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OPEN SESAME, ALI BABA WINS

Having discovered the secret to success with back-to-back wins last season, Ali Baba (7 g Savabeel – Dreamworks, by Maroof) benefitted from a terrific training performance to win fresh-up over 2000 metres on 4 July at Te Rapa.

Co-trainer Pam Gerard had kept the talented galloper ticking over in farm work during lockdown in New Zealand, and fit enough to win a recent hurdle trial his fitness was to the fore in another good victory.

A winner previously in July, Ali Baba notched his fifth success for owners Barry & Deirdre Neville-White and Ballymore Stables (NZ & Aust.) in the $15,000 BGP Battlers Cup.

“Lisa Dellow, one of our track riders, took him home and worked him around the neighbouring dairy farm and kept him in work during lockdown,” Gerard said. “He won a jumping trial two weeks ago pretty easily and always had good ability on the flat. He was pretty fresh, but I thought his fitness levels were forward enough.”

Ridden by apprentice Taiki Yanagida, Ali Baba only had one behind him approaching the 600m before charging into contention around the home turn and sustained his run to beat race favourite Vainglory (Makfi) in a tight finish.

“Taiki thought fitness could be an issue and he was worried about him getting back,” Gerard said. “He wanted to be handier, but I wanted him to ride him neutral and put him to sleep. I asked him to hold him up because he’s only got a short sprint. I think he rode him perfectly.

“Although the pattern wasn’t favouring horses coming from behind, he got the job done and rode to instructions.”

A Stewards inquiry – second against first – was dismissed.

“Yes, there probably was a little bit of interference, but on the line and not enough to change the half-head margin,” Gerard said. “It was more past the post that the bump happened.

“Barry (Neville-White) loves his jumpers and the win should have him spot on to get back to the hurdles in a couple of weeks at Te Rapa. His future lies as a jumper and he’s shown a lot of talent.

“I think this year he’s finally learnt to relax and button off. He’s always had the ability, but been uptight and not always done things right because of that. Being out on the farm and doing different things has certainly helped him relax.”

Ali Baba was selected as a yearling by Paul Moroney and purchased for $70,000 at the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale, from the draft of Kirkwall Thoroughbreds. His dam, Dreamworks, won the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) and grand-dam Slanchyvah (Kaapstad) finished third in the NZ Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m).

He is from the family of Grey Song (Unbridled’s Song), winner of the Blamey Stakes, Chairman’s Handicap, St Leger, second in the Caulfield Cup, and Herbert Power Stakes, with A$1.9m in prize money.

Ali Baba carries a Sir Tristram cross through Zabeel, the sire of Savabeel, and Kaapstad, the sire of Slanchyvah.

Ali Baba was strapped by Archie Hazlett.  
[09 Apr 11]

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OPEN SESAME, ALI BABA WINS (New Zealand)

OPEN SESAME, ALI BABA WINS
[04 Jul 20] Having discovered the secret to success with back-to-back wins last season, Ali Baba (7 g Savabeel – Dreamworks, by Maroof) benefitted from a terrific training performance to win fresh-up over 2000 metres on 4 July at Te Rapa.  more...
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