Ashburton Treble - Te Akau Group 3 Quinella

Date: 16 Oct 2023

Ashburton Treble - Te Akau Group 3 Quinella


Racing right into 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) contention, Star Of Justice (3 f Justify – Fair Isle, by Fastnet Rock) stylishly won the $100,000 Barneswood Farm Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m) on 16 October at Ashburton.


At just her third outing, having made a great start to her southern campaign when controlling the tempo to win the Maiden 1200 metres on 16 September at Riccarton, Star Of Justice got the better of stable-mate and race favourite Viva Vienna (All Too Hard) in a stirring contest.

Ridden by Matamata jockey Darren Danis, Star Of Justice jumped smartly to trail leader Illicit Dreams (Vancouver), with Viva Vienna to her outside, was across heels to challenge on straightening and gained an advantage over the final 100m.

It was a compelling performance by Star Of Justice, who showed to appreciate good ground when scoring by nearly four lengths at Riccarton, and the manner in which she attacked the line on this occasion suggests a mile (1600m) will be right up her alley.

Paying $8.10 & $2.00 on the NZ TAB tote, Star Of Justice ran 1:23.5, last 600m in 34.6, on Good3 footing.


She became the third winner on the card for trainers Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson, following On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) and Mehzebeen (Almanzor).

“She’s a filly that keeps improving out of sight,” Walker said. “Initially, as a two-year-old, she didn’t really show us much, but one day we put blinkers on her at Avondale trials and she improved no end since.

“When she had the blinkers on at her second race day start we saw the same thing, and she won at Riccarton, and just another really good win today. 

“She was well ridden by Darren (Danis), who is underrated and going well at present, and the South Island team is doing an outstanding job. 



“I think she’ll eat up a mile at Riccarton, absolutely love it, and she’s a filly with a high cruising speed which is really helpful as well.”

Bookmakers trimmed Star Of Justice from $14.00 to $8.00 for the $500,000 Barneswood Farm 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) contested on New Zealand Cup Day (Saturday 18 November) 

Owned by Te Akau Fair & Just Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Star Of Justice was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $190,000 at the Karaka 2022 Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Pencarrow Stud, and a half-sister to stable-mate and winner of five from 11 Stonybreck (Tavistock).

“I’m absolutely thrilled because it’s always been a really good race and never easy to quinella a Group Three,” Ellis said.

“Star Of Justice probably got the run of the race, with cover in the trail, while Viva Vienna had to face the breeze, and that was probably the difference in the finish. 

“This is another good filly that we bought at Karaka. I’m just blown away because she’s developed into such a nice type of filly, and Justify looks such an exciting stallion and he’s made a fantastic start to his stud career.

“She’s a half-sister to Stonybreck, who I think could go on and win black type and we bought him for $20,000. 

“We were actually so taken with him (Stonybreck) that I went back the following year, in 2022, and bought his half-sister by the Triple Crown winner Justify. 

“We had a good look at her and really liked what we saw. She cost a bit more, $190,000, but from a family with deep black type pedigree and quality.

“We’ve got a great group of owners in the filly, including Emily Bosson after Opie (Bosson) bought a share for her birthday.

“It’s the eighth time we’ve won the race and it’s usually a pretty good lead-up to the 1000 Guineas.



“It was only a month ago that Star Of Justice was the ‘Maiden winner of the week’ in ANZ Bloodstock News, after she scored at Riccarton, and it shows she’s continued to thrive from our stables at Riccarton.

“We’re lucky to have such good people looking after our horses, many away from the their homes in Matamata, but they all have a good time down there and are so dedicated to the horses.

“It’s great for her to win a prestigious race, especially the way she did it, and just imagine what that does for her value because it’s a fantastic family and by a hot sire.

“We’ve had a lot of success campaigning horses in the South Island, leading up to Cup Week in November, and we’re really looking forward to the good stakes races to come.”

Star Of Justice is by recent US Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy), achieving the rare feat in 2018, from a mare by Champion Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill).

She is closely related to Te Akau trained sprinter Need I Say More (No Nay Never), who recorded six of his seven wins in stakes races.

Like Justify, his sire, No Nay Never is also by Scat Daddy, while both Need I Say More and this filly are out of Fastnet Rock mares. 



Te Akau has had tremendous success with progeny of Fastnet Rock, none more so than nine time Group One winner Avantage, while also experiencing success with him as a broodmare sire.

The depth in family is enormous. Second dam Miss Scarlatti (Stravinsky) won a Listed race and also strung together second placed finishes in Norman Robinson (Gr. 3, 2000m), Wakefield Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), and VRC Oaks (Gr. 1, 2500m) in space of three starts as a three-year-old.

Her half-sister Abidewithme (Redoute’s Choice), who won the race in 2012 when known as the Ray Coupland Stakes, was trained by Te Akau to record nine wins, including the Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), Tauranga Stakes (Gr. 2, 1600m), Anniversary Handicap (Listed, 1600m), and three times Group One placed. 

Both Abidewithme and Miss Scarlatti are from tremendously talented race mare Crimson (Zabeel), Third Top Filly in NZ 3YO Classifications. 

Star Of Justice carries a cross to English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky, while dam Fair Isle has a Northern Dancer cross.  

Eight wins in the event by Te Akau horses since 2003 could have easily been nine had Corsage (Volksraad) not suffered relegation after being first past the post in 2009, but winners include King’s Chapel (King of Kings) who started the ball rolling, Sea Saint (Orpen) won in 2005, Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago) 2006, King’s Rose (Redoute’s Choice) 2010, Abidewithme (Redoute’s Choice) 2012, Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago) 2013, and most recently Cornflower Blue (Savabeel) in 2020. 

Star Of Justice was strapped by Hunter Durrant.


Photo credit - Ajay Berry -


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