poverty Bay Racing Awards function.
John Bary was the leading trainer for the district on total number of wins, while Paul Nelson and his wife Carol won the award for Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay Owner of the Year.
The Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay Broodmare of the Year award went to Golden Gamble, owned by Taupo couple Pat and Jane Lowry. She is the dam of the outstanding Hong Kong performer Ambitious Dragon, who is the winner of more than $HK39 million ($5.6 million) in stakemoney and has been crowned Hong Kong Horse of the Year for the past two seasons.
Jimmy Choux took out the titles of both Hawke's Bay owned and trained horse for the second year in a row while Central Hawke's Bay's Sue Harty was again named Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay Breeder of the Year, with horses that she bred winning 22 races during the season.
There were two new breeding awards. The Horlick's Salver was presented to Graham and Isabell Roddick for their huge contribution to the Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Breeders Association and thoroughbred racing in general over many years. The Jimmy Choux 3-year-old of Year award was presented to the Hawke's Bay breeders of the highest earning 3-year-old during the season and was won by the sisters Ali Horrocks and Robyn Waller, breeders of Whoshe.
Stunning debut win over fences
Hawke's Bay-owned Mr Mor made a spectacular winning debut as a jumper at last Thursday's Egmont meeting at Hawera, taking out the maiden steeplechase by 10 lengths.
The Corrupt 8-year-old hadn't even had a hurdle start beforehand but mastered the big fences with aplomb in the hands of top jumps jockey Isaac Lupton. After settling midfield in the running, Mr Mor made a quick forward move to join the leaders on the home turn and raced away from the opposition after jumping the last fence.
It was the horse's fifth win and followed a 2000m victory on the flat at this month's Grand National meeting at Riccarton.
Mr Mor is trained at Wanganui by Kevin Myers and raced by the Bogga Syndicate, a group of mainly Hawke's Bay people. The horse was bred by the late Brian Denton, whose nickname was "Bogga". His widow Dianne Denton and her daughter Symone Stevens are members of the syndicate, the others being Tony Lyndon, Greg Horton, Peter Unverricht, Pat and Sheryl Watson, Peter Johnson, Ray Morgan, Brian Hunter, Brad Whitfield, Stefan Kara and Christchurch-based Paul Kavanagh.
Peter Johnson celebrated a winning double last week as he also shares in the ownership of Voodoo, who took out a $10,000 Rating 75 race at Ashburton on Friday.
Johnson is a member of the Voodoo Syndicate which races the Pins mare in partnership with her Riccarton trainer Mike McCann.
Hawke's Bay-bred Acquit recorded her ninth victory when successful in a $15,000 open 1600-metre race at last Friday's Ashburton meeting.
The 7-year-old Towkay mare is out of Out On Bail and was bred by Pourerere's Sue Harty in partnership with Little Avondale Stud. She was sold as a weanling for $2000 and is now raced by the Southland-based Freedom Syndicate and trained at Riverton by Kerry King.