Ahuriri (NZ) a Class Above in VRC St Leger

26 April 2024

Ahuriri (NZ) (Almanzor) pulls clear of Alma Rise (NZ) (Almanzor) in Thursday’s A$200,000 Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington. 
Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Karaka graduate Ahuriri (NZ) (Almanzor) claimed her first black-type victory with a commanding performance in Thursday’s A$200,000 Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington.

Only the ninth filly to win the race since 1930 and the first in 14 years, Ahuriri was a $210,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2022. Her eight-start career has now produced two wins, three placings and A$173,125 in stakes.

Ahuriri is trained by Chris Waller and was a dominant maiden winner at Newcastle in February, after which she stepped up into stakes class with an eighth in gruelling heavy ground in the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 6.

The promising filly’s staying prowess shone through on Thursday. After enjoying a comfortable run in fifth, close up behind a slow pace, Ahuriri and jockey Damian Lane pounced at the top of the Flemington straight. A classy turn of foot carried her into a clear lead, and she pulled away from her 10 opponents to complete an emphatic win by two and a quarter lengths.

“It all clicked into place for her,” Lane said. “It was obviously great placement by Chris Waller and his team. You can always be confident, when you throw your leg over these horses, that they’re fit and well. She was that and she handled herself really well.

“I was mindful that the two to beat would probably sit first and second in the run. I thought the leader may go a more genuine tempo, but I didn’t want to be giving too big a head start. I was able to get into a great position, only two or three lengths off the speed. That really helped me get into the race from the corner, and her turn of foot was just way too good.

“She’s got real stamina. She’s not very big, but she’s got a lot of heart and that’ll take her a long way.”

Waller was represented at Flemington on Saturday by Dermot O’Brien.

“She won it pretty easily in the end,” he said. “She travelled nicely and relaxed well, which is what you need in staying races like this. She was in her comfort zone all the way, and she quickened up well in the straight and it never looked in doubt from about the 200-metre mark.

“There was a fair difference between the ground in the Adrian Knox and today. She coped well today and it was a great win.”

Ahuriri headed a VRC St Leger quinella for Cambridge Stud stallion Almanzor, who is also the sire of the lightly raced runner-up Alma Rise (NZ).

Vendor Blandford Lodge
Purchaser Chris Waller Racing/B.A.X Limited (New South Wales)
Breeding Almanzor – Mackenzie Kate
Sale Lot 393, Karaka 2022 Book 1, $210,000
Bred by Mrs H G & W G Bax


Photo: Bruno Cannatelli