Riccarton Double - Caravella Cruises Home

Date: 17 May 2024

Riccarton Double - Caravella Cruises Home

Recording her fourth victory this season, Caravella (4 m Caravaggio – Highland Lights, by Fantastic Light) won the $40,000 Coca-Cola Open Handicap 1200 metres on 16 May at Riccarton.

Recording each of the four wins over 1200 metres, the lovely grey mare was a fresh-up winner in November at Taupo, obliged two starts later in January at Te Aroha, then transferred to the Te Akau stables at Riccarton, and won there at her first course attempt in March.

Although making a change from turf racing to compete on the poly track, Caravella brought solid form from the synthetic track at Cambridge, and rated a top three chance.

From well back in the field and second last turning for home, Caravella was presented wide on the track by jockey Kozzi Asano, quickened appreciably once clear, and sustained a big finish to reel in the leaders.

Asano made it two wins from two rides aboard Caravella, after combining to win in March at Riccarton, and continued a good record with the stable having ridden Romancing The Moon to win the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) last season.

Stable-mate and race favourite Sorcha also did a good job finishing close third, after being annoyed in front throughout.

“It was a great effort to win like she did today,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson.

“She’s really started to mature and come into her own now and Dave (Ellis) loves buying horses from Wentwood Grange. They’re great breeders and they breed tough, sound, racehorses that continue to improve with age.

“She had to do it the hard way, from back in the field, which indicates she’s competitive and capable of winning more races under Open Handicap conditions.

“She’s continued to improve consistently through the grades and I think she’ll be competitive at stakes level next season as a five-year-old.”

Drifting in betting from an earlier fixed odds quote of $7.00, Caravella ended up paying $14.50 & $3.50 on the NZ TAB tote, after running the 1200 metres in 1:10.4.

Owned by the Te Akau Night Skies Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Caravella was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $115,000 at the 2021 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Wentwood Grange, who bred and owned the related former stable-mate Our Abbadean (Lookin’ at Lucky).

By Caravaggio (Scat Daddy), a fast racehorse that won four times as a two-year-old and Joint Champion 3YO Sprinter in Ireland, Caravella is a half-sister to Our Abbadean, a dual Group Two winner and twice Group One placed.

“She was very unlucky last start at Wingatui, so it was pleasing to see things go her way, and it’s great to have had good success with both her and Our Abbadean,” Ellis said.

“It’s a terrific effort to have won four times this season and she seems to have really settled in well and thrived at our stables on the course at Riccarton.

“Hunter (Durrant) and our southern team are doing a great job and we have always loved stabling and racing horses in the South Island.

“We had her half-sister Our Abbadean in the stable for the Hawkins' family at Wentwood Grange, who performed very well.

“She ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown during the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival, and came of age as an older mare when winning the Awapuni Gold Cup (Gr. 2, 2000m) and Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m).

“She was a really good stakes' quality mare and the more wins Caravella can get on the board the more valuable she becomes.

“It’s a good family and Wentwood Grange is one of the very astute breeders in our industry.”

Caravella carries a Nijinsky cross through the sire-lines in her pedigree.

Caravella was strapped by Rylee Sheehan.

Photo credit - Ajay Berry - www.raceimages.co.nz


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