Savy Yong Blonk Group 1 Glory
16 Oct 2021
Historically a staying test, Savy Yong Blonk (6 m Savabeel – Ampin, by Pins) toughed it out in fine style for victory in the $250,000 Livamol Classic (Gr. 1, 2040m) on Saturday at Hastings.
Even when eighth on debut as a three-year-old filly, Savy Yong Blonk displayed attributes that enabled future wins in the City of Auckland Cup (Gr. 3, 2400m) and Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 3, 2000m), and cemented her value at the highest level for Gartshore brothers, Bill and Jim.
Having ended her previous campaign in May, after finishing third in the Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) at Te Rapa, Savy Yong Blonk resumed with a strong finish from last in the Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400m) on 14 September at Hastings.
Always with the Livamol Classic as a goal, and mindful of three trips in six weeks to Hawkes Bay, trainer Jamie Richards opted instead for a middle-leg run closer to home and settled on the Open 1600 metres on 1 October at Te Rapa. Things went awry when missing the start, but she was good through line and finishing 10thwas no cause for alarm.
There were no histrionics on this occasion, as rider Danielle Johnson had Savy Yong Blonk contesting for spots in midfield, which transpired sweetly when settling behind stable-mate and eventual third placed Prise de Fer (Savabeel).
Positions for both runners looked ideal, given the tempo, and each seemed assured of fighting out the finish as they swept into contention rounding the home turn. It was purely the staying resolve of Savy Yong Blonk that got her home narrowly (short neck) over Harlech (Darci Brahma), also trained at Matamata, and long neck to Prise de Fer.
“I kept her trotting and awake at the start, as obviously she missed the kick last time, but I knew Jamie (Richards) had it under control and she jumped out fine today,” Johnson said.
“I ended up getting on the back of Troy Harris (Prise de Fer), who I thought was the horse to beat, and she’s just been too good. She’s so gutsy, tries her heart out, and really deserved the win.”
It was a thrilling finale to a race that has produced some grandstand finishes over the years and one dear to the hearts of many Te Akau owners.
Savy Yong Blonk has now won eight of 27 starts and $486,950 prize money. She ran the 2040 metres in a very competitive 2:04.5 on footing upgraded to Good3 and returned $8.30 & $2.70 on the NZ TAB tote.
“She has been such a consistently good mare and I’m thrilled for the Gartshore’s,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM.
“They know the construction industry backwards and are very successful and to be able to provide them with such a great thrill is special on so many levels. Racing is their hobby and they’ve achieved the ultimate success, so well done to them.
“They’ve been great supporters of the stable and it’s exciting to provide them with a Group 1 win. It’s great for them and their families.
“It’s also great for the Chittick family at Waikato Stud, who have worked with the Gartshore’s to breed Savy Yong Blonk, and what an unbelievably good stallion Savabeel is for them and the whole racing industry in New Zealand.
“It’s a great result for all our hardworking team. Here at the farm (Te Akau Stud), the stables at Matamata, the team in Christchurch, Melbourne and Sydney. Everyone has been under the pump, in difficult lockdown conditions, and Karyn and I are proud of each and every one of them.
“I speak for all our owners, in saying that we’re extremely grateful to have a team that has kept their heads up in these testing times and enabled results like this to happen.
“The race has been very kind to Te Akau. We first won it with Distinctly Secret in 2003, twice with Princess Coup, and Melody Belle won the last two years. And Avantage and Gingernuts have finished second in recent years.
“This is the first time for 20 years that Karyn and I haven’t been at Hawkes Bay for the carnival. We feel really sorry for the Club that its had to hold such a great race meeting under these circumstances where no public can attend.
“Invariably the weather plays its part in October and the Club produced a really good track to race on.
“It’s very disheartening to be stuck here in Level 3 lockdown at Te Akau, but we’re trying to make the most of it and it’s a beautiful day today.”
Savy Yong Blonk became the 47thGroup 1 winner for record-breaking trainer Jamie Richards, coming off a season that realised over 160 wins (surpassing the previous 143), including 40 stakes’ wins in New Zealand and Australia, and finishing with a strike rate of 4.9.
“It was always the plan to come here, but it dents the confidence when you’re coming in off a below par performance,” Richards said.
“We had to take her on trust, after the good first-up performance here. She was able to get away from the gates cleanly and Danielle (Johnson) gave her a lovely ride.”
Richards revealed that Savy Yong Blonk would be served this season by Waikato Stud stallion Super Seth (Dundeel), and continue racing for the allowed four month period after the service date.
“We’ll carry on with her and see if we can pick up another one (Group 1), and I’d like to give a big thank you to Bill and Jim Gartshore, and also all our staff that are working so hard in New Zealand and Australia.”
On third placed Prise de Fer, Richards said: “He really deserves a good race. I’m very mindful of the miles and racing he’s done in the last eight weeks, but he gave everything that he had to give. We’ll race him on and hopefully pick up another nice race.
Prise de Fer had previously won the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) and finished second to recently retired stable-mate Avantage (Fastnet Rock) in the Otaki Weight-For-Age (Gr. 1, 1600m).
Savy Yong Blonk was strapped by Hunter Durrant.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz