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Festivity Flies Home – Again

18 Jan 2020

Festivity Flies Home – Again

There was an air of inevitability about Festivity  (3 f I Am Invincible – Mabsam, by Stratum) winning the $40,000 Galaxy Mercedes Benz 3YO 1200 metres on Wellington Cup at Trentham, much the same as Cool Aza Beel (Savabeel) the day before at Tauranga.

Having spaced her rivals when winning impressively at the trials on 16 December at Te Aroha, and doing the same on debut in the Maiden 1100 metres on 30 December at Taupo, expectations were high, and she met them in stylish fashion.

With the speed to negate an awkward barrier (7), Festivity travelled best to the 300m before quickening clear to put the race in safekeeping.

On Dead4 footing, Festivity ran the 1200 metres in 1:08.2, winning by two lengths, and paid $1.70 & $1.10 on the NZ TAB tote.

“We were mindful that there might be speed inside us, but I’m glad that Michael (McNab) put her in the race and worked across,” said trainer Jamie Richards.

“She’s an exciting filly and there’s nothing but really good things in front of her, with a bit more time to mature. She drew the outside at Taupo, and wide again today, which has dictated how we’ve ridden her, but I’ve got a lot of time for this filly and it’s a good effort by the team at home to get her here in such good order.

“She had three trials, this is her second start and first trip away, so doing it all on her first preparation. She didn’t race as a two-year-old and I don’t want to put too much pressure on her just yet, so we’ll get her home and make some plans. There’s a great bunch of owners here to celebrate the win and we’re thrilled for them.”

 A $410,000 purchase by Te Akau principal David Ellis at the 2018 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Windsor Park Stud, she is owned by the Te Akau 2018 Fabulous Fillies Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

“I bought three fillies for the syndicate and unfortunately we lost a Savabeel filly with a beautiful pedigree, so that’s left us two lovely fillies and between them they’ve had three starts for three wins,” Ellis said. 

“The other filly Exaltation is a half-sister to our Horse of the Year Melody Belle, who has won a further nine Group One races since we bought these fillies, so her value has skyrocketed and Festivity, too, is now a very valuable filly. 

“It’s such an honour to train these fillies for our owners. They put such a lot of money into buying these fillies and it’s so rewarding to see them line-up on race day and do what they’re doing. And, hopefully, if they both keep going the right way we could target races for them in Australia.

“Festivity is by the leading sire in Australia (I Am Invincible), and I liked her so much that I bought her half-brother by Mongolian Khan (named Conquering Khan) from Windsor Park too. It’s a slower maturing family. They’re not two-year-olds, but it looks like Mabsam is a pretty exciting broodmare. Also, the grand-dam is by Zabeel and that’s a huge boost to any pedigree. 

Commenting on the ride, Ellis said: “I thought it was a very intelligent ride by Michael McNab. He’s riding in career best form, and is working very hard on his weight and fitness. He’s riding an enormous amount of work for us and it’s showing through on race day. 

“That was Jamie’s (Richards) 71stwinner for the season. He leads the premiership and it’s great to see, with the Karaka Sales coming up, just how well these horses that we’ve bought from the sale are performing. 

“Our attention after today turns to the Karaka Sales (26 – 31 Jan.). We’ll be inspecting the ones we really like for a second and third time. By that stage we’d have done as much homework as we need to and we’ll be ready to start buying on Sunday.”

Progeny by Leading Australian Sire (wins) I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), standing for $247,500, have been incredibly well sought after. His yearlings have sold for $2 million, $1.9m, $1.7m, $1.45m, and averaged over $400,000 this year. Mabsam was a debut winner over 1000 metres, winning to a mile, by a Golden Slipper (Gr. 1, 1200m) winning son of Redoute’s Choice, Stratum, and her three progeny to race have all won, including Group Two placed Ulusaba (Exceed And Excel).

Festivity was strapped by Ashley Handley.

“This young lady is doing an absolutely outstanding job for us,” Ellis said. “We have full confidence in her. She’s a terrific worker, very capable horsewoman, dedicated, and has a huge future in our industry.

“Ashley took our top horses, Te Akau Shark, Probabeel and Avantage, to Sydney in the spring, and she’s got the skills to go right to the top.”

Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz

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