Cornflower Blue - Gem of a Win

Date: 19 Oct 2020

Cornflower Blue - Gem of a Win

Bred and owned by Waikato Stud, Cornflower Blue  (3 f Savabeel - Tiffany Yellow, by O'Reilly) enhanced her smart record with a polished victory in the $70,000 Barneswood Farm Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m) on 18 October at Ashburton.

Prepared by leading trainer Jamie Richards and ridden by leading jockey Danielle Johnson, Cornflower Blue had recorded a very good debut second to stable-mate Need I Say More (No Nay Never), a subsequent dual stakes winner, in February at Matamata. She won both trials before resuming with an impressive win over 1200 metres in September at Matamata, fought hard for fourth off a tough trip in the Canterbury Belle Stakes (Listed, 1200m) on 3 October at Riccarton, and rated a top three chance in the lead-up to the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).

Utilizing barrier one to trail and off soon after to travel in a handy position on the outer, Cornflower Blue ranged at will entering the home straight and she was too strong when asked for her best over the concluding stages.

On Dead4 footing, she ran the 1400 metres in 1:23.4 and returned $3.40 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote as second favourite. 

“That was a very satisfying win,” Richards said. “I watched the race with Mark (Chittick) at Waikato Stud, and we think that's our first stakes winner together. I have a long history there, having worked at the stud, and nice to get a good winner in their colours with a lovely filly. She has a nice pedigree and a good sort.

“We were disappointed with the way things panned out in the Canterbury Belle Stakes. Dad (Paul Richards) and his team have done a great job getting her back after she was quite jarred-up following the race.

“We took her down for a gallop last week to Ashburton, and we've been pretty pleased with how she's been going. Back around a corner, with a little bit of easing in the ground, was a big help to her. 

“Tracks where they can get their toe in and get comfortable are ideal and Dad said that Gary Chamberlain, the course manager at Ashburton, had done a great job and presented the track in outstanding order.

“It was a lovely ride by Danielle: jumped, trailed, poked off, presented at the right time and she's riding in red-hot form.” 

Cornflower Blue is from a terrific family of 2015 New Zealand Broodmare of the Year and breeding phenomenon Parfore (Gold Brose). Her 10 individual winners have won an unbelievable total of 84 races (35 at stakes level), including Group 1 winners Super Easy (Darci Brahma), Terravista (Captain Rio), Tiger Tees (Dubawi), Group 2 winner Ball of Muscle (Dubawi), and stakes winner Our Lukas (Generous). 

“I watched the race with the trainer and I'm absolutely wrapt,” said Waikato Stud proprietor Mark Chittick. “I'm in the breeding shed, work has to go on, and we have to keep putting them in foal to breed these black type winners.  

“I hope those that were involved in the (race) fall are alright,” he added, regarding a skirmish that occurred on the point of the home turn. 

“Jamie and the team, his father Paul, have done an incredible job with her after she felt the ground in the Canterbury Belle Stakes,” Chittick said. “We're looking forward to her contesting the 1000 Guineas, if she goes the right way, but we'd like to see a touch more give in the ground if possible.”

Chittick had earmarked Cornflower Blue as a top filly in their 2018 draft, but she broke a wither leading up to the yearling sales and had to be withdrawn. Furthermore, after finishing second to Need I Say More (No Nay Never) she fractured a bone in her leg.

“I've got to say, the expert veterinary care of Ronan (Costello) at Te Akau, and our vet Chris (Phillips), who diagnosed what was an unusual sort of fracture, and all the love and attention she got from the staff going through her rehab has given us the opportunity to get her back to the track,” Chittick said.

“The mare, Tiffany Yellow, came up after she'd won races in Perth, and I've always loved that family. Obviously it's incredible and although she's by Savabeel out of an O'Reilly mare, it's actually a mare that I bought after her racing career. Tiffany Yellow has recently had another Savabeel filly.”

Seven wins in the event by Te Akau horses since 2003 could have easily been eight had Corsage (Volksraad) not suffered relegation in 2009. King's Chapel (King of Kings) started the ball rolling in 2003, Sea Saint (Orpen) won in 2005, Princess Coup (Encosta De Lago) 2006, King's Rose (Redoute's Choice) 2010, Abidewithme (Redoute's Choice) 2012, and Costa Viva (Encosta De Lago) in 2013.

“That was Savabeel's 104thstakes winner,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM. “He's been our Champion Stallion for six years in a row and it's just incredible how much success we've had with his progeny over the past five or six years. Recently, I can think of Probabeel, Savy Yong Blonk, Cool Aza Beel, and Prise De Fer, Embellish, Hall of Fame, Sword of Osman, Splurge, Royal Success, Shillelagh, Grazia,and others, all really good horses.

“It's good to be entrusted with a beautiful filly like this from the Breeder of the Year (Waikato Stud) and to be able to win a Group 3. It's the seventh time we've won the race. We've got a top team looking after the horses at Riccarton, headed by Paul Richards, and I'm so thrilled for them all to see their hard work being rewarded. 

“Our record of horses going from winning this race to the 1000 Guineas has been very strong, and Cornflower Blue caps an incredible weekend for Te Akau in stakes races after Melody Belle was unbelievable winning the Livamol Classic yesterday at Hastings. 

“Jamie went down to the South Island last Wednesday and took Cornflower Blue and Summer Monsoon for a gallop at Ashburton. Giving them the trip away for a gallop was probably the difference between winning and running second or third. It was a very astute thing to do. The sort of thing that very good trainers think to do and winning today sets her up beautifully for the 1000 Guineas.”

Cornflower Blue was strapped by Sam Gordon.

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