Karaka Mares Star in Rotorua Stakes

17 May 2021

Pop Star Princess (NZ) wins the Group Three  Rydges Rotorua Stakes (1400m). Photo: Trish Dunell.  

Two mares bought for a combined total of $14,000, and another who was passed in with a $10,000 reserve, played starring roles in an all-Karaka finish to Saturday’s $70,000 Group Three Rydges Rotorua Stakes (1400m). 

The $4,000 weanling purchase Pop Star Princess (NZ) (Makfi) scored a brilliant front-running victory in the fillies and mares’ feature, improving her record to nine wins from 37 starts and $243,605 in stakes – 60 times her purchase price.

The runner-up Supreme Heights (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) was passed in with a $10,000 reserve and has earned $191,460, while third-placed Katie Perrie (NZ) (Rock ‘n’ Pop) was a $10,000 purchase and has now amassed $95,979.

The Rotorua Stakes was a deserved black-type breakthrough for Pop Star Princess, who had previously finished third behind Group One winners Bostonian (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) and Santa Monica (NZ) (Per Incanto) in the Listed Counties Bowl (1100m), along with a fifth in the Group Two Foxbridge Plate (1200m), fifth in the Group Three Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) and sixth in another edition of the Counties Bowl.

She was also runner-up behind Supera (NZ) (Savabeel) in the $40,000 Lisa Chittick Plate (1400m) at Matamata, which has been run only twice to date but has attracted black-type-quality fields on both occasions.

Saturday was finally her day, breaking brilliantly from the starting gate and dominating the race from the front.

While many of the field came wide around the home turn, Jonathan Riddell stuck to the inside on Pop Star Princess and saved crucial ground. His mount kept going strongly for him all the way down the straight, holding on for a comfortable victory by a length and a quarter.

Pop Star Princess is trained at Cambridge by Fred and Lindsay Cornege, who also share ownership in a lease arrangement in partnership with Sue and Pat Calnan, who bought her for $4,000 at Karaka.

Fred Cornege told NZ Racing Desk that the team will now target a black-type double in the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m) on 26 June.

“When she is in the zone, this mare is very tough to head,” he said. “When she got the break, I thought she was going to be very hard to catch. They were pegging her back, but she still had something up her sleeve to hold them out.

“Our lease runs out at the end of this season, so she will be going back to her owners then. Now she has shown she can handle the deeper tracks, we will give her a week in the paddock and then get her ready for the race at Tauranga towards the end of next month.”

Vendor Blandford Lodge
Purchaser PJ & SN Calnan Partnership
Breeding Makfi – Queen of Pop
Sale Lot 113, 2015 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, $4,000
Bred by JML Bloodstock