Cambridge Double - Luxuriant Luscious

Date: 16 May 2024

Cambridge Double - Luxuriant Luscious

The best of good things, Luxuriant (6 m Iffraaj – Opulent, by Keeper) waltzed home in the $17,000 TAB Rating 60 970 metres on 15 May at Cambridge.

Having resumed with a close sixth to stable-mate Merlotti (Burgundy) in the Rating 60 1200 metres on 27 March, she finished sixth again in the corresponding event on 26 April, both at Matamata. Luxuriant had placed in two of three course/distance attempts on the poly track at Cambridge and, with the services of stable rider Opie Bosson, she rated a top three chance from barrier three.

Pushed up to secure a handy position, Luxuriant was travelling on the bridle 600m out, ranged on the leaders turning for home and powered away to win easing down by three and a half lengths.

In May last season, she showed her appreciation for the synthetic surface with a first-up third, followed soon after by a second, and a return to winning was deserved on the back of some strong placed performances this season.

“It was a really good win today and a lovely ride of Opie’s,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson.

“She’d been building to a win for some time, but has been a little bit frustrating with her barrier manners. But the barrier boys do a fantastic job, they are very patient with horses, and full credit to them for helping with horses like Luxuriant that can be slightly fractious at the gates.

“So it was good to see her winning so well again and there is plenty of racing coming up on the synthetic tracks which is great as she seems to like the surface.”

On the poly track, Luxuriant ran 970 metres in 55.5 and shortened into favouritism to pay $2.80 and $1.30 on the NZ TAB tote.

Owned by the Te Akau Opulent Syndicate, Luxuriant was bred by the syndicate.

Her dam, Opulent, was bought by David Ellis CNZM as a yearling at Karaka and Te Akau-trained to win three races and finish fifth at Group Three level. Purchased from Cambridge Stud at 2013 NZB Premier Sale, Opulent was also owned by Te Akau Opulent Syndicate.

Of Opulent, Ellis said: “She is from one of the best families in the studbook, a beautiful filly, with plenty of strength and she really has great balance.

“The second dam is by Nijinsky (Northern Dancer) and family includes Group One winners: Redoute’s Choice, Platinum Scissors, Manhattan Rain, Umatilla, and Hurricane Sky.

“Keeper (Danehill) is a great sire of fillies and we had already trained a Filly of the Year by Keeper, Insouciant.”

Another family member was purchased for A$1.9 million at Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast, and the dam of Opulent, Silk Slipper (Woodman), was retired through injury after finishing second at her only start.

Sir Patrick Hogan (then Cambridge Stud owner) previously recalled: “I bought her dam, Dancing Show (Nijinsky), in foal to Thunder Gulch (Gulch), which I sold for A$1.2 million in the Sydney sale, and bred her to Woodman to produce Silk Slipper and then to Danehill to get Dane Dancer.

“Opulent was a special foal. She was also a special type of yearling when she went through the ring at the sales. Right from the start, she was a very good-looking and smart filly.”

Also out of Opulent, the same syndicate has also bred stable-mates Plenty O’Style and Class, both by Embellish (Savabeel). Three-year-old Plenty O’ Style was an easy Maiden winner over 1600 metres in March at Riccarton, while year younger Class trial placed in March before spelling.

Luxuriant carries a Mr. Prospector cross on the sire line of Iffraaj and dam line of Opulent, as sire of grand-dam sire Woodman. She also has bloodline crosses to Northern Dancer and Secretariat.

Luxuriant was strapped by Zoe Ashworth.

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