Coventina Bay (NZ) Heads Karaka Quinella in Cuddle

22 March 2021

Coventina Bay (NZ) gets up in the Cuddle Stakes. Photo: Race Images

Karaka graduates fought out the finish of Saturday’s $70,000 Group Three Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, with rising star Coventina Bay (NZ) (Shamexpress) getting the better of gallant rival Jessiegee (NZ) (Alamosa).

Passed in at the 2017 Select Sale was a reserve of only $20,000, Coventina Bay has now had 13 starts for eight wins, two placings and $173,700 in stakes. Jessiegee was bought for $15,000 at the 2015 Select Sale, and she has amassed $186,571 in her 38-start, five-win career.

Coventina Bay has stepped up to the big time in impressive style this season, winning the Group Three J Swap Sprint (1400m) and the Lisa Chittick Plate (1400m), along with an unlucky third in the Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m).

She was expected to be too classy for her rivals in Saturday’s Cuddle Stakes, and so it proved. Rider Sam Collett positioned her in midfield on the rail, then angled her out into the clear to make her bid at the 300-metre mark.

Coventina Bay quickened sharply to take the lead, but she faced a tougher-than-expected challenge from a late-charging Jessiegee in the final 100 metres. But Coventina Bay was able to lift again to hold that rival out, winning by a short neck.

“She just makes my life easy – the gas is ready to go when you need it,” Collett said. “I was mindful that there wasn’t much pace in the race and that I was going to have to ride her closer than she is normally ridden. I just didn’t want to give them too much of a head start, but she did everything I asked and was tough to the line.

“She’s what you want in every horse. She is tough and just goes wherever you want her to go without second-guessing you.”

New Plymouth trainer Robbie Patterson was pleased with Saturday’s performance, which he is using as a stepping stone into the $200,000 Group One New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 10.

“She was a bit fresh today and bouncy around at the start,” Patterson said. “She was 9kg heavier than when she won last time. Her Melbourne Cup is the Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha.

“I’m proud of her and she is just a little machine. She had a lot of problems early on, but we’ve fixed them now and she’s good.”

Coventina Bay has now earned more than eight and a half times her $20,000 reserve when she was offered by Windsor Park Stud at the 2017 Select Sale.


Windsor Park Stud


Shamexpress – Coventina


Lot 628, 2017 Select Sale, Psd (Res $20,000)

Bred by