Logan looking for tonic, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Logan looking for tonic

Lady trainer is hoping to bounce back with small team led by ‘miracle’ horse Santino

If “miracle” horse Santino is racing today, he owes it to trainer Donna Logan’s patience, but it may soon be his turn to return the favour on June 22.

It is well documented how the feisty chestnut nearly died after he played up during a routine post-race hose-down and nearly got his leg ripped up.

The prognosis was poor, but against all odds, he recovered and made a winning comeback eight months after his horrible accident.

Though he has not won again, he has not been far off the mark. Another salute could not come at a better time to give his trainer a much-needed tonic.

Logan just recovered from a minor ailment. The New Zealander will be at the races to saddle her small team of five runners, though.

Naturally, a win from any of them would be welcome, especially if it was stable favourite Santino, never mind if he is still a hothead.

The Santos three-year-old, who runs in the Te Akau Stable colours but is raced by an all-woman syndicate, is facing his first test over 1,400m in the $75,000 Novice race.

“Santino’s stepping up in distance to 1,400m. He’s by Santos, who’s by I Am Invincible, so we’re hoping that the distance will suit him,” said Logan’s husband and racing manager Peter Woods.

“He’s been working well. He’ll finish strong though he’s a horse who needs the pace to be on.”

Carlos Henrique has struck up a great rapport with Santino, having not jumped off him in four starts since that fairytale win on March 9.

But, with the Brazilian jockey suspended, Logan had to go looking elsewhere, going for someone she seldom uses, Koh Teck Huat. They do share some random luck together, though.

“It’s a shame Carlos is suspended as Santino’s not an easy horse to ride. Donna wanted a strong rider,” said Woods.

“We don’t use TH Koh often, but he did win once for us, on a pick-up ride, Knippenberg. TH has not ridden Santino in trackwork, let’s hope they can click.”

Should they not, Logan can still fall back on her four other bullets to conquer a winning post that had proved elusive since a double from Red Maned and Axel on May 25.

The former is actually the next to step out, in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 (1,200m), but the horse Woods is banking the most on is Te Akau Ben in the $50,000 Class 4 (1,400m). The two other chances, Contarelli and Otahuhu, are just outsiders.

“Te Akau Ben has won and finished in the first three at his last five starts,” said Woods.

“He’s drawn double digits (10) again, but he loves the course and distance. He’s our best chance.”

On their quiet month of June, the Kiwi said it was expected.

“We’re down to 26 horses, a lot of them are older horses. We don’t have the 3YOs the other stables have, it’s hard to compete,” he said.

“But they will stick it out till the end, like good old Axel. He’s eight and can’t race up in Malaysia, but he’s still going well, and we hope we can get another win out of him.

“To send a horse back to New Zealand costs $34,000 and we get $12,000 subsidy, so we have to top up with another $22,000.

“Our owners prefer to rehome their horses elsewhere, like Dan Meagher who retired Lim’s Force to France. There are also some good riding schools in Johor Bahru.”