Dionysus (NZ) Delivers in Dunstan
2 January 2022
Up-and-comer Dionysus (NZ) (Ocean Park) produced a stellar performance to take top billing in an all-Karaka trifecta in the keenly contested $100,000 Dunstan Feeds Stayers’ Championship Final (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Offered by Cambridge Stud in Book 1 of Karaka 2019, Dionysus was a $45,000 purchase by trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood. The super-talented stayer has now had 10 starts for three wins, two placings and $84,105 in stakes.
Backing up from a second placing at the same course just six days earlier, Dionysus faced a tricky task jumping from a wide gate against a field stacked with strong recent form.
But jockey Opie Bosson found a handy position just behind the front-running Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes), and Dionysus took care of the rest. He burst to the lead soon after rounding the home turn, then pinned his ears back and held on gamely to beat the strong-finishing Rapid Falls (NZ) (Sacred Falls) and Margaret Jean (NZ) (Sacred Falls).
“I’m pretty excited about this horse,” Wellwood said. “He ran on Boxing Day, and he’s still a bit weak and fragile. He was on the back-up today, we didn’t really do a lot with him, and he got the job done. In time he could be a very nice staying horse.”
Wellwood believes Dionysus could be a candidate to take the place of Group One-winning stable star Concert Hall (NZ) (Savabeel), who played another starring role in Saturday’s Group Three City of Auckland Cup (2400m).
“Concert Hall probably heads to the broodmare paddock next season, so we need someone to follow her up,” he said. “He’s done a really good job today after doing some work early, and he let down very strongly, so we’re looking forward to him in another year.
“A race like the Auckland Cup is probably too soon for him this year, but we will see how he comes through this before making any decisions.”
Epona Park will offer a half-sister by Embellish (NZ) at Karaka 2022, set to go through the ring as Lot 909 during the Book 2 session.
Runner-up Rapid Falls was a $90,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2018 and has earned $88,862 in a 16-start, three-win career to date. The third placegetter Margaret Jean was bought for $90,000 from Karaka 2019 and has had eight starts for two wins, three placings and $45,455 in stakes.
|Purchaser||Mr RA James / Mr R Wellwood (Waikato)|
|Breeding||Ocean Park – La Quinta|
|Sale||Lot 163, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $45,000|
|Bred by||Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan|