Season Review - Campionessa's Star Rises

Date: 19 Jul 2023

Season Review - Campionessa's Star Rises


Te Akau's record-breaking season (196 New Zealand wins, plus a Group 1 win in Australia) delivered a total 34 Group/Listed race victories for our owners - this is where the creme de la creme face off on the track for battles of the highest order.  

Another stable star of 2022/23 really came in to her own this season, like a fine wine, getting better and better with age - let's celebrate the two stakes' races (and twice Group 1 runner up) claimed by another David Ellis CNZM purchase - Campionessa ...


Stakes' placed mare Campionessa (5 m Contributer - Bella Carolina, by O'Reilly) recorded a valuable black type victory in the $100,000 Nautical Boat Insurance Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m) on 5 November at Riccarton.

After notching her fifth success in September, Campionessa continued her good form with a close second in the North Canterbury Cup (2000m) on 1 October, and then was second again in the Spring Classic (Listed, 2000m) on 22 October, both at Riccarton. Although facing a tougher task: drawn wide (13) and stepping to 2500 metres, she accomplished the black type mission courtesy of a great ride by Josh Parr.

Commentator Matt Cross nailed it when saying it was a “10 out of 10 ride” by the visiting Australian jockey.

Eased to last with a lap to run, Parr was seen sneaking inside runs as the field fanned wide approaching the home turn and that ground saving measure, and a strong will to win, saw Campionessa prevail in a close three-way finish. 



Owned by the Te Akau Campionessa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), she was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $60,000 at the 2019 Gold Coast National Yearling Sale, from the draft of Mapperley Stud, who stand the sire.

Tremendously consistent, Campionessa flourished during the season to subsequently win the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) and finish runner-up in both the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m) and Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Gr. 1, 2050m), before culminating her season finishing a creditable sixth in the Australian Cup (Gr. 1, 2000m) at Flemington. 

Her 22 starts have yielded seven wins, five seconds, three thirds, and $446,215 in prize money. 

From the first NZ crop of Contributer (High Chaparral), Campionessa is out of the three-time winning mare Bella Carolina, by O'Reilly (Last Tycoon). 

Australian Middle Distance Horse of the Year Contributer (High Chaparral) was a dual Group One winner in the Chipping Norton (Gr. 1, 1600m) and Ranvet Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m), and Champion Second Season Sire in New Zealand.

His sire, High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells), winner of six Group One races including the English and Irish Derbies, has sired winners of 58 Group One races and already a noted sire of sires. 

Her dam Bella Carolina won three times to 1400 metres and produced five individual winners of 20 races, including stakes' winners Tennessee (Per Incanto), who won the Wellesley Stakes (Listed, 1000m), and Leedox (Time Test) in the Futurity Stakes (Listed, 1400m). 

In addition, the dam sires in the pedigree of Campionessa are some of the best to ever stand in New Zealand: Champion Sire O'Reilly, in turn Champion Sire Centaine, and Champion Sire Noble Bijou. While through her sire lines she carries a cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer. 


Previous wins for Te Akau in the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m):

2011 - Zabene (Zabeel) 

On the same day stable-mate Rock ‘N' Pop (Fastnet Rock) won the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).




Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson had them on a rein of cotton when recording his third stakes' win on the programme aboard Campionessa (5 m Contributer - Bella Carolina, by O'Reilly) in the $140,000 Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) on 1 January at Te Rapa. 

Having already saluted for Te Akau aboard two-year-old colt Trobriand (Kermadec) in the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), and three-time Group One winner and reigning Champion Three-Year-Old Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) in the Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m), Bosson, in typical fashion, kept throttling down.

Having ended a terrific southern campaign after winning the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2500m) during Cup Week at Riccarton, Campionessa freshened nicely and trainer Mark Walker accredited Te Akau Racing Manager Reece Trumper with the decision to contest the mile fresh-up.

“We were unsure and full credit to Reece Trumper, our Racing Manager,” Walker said. “He said, what about the Rich Hill Mile and I said it might be a bit rich, do you think? But he said, let's have a crack.

“She freshened up nicely after Riccarton, and looked a bit pretty, I thought, in the parade ring, but he's a very promising stallion (Contributer), I think, so we'll lift our sights a bit higher after today.

“Opie, he's in the zone on the big days and you wouldn't find anyone better. 

“We've got an outstanding group of mainly young people, but there's me and Scott Lucock, we're the older heads keeping it all together. We've got a great team atmosphere.”

From 12th in running and standing the leader six lengths at the 600m, Bosson had Campionessa quickening clear inside the 250m and she powered away to win easing down by two and quarter lengths.

Tracking her throughout, stable-mate and NZB Filly of the Year Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) mounted a big finish for second.

“They were both fantastic runs,” said David Ellis CNZM, referring to Campionessa and Belle En Rouge.

“I bought Campionessa on the Gold Coast, pretty cheaply, and she's kept developing into a wonderful mare, and we bred Belle En Rouge and she ended up tied first for New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year with her stable-mate Self Obsession, who finished second in the Queen Elizabeth Cup today.



Her 22 starts have yielded seven wins, five seconds, three thirds, and $446,215 in prize money. 


Previous wins by Te Akau in the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m):

2020 - Prise De Fer (Savabeel)




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