Group 2 Glory for Wild Night

Date: 23 Oct 2022

Group 2 Glory for Wild Night


Making it three wins from four starts, Wild Night (3 g Vanbrugh - Supreme, by Falkirk) scored an exciting victory in the $120,000 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) on Saturday at Te Rapa.

Stepping through the grades winning a Maiden 3YO 1200 metres and Rating 65 1400 metres in two recent starts at Matamata, Wild Night won in a manner offering no detraction from a long term aim in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m) on January 21 at Pukekohe.

Patiently ridden back in the field, along with third placed stable-mate Dynastic (Almanzor), Wild Night was aided by a genuine pace that intensified inside the 600m and jockey Craig Grylls extracted the goods with a strong finish down the outside.

Chasing the speed, Grylls said: “The pace had him off the bridle a little bit, but he's quite a relaxed horse. I was niggling at him, but about the 600m he gathered up underneath me and had a good turn of foot once he got out and got balanced.

“He's a beautiful big horse and well put together, and he'll relish getting to a mile.”

Running very similar time to impressive Soliloquy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m) winner Legarto (Proisir), earlier on the programme, Wild Night ran 1:22.6, last 600m in 35.7, for 1400 metres and paid $5.80 & $1.70 on the NZ TAB tote.

“He's still pretty new and green, but shows natural ability and it was a good effort today,” said trainer Mark Walker, from the course at Riccarton.

“He's done it all in his first prep, so we'll give him a break now and concentrate on getting him ready for the Karaka Million mile.”

It was the fourth win in the Sarten Memorial for Te Akau, after Mark Walker first trained Maroofity (Maroof) to score in 2003 and more recently Sword of Osman (Savabeel) and Need I Say More (No Nay Never) obliged.

Wild Night was purchased as a yearling by David Ellis CNZM for $50,000 at the Karaka 2021 Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Windsor Park Stud, and owned by Te Akau Love to Party Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

Wild Night is from the second crop of Group One winner (Spring Champion Stakes, 2000m) and dual Group Three winner (1800m & 2000m) Vanbrugh, by sire of sires Encosta de Lago (Fairy King).

The Spring Champion Stakes, a stallion making race, was also won by Savabeel (Zabeel) and Dundeel (High Chaparral).

Wild Night is a half-brother to Play That Song (Showcasing), Group Two winner and Karaka Million 2YO runner-up.

Speaking on behalf of the owners, syndicate manager Karyn Fenton-Ellis said: “This horse was appropriately named for, probably, 90 percent of his owners. I'm sure they're going to have a wild night and good to see all of them here on course to witness a great win.

“With Mark (Walker) saddling the team in Christchurch, our assistant trainer Sam Bergerson is here and together they've done a fantastic job with the horse.

“We would like to especially thank Marie (Leicester) and her family for the continued sponsorship of this race.  It's always an emotional race to win because of your family's love of the thoroughbred and the love off the thoroughbred that they instilled in you.

“I'll leave the final word to my daughter, Julia-Rose Hayes, who put the syndicate together.

“Thank you to the Waikato Racing Club for an amazing day and great turnout,” she said. “Thank you to Marie for your sponsorship, which means so much to the future of the New Zealand racing industry, and I think it may well be a wild night. “

The trophy was presented by Marie Leicester, daughter of James & Annie Sarten, and breeder of Te stable star Melody Belle (Commands), winner of 14 Group One races and dual Horse of the Year, from their fabulous Belle family.

“My parents' lives revolved around their horses and I think they became members here in 1942/43, and the foundation mare Belle Fox won a race on the course,” she said.

“My mother decided to sponsor a memorial race here for my father and it has been the case for 39 years.

“Congratulations to Te Akau and Craig (Grylls) for the ride and it's great to see horses come from the back like that and mowing the others down. That is real racing.”

Wild Night was strapped by Mallesh Saddari.


Photo credit -


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