Greene rules the roost at Te Rapa

By Dennis Ryan

24 Nov 2021

Greene rules the roost at Te RapaIn a perfect home track result for Greene Racing, Justamaiz and Judy’s Song quinella the Counties

“The way we see it, there’s no point in winning races but going broke at the same time.”
David Greene got another reminder of the value of his stand-alone base at the Te Rapa racecourse when he saddled up the quinella in last Saturday’s Gr. 3 Franklin Auctions Counties Cup.
Unlike colleagues operating elsewhere in the Waikato out of the country’s two largest training centres, Cambridge and Matamata, Greene is very much his own man – admittedly with the worthy support of his wife Heidi. A decade after hanging his shingle from stables he built on Waikato Racing Club land, he has only to reflect on a string of major home turf successes to acknowledge his winning formula.
His career-first stakes winner was High Kin in the 2012 Taumarunui Cup, staged in those years at Te Rapa by the King Country tenant club, while in 2015 classy racemare Stolen Dance added the Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes and later that summer finished second in the Gr. 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes.
In between times Greene ventured to the 2014 Sydney autumn carnival with Beauty’s Beast, the winner of four of his eight domestic starts, and added the Listed South Pacific Classic at Randwick with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Justamaiz, like Beauty’s Beast a grey son of former Windsor Park Stud stallion Guillotine, became the new stable star by winning the 2019 Gr. 3 Waikato Cup in his first open company start. He then went winless – albeit last season finishing third in the Wellington Cup and close up in the Counties, Waikato and City of Auckland Cups – until a return to form on his home track late last month.
That was the perfect dress rehearsal for the first major assignment of his latest campaign and with premiership leader Michael McNab again in the saddle, he was up to the challenge. Lesser rated stablemate Judy’s Song added to her run of spring form by finishing just half a length back to complete a perfect result for Greene Racing.
“With the meeting transferred to Te Rapa, we had targeted the Counties Cup with both horses, and going into the race I did think they were definitely top three chances,” Greene told RaceForm.
“But with the weight scale like it was Judy’s Song was disadvantaged carrying only half a kilo less than Justamaiz. Then again Justamaiz got in with a luxury weight and he made the most of it. He really has turned the corner this campaign, he just seems to be enjoying his racing and training so much more.”
The Greene stable has been running hot with seven wins from just 31 raceday starters since the start of the season. Other contributors have been Justamaiz’s Sweynesse half-sister Marcella, the latest of nine winners produced by the Desert Sun mare Arthena, and the Tavistock filly Just Dance, whose dam is the former stable star Stolen Dance.
“We’ve been here 10 years now, starting with one barn and we added another to give us stabling for 22 horses,” added Greene. “We couldn’t be happier with the results. Being based here is an advantage with a race meeting on your doorstep, but you don’t win races at Te Rapa with your second string horses.
“That’s partly why we took a hard look and changed things a couple of years ago. We made decisions around improving the overall quality of the horses and that’s why we now train around 16. We’re down to 12 at present but the good thing is that every one of them deserves to be here.
“The way we see it, there’s no point in winning races but going broke at the same time.”
Greene has strong support from family and long-term associates, as exemplified by the Justamaiz ownership group comprising his parents Larry and Bev and close friends Jack and Sue Thorburn and Quentin Massey.
“My parents, who operate as Greene Thoroughbreds, have been mainstays, as have others such as the Rogers and McLeod families. It’s also very satisfying to train for someone like Joe Halsall, who bred and owns Judy’s Song. He named her after his late wife and has since moved to Queensland to be closer to family over there, but he’s still getting so much pleasure from what the mare is doing.”
Judy’s Song is now spelling with a plan to target the Travis Stakes on her home track in the autumn, while Justamaiz will take the obvious next step to the SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup on December 11.
“We set ourselves a target of 20 wins this season and the way things are going we’re tracking alright,” said Greene. “We’ll have a decent team heading to Te Aroha this weekend – Just Dance in the Eagle Memorial, Finest Wine in the Dunstan qualifier and Marcella in the Rating 65 1400 – and they’re all good prospects.”