Sorcha You Scorcher

Date: 14 Jun 2024

Sorcha You Scorcher

Recording his 31st win this season with trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, Warren Kennedy guided Sorcha (4 m Burgundy – Niamh Elizabeth, by Per Incanto) to victory in the $30,000 Rating 84 1400 metres on 13 June at Riccarton. 

A dual poly track winner over 1200 metres early in the season at Riccarton, Sorcha had finished third and second, respectively, on the course at her last two starts and although rising in grade, she brought the right form and credentials to rate a top three chance.

Although awkwardly away and rearward as a result, Sorcha followed a competitive pace, involving eventual fourth placed stable-mate Fellini (Belardo). She was fifth on straightening at the 400m and once presented to the outside of runners she drew away to win stylishly by two lengths. 

It was a good ride by Kennedy, after bungling the start a touch, to remain patient, get his mount balanced and present her at a timely moment inside the 200m. 

For Sorcha, who has always possessed genuine attributes, recording her third win alongside 11 runner up and third placings, shows the continued improvement of a mare that is bred to keep getting better as she matures. 

In the race sponsored by NZB National Weanling Sale 20 June, Sorcha ran 1400 metres in 1:21.8 and held firm in betting to return $4.00 & $2.00 on the NZ TAB tote.

Off the 66 winners Te Akau has recorded this season in the South Island, from its training base at Riccarton, overseen by Hunter Durrant and Ashley Handley, 13 have been on the local poly track. 

“It was a really good win and just shows how she’s come of age this season,” Walker said.

“She’s strengthened up and just racing so consistently. It’s always extra special to win with a horse that is bred at the farm (Te Akau Stud) and she’s doing a good job.

“We think that next season, because of the ability and consistency she’s shown, that she can prove competitive at black type level in stakes races.

“She can handle both the poly track and turf, again showing her versatility, and she won in a really strong manner today.”

Bred by Glenn and Catherine Holmes and Te Akau Stud, and owned by them in conjunction with Paul Martin, Sorcha is the year older sister to stable-mate Cu Chulainn, who won two from four and was stakes' placed in the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1200m) last season. She has continued the trend of good horses stemming from the family.  

Currently in Portugal, co-breeders and co-owners Glenn and Catherine were thrilled to awake to the news of their mare's latest victory.

It was Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM that kicked things off when he raced Thrive (Colombia) with his good friend and breeder Ken Browne. 

Thrive was out of the dam of Niamh Elizabeth, Trove (Paris Opera), bred by Tom and Jane Lowry, from their Okawa Stud family, before being purchased by Browne, while third dam Fun (Three Legs – Enjoy, by Aythorpe) produced In Joyment (St Hilarion), who included six wins over staying distances and amassed stakes of $579,974.

A winner at her second start in New Zealand, In Joyment transferred to Gai Waterhouse, Sydney, where in 1998 she won the Metropolitan Handicap (Gr. 1, 2500m).

Ellis purchased Niamh Elizabeth for $62,500 at the 2014 NZB Select Yearling Sale and, raced by Martin, she was a handy mare that won over 1200 metres at Matamata.

Her first foal was Irish Red, bred and owned by the same trio, a dual winner to 1400 metres who was stakes' placed three times. 

“Ken (Browne) and I raced Thrive, a Group Three winning half-sister to the mother of Irish Red, Sorcha, and Cu Chulainn, and I bought Niamh Elizabeth as a yearling at Karaka,” Ellis said.

“With Glenn and Cathie and Paul, all really loyal owners with Te Akau, we’ve had a lot of fun and the now that Sorcha has three wins it just adds to the good results.  

“It’s a family that keeps improving as they mature, has a lot of depth going back to an old Okawa Stud family, and it’s good to see it continuing to deliver.

“Hunter (Durrant) and Ashley (Handley) have done a fantastic job for Mark and Sam with the team and horses at our stables at Riccarton. 

“We’ve often found that horses we send down really thrive in the South Island. We’ve had a lot of success at Riccarton, winning the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) seven times, and the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) six times, as well as winning other stakes' races, and we love supporting South Island racing.”

Sorcha was strapped by Naomi Warrander.

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