Group 1 Honours for Move To Strike

Date: 7 Apr 2024

Group 1 Honours for Move To Strike

Vindicating the impressiveness of his debut victory, Move To Strike (2 c I Am Invincible – No Evidence Needed, by Shamardal) brilliantly won the $450,000 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) on Saturday at Trentham.

Racing right up to his looks when scoring by nearly five lengths in December at Te Rapa, Move To Strike appeared to have the world at his feet. Not only did the winner of all three trials justify hot favouritism ($1.20), but he provided the 2000th domestic win for stable jockey Opie Bosson, who gave him a glowing report.

“I think he’s superstar in the making,” said Bosson, who generally errs on the side of caution. “He’s just got the right attitude and you’d think he’d been doing it for years, the way he just takes things in his stride.”

Move To Strike was then a hot commodity in the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) on 1 January at Pukekohe, where narrowly beaten by stable-mate Bellatrix Star (Star Witness) on slow ground, but some head scratching began when he followed up with a seemingly disappointing effort in the Matamata Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m) in February - the colt was found to have fibrillated during the race.

Trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson then gave Move To Strike time to bounce back from that and, after finishing well for close second in a trial on 14 March at Taupo, and gearing up with an exhibition gallop on 27 March at Matamata, he was obviously back to the levels everyone thought him capable of.

Ridden by former Te Akau apprentice Wiremu Pinn, who has matured in his riding skill since his riding stint in Victoria, Move To Strike got back last from an awkward gate (8) but chasing a genuine pace. He was closing seven lengths astern at the 600m and after circling widest, he engulfed the field with an undeniable finish.

While stable-mate Captured By Love ran a creditable third, Move To Strike became the eighth Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) winner for Te Akau, and sixth in the past seven years after homebred filly and Champion Two-Year-Old Maven Belle (Burgundy) won in 2022.

“It was a brilliant win today and he’s always been an outstanding colt, since the day Dave (Ellis) bought him as a yearling,” Walker said.

“We had that bit of a hiccup at Matamata, but special thanks to our vet, Dr. Ronan Costello, who had the confidence with us to keep going. We put the setback behind him, trialled him against the older horses and were very happy with the way he went. 

“He’s a very exciting horse that we are really looking to his three-year-old season with, and it was a brilliant win today.”

On Soft5 footing, Move To Strike ran 1400 metres in a respectable 1:23.6, last 600m in 34.1, and drifted in betting to pay $14.30 & $3.70 on the NZ TAB tote. 

In addition to Move To Strike and Maven Belle, the additional Sires’ winners for Te Akau have been: On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau), the fifth of seven consecutive Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) winners for the stable; Champion Two-Year-Olds Maroofity (Maroof), Yourdeel (Dundeel) and Avantage (Fastnet Rock) winner of nine Group One races; Melody Belle (Commands), dual Horse of the Year, Champion Two-Year-Old and Group One (14) record-holder, along with Kindacross.

In winning, Move To Strike became the 98th Group One win for the stable, and 45th purchased by David Ellis among 53 individual Group One winners. 

Owned by the Te Akau 2023 Stallion Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Move To Strike was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $525,000, from the draft of Baramul Stud, at 2023 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. 

“It’s incredibly exciting to win a Group One race with a colt by Champion Sire I Am Invincible, which just makes him so valuable, and I think I’m right in saying that he is the first Group One winning two-year-old colt for the sire,” Ellis said.

“It’s a special day for the owners that invested in the 2023 Breeding Syndicate, and while he caused a few headaches with the hiccup after winning so brilliantly on debut, the efforts by Mark and Sam and our assistant trainer Nicole Shailer, and well as our veterinary team, to get him dead-right is just amazing.

“And Wiremu (Pinn), he’s had his moments too as he will be the first to tell you, but he’s a very competitive young lad that has stuck with what he has the skills to do at a high level, has always been a pretty natural jockey, and to ride so patiently in a Group One race takes a lot of courage.

“He timed it perfectly, got the colt balanced the horse did the rest. It’s hugely satisfying for everyone involved.”

By reigning Australian Champion Sire I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), Move To Strike is bred on the same I Am Invincible/Shamardal cross as 10-time Group One winner and current Te Akau stable star Imperatriz (I Am Invincible).

Dam No Evidence Needed won six races – including four successively – from 1200m – 1600m, including the Let’s Elope Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) at Flemington, Southern Cross Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) at Rosehill, and was twice Group One placed: one of those in the Schweppes Oaks (Gr. 1, 2000m) at Morphettville. 

She was regarded as a game, big filly that possessed a good turn of foot, and to date she has left six individual winners of 15 races, including Group Two placed Discharged (Snitzel). 

Dam sire Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway), once third in the TRC Global World Sire Rankings, has left 45 Group One winners worldwide, and is now establishing himself as a broodmare sire of the highest calibre. 

The second dam Generosa is by Epsom Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) winner Generous, who added plenty of impetus when standing in New Zealand, while the third dam is by legendary sire Danehill. 

At the time of purchase, Ellis said: “He is a high quality colt with real ease of movement and he's just a natural athlete.

“He has plenty of strength and presence, is very typical of his sire, and of course Shamardal adds a great class factor to him.”

Move To Strike carries a beautifully simple and balanced cross of great sire Danzig. 

Move To Strike was strapped by Kohen Collett. 

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