Rotorua Double - War of Succession Wins

Date: 11 Dec 2023

Rotorua Double - War of Succession Wins

Training partners Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson made a great start to the meeting on Sunday at Rotorua, winning the opener with War Of Succession (3 g Tavistock – Ziffel, by Zabeel) in the $25,000 Maiden 1950 metres.

Progressing the right way, War Of Succession had lifted with a notable effort for third in the Maiden 1600 metres on 18 October at Tauranga, and finished third in the Maiden 3YO 1600 metres on 11 November at Te Rapa, when chasing home subsequent Eagle Memorial (Listed, 1500m) runner-up Grail Seeker (Iffraaj).

The form line appeared ominous in the race sponsored by Sherlock Contracting and stable rider Opie Bosson was faultless in the horse breaking through at his fourth start. 

Able to secure cover heading into the back straight, War Of Succession tracked up nicely inside the 800 metres, appeared to travel best nearing the home turn and raced clear in the straight to win by four and a half lengths. 

Coping with yielding ground, he ran 1950 metres in 2:01.5 on footing that improved overnight from Heavy8 to rate Soft6, and won in a manner affirming the $1.50 tote price.

“It was a really good win and he’s a pretty nice staying prospect, this horse,” said co-trainer Mark Walker.

“Obviously we’ve got the Derby in the back of our minds, but he’s still got a bit to learn. He was a little bit keen early, but I loved the way he rounded the race off.

“Given his pedigree, he was originally bought with the hope of being retained as a colt, but we had to geld him to get his mind on the job of racing and we can now concentrate on him becoming a good staying type.”

War Of Succession was purchased by David Ellis CNZM at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, and owned by Te Akau 2022 Stallion Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM). 

A fine specimen by dual Group One winner Tavistock (Montjeu), out of a mare by Champion Sire and Broodmare Sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram), the genetic cross proved a revelation and includes Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther.

The same Tavistock / Zabeel cross has also produced VRC Derby (Gr. 1, 2500m) winner now successful stallion Tarzino (ex. Zarzino), while deeper into the pedigree of Tavistock, the cross, which has proved most effective in producing males, includes Group One winners Tavago, Volkstok’n’barrell, and Infantry, along with Group Two winners Hasselhoff and Tavidream. 

“He was a really nice colt, one of the picks of the sale and it’s a proven bloodline cross in the pedigree,” Ellis said.

“It’s not always easy to keep them as colts with a view to future stallion careers. They get too heavy, others won’t focus on training and racing, but we’ve still managed to retain some very well performed colts that we’ve bought to be stallions.

“Darci Brahma, King’s Chapel, Burgundy, Noverre, Embellish, Sword Of State, Xtravagant, Heroic Valour, Cool Aza Beel, are some that were able to reach their potential on the race tracks, many as multiple Group One winners, and then make their name as a stallion.

“So, some we can keep as colts and some we can’t, and if you try and keep them for too long as a colt then you only ruin them for racing, whereas a horse like War Of Succession could develop into a top staying horse as a gelding.

“It’s never an easy decision to make, when and whether to geld a colt, but we’ve got world-class horse people looking after these horses, so it gives you the confidence in making the right decision.”

War Of Succession was strapped by Ahbi Pawar.

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