Three Win Saturday - Romancing the Moon Stakes' Superb

Date: 4 Mar 2023

Three Win Saturday - Romancing the Moon Stakes' Superb


The 27th stakes win for trainer Mark Walker this season came with real conviction when Romancing The Moon (3 f El Roca - Underthemoonlight, by El Hermano) raced clear in the $65,000 NZB Insurance Stakes (Listed, 1400m) on Saturday at Wingatui.


Given time (28 days) by Walker after finishing second in the Dunedin Guineas (Listed, 1500m) on 4 February at Wingatui, Romancing The Moon showed her vigour for racing had not diminished during a busy season.

Runner-up in both the The O'Learys Fillies Stakes (Listed, 1200m) and Soliloquy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m), and fourth in the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m), she had sprinted clear to win easily by two and three-quarter lengths in January at Matamata, and scored again in similar fashion.

Ridden by Te Akau apprentice Joe Kamaruddin, who scored earlier on the programme aboard debutante stable-mate Cu Chulainn (Burgundy), Romancing The Moon secured a perfect trail, was clear to challenge on straightening, and dashed away in centre track to score by five and a half lengths.

The race was also notable for last start winning stable-mate Miss Dunsford (Dissident) sustaining a huge finish for third, ridden by Hakim Kamaruddin.

On footing that remained Soft5 throughout the day, Romancing The Moon ran 1400 metres in 1:24.1 and paid $2.20 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“It was a lovely ride by Joe (Kamaruddin) and a terrific effort by the filly,” Walker said. 

“She's a filly that Dave (Ellis) bought cheaply and to win a stakes' race on the back of really good Group race performances adds a lot of value to her future.

“She will come home via the Group One Levin Classic at Trentham, and she certainly deserves her chance.”

The $350,000 Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) is held on NZ Oaks Day (18 March) at Trentham. It was won last year by four time Group One winner Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), who led home a Te Akau first four. 

Owned by Te Akau Moonstruck Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Romancing The Moon was purchased as a yearling by David Ellis CNZM for $50,000 at the 2021 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft Westbury Stud.

“She's had a pretty long campaign, but has really impressed winning two of her last four starts and what a wonderful thrill for her owners,” Ellis said.

“There is no shortage of toughness in her attitude to racing and the way she won today suggests she'll go well in the Levin Classic, too.

“Her mother was a very tough race mare. She's left a really good first foal in Romancing The Moon and we've had so much success with first foals.”

Sire El Roca, by Champion Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), was a terrific racehorse, winning two stakes' races over 1200 metres and was a strong Group performer that placed at Group One level. In his early days at stud he has already sired Group One winner Travelling Light who scored in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), and other horses to win 12 stakes' races. 

Undermoonlight was an underrated mare, noted for her tenacious qualities, especially on yielding ground. She was a listed, Group Two and Group Three winner to 1400 metres and Group One placed over 1400 metres.

Romancing The Moon was strapped by Nayton Mitchell. 


Photo credit -


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