Group One Glory for Prise De Fer (NZ)

5 December 2022

After more than a dozen previous starts at the highest level and a string of placings, Te Akau Racing’s Group One warrior Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) finally had a richly deserved breakthrough in Saturday’s $300,000 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

It was the 11th win of a 39-start career for the seven-year-old gelding, who has now earned $823,600 in stakes for the Te Akau En Garde Syndicate. Prise De Fer was a $100,000 purchase by David Ellis from Trelawney Stud’s draft at Karaka’s 2017 Premier Sale. 

Prise De Fer (NZ) winning Staurday's G1 Rydges Wellington Captian Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham

Saturday’s overdue slice of Group One glory was the second feature-race win in a week for Prise De Fer, who had charged home from last to capture the Group Three Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa the previous weekend.

Prise De Fer was ridden on Saturday by Michael McNab, again easing back to the tail of the field as Deerfield (NZ) (Falkirk) set a solid pace out in front.

McNab kept a close eye on the race favourite Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) every step of the way, following suit when that rival began to improve coming up to the home turn.

Aegon swept to the lead with half of the Trentham straight remaining, but Prise De Fer quickly joined him and threw down his challenge.

The well-performed pair fought a desperate battle to the finish, with Prise De Fer gradually gaining the ascendancy and edging ahead to score by half a length.

“We had this plan as soon as the draw came out and they ran the race along at a genuine tempo,” McNab said. “That is how it should be run, where they all get their chance. He was the best horse today and really deserved it.

“He’s tough and genuine and was well prepared for today. I’m really happy, and to do it in these colours is special – David (Ellis) has been super to me.”

Prise De Fer is trained by premiership leader Mark Walker, who was represented at Trentham by assistant trainer Sam Bergerson.

“This horse has been so genuine throughout his whole career,” Bergerson said. “I think this was his 14th go at a Group One, so to see him finally get a result is wonderful.

“He’s definitely a stable favourite, a bit of a character and everyone at home has had to deal with him, so this is quite amazing.”

Prise De Fer became the 28th individual Group One winner for the incomparable Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel, who has 40 yearlings in the catalogue for Book 1 of Karaka 2023.

Saturday’s Captain Cook produced an all-Karaka trifecta. Runner-up Aegon was a $150,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2019 and has now banked over $1.5m, while the third-placed Chase (NZ) (Zed) cost only $9,000 in Book 3 of Karaka 2018 and has earned $156,223.

Vendor Trelawney Stud Ltd
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Savabeel – Foiled
Sale Lot 168, 2017 Premier Sale, $100,000
Bred by Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd