Marvellous Win for Markus

Date: 12 Mar 2020

Marvellous Win for Markus

Backed into microscopic odds ($1.50) after two strong performances, Markus Aurelius  (3 g Ghibellines - Evancho, by Shinzig) produced a super gallop to win the $10,000 Maiden 1400 metres on 11 March at Matamata.

Fittingly winning the race sponsored by Cox Plate 100 NZ Tour, after stable-mate and recent dual Group One winner Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) finished third in the iconic event last year, Markus Aurelius had debuted with a big run for second in the Maiden 1200 metres on 2 February at Matamata, before closing late for third in the Maiden 1350 metres on 23 February at Wairoa, and one-upped those efforts with real purpose. 

Well back on a genuine pace, in a no panic ride by Opie Bosson, Markus Aurelius was set alight at the 600m and widest on the track he powered home with a big finish to win with more in hand.

“He was nice and relaxed in the run and he'll definitely run a mile,” Bosson said. “He's getting better and better and once he balances up he's got a nice finish.”

On Dead5 footing, he ran the 1400 metres in 1:24.2 and last 600m in 35. 

Purchased by David Ellis for $13,000 at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Sale, from the draft of White Robe Lodge, and owned by the Te Akau Great Southern Man Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn-Fenton Ellis MNZM), Markus Aurelius has a lovely cross of the most successful sire of all time: Danehill (349 stakes winners), through the dam side of Ghibellines and as the sire of dam sire Shinzig. His dam, Evancho (Shinzig), won four times to 2100 metres.

“He was terrific value at the sale and I thought he was pretty impressive,” Ellis said. “To me, it looked like the run of a horse that could win quite a few races and he's got the pedigree to step up in distance. 

“That was our 94thwin for the season, which has come around in very quick time and I'm thrilled for all our owners and staff. He's in the colt barn looked after by Scott Lucock and Mette Mosebo and their team is having a terrific run with the likes of Cool Aza Beel and Need I Say More.

“We bought this horse from some of the best breeders in New Zealand. The Anderton's at White Robe Lodge are legendary in our industry and a member of the family, Jack Stewart, and some friends stayed in the ownership which is great.” 

Trainer Jamie Richards said: “It was a nice win from quite a promising horse and a big, rangy, old-fashioned staying sort of horse that should get better with more time.

“We thought he would win at Wairoa, and sent him down there for a trip away, but he got it all wrong on a tight turning track and never that comfortable amongst horses. But, he still found the line nicely late. 

“Even though he was drawn a bit wide (9) today, I didn't think that was too much of a concern as it was going to give him some breathing room and they went a fast pace up front which helped set it up for a backmarker to get home.

“Opie is riding really well at the moment and I don't think it will be the last time we see this horse winning. We'll step him up to a mile now and poke around with him, but he shapes to be better again as a four-year-old and might develop into a Cups sort of horse.”

A first season sire at White Robe Lodge (est. 1956), Ghibellines was a highly thought of colt in Australia, racing only in stakes races, winning the Todman Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) as a two-year-old on good ground at Rosehill. His sire, Darley stallion Shamardal (Giant's Causeway), has a fantastic pedigree, with a Mr. Prospector influence of speed and versatility, and proved himself as a sire of both juvenile and classic excellence with 18 Group One winners. 

Post race celebrations took part in the Matamata Racing Club Winners Circle, sponsored by Waikato Stud, the only stud in the world to stand two Cox Plate (Gr. 1, 2040m) winners: Savabeel (Zabeel) and Ocean Park (Thorn Park). It was conducted in the presence of the owner's gold Cox Plate for 2020. 

Markus Aurelius was strapped by Trevor Stewart.

Photo credit -


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