Six Win Boxing Day - Francee Fab

Date: 27 Dec 2023

Six Win Boxing Day - Francee Fab

Francee provided a fitting climax to the Boxing Day races at Pukekohe, with victory in the $80,000 SkyCity Rating 65 1400 metres - meaning Te Akau runners has claimed half the 10-race card.

Bred and owned by Haunui Farm managing director and Auckland Thoroughbred Racing deputy chairman Mark Chitty, who invested so much time and effort into the new initiative, Francee also rounded off a remarkable day for trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson.

The team was successful with Group One winner Campionessa (Contributer), additional wins by Cool ‘N’ Fast (Savabeel), Petrucci (I Am Invincible) and Wild Night (Vanbrugh) – matched by stable rider Opie Bosson snaring all five – while Kai (Ocean) won the Hazlett Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Wingatui.

Having built to a nice win over 1400 metres in May at Matamata, Francee burst through late for second, running the fastest last 600m (35.0), in the Rating 65 1230 metres on 10 December at Rotorua, and was rated a top three chance going in to the event. 

Steadying beyond midfield in order to find cover, he was six lengths off the leaders at the 600m mark, however Bosson steered an inside path on straightening and Francee was equal to the task when powering home over the concluding stages to win stylishly. 

“I didn’t want to go too wide and I saw Blake Shinn (Thatsallshewrote, second) shoot through, so I came back to the inside and she kept coming up underneath me,” Bosson said. 

“She’s improving all the time and I’ve been riding her during the week and her track work’s been spot on, so we were pretty confident going into today.”

On Soft5 footing, Francee ran 1400 metres in 1:23.4, last 600m in 34.3 (approx.), and held firm in betting to pay $3.20 & $1.50 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“She put the writing on the wall last start and the step to 1400 metres looked ideal,” Bergerson said.

“Mark Chitty and team have given her plenty of time. She had a few quirks and hasn’t been easy, but she looks progressive and I’m sure she can go through the grades now.

“We were a bit worried when she switched to the inside, as they hadn’t really been winning there, but fair play to Opie and the horse. He’s riding in fantastic form the mare is in good form as well.

“I can’t say a big enough thank you to all our team, especially during Christmas time when people are holidaying with their families, and we can’t do it without them.” 

Taking shape as a mare with a future, Francee is bred and owned by BF Bloodstock & Haunui Bloodstock.

By internationally acclaimed stallion Iffraaj (Zafonic), which shuttled to Haunui Farm, her dam Calveen won ten races and over half a million in stakes, impressed winning Group races over 1600 metres, including the Easter Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) and along with grand-dam Calvinia (Varick) became a very good producer.

Francee, a half-sister to winner of five and Group Three placed Delveen (Encosta de Lago), is the sixth individual winner from Calveen, while Calvinia left nine individual winners of 39 races and over $1.5 million in stakes. 

Francee carries a cross of highly influential stallion Mr. Prospector (Raise A Native), through the sire line of Iffraaj and dam line of Calveen. 

“She hasn’t been easy and full credit to Mark (Walker) and Sam (Bergerson) and everyone at Te Akau that has worked with her,” Chitty said.

“Mark said he would race her into fitness last season and with the help of Rylee Sheehan doing dressage and show-jumping she’s fronted up, and she ran a really good race last time at Rotorua.

“And Opie, a man in form, he bookended the programme and won the Group One. He’s a great judge of pace and he doesn’t go for them until he gets them balanced.

“I’ve got my kids here today with their young friends, introducing them to racing, so it’s really good to have her win and I’m delighted. 

“She’s out of Don McLaren’s top mare Calveen, so it’s a really good family. She’s always been a lighter framed filly, but very athletic, whereas Calveen was probably a bit more physical, but she’s typical of Iffraaj fillies: medium sized, not super big and strong, but athletic.

“She’s getting better with racing and nicely placed I think she’s got the ability to compete at stakes' level.”

Francee was strapped by Rylee Sheehan. 

Photo credit -


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