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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Sunday, August 14 2022
Jumps double for Leeks

Sunday’s Coleraine meeting opened with married couple John and Andrea Leek training the first two winners, signifying their imminent return to challenging for Victoria’s premier jumps events.

The seven-race card opened with Castrofrancaru ($3.80 favourite) winning his 3300-metre maiden hurdle by 7.75 lengths.

Dual licenced jockey Arron Lynch then completed his early double with the Andrea Leek-trained  Heir To The Throne (NZ) (Pentire) ($1.60 favourite) scoring over the same distance in a benchmark 120 hurdle.

“We’re going to make a bit of a comeback with our jumpers and see how we go,” Leek Jnr said following Castrofrancaru became his first jumps winner in over 15 years.

The Leeks combined with Team Heritage to win the 2004 Grand National Hurdle, then held at Flemington on the first Saturday in July.

Team Heritage, purchased as a tried horse for $30,000, was trained by John and ridden by Andrea before injury ended her race riding career in 2009.

Team Heritage in an incredible nine-day period won his 3000-metre Mornington maiden hurdle at his first jumps start, followed by the Ted Best Hurdle (3200m) at Moonee Valley 48 hours later and the Grand National Hurdle (4000m) the next Saturday.

The willingness to run their race-fit jumpers still exists with the Leeks. Heir to the Throne, who became Andrea Leek’s first winner as a trainer at Sale in July 2021, has won hurdles the past two Sundays.

“He was very impressive,” Andrea Leek said of Heir to the Throne’s 3.5-length Coleraine win.

“You hope that they will do that, and you can’t expect it because they’ve got to jump, but he was ultra-impressive.”

Heir to the Throne could end his campaign in the $125,000 JJ Houlahan Hurdle (3250m) at Ballarat on August 28, provided the ground is not excessively rain-affected with connections believing the eight-year-old appreciated the Soft (5) ground at Coleraine.

But next year’s Warrnambool May Carnival is on the agenda for Heir to the Throne and Castrofrancaru in search of more feature jumps success.

“He (Castrofrancaru) has got a real spring in his step when he jumps, he is a natural, he just has a very big leap,” Leek Jnr said.

“It will be interesting to see him in steeplechases, we’re not counting our chickens but he’s wasting a bit of time on these (smaller) jumps. We’ll see how he pulls up but he will pull up well because he’s thriving.

“We’ll weigh up what we do with him, it would be nice and exciting to get to Warrnambool (for next year’s May Carnival) with him.”

Posted by: AT 02:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email