Breeders Stakes Highlight of Weekend Sponsorship
Breeders Stakes Highlight of NZB's Weekend Sponsorships
Prolific New Zealand race sponsor New Zealand Bloodstock Limited provided its support to three races around the country at the weekend, sponsoring the feature Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Breeders Stakes and New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance 1400 at Te Aroha, and the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Stakes at Wingatui.
New Zealand's richest race for fillies and mares, the Group 1 $220,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Breeders Stakes (1600m) saw the three-year-old fillies trifecta the time-honoured event.
Classy filly Special Mission (Towkay x Te Akau Trek by Khozaam), runner-up Culminate (Elnadim x Solstice by Marceau) and Keepa Cruisin (Keeper x Just Cruising by Broad Reach) combined to beat their older rivals and provide 16-year-old apprentice rider James McDonald with his first Group 1 win.
Trained by Peter McKay, Special Mission was already a winner of five of her eleven starts with last month's Westbury Classic at Ellerslie, and two Listed wins under her belt. In spite of Mackay hoping for rain before guaranteeing a start for his promising filly, he will be relieved to have taken his chances with her after she powered home on a good track to win by a half head.
Bred by David Ellis and Dr C Yau, the win also provided Special Mission's sire Towkay (Last Tycoon) with his second Group 1 winner. He enjoyed further success at the weekend with the return to form of the John Size-trained Armada (Towkay x Dance In Time by Red Tempo). Reigning Hong Kong Champion Miler, Armada won the Hong Kong Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1600m) at Sha Tin ahead of fellow NZ-bred, and recent Hong Kong Derby runner-up, Jackpot Delight (Danasinga x Principation by Prince Echo).
Also at Te Aroha, the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Stakes (1400m) was won by the Frank Ritchie-trained Run Roxy Run (Rock of Gibraltar x Nuance by Dehere) with Mufhasa (Pentire x Sheila Cheval by Mi Preferido) and Holiday Sun (O'Reilly x Tall Poppy by Kaapstad) filling the minor placings.
On Sunday, the second race in the New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series, the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Stakes (1400m), saw Thimble (Pins x Exposed by Exploding Prospect) burst onto the leaderboard, securing seven points for her efforts under Sam Spratt.
Belmont The Cat (Felix The Cat x Morgan Glory by Justice Prevails) was almost two lengths back in second with race favourite Gin Dartre (Volksraad x Rapida by Senor Pete) in third to secure three and one points respectively.
Thimble joins Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes winner Cherry Creek (Monashee Mountain x Stage Flash by Lake Coniston) at the top of the NZB Southern Filly of the Year Series table.
Trained by John and Karen Parsons, Thimble has won two and placed in four of her eight starts for earnings of over NZ$40,000. Philip and Catherine Brown bred the filly and sold her to Christchurch's Barbara Wigley through their Ancroft Stud draft at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2006 South Island Sale for NZ$35,000.
She is the first foal to race from the race-winning mare Exposed, who has subsequently produced three more foals by the Waikato Stud sire Pins (Snippets).
The last two races in the NZB Southern Filly of the Year Series will be held at Riccarton, with the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes (1600m) on 19 April and the New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) on 3 May.