Awesome Aromatic - Grp 3 Counties Cup Stable Quinella

Date: 20 Nov 2022

Awesome Aromatic - Grp 3 Counties Cup Stable Quinella


Te Akau trainer Mark Walker registered his 100thstakes' win in style when Aromatic (6 m Sacred Falls - Vickezzchardonnay, by Don Eduardo) defeated stable-mate Self Obsession (Shocking) in the $130,000 Pukekohe Traders Counties Cup (Gr. 3, 2100m) on Saturday at Pukekohe.

With a trio in the race, including Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) who tied Self Obsession for New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year honours last season, Walker had a strong hand, but given her affinity for wet track conditions Aromatic appeared a strong contender despite the TAB tote odds ($16.20 & $4.80).

Ridden by leading jockey Craig Grylls, Aromatic got back from a wide draw (11), while Self Obsession lobbed into a handy position. However, after tracking up ominously rounding the home turn and levelling with her stable-mate 300 metres out, it was the grey mare that secured an advantage near home.

“I'm soaked to bits, but it was a good, tough, effort,” said Grylls, who won aboard stable-mate Illicit Miss (Hinchinbrook) over 2500 metres last Saturday at Riccarton, and recently won the Sarten Memorial (Gr. 2, 1400m) aboard stable-mate Wild Night (Vanbrugh).

“I was back a bit further than where I wanted to be, but I stayed out with cover, was able to creep forward when we wanted to, and was pretty happy with the way I was going turning in.

“The shower of rain probably loosened it up a bit, which is more to her liking. I've been close up behind the other one (Self Obsession) before and she's a tough one to get past, but it was a great result.”

Walker commenced training for Te Akau in 1997 and when leaving in 2010 to lead the stable in Singapore, he had recorded 88 stakes' victories among 858 wins and had won five New Zealand Trainers' Premierships.

Champion Trainer a further four times for Te Akau in Singapore, Walker took up the reins again on 1 April this year and notched 12 stakes' wins - securing a century milestone - among an additional 88 victories.

“Probably the shower of rain a few minutes beforehand helped, but full credit to the whole team at home,” Walker said.

“She hasn't got the best of feet. The whole barn works tirelessly to keep her on her feet and (blacksmiths) Gareth Allis and Kim Hughes to have her at the races today, really.

“Self Obsession is just so gutsy and both mares did us proud and we'll probably head to the Waikato Cup with them.

“She (Self Obsession) chipped a knee after the New Zealand Oaks, but is coming up really nicely and hopefully she'll get her turn as well.”

The $120,000 SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup (Gr. 3, 2400m) is scheduled for Saturday 10 December at Te Rapa.

Giving rise to the stocks of Aromatic, she had campaigned steadily since April and continued good form with a brave second to subsequent Group One winner Mustang Valley (Vanbrugh) in the Metric Mile (Gr. 3, 1550m) in September at Awapuni, and finished second again in the Staphanos Classic (Listed, 1950m) two starts ago at Rotorua.

On Heavy8 footing, Aromatic ran 2100 metres in 2:17.0, scoring by a long head, with a long neck to third.

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $160,000 at the 2018 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Milan Park, her dam, Vickezzchardonnay, by the highest priced yearling ($3.6m, Don Eduardo (Zabeel)) to ever sell at Karaka, was an impressive five-time winner from 1600m to 2100m.

Fifth in the 2008 New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) and second in the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m) during her three-year-old season, Vickezzchardonnay went on to win the Taranaki Cup (Gr. 3, 2000m), finish third in the NZ Cup (Gr. 2, 3200m), and fourth in the Auckland Cup (Gr. 1, 3200m), Wellington Cup (Gr. 2, 2400m), Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), and Rotorua Cup (Gr. 3, 2200m), indicating her genuine attributes.

Vickezzchardonnay is a half-sister to impressive winning race mare Fifty Fifty (Justice Prevails), who has left seven winners of 15 races including stakes' performer Balham (Don Eduardo).

Aromatic was the fifth foal and third individual winner from the mare, and to date the best performed.

“It was pretty exciting to quinella the Counties Cup, after winning it twice recently (2019 & 2020) with In A Twinkling,” Ellis said.

“To win with this mare that was bred by Tony Rider is a great thrill. Tony is very supportive of the stable and we won the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) for him last season with his filly The Perfect Pink.

“He and his staff do a really good job at Milan Park and they're breeding quality horses.

“It shows what a great all round trainer Mark Walker is, to have Campionessa win the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m) on the first day of Cup Week, then deliver a trifecta with the two-year-olds in the Welcome Stakes (Listed, 1000m) last Wednesday, and now another Counties Cup.

“And a few weeks ago he trained Wild Night to win the Sarten Memorial, where he clocked a faster time (1:22.6) over 1400 metres than Legarto, who was very impressive in the 1000 Guineas.

“He's working very hard with a brilliant bunch of young people at the stables in Matamata, and Karyn and I are very proud of all the effort everyone is putting in.

“The form was strong around Aromatic and she's a very genuine mare that tries her hardest, no matter the track conditions.

“It's always a big thrill to win these staying races and you can see that Self Obsession is in the right form to win a big cup's race soon. She's a really lovely mare and extremely game and we are proud to train her for well known racing identity David Price from Hong Kong.”

Aromatic is owned by the Te Akau Sacred Wine Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), who are experiencing a great ride with a very consistent grey mare that displays equal amounts of courage and ability.

Aromatic was strapped by Sarah West.



Photo credit -


Sign up to our newsletter