Te Akau Matamata Treble - Safura Super

Date: 26 Jan 2023

Te Akau Matamata Treble - Safura Super

Stakes' placed Safura (3 f Almanzor - Corsage, by Volksraad) confirmed her promise with an impressive victory in the $14,000 Maiden 2000 metres on 25 January at Matamata, giving trainer Mark Walker his third on the programme and 109ththis season.

Safura had stretched out nicely for second on the course in the Maiden 1600 metres on 23 December, before staging a big effort for third in the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) on 1 January at Te Rapa.

Bred and owned by M W Boyd, DJ Bloodstock Partnership, D C Ellis CNZM, J A Elstob, K W Fenton-Ellis MNZM, GN & CM Bloodstock Ltd, G M Southworth & MW Walker, Safura has nominations for both the New Zealand Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) and New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) in March, along with other notable assignments in the interim.

“She looks like a filly that can go on with it now and be competitive in the good three-year-old staying races and we look forward to her lining up in the race we sponsor (David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (Gr. 2, 2000m) in February at Te Rapa,” Ellis said.

“One of my best friends, Sam Boyd, who was farm manager at Te Akau Stud for 35 years, he's co-bred and co-owned the progeny from Corsage and it's really exciting to see such a lovely staying type filly that she's produced.

“Sam lives on Great Barrier Island now and he'll be at the golf course watching the race and celebrating with all his mates.

“It's exciting with the yearling sales coming up (29 January - 3 February) at Karaka, and Mark (Walker) and the stable are just firing on all cylinders with the help of his senior staff and all the staff at the stables and at the farm.

“To have had so many wins within the first half of the season is just incredible and they're record-breaking numbers.

“And it's exciting, too, for the Cambridge Stud sire Almanzor (Wotton Bassett) to be making a name with staying horses and have another nice Oaks' chance.”

Commenting on the track, Ellis said: “They had some unexpected rain on the course leading up, but credit to the staff there because it seemed to race pretty evenly with Zeitaku getting home down the outside and Safura sprinting home closer to the rail.”

Settling clearly last in a field of 13, eight lengths 600m, in form jockey Craig Zackey picked a path two off the fence turning for home aboard Safura and she was too good when racing away by two and a half lengths.

“She was sluggish, but that's her way coming from the back,” said Zackey, on dismounting. “I thought rather than improve six wide, I'll sit back and watch them and before the straight I had one of two decisions to make and she got a clear run. It worked out well.”

Paying prohibitively ($2.00) in the race sponsored by The Boltholder, Safura ran 2000 metres in 2:05.7, last 600m in 35.8, on footing that downgraded after race one to Slow7, but played fairly and kept improving.

“This is the most exciting of our three wins today, so we're very lucky, because we bred her,” said co-owner/breeder John Elstob.

“We're in this filly with our friends. We raced Corsage after Dave (Ellis) bought her as a yearling way back in 2008 and it's been such a great time racing her progeny too.

“Corsage was the third horse I ever got involved in and we've come a long way since then.

“It's really exciting to see Safura win like that.”

Safura is a half-sister to Group Two winner and multiple stakes' placed Aotea Lad (Savabeel) and family of great mare and Group One winner over 2000 metres Seamist (Beaufort Sea).

Corsage (Volksraad), from Spray (Entrepreneur), in turn from Seamist (Beaufort Sea), was a winner on debut and Joint Second Top Filly on the 2008-09 2YO Free Handicaps. She placed in both the Diamond Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) and Matamata Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), was an unlucky fifth in the Karaka Million (Restricted Listed, 1200m) as a two-year-old, with stakes' placed finishes in the Ray Coupland Stakes (Listed, 1400m), Sunline Vase (Listed, 2100m), and she was fourth in the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).

“It was a good win and very well ridden by Zackey,” Walker said. “She's a lovely staying filly, bred at the farm, from a mare that has a great history with Te Akau.

“I think she'll improve on firmer tracks and that she has a really good future.”

Safura was strapped by Cooper Stumbles.


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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