Exaltation Excellent Again

Date: 26 Feb 2020

Exaltation Excellent Again

One of the most valuable fillies in New Zealand, and a gorgeous one at that, Exaltation (3 f Not A Single Doubt - Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) produced an unbelievable performance to win the $22,500 Farewell Butch & Tess Rating 65 1200 metres on 26 February at Hastings. 

An impressive debut winner in the spring at Riccarton, the half-sister to stable-mate and Horse of the Year Melody Belle (Commands), winner of 10 Group Ones, was smart through the line when trialling on 11 February at Te Teko, and while expected to be getting home strongly things took a turn for the worse early in the home straight.

From last at the 600m, Exaltation was buffeted when rider Opie Bosson searched for room at the 300m, stood the leader five lengths a furlong out, yet was devastating over the final stages to get up on the line. 

She did what few are capable of doing and combined with her pedigree makes for exciting times ahead for owners in the Te Akau 2018 Fabulous Fillies' Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

Commentator Tony Lee said: “Big run this and really ate up the ground the last little bit. She made up a huge amount of ground. It was an outstanding run.”

Equally impressed, trainer Jamie Richards said: “I thought that was a great win and I got a real buzz out of that. It was awesome, really, and good to have her back.

“We've had a few injury hold-ups with her and bits and pieces, but the team have done a great job to present her at the races in very good order. 

“I was mindful that she might have been looking for 1400 metres already, but her class got her through it and it's going to take her a long way. 

“It's a thrill for the owners and stands her in good stead going forward. She's always been a special filly, right from the time that David (Ellis) bought her and obviously she has a lot of promise to live up to. 

“We won't get too far ahead of ourselves at this stage, but the Wellington Guineas (Gr. 2, 1400m) on Oaks Day at Trentham could be a nice race for her. I think it would suit her and she looks quite exciting.”

Te Akau principal David Ellis had the distinction of buying Melody Belle as a yearling at Karaka, and following inspections was keen to purchase her half-sister, from the draft of Haunui Farm, at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Sale. 

By top-class Arrowfield Stud stallion Not A Single Doubt, a son of the undisputed king of Australian sires Redoute's Choice (Danehill), and a sire that continued to get better with age, Exaltation registered the highest price ever paid for a filly by the sire.

“It was a huge performance and a huge thrill,” Ellis said. “To see her win like that suggests she's got a terrific future, and just an incredible ride by Opie (Bosson). 

“It was a phenomenal effort by Jamie (Richards) to have her ready to win first-up for four months, which is not easy to do, and the filly has been beautifully looked after by Nicole Shailer and her team in the middle barn. 

“Members in the syndicate have been extremely patient and they've got two really good fillies. Festivity (I Am Invincible), and Exaltation, have both raced twice and won each time. Our owners invested a lot of money, but it looks well spent when you consider she is a half-sister to Melody Belle, who has won a further nine Group Ones since we bought this filly. And Festivity has a hell of a good pedigree too.

“She (Exaltation) was a standout filly from the moment I saw her at Haunui Farm, a stunner. She took everything in her stride at the sales complex and never turned a hair. I opened the bidding at $800,000. The first time I'd ever done that, but I knew there were a lot of people that were on the filly at the sale and I thought my only chance of getting her was to be very strong. And, I managed to get her for $900,000. 

“It's an unbelievable filly family and I thought the mating with Not A Single Doubt is absolutely top-class.

“Both Melody Belle and Exaltation were bred by Marie Leicester and I've been watching fillies from that family racing for the past 40 years. The Sarten family, Marie's parents, always did a fantastic job and were really good horse people.

“Marie is a big supporter of the stable and she has given us a two-year-old half-sister by Tavistock to train, and just yesterday we had a three-quarter sister, La Flora Belle (Iffraaj), trial very well at Avondale, which Marie owns and races with friends.”

"it was also a proud moment to win the farewell race for Butch and Tess Castles - Butch is one of the very best racing administrators there is and he is headed to Te Rapa. He and Tess do a huge amount for racing and are dear friends of Karyn and mine - we might have a little celebration at the wedding tomorrow."

In addition, Ellis is busy tidying up the sale of yearlings purchased recently at Karaka, and it is wedding time as mentioned in the family as well.

“It's been a very exciting week for us because not only have we got just a few shares left to sell, but tomorrow (Thursday) Lydia Ellis marries Jamie Roseby,” he said. “Then we're going to Headquarters for a big party on Friday and everyone from the wedding is going to Derby Day on Saturday at Ellerslie.” 

Exaltation was strapped by Sam Bergerson, son of trainer Roydon Bergeson.

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


Sign up to our newsletter