Time Keeper Surprises at Ellerslie

The Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland, New Zealand, is home to prestigious horse racing events such as the New Zealand Derby, Railway Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes. Another great race is the Easter Handicap, which took place on Saturday, 17 April 2010. It was inaugurated in the year 1874, and is a race for thoroughbred horses that are three years old and older, and is run over a distance of 1 600 meters. With a purse of $200 000, the Easter Handicap attracts a number of talented horses and this weekend was no different.

Trainer, Graeme Nicholson was filled with doubt and uncertainty as he loaded Time Keeper for transportation to the Land Pride Easter Handicap. The talented horse had pulled a shoe, leaving a small hole, which was a cause for concern. Medical treatment was given to Time Keeper, as well as a protective plate being fitted, but Time Keeper struggled with lameness. Even though his condition had improved, Nicholson was still worried that he might not be ready to race, and the final decision lay in the hands of the club vet.

But as the starting gates to the 2010 Easter Handicap swung open, jockey Mark Sweeney soon realized that he had nothing to worry about in regard to Time Keeper being ready for the race. The three year old might have taken a while to produce a few winning performances, but on Saturday there was just no stopping him. In fact, he was so eager that Sweeney struggled to pull him up even after they had won the Easter Handicap. Time Keeper completed the race in a time of 1.34.20, and was followed home by November Rain in second position, stable mate Sir Slick, Culminate, Run Like Al, Obsession, Irish Opera, Arlington, Vonusti, Tell A Tale, Spin Around, Gallions Reach, Juice, Our Star Pupil, Rags To Riches, Prince Kaapstad, Mandela and El Etoile. Nicholson will now be looking at moving both Time Keeper and Sir Slick to Brisbane, where the Brisbane Winter Carnival will be held. Speaking to the press after the race, Nicholson commented on Time Keeper’s performance, saying: “I’m blown away guys. I knew he was a damn good horse but, holy hell, how good is he?”