Apostrophe (NZ) Ticks Group Two Box in Travis Stakes

29 April 2024

Saturday’s $150,000 Group Two Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa may have been the career finale for quality Karaka graduate Apostrophe (NZ) (Tavistock), and if it is, she signed off in style with the biggest win of her career.

Apostrophe was bought by trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood for just $60,000 from Cambridge Stud’s Book 1 draft at Karaka 2019. Her 21-start career has produced seven wins, five placings and $314,810 – more than five times her purchase price.

Apostrophe (NZ) signed off on her biggest career win.

Apostrophe has saved her very best for her six-year-old season, collecting her first black type with desperately close placings in the Group Three Anniversary Handicap (1600m) and Group Three Cuddle Stakes (1600m). She stretched out beyond 1600 metres for the first time in the Group Three Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2100m) earlier this month, charging home from well off the pace to win with ease by two and a half lengths.

Something similar was widely expected in the Travis Stakes, but this turned out to be a very different kind of win. Apostrophe again settled well back in the field for rider Masa Hashizume, who then brought her to the outside in the straight to unleash her customary late flourish.

She took time to work through her gears this time, and she appeared to be rapidly running out of time to make up her large deficit and win the race. But she hit top gear and flew home just in the nick of time, edging out fellow Karaka graduates Saint Alice (So You Think) and Final Purchase (NZ) (Savabeel) in a heart-stopping finish.

“That was a tremendous effort today,” James said. “Halfway down the straight I thought she couldn’t win, but she often does that – she hits a flat patch then sprints quickly. She did that at the end of a mile, and now has done it at the end of 2000 metres.

“Whether we go on, I don’t know. She has had soundness issues, and she’s done what every breeder wants to do with a mare, and she’s rising seven. This could be her last run.

“This win was made far more special by Jim Hannan being here. He was up at 5 o’clock this morning, well into his 80s, to catch a flight, and he has been to Matamata to see his yearling as well. It would have made his day.

“His first horse with me was Foxwood (NZ) (Centaine), who won a 2000 Guineas (1600m), and he’s been a very loyal and lucky owner since.”

Runner-up Saint Alice was bought for $220,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2019. She has earned $257,887 from a 27-start career with seven wins and eight placings.

The third placegetter, Final Purchase, was a $120,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2021. Although she has won only once in a 14-start career so far, she has placed on seven occasions and has banked $54,190.

Vendor Cambridge Stud
Purchaser Mr RA James/Mr R Wellwood (Waikato)
Breeding Tavistock – Cape South
Sale Lot 620, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $60,000
Bred by Greenwich Stud Pty Ltd