4 Win Saturday - Melbourne Group 2 Glory Campionessa

Date: 25 Feb 2024

4 Win Saturday - Melbourne Group 2 Glory Campionessa

Richly deserving of recent Group One success in the Zabeel Classic (Gr. 1, 2050m), Campionessa (6 m Contributer – Bella Carolina, by O’Reilly) gained another valuable victory in the A$300,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (Gr. 2, 1800m) on Saturday at Caulfield (Melbourne).

Her sole Australian start prior, following seconds in both the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m) and Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Gr. 1, 2050m) last season, resulted in a creditable sixth in the Australian Cup (Gr. 1, 2000m) at Flemington.

The consummate professional, Campionessa had finished second to Australian Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner to Legarto (Proisir) in the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m) on 10 February at Te Rapa and, despite a quick turnaround after landing in Australia, she was still good enough to get the win over former Melbourne Cup (Gr. 1, 3200m) winner Vow And Declare (Declaration Of War) in a head-bobbing finish. 

On Good4 footing, Campionessa ran 1800 metres in 1:50.4, last 600m in 34.8, and paid $3.30 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote.

“She got a dream run and full credit to Mick (Dee), he’s been such a help to us here when we set up in Melbourne, and he’s also galloped Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) a couple of times for Opie (Bosson),” said trainer Mark Walker.

“Mick summed it up well and full credit to the mare, she only got here on Wednesday night so she hasn’t been here long.”

Although loathe to map out future assignments on race day, Walker suggested Campionessa could drop back to a mile for the A$300,000 Sunline Stakes (Gr. 2, 1600m) on 23 March at Moonee Valley, followed by the $1m Queen Of The Turf Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) on 13 April at Randwick.

Walker also commented on Imperatriz, who a week earlier recorded her ninth Group One win when resuming in the $1m Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000m) at Flemington, and worked at three-quarter pace earlier on Saturday morning.

“She did a nice bit of three-quarter pace work this morning and she’ll race on 9 March, either in Melbourne, depending on the weights in the Newmarket Handicap (Gr. 1, 1200m), if the handicapper is kind to her, or the Canterbury Stakes (Gr. 1, 1300m) at Randwick, the same day,” Walker said.

Owned by Te Akau Campionessa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), she was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for A$60,000 at the 2019 Gold Coast National Yearling Sale, from the draft of Mapperley Stud, where the sire stands.

Her 30 starts have yielded 11 wins, six seconds, three thirds, and NZ$1.18 million in prize money. 

On a day that trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson also won the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) with Captured By Love (Written Tycoon), Campionessa became the seventh stakes' winner for Te Akau this season in Australia, accompanying 17 stakes wins in New Zealand.

“It was great training effort by Mark and Sam to realise how well Campionessa had been racing and to give her the chance again, and be rewarded, in Australia,” Ellis said.

“It shows how primed, happy, and healthy she was to take the trip and handle a short turnaround before winning.

“Our Australian stable now at Cranbourne is such a great asset to the whole business. The routines and regimes are the same between the two countries and it’s showing in the performances.

“It’s fantastic to give Michael Dee the winning ride, as he spent some time as an apprentice to Te Akau in Matamata, and we’re very proud of what he’s achieving in Melbourne.

“He gave Campionessa a great ride and managed to get her head down at just the right time (on the line).

“We won four races today with horses that we’d bought at sales in New Zealand and Australia, and gave Sam Bergerson his first Matamata Breeders’ Stakes win which is fantastic because he’s such a great young man.”

From the first NZ crop of Contributer (High Chaparral), Campionessa is out of the three-time winning mare Bella Carolina, by O’Reilly (Last Tycoon). 

Australian Middle Distance Horse of the Year Contributer (High Chaparral) was a dual Group One winner in the Chipping Norton (Gr. 1, 1600m) and Ranvet Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m), and Champion Second Season Sire in New Zealand.

His sire, High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells), winner of six Group One races including the English and Irish Derbies, has sired winners of 58 Group One races and already a noted sire of sires. 

Her dam Bella Carolina won three times to 1400 metres and produced five individual winners of 20 races, including stakes' winners Tennessee (Per Incanto), who won the Wellesley Stakes (Listed, 1000m), and Leedox (Time Test) in the Futurity Stakes (Listed, 1400m). 

In addition, the dam sires in the pedigree of Campionessa are some of the best to ever stand in New Zealand: Champion Sire O’Reilly, in turn Champion Sire Centaine, and Champion Sire Noble Bijou. While through her sire lines she carries a cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer. 

Campionessa was strapped by Laura Winks, who also rides Imperatriz in track work. 

Photo credit - racing.com


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