Campionessa Cruises to Group 2 Glory

Date: 26 Nov 2023

Campionessa Cruises to Group 2 Glory

Presented in tremendous order, Campionessa (6 m Contributer – Bella Carolina, by O’Reilly) returned to form stylishly in the $225,000 Dunstan Horse Feeds Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) on Saturday at Pukekohe.

Impeccable last season, winning three times including the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) and Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m), while finishing second in both the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m) and Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Gr. 1, 2050m), Campionessa was good through the line in a trial on 13 November at Waipa, and stripped looking ready for action.

Ridden by Matt Cameron, Campionessa received an economical trip midfield inner, was on the bridle 600m out, and sustained a lengthy sprint near the rail to win well.

In the process of sustaining a lengthy sprint, she again displayed the stamina required to win the Metropolitan Trophy over 2500 metres, while also acting fresh, the same condition in which she won the Rich Hill Mile.

“Talking to Mark (Walker) and team beforehand and they said she goes well in a fresh state on a good track,” said Cameron, who also won the Counties Cup (Gr. 3, 2100m) aboard One Bold Cat (The Bold One) in the race prior.

“It was the parting of the seas at the top of the straight and I thought I’d take it. They were winning in the middle of the track for most of the day, but while I was there (inner) the shortest way home is along the rail.

“We got away with it nicely and she’s a Group proven horse and was tough at the end when she needed to be.

“Te Akau stable has been amazing for me. I rode 600 winners over a five/six year period when I was riding for them and they’re a great boost for everybody.”

For a mare that ended her previous campaign in March with a creditable sixth in the $3m Australian Cup (Gr. 1, 2000m), Campionessa was somewhat dismissed in betting to pay $15.40 & $3.10 on the NZ TAB tote, after running 1400 metres in 1:23.1, last 600m in 33.3, on footing upgraded to Good3.

It was a very good training effort by Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, having her ready to compete at weight-for-age over 1400 metres, and she delivered their 12th stakes' win this season across New Zealand, and Australia.

“It didn’t go right for us with Campionessa in Hawkes Bay in the spring, so we gave her a freshen-up and Matty (Cameron) gave her a lovely run,” Walker said.

“She got all favours and the ride probably won the race in the end.

“I thought the field wasn’t quite as strong as I’ve seen in other years, to be fair, and we felt she’d come on more for a race than going back to the trials.”

Walker suggested Campionessa could now contest the Cal Isuzu Stakes (Gr. 2, 1600m) on Waikato Cup Day (16 Dec.) at Te Rapa, ahead of the Zabeel Classic (Gr. 1, 2050m) on Boxing Day at Pukekohe.

“She was a bit stiff (second) in the Bonecrusher here last season, but she's a good honest mare and like some mares, they get better when they come into the summer and warmer period,” Walker said.

“It’s great to have Matt (Cameron) back riding. (Te Akau racing manager) Reece (Trumper) books all the riders and it’s good to have a very good rider back in the senior ranks – we’re bit thin on the ground, aren’t we?”

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

Her 25 starts have yielded eight wins, five seconds, three thirds, and $577,215 in prize money.

“I bought Campionessa on the Gold Coast, pretty cheaply, after she was passed in by Simms Davison (Mapperley Stud), and brought her back here (NZ) to syndicate and race,” Ellis said.

“She showed her racing ability right from the start when she won her first two races and has just continued to get better as she’s matured.

“I thought her effort to win the Rich Hill Mile fresh up after winning the Metropolitan (2500m) at the end of Cup Week at Riccarton was an incredible achievement, and to win again in a fresh state over 1400 metres is quite something, too.

“You’d have to expect she could go on again this season, as she steps up in distance, and she’d be pretty deserving of a Group One win.

“She’s a tremendous mare for her owners and like everyone involved with her they would have received a mighty thrill seeing her come back and win like that.”

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.

Dam, Bella Carolina, won three times to 1400 metres and sired five individual winners of 18 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, and in turn Centaine, and Noble Bijou. While through her sire lines she carries a cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer.

Campionessa was strapped by Murala Mallesh.

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