Markus Aurelius (NZ) Masters Coupland’s Bakeries Mile

11 November 2021

Markus Aurelius (NZ) is triumphant in the 2021 Group Two Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m). Photo: Race Images.

Born and raised in Otago and sold at New Zealand Bloodstock’s South Island Sale, Markus Aurelius (NZ) (Ghibellines) made a triumphant southern homecoming in Wednesday’s $230,000 Group Two Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton Park.

Bought for just $13,000 by Te Akau Racing’s David E

llis from the draft of his breeders White Robe Lodge, the gelding has now won seven of his 16 starts and $246,771 in stakes – more than 18 times his purchase price.

The Coupland’s Bakeries Mile had been earmarked for more than six months as a long-term target for Markus Aurelius, following a breakthrough 2020-21 season that featured five wins from nine appearances.

The Jamie Richards-trained runner had risen to be among the topweights at 57.5 kilograms, and his task was made even tougher by the extreme outside gate in a field of 13.

But champion jockey Opie Bosson went forward and took up a perfect position trailing the front-running Seriously (NZ) (O’Reilly).

Markus Aurelius loomed alongside the leader at the top of Riccarton’s long home straight, and he fought off all challengers through the last 400 metres to score by three-quarters of a length.

“He just travelled beautifully for me throughout the race,” Bosson said. “We got a little bit of cover in behind the leader, which was what we were looking for.

“I thought I was a sitting duck and I was a bit worried when the other ones came up beside me, but I just brought him out a little bit so he could see them. To his credit, he just kept digging.”

Richards was represented at Riccarton on Wednesday by assistant trainer Sam Bergerson.

“When he got stuck wide, he had no choice but to go forward, and that was probably the winning of the race,” Bergerson said. “He has been consistent all season long and run some brilliant races down here, and it is great to see him get the result.”

The win continued a remarkable week for Richards, Bosson and the Te Akau team, who won Saturday’s $500,000 Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) with Karaka graduate Noverre (NZ) (Savabeel). The same combination previously won the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile in 2018 with another top-class galloper sourced from Karaka, the multiple Group One winner Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle).

Wednesday’s Coupland’s Bakeries Mile was an NZB quinella, with runner-up Seriously purchased for $220,000 from the draft of Waikato Stud at the 2017 Premier Sale.

Vendor White Robe Lodge
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Ghibellines – Evancho
Sale Lot 33, 2018 South Island Sale, $13,000
Bred by B J Anderton ONZM & Mrs L E Anderton