WIDELY-TRAVELLED Victorian raider Hunkapapa shapes as one of the most interesting runners in Friday night’s heats of the lucrative Listed Ladbrokes Richmond Riches.
The winner of five of his seven starts, Hunkapapa, which is owned and trained by successful Victorian breeder Geoff Collins and his partner Ros Hume, will campaign in his third state in his short career when he exits box three in the fifth of six Richmond Riches heats.
The January ’16 son of Bella Infrared, also the sire of Collins’ 2017 Group 2 Maitland Cup hero Aussie Infrared, and Paris Montana started his career in Tasmania in January, clean-sweeping the three-round Hobart Maiden Thousand series.
He then returned to Victoria, where he extended his winning streak to four with a fast 29.65 performance at Sandown Park, after which he contested the Group 2 Launching Pad series, running fifth in the Consolation.
After purchasing a nomination entry for the Richmond Riches on-line for just $400, Collins and Hume turned their attention to the $40,000 to-the-winner feature.
“I bought Hunkapapa as a pup off Barry Toner,” Geoff Collins explained.
“I know Barry very well – he used to be our neighbour when we were at Bunyip – and Paris Montana’s first litter (by Farley Blitz) included a bitch called Alexis Kelton, which ran 33.80 over 595m at Sandown.
“When Paris Montana whelped the Bella Infrared litter I ordered one pup and that was Hunkapapa. Because Paris Montana is his mother I Googled Montana and found the name Hunkapapa, which is a Native American group.
“He only broke in steady but Ros and I both liked him as a dog and we sent him to Tasmania to Pat Ryan, who had stayed with us a couple of times.
“He won the three rounds of the Maiden Thousand at Hobart pretty impressively and Pat said he was probably too good for Tasmania.
“He came back home and we put him in the Launching Pad, but he had a bit of bad luck. After that I was looking for something else for him and I saw a ticket for the Richmond Riches for sale on the Internet, so I bought it for $400.”
Hunkapapa will contest one of the toughest Richmond Riches heats, with his opposition including Sky Wave, last start winner of the Group 3 Nowra Puppy Classic and 11 from 18 overall, and Nangar Jill, which was undefeated throughout the three-week Group 3 Magic Maiden series during the Golden Easter Egg Carnival.
“He’s been up in NSW with Michael Eberand for about two weeks and he’s had three or four looks at Richmond,” Collins said.
“He hasn’t had a 500 there but he’s pretty familiar with the track and he runs a respectable 500 so we’re hoping he’ll run well on Friday.
“They only got 48 noms for the heats but I don’t think there’s a shortage of quality.
“Hunkapapa is a nice handy dog. He’s not an Aussie Infrared but he’s a good city class dog – there’s no question about that. He’s only had seven starts but he’s already won $20,000 in prizemoney.
“It looks like being a pretty good litter. A bitch called Elle Est Bonne won her maiden at Cranbourne by ten lengths in 30.43, which was the best of the day, but then she injured a toe, Bella’s Ghost has won a few in town and Bejarano has had six starts for three wins.
“I’ve also got two pups from Alexis Kelton’s first litter to Banjo Boy. They’re about 12 months old and they’re very nice types so I’m quite excited about them.”