Millefiori Just Marvellous

Date: 16 Jul 2023

Millefiori Just Marvellous


Recording her fourth win this year, Millefiori (4 m Iffraaj - Miss Bluebell, by Savabeel) took out the $60,000 ITM/GIB Sprinters' Winter Championship Final (Rating 86 1400 metres) on Saturday at Ruakaka.

With previous victories in January, March, and June, Millefiori had scored three starts ago when running the fastest last 600m (34.6) on the day to parcel up the Open 1100 metres on 10 June at Awapuni, and tried hard on testing ground in the Tauranga Classic (Listed, 1400m) on 1 July at Hastings.

With a four-kilo weight relief to 55.5kg courtesy of stable apprentice Jess Allen, Millefiori began smartly from barrier nine to be shadowed in front by eventual runner-up Cakebytheocean (Ocean Park), quickened to lead at the 300m and continued finding reserves in order to prevail.

It was polished ride by Allen, recording her seventh win since commencing in April, the essence of which was to control the pace at an even clip from her position near the rail and Millefiori proved equal to the test.

On footing that remained Soft6 throughout the programme and conducive to good times, Millefiori ran 1400 metres in 1:23.7, last 600m in 35.2, and drifted notably in betting from $4.50 & $1.90 fixed odds to pay $8.30 & $2.90 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a terrific win and the first 100m of the race was the winning of it, when she jumped so positively and Jess (Allen) let her roll forward,” said trainer Mark Walker, whose two other runners on the card, Dancarina (Sebring) and Hero Worship (Xtravagant), each finished second.

“Jess is a very valuable asset to the stable, a brilliant track rider and has made a great start to her race riding career. She's riding intelligent races and her prospects are exciting heading into the new season.

“The mare is going really well - I was thrilled to see her gain another win for her owners in such a good race and they have Jess to thank for a ride that helped win it.” 



Millefiori is by proven international stallion Iffraaj (Zafonic), out of a young mare by eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel (Zabeel), it's the family of Winx (Street Cry) and she is therefore a very valuable filly.

Her grand-dam, Operavega (Stravinsky), is a half-sister to impressive winner Vegas Showgirl (Al Akbar), who stakes' claim to being mother of the undisputed all-time champion Winx - world record holder of 25 Group One victories. 

Owned by the Te Akau Millefiori Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), she was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $65,000 at the 2020 Karaka Book 2 Sale, from the draft of Archer Park, and now won seven times. 

“She's developed into a really good mare this season, winning four times which is pretty hard to do, and she keeps raising the bar,” Ellis said.

“She has a great group of owners, including Ben Masters (and his mother Debbie) and his fiancée Tash McDonald who have a close working relationship with us, and she's a great source of joy for all her owners. 

“She's been exciting filly all the way through, winning her first two starts as a two-year-old and it's great to see her back in such good form. 

“Having Winx on her pedigree page adds enormously and if we can get some black type along the way it will really boost her commercial appeal as a broodmare.

“She's stabled in the Middle Barn, run by Nicole Shailer, so well done to her team for keeping Millefiori happy and racing so well.

“It was a lovely ride by Jess, as it's never easy when you're being taken on in front. But she remained calm and kept the mare travelling well within herself. She's a great four-kilo claimer and has a big future.

“It's been a good day with a win and two close seconds from our three runners, and also our assistant trainer Sam Bergerson played his last game of rugby for Matamata, which resulted in a win.

“The team at the stables and here on the farm continued to do a great job with all the horses through July, which is always a difficult month given the rain and cold wintry weather. 

“That was the 196th win for the stable this season, breaking our previous NZ record of 160, and the whole team can be very proud.”

Millefiori was strapped by Kohen Collett.


Photo credits -


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