Bargain Buy a Stakes Winner in Second Start

27 May 2024

Owner-trainer Dean Wiles paid $2,200 in the 2023 NZB National Online Yearling Sale to buy Southern Warrior (NZ) (Belardo), who has become a black-type star in only the second race of his career.

Southern Warrior (NZ)

Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Staphanos at Novara Park Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe was Southern Warrior’s first win and came 17 days after he kicked off his career at Matamata. The two-year-old Seaton Park graduate has now earned $57,840 – more than 26 times his purchase price.

Southern Warrior produced an eye-catching performance in his debut appearance at Matamata on May 8, making up late ground from last to finish fifth. It prompted Wiles to throw the chestnut gelding in at the deep end and take a shot at black type in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes, and the gamble paid off in spades.

Southern Warrior again dropped out to the back of the field on Saturday before coming to the outside in the straight and warming through his gears for jockey Joe Doyle. Relishing the 1600-metre distance and untroubled by the testing Heavy10 track conditions, Southern Warrior drew up alongside Zorro’s Revenge (NZ) (Ferrando) and outfought him through the final 50 metres to win by a neck.

“I just thought the Belardo factor might kick in today on a heavy track,” Wiles said. “He had been working great. He’s only a little pony, but jeez he can run. I knew he’d get back to last, and I just thought he could skip through that wet ground.

“I didn’t even think about this race until that debut run at Matamata a couple of weeks ago. He got back last that day too and ran on really well.

“Everyone that’s ridden him has said that the further he goes, the better he’ll be. And then once the rain came this morning, I was quietly confident.”

The Champagne Stakes was the first time Doyle has ridden Southern Warrior, and the jockey was impressed with his mount’s performance.

“Fair play to Dean – he thought the ground would suit this horse and he’d get the trip,” he said. “This horse isn’t big, but he’s got a big heart and tries very hard.

“It was the plan to go to the back early. If anything, it probably helped him that the other horse (Zorro’s Revenge) got so far ahead of us in the straight, because my horse is still very green. Dean has quite a small team, and it’s not the easiest when you have only a handful of horses. But I think having something to aim at was probably a key factor in his performance today.”

Southern Warrior’s Champagne Stakes heroics added to an enormously successful few weeks for his dam, Cape South (NZ) (Cape Cross).

Cape South now as a perfect record of four winners from four foals to race, and Southern Warrior’s older half-sister Apostrophe (NZ) (Tavistock) – who herself was a $60,000 purchase from Karaka 2019 – won last month’s Group Two Travis Stakes (2000m) and Group Three Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2100m).

Vendor Seaton Park Ltd
Purchaser Warrior Stable (Waikato)
Breeding Belardo – Cape South
Sale Lot 17, 2023 National Online Yearling Sale, $2,200
Bred by K D & P J Landrigan