Two Wanganui Winners

Date: 9 Jan 2020

Two Wanganui Winners

A filly improving with racing, Zouluminous (3 f Zoustar - Luminous Harmony, by Fastnet Rock) proved far too good in the $10,000 Commdivez NZ Maiden 1600 metres on 9 January at Wanganui.

Beginning smartly to lead, Zouluminous travelled comfortably under Craig Grylls, had the opposition doing their best approaching the home turn and looked in no danger when drawing clear inside the 200m to win comprehensively by four lengths. 

After finishing third on debut, before a fifth in the Maiden 3YO 1400 metres on 28 November at Tauranga, and third again in the Maiden 3YO 1400 metres on 30 December at Taupo, Zouluminous broke through at her fourth start, in a manner evident of making good progress with race day experience. 

It was another good day for trainer Jamie Richards, winning with both Zouluminous and Xplosion (Showcasing), while Irish Heart (O'Reilly) and Ristretto (Makfi) finished second and third, respectively, and all four ridden by Craig Grylls.

On Dead4 footing, Zouluminous, stepping up to a mile, ran the trip in 1:38.5, last 600m in 36, and paid $3.20 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“Craig gave her every chance and she won very well,” Richards said. “I told him to be positive and he ended up leading without a lot of pressure. She got a couple of cheap sectionals, quickened well when he asked and I thought she won with a bit in hand.

“I was a little bit disappointed with her at Tauranga, when she wobbled around the corner and didn't quicken as expected, but she was a lot better when really sticking to it at Taupo, and now she's won nicely.

“She's a filly with a lovely pedigree and a really good type, so I feel she can continue to improve and may even get further than 1600 metres.”

Zouluminous was the 68thwin this season for Richards and he leads the premiership with an excellent strike rate (4.8).

Owned by the Te Akau Shining Light Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Zouluminous was purchased for $230,000 by David Ellis, from the draft of Rosemont Stud, at the 2018 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Her dam, Luminous Harmony (Fastnet Rock), won four races to 1400 metres in Australia, a sister to highly talented dual Group Three winner Neena Rock, and now left three individual winners. 

“Eighteen months ago I went to Sydney and bought five fillies to train and three of them have won in the last few weeks, with the other two being Awareness (Redoute's Choice) and Combat Queen (Pierro) - and the other two are not far from making their race day debuts” Ellis said.

“They've all taken a little bit of time to mature and develop, but really getting there now and I'm thrilled for the owners. A doctor gave me a call after the win today and said it's the greatest thrill he's ever had. It's the first race he's won and his first horse with Te Akau. So, to see these people get so much enjoyment from their horses is what keeps Karyn and me going and I couldn't be more pleased for them.

“Also, one of my old school friends Peter Bull who raced Te Akau Nick (runner-up Melbourne Cup) with me, he's in this filly, along with a lot of other really good clients of ours.”

At the corresponding sale a year earlier, a yearling filly by her sire, Zoustar (Northern Meteor), sold for $1m from his first crop and such has been his success that he now stands for $154,000. Notably, he has already left 11 individual winners from Fastnet Rock mares, quite incredible in such a short time, and after being Champion First Season Sire he ended last season as Leading Australian Second Season Sire.

Having won six of his nine starts, including two Group Ones and a Group Two, Zoustar became one of the most sought after stallions in Australia, following the premature demise of his sire Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago) who had been Champion First Season Sire. Such is the demand for Zoustar that he now shuttles from Widden Stud, where he stands in Australia, to Tweenhills Stud, Gloucester, U.K.

Zoustar was sold to stud for $14 million in the week leading up to his victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) at Flemington, which provided jockey Jim Cassidy with his 100thGroup One winner. Cassidy claimed Zoustar to be “a better three-year-old than Redoute's Choice and more brilliant than Pierro”.

His star filly, Sunlight, has won 11 from 21 starts, including three Group Ones, and $6.5 million in prize money.

“Zoustar is one of the most exciting young stallions in the world and Fastnet Rock is fast becoming a really good broodmare sire,” Ellis said. “We have had plenty of success with the stock of Fastnet Rock, notably Group One winners Avantage, Age of Fire, and Heroic Valour, and he produces a lot of strength in his horses. Plus, it's proving to be a fantastic cross.”

Ellis added: “Milou (Grylls) and Kate (Belsham), two great young women, were looking after the horses today. Milou is one of the best we've ever had working at Te Akau. She's studying at university as well as working for us, is an absolute superstar, and everything runs like a well oiled machine when they're in charge. 

"Kate too is such an important member of our team, she helps Karyn and Julia-Rose with a lot of social media support and just loves her horses."

“Craig (Grylls) rode both winners for us today. His father Gary rode my first Group One winner, Cosmetique, in 1986, so we've had a long association with the Grylls family.

“We're on our way home from the Gold Coast Yearling Sales, where we bought six horses and the interest from owners has already been very strong. Jamie (Richards) has been continuing the yearling inspections at home and now we're turning our attention and concentrating on the upcoming yearling sales at Karaka (Jan. 26 - 31).

Zouluminous was strapped by Kate Belsham. 

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