05/25/2011 12:58PM

Hastings: Clash between St. Liams Halo, Noosa Beach may not come until Longacres Mile


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Going into the $50,000 John Longden 6000 last Monday, trainer Troy Taylor said St Liams Halo was the best horses in his strong stable. After the impressive way St. Liams Halo won the race, a lot of people are viewing him as the best horse at Hastings.

His margin of one length over Almost Time in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint is a bit deceiving. He looked like the winner every step of the way and according to his rider, Mario Gutierrez, there was plenty in reserve.

“He did that very easily,” said Gutierrez. “I had a lot of horse the whole way and I think he is going to be even better when he goes longer.”

According to Taylor, St Liams Halo will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles in the $75,000 Lieutenant Governors on July 1.

“He ran a big race,” said Taylor. “He came out of it in great shape so we’ll start getting him ready for the Lieutenant Governors. If all goes well there we’ll point him to the Longacres Mile.”

St Liams Halo was purchased last year by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella with the intention of running him in the Canadian and British Columbia Derbies. He came up lame just prior to the Canadian Derby and was turned out for the year. He came back with a sharp win over Heavenly Chorus in his first start back and couldn’t have looked any better in his win over Almost Time in the Longden.

In both races, however, St. Liams Halo earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. He will need to improve if he wants to keep up with Noosa Beach in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Noosa Beach hasn’t posted a Beyer Speed Figure below 90 since his third-place finish in the B.C. Derby in 2009. He earned a 94 for his win over Senor Rojo in the George Royal here April 22 and a 96 when he won the Governors at Emerald last Sunday. Last year, Noosa Beach was given a 99 for his win in the Longacres Mile.

Noosa Beach and St Liams Halo could meet in the Lieutenant Governors.

“Bring him,” said a confident Todd.

Noosa Beach’s trainer, Doris Harwood, wasn’t making any commitments.

“We left some Canadian money in the office at Hastings and we are going to nominate him to the Lieutenant Governors,” said Harwood, from Emerald. “We’re also going to look at the Budweiser here, though. He came out of his race on Sunday in great shape and we’ll just see how he is doing at the time. I am not going to commit to either race right now.”

Teide gives lackluster performance

Trainer Dino Condilenios was disappointed in Teide’s performance in the Longden. The local horse of the year in 2009, Teide finished fifth in a dull performance. He delayed the start of the race by not wanting to go into the starting gate and didn’t show a lot of interest when he came out of the gate. With jockey Chad Hoverson asking him to run early, Teide did move up to third going down the backstretch but he didn’t look like the same horse who dominated the local handicap division two years ago.

“He’s just not trying,” said Condilenios. “He couldn’t have trained any better going into the race and I thought he was going to run a big race. Chad said he never picked up the bit, though. He’s never had any problems at the starting gate so he just might be telling us something.”

On the other hand, Condilenios was pleased with the way Almost Time ran and gave himself some heat for his pre-race instructions to jockey Frank Fuentes.

“I told Frank to take him back because I wanted Teide to be up there early,” said Condilenios. “Frank said he could have been a lot closer if he wanted.”

Classic Alley Kay will try longer

Todd and Kinsella also won the $50,000 Senate Appointee for fillies and mares with Classic Alley Kat last Saturday and, according to Todd, she will make her next start in the $50,000 Vancouver Sun on June 25.

The 1 1/16-mile mile Sun will be a big test for Classic Alley Kat. A 5-year-old mare, Classic Alley Kat has never tried a middle distance in her 20-race career. She has speed to burn and the big question is: Will she be able to ration it going around three turns?

Trainer Elizabeth Stolzenberg thinks so, especially with help from jockey Mario Gutierrez who rode her to a two and one half-length win over Tierra Del Feugo in the Senate Appointee.

“I think Mario can get her to relax enough,” said Stolzenberg. “Last year she won a couple of races from just off the pace so it’s not like she needs the lead. It is really all about her mental state. She galloped nicely this morning and she just couldn’t be doing any better.”