New Zealand racing has lost another quality performer from its staying ranks with the retirement of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Maygrove following an unplaced run in Saturday’s Listed Gallagher Marton Cup (2200m).
Raced by Lib Petagna and Patrick O’Rourke, Maygrove won nine races in a 55-start career including the 2015 Gr.2 Wellington Cup (2400m), the 2016 Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) and the 2017 Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m).
Amongst a host of top performances, it is the Wellington Cup win that stands out most for Petagna’s bloodstock manager, Bruce Perry.
“He has provided us with some wonderful memories, but I would rate his Wellington Cup victory at the top of that pile,” Perry said.
“It is a terrific race to win, but for his co-owner Patrick O’Rourke it was very special as he grew up in Wellington and had attended the meeting over so many years with his family.
“To own the winner of that race made for a very special day.”
While Perry is thankful for what Maygrove has achieved over his career he is disappointed that the retirement has been forced by the current handicapping model operated in New Zealand.
“He is as sound as a bell and I have no doubt he is fully capable of winning more races,” he said.
“It is just a shame that horses like him are being forced out by the handicapping as he has continually had to carry topweight in his races.
“He has been a very good performer, but the system just doesn’t seem to be able to cater for this type of horse as they get older as there is no weight-relief available for them.
“Our staying ranks are thin as it is and seeing these horses being retired is a real shame.”
While Maygrove may be lost to the current racing ranks he may still have a part to play in the industry in a new role.
“He will probably head to Blandford Lodge now for some time off before we decide what next for him,” Perry said.
“I think he could be well suited as a clerk of the course horse so that is something we can consider but he will have a wonderful retirement as he has earned it.”
Perry also advised that quality three-year-old filly Peaceful could be headed to Ellerslie for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on January 26 after pleasing connections despite finishing unplaced at Awapuni on Saturday in her first run since an Australian spring campaign.
“The track was quite firm yesterday and the 1200m was too short for her,” he said.
“She will take a lot of benefit from the run, so we will now make a decision on where we head next.
“The mile at Ellerslie will suit her so that could be the next target.
“We do have other options which include the Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham.
“If she does go to the Desert Gold then we would likely continue on to the rest of the Filly of the Year series after that.”
The Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 19 is the sixth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series which is currently lead by Media Sensation after her victory in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). – NZ Racing Desk