4 Win Saturday - Cu Chulainn Goes Back to Back

Date: 26 Mar 2023

4 Win Saturday - Cu Chulainn Goes Back to Back


Debut winner Cu Chulainn (2 g Burgundy - Niamh Elizabeth, by Per Incanto) made it consecutive victories in the $30,000 2YO 1000 metres on Saturday at Riccarton.


Having created an impression when sailing past his rivals to score by four lengths when debuting in the 2YO 820 metres on 4 March at Wingatui, Cu Chulainn was backed ($1.30) as nigh unbeatable but it remained heart in the mouth stuff until the deciding strides.

Ridden again by Te Akau Champion Apprentice Joe Kamaruddin, Cu Chulainn positioned behind midfield before making his run wide on the track and although not appearing overly comfortable on Slow7 footing he kept on giving to snare the win.

Scoring by a half neck margin, in the race sponsored by Petersens Jewellers Ladies Bracelet, Cu Chulainn ran 1000 metres in 58.4.

“It was a really good effort today,” said trainer Mark Walker. “It was only his second start, against a bigger field, and I liked the way he was able to relax off the pace and finish off.

“He's a horse with good stretch about him and looks like he's got a bright future.”

Walker suggested the trip away would aid the horse mentally and all going well could aim towards the $65,000 Berkley Stud Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1200m) on Saturday 6 May at Riccarton.

After winning with two-year-old filly Quintessa (Shamus Award) during the week at Pukekohe, Cu Chulainn is among 10 two-year-old winners of 19 races for the stable this season.

A big strong type, with a great appetite, Cu Chulainn showed good constitution prior to his debut win following a lengthy float trip from Matamata, and continued to thrive from the stables base at Riccarton.

Cu Chulainn was bred by Glenn & Cathie Holmes and Te Akau Stud, who share ownership in the Te Akau Irish Warrior Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).



Like his sister and former stable-mate Irish Red, who was eye-catching when placed in both two-year-old starts, and triple stakes placed including second in the Airfreight Stakes (Listed, 1400m) at Wingatui, Cu Chulainn has also shown natural precocity.

Irish Red was the first foal from winning Per Incanto (Street Cry) mare Niamh Elizabeth, a half-sister to stakes winner Thrive (Colombia) - both trained by Te Akau, while stable-mate and sister Sorcha, runner-up twice from five starts is the second foal, with Cu Chulainn the third. 

Grand-dam Trove (Paris Opera) was bred by Tom and Jane Lowry, from their Okawa Stud family, before being purchased by Ken Browne, while third dam Fun (Three Legs - Enjoy, by Aythorpe) produced In Joyment (St Hilarion), who included six wins over staying distances and amassed stakes of $579,974.

A winner at her second start in New Zealand, In Joyment transferred to Gai Waterhouse, Sydney, where in 1998 she won the Metropolitan Handicap (Gr. 1, 2500m).

Knowing the family well, Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM said: “Ken (Browne) and I raced Thrive, a Group Three winning half-sister to the mother of Cu Chulainn, and I bought Niamh Elizabeth as a yearling at Karaka.

“We bred him at the farm with Glenn and Cathie (Holmes), who along with Paul (Martin) are very loyal owners, and it's a great result for Cu Chulainn to win on debut. 

“It's a family that keeps improving as they mature.”

Cu Chulainn was strapped by Bonnie Dew. 


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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