Deserved Group One Glory for The Chosen One (NZ)

31 January 2022

The Chosen One (NZ) won his first Group One victory at Trentham on Saturday. Photo: Race Images.

After flying the Karaka flag in some of Australasia’s greatest races over the last four seasons, quality performer The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) scored a well-deserved first Group One victory in Saturday’s $220,000 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham. 

The well-bred son of Savabeel was offered at the 2017 Premier Sale with a $150,000 reserve and has gone on to star on the big stage. His 37 starts have produced seven wins, eight placings and over $2.3 million in stakes.

Saturday’s Thorndon Mile was the fifth black-type win for The Chosen One, who had previously captured the Group Two Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), Group Three Manawatu Classic (2000m), Group Three Frank Packer Plate (2000m) and Listed Canterbury Stakes (1600m).

But some of his greatest performances have come in defeat, with six stakes placings including the Group One Caulfield Cup (2400m), Sydney Cup (3200m), Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and WFA Classic (1600m), while he has run fourth and fifth in the last two editions of the Melbourne Cup (3200m) and also finished fourth in the Australian Derby (2400m).

Victory at Group One level had often seemed to be more a case of when than if, and it finally happened on Saturday. With Matthew Cameron in the saddle, the six-year-old entire settled in fourth before emphatically asserting his superiority in the Trentham straight. He quickened brilliantly and sprinted clear, leaving a high-class field behind and scoring by two and a quarter lengths.

“Sometimes these stallions only do what they have to until you ask them,” Cameron said. “I gave him one behind the saddle, and he really accelerated and showed that determination to win, which was just awesome.”

The Chosen One is trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman for an ownership group that includes his breeders, the Dennis brothers, along with Milan Park’s Tony Rider and Phoenix Park’s Janine Dunlop. The Chosen One was offered in the Phoenix Park draft at Karaka 2017.

“It was a very good effort,” Baker said. “He had a month in the paddock when he came home from Melbourne, but he had retained a fair bit of fitness. He also has an excellent fresh-up record, so we studied the conditions of this race and decided to have a crack at it.

“He’s won more than twice the prize-money of any of his rivals, and with the light weight we thought he could be pretty competitive – he has raced against some of the best in Australia and hasn’t been disgraced. It was a lovely ride by Matt, and it’s a thrill to win the race for everyone involved in him.

“He ran second in the Herbie Dyke Stakes fresh-up last year, so it would be nice to think he might be able to go one better next month. That is the natural target for him, and then we will have a think about taking him to Sydney in the spring for a race like the Sydney Cup (Group One, 3200m).

“He is just so versatile, and I would think the win today has definitely set him up for a stud career once he has finished on the track. He comes from a fabulous family and is by a champion sire.”

The Chosen One is the 27th individual Group One winner by super-sire Savabeel. He is out of the Group Three-placed The Glitzy One (Flying Spur), whose dam The Jewel (NZ) (O’Reilly) was New Zealand’s champion three-year-old in 2002-03 and won the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).

Saturday’s Thorndon Mile runner-up Coventina Bay (NZ) (Shamexpress) is also a Karaka graduate, passed in with a $20,000 reserve during the 2017 Select Sale. She has had 20 starts for nine wins, five placings and $324,180 in stakes.

Coventina Bay’s biggest win came in the Group Two Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in December, and she is now a two-time placegetter at Group One level, having chased home the outstanding Avantage (Fastnet Rock) in last year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).

There are two close relatives to The Chosen One offered in Phoenix Park’s Karaka 2022 Book 1 draft.

Lot 354 is a filly by So You Think out of O’Reilly mare La Bella Delicia (NZ). This Lot is only the third filly in the last 20 years to be offered to market from the famed ‘THE’ family, bred by prolific breeders the Dennis brothers.

Lot 360 is another close relative to The Chosen One, with Phoenix Park offering an American Pharoah colt out of Champion 3YO Filly in NZ La Diosa (NZ) (So You Think). This is her first foal.

Vendor Phoenix Park
Breeding Savabeel – The Glitzy One
Sale Lot 445, 2017 Premier Sale, Psd (Res $150,000)
Bred by A G, K J, M C & P R Dennis