Prise De Fer - Group 1 Glory

Date: 4 Dec 2022

Prise De Fer - Group 1 Glory


Maintaining the polish, Prise De Fer (7 g Savabeel - Foiled, by Snippets) was a brilliant winner of the $300,000 Rydges Captain Cook Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) on Saturday at Trentham.

Racing at the top of his game after unleashing with the fastest final 600m (34.6) to win the Eagle Technology Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m) last Saturday at Te Rapa, a mature, race hardened, and talented Prise De Fer was finally able to cap five Group One placed performances with a superior win.

A week earlier, when Prise De Fer returned to the birdcage bristling with enthusiasm, trainer Mark Walker sounded a possible seven day turnaround.  It appeared, seemingly, not only would the strapping son of Savabeel relish the task but also that it would take a peak effort to beat him.

At his second course attempt, having wound up late for fifth in the Thorndon Mile (Gr. 1, 1600m) in January, Prise De Fer settled last as ready pacemaker Deerfield (Falkirk) set a genuine clip. With eyes on race favourite Aegon (Sacred Falls), just ahead of him, jockey Michael McNab pushed up to slipstream turning for home and quickened widest on the track to gain his measure.

It was a clinical victory, overwhelming to his celebratory owners in attendance, and one so richly deserved.

“They ran along at a good, genuine tempo, which is how it should be run, so the best horses get their chance,” McNab said. “He was the best today and he really deserved that.

“He's tough and he's genuine and he was well prepared.”



McNab had recorded his previous Group One for the stable when Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) led home a Te Akau first four in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) in March at Trentham, and was again praiseworthy.

“I'm very happy and it's always better in the tangerine (colours), too, because Dave (Ellis) has been super to me.”

On footing that remained Soft6 throughout the day, Prise De Fer ran 1600 metres in 1:38.1, last 600m in 35.6, and paid $3.60 & $1.30.

While his last two winning performances have each required rather extraordinary equine powers, Prise De Fer has been suited by the weight-for-age scale for three seasons now, since finishing second to stable-mate and nine-time Group One winner Avantage (Fastnet Rock) in the Haunui Farm Group One Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) in early 2020.

When he spelled in April this year, it was on the back of a stylishly victory in the Canterbury Gold Cup (Gr. 3, 2000m) at Riccarton with a 'hit and run' raid perfectly planned by Walker - and no better way to go out than in winning form.

“He's an older warrior, he deserved that and it was a really good win,” said leading trainer Mark Walker, after his 10thstakes' win this season.

“It was a brilliant ride by Michael (McNab).

“He's been in every one of our barns and it's a big thrill for all the staff that have had anything to do with him, and especially rewarding for the owners.”

Pushing his earnings over $830,000, after 11 wins, nine seconds, and six thirds, Prise De Fer was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $100,000, from draft of Trelawney Stud, at 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, and owned by Te Akau En Guarde Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

“That's Mark's third Group One since he returned to start training again for Te Akau in April, and to win a Group One with this horse is just an amazing training performance,” Ellis said.

“The horse seems to be going from strength to strength. He's stabled in the Main Barn, run by Steph Hyde-Richards and Ashley Handley, who was down there to strap him, and these two are absolutely top class team members.

“I'm so proud of Michael McNab. He's our reigning Champion Jockey and is riding in career best form. He's a great human being and it's a tremendous thrill for the whole team.

“They've all worked incredibly hard over the past few months, in incredibly difficult weather conditions, and they've really nailed it.

“I bought the horse as a yearling at Karaka, from one of the best studs in the world (Trelawney Stud), and Karyn syndicated him.

“A lot of Savabeel's keep getting better with age and Prise De Fer is testament to that, and it's why we've patronised him so greatly at the sales and why horses we've bought by Savabeel make up a large number of his Group One winners.”

Ellis has spent the week inspecting yearlings and visiting studs in the Hunter Valley, N.S.W, and even managed a catch up with Avantage (mentioned above).

“I went and saw Avantage's first foal during the week at Coolmore Stud,” he said. “She had a filly by Wootten Bassett and she's back in foal to I Am Invincible. She looks magnificent and is a very proud mother.”

Prise De Fer was strapped by Ashley Handley.


Photo credit -


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