Illicit Miss Lays Down the Law

Date: 15 Nov 2022

Illicit Miss Lays Down the Law


Given a terrific ground saving ride by Craig Grylls, Illicit Miss (4 m Hinchinbrook - Unlawful, by Sebring) won the $60,000 Avon City Ford Rating 82 2500 metres on New Zealand Cup Day at Riccarton.

Leading the premiership, Grylls (32) appears in career best form this season, busying himself with race riding, and he recently won the Sarten Memorial (Gr. 2, 1400m) aboard stable-mate Wild Night (Vanbrugh).

Illicit Miss has also been growing in stature and, good enough to contest the Lowland Stakes (Gr. 2, 2100m) last season, she has now won three of her last six starts.

Despite a full field of 18, there was a sense throughout that Illicit Miss was going to be a strong chance of winning as she travelled sweetly midfield inner.

She was unhindered getting through on the inside to challenge nearing the 400m and, similar to her two wins earlier this season, she was able to build up strong momentum while holding the rivals at bay.

On the Saturday beforehand at Riccarton, Illicit Miss had run the fastest last 600m (34.8) for second to race rival, and eventual third placed, Second Thoughts (Ghibellines), in the Rating 75 2000 metres and given the solidness of her campaign she rated a top three chance.

Given footing that remained Soft5 throughout the programme, Illicit Miss ran 2500 metres in 2:38.2, last 600m in 36.3, and paid handsomely ($9.30 & $3.20) on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a good win and opens up doors for future racing now that we know she can run a distance, and it was a peach of a ride by Craig Grylls,” said trainer Mark Walker.

“Last season she was a fraction weak, but had a really good spell at Te Akau Stud and I think that has been the key to her success.

“And, Hunter Durrant and his team of staff working for us at the Riccarton base have done a grand job for us throughout the spring.”

For Te Akau, it meant a win on each day of the Cup Week Carnival, after Campionessa (Contributer) won the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m) on the first day, and Sky On Fire (Exceed And Excel), led home a trifecta for the stable when beating Rubicon Crossing (Rubick) and Rhetorical (Snitzel) in the Welcome Stakes (Listed, 1000m) on the middle day, Te Akau's 8th win in that event.

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $95,000 at the 2020 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Landsdowne Park, she is owned by Te Akau Illicit Miss Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).



“She's a really genuine mare, did a great job running out the 2500 metres and maturing all the time,” said Ellis, preparing to embark on the Karaka sales complex ahead of the NZB Ready To Run Sale which starts on Wednesday.

“We've had a brilliant team down there at Riccarton, led by Hunter Durrant, and it's just fantastic what they've achieved.

“That was our 62ndwin for the season and near $1.7 million in prize money which is an incredible effort by Mark (Walker) and everyone involved.”

From the last yearling crop of ill-fated stallion Hinchinbrook (Fastnet Rock), a half-brother to four-time Champion Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice), Illicit Miss is out of a mare by Golden Slipper (Gr. 1, 1200m) winner and Champion Sire Sebring (More Than Ready), who was a huge loss to the Australian breeding industry following his sudden death aged 13.

Dam Unlawful won four times from 2000m to 2540m, while further back in the family USA Broodmare of the Year Leslie's Lady (Tricky Creek) left three individual Grade One winners.

Following the New Zealand Cup (Gr. 3, 3200m) win by Aljay (Rock ‘n' Pop), Ellis also picked up on some notable points.

“That's a great thrill for Dummy Myers, who part-owns the horse and the second year in a row he's trained the winner.

“Last year, Burgundy sired the winner, Mondorani, and this year Rock ‘n' Pop, which are two of seven stallions from our colts' syndicates that have gone to stud.

“Aljay is out of a Lord Ballina mare that stood at Jim Wallace's Ardsley Stud, and a great staying horse we raced, Distinctly Secret, was also out of a Lord Ballina mare.”

Illicit Miss was strapped by Hunter Durrant.


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