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New Zealand Latest

16 for Almanzor
Cambridge Stud shuttler Almanzor (Wootton Bassett) continued his purple patch of form on Saturday when the Andrew Forsman-trained Moonlight Magic (3 f ex Japonica by Encosta De Lago) handed the stallion his 16th individual stakes winner when she broke her maiden in the Championship Stakes (Gr 3, 2100m) at Ellerslie. Having the eighth start of her career, the three-year-old filly pulled away in the closing stages to defeat Solidify (Redwood) by 2.5 lengths. First Innings (Contributer) was another 0.5 lengths back in third. Out of the placed Encosta De Lago (Fairy King) mare Japonica, the filly is a half-sister to three winners. Further back this is the same family as multiple Group 1 winner Serenade Rose (Stravinsky) and Trekking (Street Cry), winner of two top-flight races. This caps off a brilliant couple of weeks for the stallion, following up Circle Of Fire’s win in the Sydney Cup (Gr 1, 3200m), while last week Nucleozor also took out the Welcome Stakes (Listed, 1000m). Almanzor spends his time in the northern hemisphere at Haras d’Etreham where he commands a fee of €10,000 (approx. AU$16,600).

 

Queensland a possibility for Moonlight Magic

Following Moonlight Magic’s breakthrough on Saturday, Andrew Forsman said the filly could now head to Queensland. “She deserved that as she has been desperately unlucky in some good races right the way through,” Forsman said. “She is a good filly who will keep getting better. I had wondered what Craig was up to approaching the home turn and I thought he must have a lot of horse under him to take off like he did. I think they had gone steadily enough up front, and he had confidence in her to take off like that. It was just nice to see her get a good crack at it. She has had a lot of racing now and hard racing over ground, but to her credit she seems to be thriving. We will just reassess now, see how she comes through the run and work it out.” 

 

135 for Street Cry 

The trend of big wins for lower-profile stables during Riccarton’s autumn carnival continued in the Canterbury Gold Cup (Gr 3, 2000m) on Saturday, where well-travelled veteran Green Luck (9 g ex Damah Lady by Mukaddamah) delivered a career highlight for Timaru trainer Stephanie Faulkner. Ridden by Kylie Williams, the nine-year-old became the 135th individual stakes winner for the late breed-shaper Street Cry (Machiavellian) when he beat Harlech (Darci Brahma) by 0.2 lengths. Dazzling Miss (Proisir) was a further 0.1 lengths away in third. Bought by Magus Equine for $300,000 at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale in 2016, Green Luck is a son of four-time winner Damah Lady (Mukaddamah) making him a half-brother to three-time Group 1 winner Luckygray (Bradbury’s Luck). Street Cry died in 2014.

 

Second stakes win for Faulkner

Saturday’s big win was Green Luck’s eighth start for Faulkner and capped a consistent run of form that featured a third at Riccarton last March, a fourth in the Timaru Stakes (Listed, 1400m) in January, a fourth at Ascot Park, a third and a fifth at Riccarton, and his close seventh in the Southern Alps Challenge (1600m). The Canterbury Gold Cup was the second black-type success for Faulkner, who had previously won the Timaru Stakes with Petrify (Depot) back in 1998. “This is right up there,” Faulkner said. “It’s kind of unbelievable, really. I don’t know what to say. He’d been in Hong Kong and won a lot of money over there, and then he came to New Zealand. We had a bit of bad luck with him last year – he went amiss and was out for five months. It’s been a long, slow process to get him back. This is a great result and I’m very happy for his owners. I don’t really have any plans from here. I’ll probably chuck him out in the paddock for at least a month now, and then we’ll have a look at what we do after that.”

 

60 for No Nay Never

Former Coolmore Stud shuttle stallion No Nay Never (Scat Daddy) notched up his 60th individual stakes win when the Bill Thurlow-trained No Rain Ever (3 f ex November Rain by Stravinsky) took out Saturday’s Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m) at Riccarton. Last seen running ninth at Listed level, the filly finished 0.4 lengths ahead of Sense Of Timing (Time Test), while Race Ace (Swiss Ace) came home two lengths further back in third. The filly is out of Group 2 winner and Group 1placed mare November Rain (Stravinsky). No Nay Never shuttled to Coolmore Australia’s Hunter Valley base for five seasons, but did not return in 2020.

 

Sutherland over the moon with No Rain Ever’s win 

No Rain Ever’s winning jockey Lily Sutherland was thrilled with the win and was quick to acknowledge the connections of the filly and the trust they placed in her. “I’m just very thankful to be put on her,” Sutherland said. “I was supposed to ride her more forward but I thought I’d better not panic [when she was further back]. She has come through them really easily and got the front too soon, wobbled around but it was a really good win. Bill [Thurlow] has supported me since I was a four-kilogram claimer and I’m very thankful to him.” 

 

19 for Swiss Ace

Westbury Stud-based sire Swiss Ace (Secret Savings) registered his 19th individual stakes winner courtesy of Domain Ace’s (2 g ex Internet by Hussonet) hard-fought win in the Star Way Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. Trained by Team Rogerson, the juvenile beat Love Poem (Snitzel) by 1.5 lengths. Chicago Jack (All Too Hard) was a further two lengths away in third. The gelding was bought by his trainers for $35,000 from the Westbury Stud draft at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale. Domain Ace is out of the unraced mare Internet (Hussonet) and she is herself a half-sister to Australian-bred Delago Deluxe (Encosta De Lago), who landed two Grade 1 sprints in South Africa. Domain Ace becomes the fourth juvenile stakes winner for Swiss Ace, joining Group 3 winners Miss Federer and Secret Spirit, and Listed scorer Ichiban. 

 

Rogerson: More to come from Domain Ace

Co-trainer Graeme Rogerson has held Domain Ace in high regard throughout his preparation and believes there is plenty more to come. “He’s a very nice horse, and still very green and learning to be a racehorse,” Rogerson, who trains in partnership with his wife Debbie, said. “Craig said he missed the start, he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing yet, but he is something special. The trials were cancelled, and he had to back up, so we didn’t go to the Group 1, but I think he’s well and truly up to that company.” Rogerson plans to press onto the 2YO Stakes (Listed, 1400m) at Te Rapa on May 4, with the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) a long-term possibility. “We are pretty confident that he’s a Group horse. He’s going to run in two weeks’ time at Te Rapa and maybe in the Champagne Stakes as well,” Rogerson said.

 

12 for Burgundy

Late Cambridge Stud sire Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice) chalked up his 12th individual stakes winner when the Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard-trained Sassy Merlot (5 m ex Saveadance by Savabeel) landed the Great Easter Stakes (Listed, 1400m) at Riccarton Park on Saturday. Last seen winning a Rating 75 (1600m), the five-year-old defeated Third Decree (War Decree) by a length, while Millefiori (Iffraaj) was 0.8 lengths further adrift in third. The mare was purchased by her trainer’s Ballymore Stables from the Advantageous Ventures draft at Book 3 of the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale in 2020. Sassy Merlot is out of the unplaced Savabeel (Zabeel) mare Saveadance, who is herself a half-sister to Group 2 scorer Fire Song (Senor Pete). Burgundy died in 2019. 

 

Southern venture pays off for Sassy Merlot

Pam Gerard was happy to see Sassy Merlot finally get her head in front, believing her consistency has stood her in good stead. “She’s been a tough horse all the way through,” Gerard said. “It’s just a little bit harder up north, especially when you get tracks that aren’t quite to suit. I’m really pleased now that we talked the owners into coming down. She’s come down here and had one-on-one attention over the last few weeks. Richie [Fallon] has just done the most amazing job and got her back into form. The Breeders’ Stakes was originally the target, but she just didn’t travel down all that well and we weren’t sure about the distance. She had a nice run over 1400 metres instead, then went to Ashburton and won there and boosted her confidence. When I saw her after I got off the plane this morning, I thought she’d just gone to another level.”

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