Te Aroha Double - Caravella Cruises Home

Date: 4 Jan 2024

Te Aroha Double - Caravella Cruises Home

Continuing to race in good form, Caravella (4 m Caravaggio – Highland Lights, by Fantastic Light) won the $25,000 Thames Harness Racing Club Rating 65 1200 metres on 3 January at Te Aroha. 

After winning comfortably when resuming in the Rating 60 1200 metres on 9 November at Taupo, and closing strongly for third in the Rating 65 1230 metres on 10 December at Rotorua, Caravella rated a top three chance and stable rider Opie Bosson did the job to a nicety.

Pushed up to take a position three back on the outer, chasing a genuine pace, Caravella travelled well inside the 600m, was unhindered looming into the clear and sustained a big finish down the lengthy home straight. 

On footing upgraded to Good4, Caravella ran 1200 metres in 1:10.0, last 600m in 34.1 (approx.), and paid $4.70 & $1.50 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“It was a top ride by Opie and the owners have been patient with her,” said co-trainer Mark Walker.

“She’s been a slower maturing horse, and has had a few niggles and issues, but she's now stringing together a solid record.

“She’ll be to Rating 75 now, which is quite a strong grade, but it will be interesting to see how she measures up.”

Owned by Te Akau Night Skies Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Caravella was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $115,000 at the 2021 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Wentwood Grange, who bred and owned the related former Group winning stable-mate Our Abbadean (Lookin at Lucky).

By Caravaggio (Scat Daddy), a fast racehorse, winning four times as a two-year-old, and Joint Champion 3YO Sprinter in Ireland, Caravella is a half-sister to Our Abbadean, a dual Group Two winner who was also twice Group One placed.

“She’s going pretty well this mare and had to be good to win today,” Ellis said. 

“She’s not the biggest, but shows plenty of determination and is probably going to step over a bit more ground as well.

“We had her half-sister Our Abbadean in the stable for the Hawkins family at Wentwood Grange, and she performed very well. 

“She ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown during the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival, and came of age as an older mare when winning the Awapuni Gold Cup (Gr. 2, 2000m) and Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m).

“She was really good stakes' quality mare and the more wins Caravella can get on the board the more valuable she becomes. 

“It’s a good family and Wentwood Grange is one of the very astute breeders in our industry.”

Caravella carries a Nijinsky cross through the sire-lines in her pedigree. 

Accepting on behalf of the owners, Sue Cliff, who owns a share with husband John, said: “I’d like to thank the club, the sponsors, and thank you Reece (Trumper) for presenting her in lovely order and we’re very grateful.”

Sue and her husband John planned to station their mobile home overnight at the Matamata Racecourse, and deliver some apples to Caravella in the morning. 

“I take my hat off to the team that look after the horses, especially during the busy Christmas/New Year period, but Mark, Sam, Reece, Nicole, and all the staff are doing an amazing job, as well as Hunter Durrant and his team in the South Island,” Ellis added.

“It’s a real team effort and we’ve now had 91 wins for the season, which is outstanding after only five months.

“I’m incredibly lucky being able to buy these nice horses and have them trained and looked after so well.”

Owners Jim & Pauline Hepburn and Michael Ormsby enjoyed a successful day, winning with both Caravella and The Victress (Zousain).

“The Victress is quite a smart filly, I think, and all going well she’ll head to Trentham, a week on Saturday,” said Jim Hepburn. 

“She’s one of two in the syndicate with Captured By Love, which is a pretty useful Written Tycoon filly as well. 

“Caravella has got a lot stronger, too. She’s by Caravaggio and there’s not too many of them racing in New Zealand.”

Off the back of being involved in 36 wins with Te Akau horses last year, Ormsby was happy to start the New Year with a double.

“I’m in Campionessa, too, and she can’t do anything wrong,” Ormsby said. “It’s wonderful to be involved in a mare like her and she pays all the bills, a bit like Avantage.

“All these wins keep things bubbling along. It’s good fun and I’m not complaining. I’ve got plenty lining up from the 13th to the 27th (January).

“The Victress hasn’t started until now because she went shin sore, but it was good ride by Opie (Bosson), who has so much ability and such an asset to the trainers and the stable. We’ve very lucky to have him.”

Caravella was strapped by Muralla Mallesh. 

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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