Quintessa - Group 1 Queen

Date: 14 Jan 2024

Quintessa - Group 1 Queen

True to her determined racing demeanour, Quintessa (3 f Shamus Award – Chaquinta, by High Chaparral) provided the stable with a hat-trick in the $500,000 Cambridge Stud Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) on Saturday at Trentham.

Cementing a hat-trick in her first three starts with victory in the Gold Trail Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) and second in both starts since, including the Auckland Guineas (Gr. 2, 1400m) on Boxing Day at Pukekohe, Quintessa extended her record to four wins with an all-important Group One victory.

Owned by Te Akau Awarded Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Quintessa was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM as a yearling for $170,000 at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Wentwood Grange.

She provided the new training partnership of Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson with their third Group One this season, the 33rd for Walker, and stable rider Opie Bosson his 96th.

Te Akau formed the quinella a year ago, when Romancing The Moon (El Roca) beat Skew Wiff (Savabeel), following the first four a year earlier when Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) won, and previously won in 2018 with Age Of Fire (Fastnet Rock) and Hall Of Fame (Savabeel) in 2017. 

Winning the Levin Classic for his fifth time, Bosson had Quintessa perfectly spotted in midfield, presented at an opportune time on straightening, and she fought hardest in a blanket finish to score by a long-head. 

“As soon as I got onto the back of Impendabelle (third) I knew she’d take me right into the race.

“My filly did start easing up a bit once she hit the front, but she is tough. I could see some out wide, but I was hoping she’d put her head down at the right time.

“The lead pony could probably beat her in a gallop at home, but she always steps up on race day and feels good when she’s galloping. 

“I’m just blessed to have this job that I’ve got with Te Akau. David buys some amazing horses for me to ride and he’s been pretty active at Magic Millions, and he said to me (jokingly) if I can’t win a Golden Slipper on one of them I should give up. So, we’ll see how we go in a couple of year’s time.”

On footing upgraded to Good3, Quintessa ran 1600 metres in 1:35.7 and justified favouritism when shortened in betting to pay $2.70 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a gun ride by Opie, again, he just gets it right so many times in Group One races and so does David Ellis in buying these sort of fillies that win these types of races,” Walker said.

“I met the lady that bred her, who kept a share, during the week at the Gold Coast, Linda Huddy (Director Queensland Thoroughbred Owners Association), and she’ll be thrilled today. Cameron George, Stacey Jones and the team, they’ll be thrilled with the win as well.

“We had a team talk about Quintessa, and there is the Karaka Millions 3YO, but we just felt with her that a Group One beside her name would be great for her future. It was a very satisfying win.

“She doesn’t do much in her track work, just saves it for race day, and she a winner, that’s all that counts.

“We’ll probably have to look to Australia to further enhance her record, and she’s out of High Chaparral mare that won up to 2700 metres. When Dave bought her the breed wasn’t really going, but it just shows what an athlete he buys.

“Imperatriz (three Group Ones this season) has helped get Opie closer to one-hundred. I was in Melbourne on Thursday to watch her gallop, there’s plenty more to come from her and she races next on 17 February.

“I’d also like to thank Brendan and Jo (Lindsay) at Cambridge Stud, who put so much into racing and without their support it wouldn’t be going as well as it is now.

“To all the staff at home, who work so hard, days like this make it all worthwhile and when the alarm goes off at 3 a.m. it’s worth it. 

“And thanks and congratulations to the ownership group for all their support. They supported us coming down here and she’s got a Group One next to her name.”

Scott Calder, representing Cambridge Stud, said: “I would like to thank the club for the opportunity to be here sponsoring today and it’s fantastic to be involved in a Group One race and to see these quality three-year-olds doing battle.

“Congratulations to everyone at Te Akau, you guys are such a formidable team, and the real highlight on days like this is seeing the owners experience the thrill and I think that’s what really makes racing so enjoyable.”

Speaking on behalf of the owners, Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM said: “Thank you to the Wellington Racing Club and particularly the Levin team because it’s been an innovative move when the race was combined into this programme.

“We’re particularly proud at Te Akau to have won five of the last eight editions of this race and we love racing on the ‘champagne’ turf at Trentham.

“Two years ago Imperatriz won the race and we all know what she’s gone on to do in the last 12 months, and in 2023 she was the number one winner of Group Ones in the world.

“But take nothing away from Quintessa, she is tough, she is dour, and she is determined. 

“We have wonderful trainers, support by so many dedicated and passionate staff both at Matamata and on the farm at Te Akau Stud.

“There is only one Opie Bosson and he’s the man you want on top in a tight finish.

“The fabulous owners, many have been with us for a long, long time, with horses like Costa Viva, Entriviere, and Imperatriz. You are loyal to us and we love your friendship and support. 

“We simply could not go to the sales and buy all these horses on spec if it wasn’t for our owners.

“To Brendan and Jo, and thank you Scott (Calder), where would New Zealand be without the support of Cambridge Stud which provides an extraordinary amount of support across the board throughout Australasia and internationally.”

Finally to the man that bought the filly, David Ellis CNZM said: “How exciting was the finish of that race, just incredible.

“The filly, the trainers, jockey, all the team who look after her, it’s a combination that all has to gel in order to win a Group One race like that. 

“It’s a massive thrill to just get home from a week of buying yearlings at Magic Millions and be rewarded with Group One win.

“Linda Huddy is a very good breeder in Australia, so we have her to thank for breeding such a smart filly. She has horses with the Hawkins family (Wentwood Stud), who foaled and prepared her for sale, so all credit to them both.

“They do a fantastic job at Wentwood Grange, we’ve had a lot of success over the years buying horses from their drafts, and Quintessa continues developing into a terrific looking specimen.

“It’s a $500,000 race, up considerably from last year, so huge appreciation to Entain in their partnering with the TAB, as well as NZTR - they’re just making such a difference with what they do.

“We can’t wait to get the yearlings from Magic Millions home to the farm at Te Akau. It’s so exciting to make such quality horses available to owners and for us to train them in their futures. 

“We’ve already had fantastic response, shares are selling quickly, and we welcome everyone interested that wants to be involved to get in touch.”

Quintessa was strapped by Sarah West. 

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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