NZB Insurance Spring Classic a Wide Open ContestThursday, Oct 4, 2012
Saturday’s $300,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic (2040m) has attracted an even field of top horses in search of the final honours in the Hawkes Bay’s Group 1 Triple Crown.
This is the second year New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance has sponsored the Spring Classic which is arguably the pinnacle of weight-for-age racing in New Zealand with recent winners including Jimmy Choux, Wall Street, Princess Coup and Xcellent.
With the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown - Karaka graduates Ocean Park and Mufhasa - chasing Australian riches, the pair are absent from Saturday’s line-up. This sets up an open contest in the Spring Classic, with a field of 16 shooting for Group 1 glory, six of them Karaka graduates.
Last year’s winner Jimmy Choux
Current race favourite Xanadu (Elusive City) has been flying this season, placing in the Makfi Challenge Stakes and Windsor Park Plate. The Ken & Bev Kelso trained four-year-old was one of the few to make ground on Mufhasa in the Windsor Park Plate and will make her 2000 metre debut from the ace barrier with Michael Coleman to ride.
Tough mare Fleur de Lune (Stravinsky) made Mufhasa work in the straight in the Windsor Park Plate and raced on gallantly for second place. She finished just over three lengths from Ocean Park in the Makfi Stakes and will make her 2000 metre debut from barrier 9 for trainer Lee Somervell.
Group 1 Queensland Oaks winner Quintessential (Fast ‘N’ Famous) produced an eye-catching run for fifth at her last start in the Group 1 George Main Stakes in Sydney and looks well placed in the line-up for trainer John Sargent but has the widest draw in barrier 16.
Horses from Roger James’s stable have been prominent on the track this season and his charge He's Remarkable (Pentire) showed significant improvement on his fresh up run when running fifth to Mufhasa in the Windsor Park Plate. He has drawn well in barrier 2 with Vinnie Colgan in the saddle.
Another mare who brings good form into the race is Guiseppina (Johar) who raced brilliantly in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The Steven Ramsay & Julia Ritchie trained Group 1 winning sprinter is also untried at 2000 metres but her electric turn-of-foot makes her a dangerous prospect. She has drawn well in barrier 8 with Jonathan Riddell to ride.
Steven Ramsay & Julia Ritchie will also saddle Dolmabache (Redoute’s Choice) - the second of three runners in the field bred by Pencarrow Stud with Guiseppina and Fears Nothing. Dolmabache won the Group 2 Travis Stakes over 2000 metres last season and has drawn 10 on Saturday with the services of Jason Waddell.
Wall Street went within a nose of winning
the Triple Crown in 2010
It would be of little surprise to see the Allan Sharrock trained Shez Sinsational (Ekraar) right there in the finish. She had a tough run in the Windsor Park Plate but she is a dual Group 1 winner over 2000 metres and that record will see her well supported. She will have Opie Bosson in the saddle from barrier 14.
Another mare to come through the Windsor Park Plate is Postmans Daughter (Postponed) who finished less than two lengths from Mufhasa. She is no stranger to Group 1 company and has shown that she is capable of winning a Group 1 race. She has two runs under her belt coming into the Spring Classic and will have every chance from barrier 5 for trainer Don Walker with Danielle Johnson aboard.
Graham Richardson will have two runners in the race with Green Supreme (Oasis Dream) and Villifye (O’Reilly).
Green Supreme produced an eye-catching run fresh up in the Makfi Stakes and did manage to make some ground on Mufhasa last start from back in the field. He will have no problems with the 2000 metre trip and has drawn well in 4. Villifye raced over 2000 metres last season producing a late-finishing fourth to rival Dolmabache in the Travis Stakes but has a tough draw in 15.
The Lucy Tanner trained Flemington (Jungle Pocket) and the Tony Pike & Mark Donoghue trained Carrick (Shinko King) both come into the race after contesting a 2000 metre open handicap at Hawke’s Bay on Windsor Park Plate day.
Carrick’s victory in the race was his third from just seven starts. He ran a great third in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby last season and has the makings of a good horse but faces a big step up in class in Saturday’s race.
Xcellent was an emphatic winner of the race in 2005
Finishing just over a length away from Carrick, Flemington won the Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup (2200m) last season in a tough fashion carrying 53 kilograms and he will be asked to carry 59 kilograms at weight-for-age on Saturday from barrier 13.
The David Haworth & Matt Dixon trained Fears Nothing (Faltaat) and Zennistafrom Lisa Latta’s stables are both stakes winners over a mile and both have yet to win over the Spring Classic distance. They have drawn alongside each other in barriers 6 and 7.
Back In Black (Storm Creek) ran fifth in the Spring Classic last year and he was back in winning form for his trainer John Steffert two starts ago winning on the track on Makfi Stakes day.
The Vanessa & Wayne Hillis trained Art Beat (Captain Rio) completes the field and she comes into the race in good form, making up stacks of ground in the Listed Karaka Classic at her last start at Counties. She has experience on her side with Noel Harris in the saddle from gate 11.
To view the field for the $300,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Spring Classic, click here. The race will be held on Saturday at 5.07pm.