Taupo Double - It's Mehzebeen's Taupo Cup

Date: 30 Dec 2023

Taupo Double - It's Mehzebeen's Taupo Cup

A terrific training feat by Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson saw Mehzebeen (4 m Almanzor – Salkantay, by Zabeel) victorious in the $80,000 Harcourts Taupo Cup (Open Handicap, 2000m) on 30 December at Taupo.

Notable for her tremendous second placing in the New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) last season, Mehzebeen was among the Te Akau southern contingent stabled through the spring at Riccarton, where recording a super win in the Rating 65 2200 metres on 16 October at Ashburton. She then took a break after finishing sixth in the Metropolitan Trophy (Listed, 2600m) on 11 November.

Nicely freshened, she understandably remained back when trialling over 1000 metres on 22 December at Matamata, and had just the right amount of polish to win first-up, on a course she previously ran the fastest last 600m (35.7) over 1800 metres. 

Ridden as she was in the Metropolitan by Michael McNab, Mehzebeen happily bided her time at the rear before making very good headway to be in a challenging position turning for home and sustained a strong finish. 

The victory underlined 'family rivalries', as Mehzebeen beat Town Cryer (Tavistock), ridden by Opie Bosson for trainer Roydon Bergerson, father of Sam Bergerson. 

On footing that remained Soft7, Mehzebeen ran 2000 metres in 2:07.2 and shortened from a fixed odds quote of $9.00 & $3.00 to pay $$6.50 & $2.10 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“It was a really good win, which is hard to do fresh-up at 2000 metres,” Walker said.

“It was a brilliant ride of Michael’s and she was very unlucky in the Metropolitan at Riccarton, so she really deserved that win and we think she’s got a bright staying future.

“There is a lovely race for her at Trentham, the Remutaka Classic, which she is eligible for, worth $350,000, and we may look at targeting that. 

“She’s just starting to mature, as well, being by Almanzor (Wootton Bassett) out of a Zabeel (Sir Tristram) mare and time was always going to help her.  She was bred at Pencarrow Stud and they certainly know how to breed a very good stayer.”

The $350,000 Remutaka Classic (Special Conditions, 2100m) is contested on Wellington Cup Day (20 Jan.) at Trentham.

Purchased by Sarai Stud for $50,000 at the 2021 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Pencarrow Stud, Mehzebeen is owned by M and Y Davis, Mrs B and W Duncan, Mrs K and T Howe, D and Mrs S Rolston, Sarai Stud & Mrs S Waddell.

It was another special moment for Frenchman Xavier Kos and his wife, Beatrice Hild, of Sarai Stud, who worked on the advice of former New Zealand Bloodstock manager Danny Rolston, now working for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, in buying the filly.

Mehzebeen is from the family of Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) winner Te Akau Coup (Thorn Park) and Wellesley Stakes (Listed, 1000m) winner Don Garcia (Danehill), both purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM as yearlings at Karaka, and also triple stakes' winner Sacramento (Pierro).

“It’s not easy to win from back in the field at Taupo, but it was a top ride by Michael McNab and it was a really encouraging run by a mare that is maturing into a very good staying horse,” Ellis said.

“She was selected by Danny Rolston, one of the greater judges of yearlings that I know and he’s involved in racing her with some really good friends. 

“There’s a great team in the ownership that just love breeding and racing thoroughbreds, so congratulations to them all. 

“She’s by a young sire (Almanzor) that Te Akau has supported and had good success with and Mehzebeen has both the racing style and looks the type to go on and win some decent races.

“It was a great training performance by Mark and Sam to have her ready to win a Taupo Cup fresh-up, and was similar to what Mark did with Campionessa (Contributer) when she won the Rich Hill Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) last season.

“We’ve previously won the Taupo Cup with Galshaan (Galileo), and a Cup race is always good to win.”

Instrumental in the stamina gene pool, dam sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram), the leading New Zealand sire of stakes winners, is a major influence in the pedigrees of so many great staying thoroughbreds. 

Mehzebeen was strapped by Ashley Handley. 

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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