Otaki trainers score at Otaki races


By Lloyd Chapman

Cheryl Frost, te Baker &Rrachael Frost at the stables after a winning weekend

On Saturday 17 October the Otaki Maori Racing Club had one of their regular racedays. Local trainers Karen Zimmerman and Rachael Frost scooped the pool with two wins apiece.
Rachael Frost’s stable is a delight. The diminutive trainer is ably assisted by her mother Cheryl. Rachael was a more than useful jockey in her time, with 29 notches on her belt, but these days she is better known as an owner and trainer. Last year her jumper Sea King won the Australian Grand National Hurdle for Wanganui master trainer Kevin Myers. Sea King will rejoin Rachael shortly for pre-training before he goes back to Myers. With winnings of $350,000 he’s one of the better-performed jumpers.
Last Saturday Rachael Frost produced promising stayer Maccool to win his open handicap debut for owner-breeder Alice Hood of Levin. Having just his 16th career start, Maccool came from last on the home turn to overpower his six rivals and set himself up for a tilt at higher honours in the coming weeks.
“He is a six-year-old but lightly raced as it has taken him quite some time to actually click as to what racing is all about,” said Frost. “Quite frankly he’s just been a bit of a dork and he can be very aggressive with his racing manners but I believe the penny has dropped now and he is starting to relax in his races.
He probably should be unbeaten in this campaign as he missed a start at the trials before he ran 4th at Hawkes Bay and that cost him, but he has come on well since then and we were confident he would go a good race.
“We will now have a look at races like the Feilding and Wanganui Cups as he will get in on a light weight and should be very competitive. Ultimately I would like to go to a race like the City of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie but that is a wee way off yet.”
Maccool’s win was followed up with injury-plagued sprinter Captain Kirk (NZ) in the Hunting & Fishing Otaki Handicap (1200m) two races later. “I’m delighted to get the wins as we only have a small team and it’s always nice to do well on your home track,” said a typically modest Frost.
” Despite being plagued by issues with his knees, Captain Kirk has put together an impressive record with 9 wins from just 27 starts and has now amassed over $160,000 in stakes earnings. Ridden by Rachael’s apprentice Te Baker, who made good use of his 4 kilogram claim, the seven-year-old gelding lead all the way over the 1200 metre journey to score in a smart 1.09.
“Without the issues I definitely think he would have been a group quality sprinter and somewhere near the best of them,” noted Frost. “He has an incredible will to win as he puts himself through the pain barrier once the adrenalin kicks in and never knows when he’s beaten. “He isn’t very big so he can’t really carry the higher weights which is why we claimed on him, so I will have to work out where we go now as he will be even further up the ratings with that win.”
Rachael Frost has only 10 horses in work. Last season she had 8 wins, and with the season barely begun this was her third. In all, she’s been training for 14 years and has had 69 winners for stakes in excess of $1 million.