Riccarton Double - An Elegant Victory

Date: 9 Dec 2023

Riccarton Double - An Elegant Victory

A winner on New Zealand Cup Day at Riccarton, Elegant Lady (4 m Highly Recommended – Lady Masako, by Iffraaj) stepped in grade with aplomb to win the $25,000 Probuild Scaffolding Rating 75 2100 metres on 8 December at Riccarton. 

Capping a hat-trick of seconds with a nice victory in the Rating 65 2000 metres on 18 November, Elegant Lady, who had previously shown affinity for the poly track when finishing strongly for second, secured a sweet spot in fourth before taking control early in the home straight and the race became a procession thereafter.

Ridden by Warren Kennedy, recording his 17th win for the stable this season, Elegant Lady was sent out at prohibitive odds ($1.30 to win) and justified the support when winning by three lengths over 2100 metres run in 2:12.4.

“It was another really good ride of Warren’s (Kennedy) and she’s a mare that’s just getting stronger,” said co-trainer Mark Walker. 

“In the back of our minds, we’ve got the Dunedin Gold Cup as a target for her, so it was timely to get another win today, and she’s going to continue to improve with age.”

The $100,000 Dunedin Gold Cup (Listed, 2400m) is contested on Saturday 3 February at Wingatui. 

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM bought her dam Lady Masako for $23,000 as a yearling at the 2015 South Island Sale. 

Lady Masako ran well on debut in a Maiden 2YO 1300 metres at Hastings, won by subsequent Castletown Stakes (Listed, 1200m) runner-up Honey Rider (Pins), but retired after two starts and retained for breeding by Te Akau Cherry Blossom Syndicate who race Elegant Lady in the Te Akau Cherry Blossom 2019 Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

“She’s a homebred filly which makes it a bit more special when they win, and for her to win on Cup Day and follow immediately up in grade just shows that she’s going the right way,” Ellis said.

“She seems to like staying distances and for her to have won three times already indicates she’s got a promising future in Open Handicap staying races as well as Cup races.

“Hunter Durrant, Kendyll Lee, and the staff looking after the horses at Riccarton are doing a great job, and the horses have freshened nicely since Cup Week. 

“She’s a lovely mare, great attitude, and good to see her winning races in the south after I’d bought her mother at a South Island sale.”

By Fastnet Rock (Danehill) stallion Highly Recommended, Elegant Lady is the second foal from Iffraaj (Zafonic) mare Lady Masako, out of five time winner Lady Sakura (Jungle Pocket), family of second top Two-Year-Old Lady Bay (Kingdom Bay), dam of Grosvenor Championship Stakes (Gr. 2, 2100m) winner Let’s Cruise (Zabeel), who also finished fourth in both the Doomben Roses (Listed, 2020m) and Queensland Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) with Opie Bosson aboard.

“We know the family well and it’s great to see it producing another promising horse,” Ellis added.

“We trained Lady Bay, who won four in a row as a two-year-old, three of them stakes races, and Mark (Walker) trained her daughter Let’s Cruise (Zabeel), who was a really good filly that won the Championship Stakes at Ellerslie, and we sold her for good money to America.”

Elegant Lady carries a cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer and inbred on the dam-side to Nureyev, a racehorse with immense turn of foot, Champion French 3YO, and sired more than 20 Champions among his progeny. 

Elegant Lady was strapped by Bailey Anderson. 

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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