Karaka Graduates to the Fore in Ag Challenge Stakes

Tomelilla (NZ) claims the Ag Challenge Stakes. Photo: Peter Rubery
Tomelilla (NZ) claims the Ag Challenge Stakes. Photo: Peter Rubery

Tomelilla (NZ) (Tavistock) and She’s Poppy (NZ) (Alamosa), both Karaka graduates and both black-type winners at their previous starts, fought out an exciting finish in Saturday’s $50,000 Listed Ag Challenge Stakes (1590m) at Wanganui.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Tomelilla sold for only $15,000 at the 2014 Festival Sale, but she has greatly lifted her value with strong racetrack performances including a last-start win in the Group 3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m).

She’s Poppy was a $40,000 Ready to Run Sale purchase and has forged a quality career under the watchful eye of Raymond Connors, including the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1550m) at her previous appearance.

The two mares dropped to the tail of the field early in Saturday’s weight-for-age feature, but charged down the outside in the straight and went clear to fight out a desperately close finish. Tomelilla prevailed by a nose.

Raced by Maryanne Baker and Greg Jones, Tomelilla has now had 22 starts for seven wins, eight placings and $165,735 in prize-money – more than 11 times her purchase price.

“She’s been a slow-maturing mare and she’s got better and better, and now she’s made sharp progress this preparation,” Forsman said.

Runner-up She’s Poppy has recorded seven wins and four placings from her 26 starts, earning $148,720 – more than three and a half times her purchase price.

Vendor Belvedere Farm
Purchaser Mr GJ Jones (Auckland)
Breeding Tavistock – Purnima
Sale Lot 1201, 2014 Festival Sale, $15,000
Bred by R A Emery

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