Top Brass Top Class
5 Dec 2021
Touted for toughness, Top Brass(6 g Epaulette – Highlight, by High Chaparral) once again drew on reserves to win $55,000 J Swap Contractors Open 1200 metres on Saturday at Matamata.
Tough qualities in any athlete, equine or human, should not be underestimated and combined with ability provide an edge when chips are down.
After being taken on in front by Manrico (Shocking), who succumbed to finish fourth, Top Brass too would have had an excuse, but instead kept revelling in the race to beat $2.40 race favourite Mega Bourbon (El Roca).
Questionable also was the rain-affected footing that was downgraded to Slow7, despite obliging previously on a Slow8 at Hastings, but extending his record to six wins from 13 starts suggests a horse good enough to overcome some adversity.
At his prior start, Top Brass was given no respite in front when finishing fourth in Rating 74 1200 metres on 12 November at Awapuni – the type of run can dent confidence – but creditably he put that behind him, as if to say ‘I’ll show them’.
Even beforehand at the start, it was difficult to fault the condition in which Top Brass presented and he looked ready for action.
It proved a good move by trainer Jamie Richards to place Top Brass up in grade, taking advantage of stable apprentice Parmar Singh and his four-kilo claim to carry 54kg rather than 58kg, which was arguably the difference between winning and not.
“He had shown to handle a soft track previously and it was another tough effort,” Richards said. “It didn’t go to plan last time, when he was attacked and softened up in front. However, today he found a really good kick with the (weight) claim and I’m pleased he’s been able to get back in winning form for his terrific owners.
“Parmar rode him well and although the horse drifted out under pressure in the straight he remained very willing. Parmar rides a majority of his work, so I’m thrilled for him to get the win.
“Top Brass enjoys his job as a racehorse. He’s not the easiest to deal with, and has taken a long time to mature, but he’s got plenty of speed and hopefully he can keep matching them in Open grade.”
Richards said the bar could be raised on Boxing Day with either the Hallmark Stud Handicap (Listed, 1200m) at Ellerslie, or Open 1200 metres at Awapuni, suitable options.
Despite conditions, Top Brass ran 1200 metres in respectable 1:12.4, winning by three-quarter lengths, and paying $6.10 & $1.80 on NZ TAB tote.
Top Brass is a lovely type of horse, owned by Terry Archer, Mike Beazley, Howard Perry, Stu Graham, Murray Darroch, Marcelle Douglas, Stuart Gladding and A Dime-A-Dozen Syndicate. He was bred by Archer and Douglas, and given to Te Akau to train.
Top Brass is by dual Group 1 winning sprinter Epaulette (Commands), standing at Darley in Australia. He is the first foal out of a High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) mare that won five races from 1400m – 1900m, from a good producing dam-line that includes talented third dam Superjet (Jetball).
Dam Highlight has also left capable dual winner Annie’s Song (Darci Brahma).
The win capped a good week for Richards and Te Akau Racing. At the 2021 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, the record setting trainer was without rival in winning Trainer of the Year.
Probabeel (Savabeel) was named SENZ New Zealand Horse of the Year, defeating stable-mates Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Melody Belle (Commands), and Amarelinha (Savabeel).
Probabeel also collected Champion Sprinter/Miler, over Avantage and Melody Belle, the reigning dual Horse of the Year, who claimed Champion Middle Distance Horse.
Champion Two-Year-Old went to Sword of State (Snitzel), over stable-mate On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau), while Amarelinha finished second in Champion Three-Year-Old.
Danielle Johnson, who had such a wonderful season riding in the tangerine colours, won Jockey of the Year.
Ashley Handley, constant companion of Probabeel, won Strapper of the Year (Northern Region), and largely due to the success of Probabeel, owners Brendan & Jo Lindsay won Owner of the Year.
Also well worth acknowledging, good friend to Te Akau Dave Smith (Dunstan Feeds) was richly deserved winner of NZTR Outstanding Contribution to Racing Award, won previously by David Ellis CNZM.
Top Brass was strapped by Sarah West.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz