Ranch Hand NZ

Ranch Hand Salutes During Queensland Carnival

Having previously made his presence felt during Melbourne’s Spring Carnival, highly talented three-year-old Ranch Hand (Fastnet Rock) announced his arrival at the big Brisbane winter with a win at Eagle Farm on Saturday for part-owner Sir Peter Vela.

The Pencarrow principal shares ownership with Coolmore, Wynaus, Westerberg, Joe Poulin, Chris Waller Racing, Lynque, Woppitt Bloodstock, Peachester Lodge, Rockingham Thoroughbreds, Kerry and Jenny Pooley and Robert McClure. Ranch Hand has now won three of his 15 starts, placing in another three and earning A$464,350.

The colt has made an impact all the way up to stakes level, winning the Listed Poseidon Stakes (1100m) at Flemington last September and finishing fourth behind the same ownership group’s superstar colt Home Affairs (I Am Invincible) in the stallion-making Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at the end of October. He has also placed in the Group Three Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) and Group Three Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m).

Ranch Hand made a big statement in Saturday’s A$125,000 Stradbroke Calcutta 3YO Plate (1400m), sitting in fifth or sixth spot before unleashing a powerful finish down the straight and kicking clear for a two-length win.

“It’s great for Coolmore and the team,” jockey Tommy Berry said. “He’s always shown a lot, this colt. He’s got good form around Paulele (Dawn Approach) and Anamoe (Street Boss), so that was always going to hold him in good stead for today.”

Trainer Chris Waller believes Ranch Hand could be a contender for the A$1.5m Group One Stradbroke Handicap over the same course and distance, either this year or further down the track.

“He’s a decent colt, but he’s had a chequered career and we’ve never really found his right distance,” Waller said. “He ran creditably behind Home Affairs in the Coolmore back in the spring, and then we had a go at the Australian Guineas (1600m) in the autumn, but that was just a bit too far.

“So we’ve had to bring him back, and then he’s had wet tracks. He’s a decent horse. I think, as a four-year-old, he could just about win a Group One race at the right distance.

“The right distance might be 1400 metres – maybe a Stradbroke later in the winter. I’ll have a chat to the owners and see what they think. He’s definitely got a bit there to work with.”

By champion stallion Fastnet Rock, Ranch Hand is the first foal to race out of Mezulla (NZ) (Shamardal), whose dam Vamperalla (NZ) (Kashani) placed in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m).