Twinkle Twinkle He’s Our Star
22 Nov 2020
Wind back the clock a year to In A Twinkling (5 g Fastnet Rock – Moment in Time, by Archway) winning the Counties’ Cup and forward to the present for consecutive victories in the $100,000 Franklin Auctions Counties Cup (Gr. 3, 2100m) on Saturday at Pukekohe.
Good enough to finish runner-up in the NZ Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) and fifth in both the Tulloch Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) at Rosehill, and ATC Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) at Randwick, In A Twinkling was inconvenienced after a deluge in the Haunui Farm Karaka Classic (Listed, 1600m) on the course three weeks earlier, but up and trip and presented with good ground and he was back to his best.
Having relaxed in front under rider Opie Bosson when winning the race last year, In A Twinkling sat second on this occasion as Justamaiz (Guillotine) was intent on leading. He took control at the 200m, kicked to a handy advantage, and won comfortably over stable-mate Savy Yong Blonk (Savabeel) who stormed home after being held up early in the straight.
“He’s not the easiest to ride and does what he wants to do,” said Bosson, a week after winning the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) on stable-mate Kahma Lass (Darci Brahma). “He still hung today, but we knew during the week that he was bouncing out of his skin. I was quietly confident, without being over the top.
“I was stalking and with good speed on he gets on the bridle and he’ll keep running all the way. It took me forever to pull him up, as well, and he just keeps on going.
“I knew the horse I had when he got to the front and he doesn’t lay down. He’s a big strong fella and the further he goes the better.”
After winning the race last year, trainer Jamie Richards said: “Nobody wants to play cards with him”, and the same applies to the fickle yet talented galloper, who is also a fine looking specimen.
“No problem, he’s back in winning form and it didn’t surprise me,” Richards said. “He’s a cunning bugger, can be a difficult sort of customer, but he’s a good horse on his day and we might be best to keep him right-handed. We’ll just see what happens, but when he puts his best foot forward he can certainly to do the job.”
On Dead4 footing, In A Twinkling ran the 2100 metres in 2:09.6, last 600m 35.3, winning by a neat length, and returning $6.10 & $2.30 on the NZ TAB tote.
“I’d like to thank Dave (Ellis) for buying him, and Dave and Karyn are home at Te Akau Stud working hard syndicating the horses that we bought through the week at the Ready to Run Sale,” Richards said.
“Well done to Opie. He knows his habits, knows his traits, and thankfully it all worked out well for him today. Also, thank you to the staff at the Colt Barn for taking good care of him, and most of all, thanks to the owners and congratulations on his second Counties’ Cup win.”
Owned by the Te Akau Fastnet Moment Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis), purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $250,000, from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, In A Twinkling recorded his fourth win and took earnings to $429,744.
His dam, Moment in Time, was a dual Group 3 winner, dead-heating in a VRC St Leger, and winning six times from 1400m to 2800 metres.
Accepting the cup on behalf of the owners, Sandy Moore, a director at the Auckland Racing Club, said: “A great training performance by Jamie. The horse has a few issues, mentally, but back in form he’s pretty hard to handle. He can stay all day and another really good performance and well done to Opie for a great ride and winning the cup twice in a row.”
Te Akau has had terrific success with the progeny of Fastnet Rock (Danehill), including 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner Rock ‘N’ Pop, now standing at Okawa Stud, quadruple Group 1 winner Avantage, and Group 1 winners Heroic Valour, standing at Raheen Stud, Queensland, and Age Of Fire, while also having some promising horses in the stable with Fastnet Rock as their dam-sire.
In addition, Ellis bought high quality European staying horse Torcedor (Fastnet Rock) as a yearling in France. He flew the Te Akau colours in esteemed events to win two Group 3 races and finish Group 1 placed three times in Europe.
“How exciting was that to quinella the Counties Cup,” Ellis said. “In A Twinkling really turned it on today and Savy Yong Blonk went a super race.
“It’s been an amazing week for Te Akau. We won seven races last weekend, including five on New Zealand Cup Day at Riccarton. Then, we went to the Ready to Run Sale and bought nine of the best horses we could find in the catalogue.
“We only have 10% shares left in three horses and they’ll all be sold.
“Jamie (Richards) has been training horses to win at all levels, from the two-year-old Avonallo last Saturday winning the Listed Welcome Stakes, and Kahma Lass in the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas, through to winning the Counties’ Cup for the second year in a row. He and our team are continuing to a fantastic job and it’s very exciting for all our owners.
“I bought In A Twinkling as a yearling from Coolmore Stud, who I’ve had so much success buying from. He was in Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore draft and he’s another good horse that I’ve bought from Gordon.
“It’s quite widely reported that he’s got his quirks, but he’s a pretty good galloper when he brings his A-game and there are some really nice races available for him over Christmas and into the New Year.
“We were pretty devastated, at the time, when they forgot to put the barrier blanket on him in the New Zealand Derby and he missed it by three lengths and was only beaten a head at the line.
“So, it’s great for everyone to see him win another black type race and I’m just thrilled for the owners who have been very patient and well rewarded.”
In A Twinkling was strapped by Sumeet Pillay.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz