Maiden Of The Week

Cheval D’Or (NZ)

Cheval D’Or (NZ)

3 f Almanzor – Keepa Cheval by Keeper

O: The Oaks Stud

T: Tony Pike

S: 2021 NZB Karaka Book 1 V: Waikato Stud P: The Oaks Stud / Pike Racing, $420,000

W: Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes, Group 3, 2100m, April 22, Pukekohe Park

Despite being the sole maiden in the field for last Saturday’s Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (Gr 3, 2100m) at Pukekohe, the Tony Pike-trained Cheval D’Or (Almanzor) recorded her first win in some style.

Having produced a pair of solid efforts to finish fourth and third respectively in both the Sunline Vase (Gr 3, 2100m) and Manawatu Classic (Gr 3, 2000m), the three-year-old filly was sent off the $3.40 favourite following the late withdrawal of early market leader Desert Lightning (Pride Of Dubai).

Pushed back to third-last heading into the back straight, jockey Michael McNab sent the daughter of Cambridge Stud stallion Almanzor (Wootten Bassett) forward from the 800-metre mark and, challenging the leaders coming into the final 300 metres, the pair grabbed the lead at the 200-metre pole before asserting well in the closing stages to beat Sassyness (Sacred Falls) by one and three-quarter lengths.

“She has been in great form throughout this preparation and deserved that win today,” Pike said.

“She is a half-sister to [The] Bostonian and he got through this type of track, so we were crossing our fingers a little, but she has done it well and is a good, staying filly.”

Pike revealed that a trip to the upcoming Brisbane Winter Carnival may be next for Cheval D’Or as the New Zealand-based trainer earmarked some feature races.

“We’ve been over in Brisbane a few times when conditions haven’t been ideal so it’s nice to know you can cop a track like that,” he said.

“She has form on good ground so is very versatile and as long as she pulls up well there is no reason why we won’t go.

“It is six weeks until the Queensland Oaks so we might consider running her in The Roses first but that will be determined by how she pulls up today.”

Cheval D’Or is a half-sister to the three-time Group 1 winner The Bostonian (Jimmy Choux) as well as five other winners, being the eighth foal out of the winning Keeper (Danehill) mare Keepa Cheval.

In landing last Saturday’s event, Cheval D’Or became the eighth individual stakes winner for Almanzor, who will stand his sixth southern hemisphere season at Cambridge in 2023.