Milford (NZ) Too Tough in Eclipse Stakes

27 November 2022

Milford (NZ) (Savabeel) mastered the A$200,000 Group Three Lamaro’s Hotel Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday, completing a trans-Tasman stakes double for Karaka-sourced sons of champion Kiwi sire Savabeel.

Milford winning
Milford winning the G3 Eclipse Stakes

Bought for $360,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2019, Milford has now won four of his 21 starts and A$566,421 in prize-money. His impressive win on Saturday afternoon came just an hour after the $100,000 purchase Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) scored at Group Three level at Te Rapa.

Milford was ridden close up behind the pace by jockey Blake Shinn at Caulfield on Saturday and pounced in the straight, holding out the late challenge of strong-finishing fellow Kiwi-bred El Gladiador (NZ) (Ghibellines) by half a length.

“I was just trying to assess the opportunities that were being presented to me, getting into clear air, and there wasn’t much happening,” Shinn said. “I had one outside me and one stopping in front of me, so I just had to pull a little manoeuvre there and quickly get across heels.

“Once I did that, the race was in our keeping from about the 300-metre mark. He did a good job.”

Milford began his career with Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, for whom he won the Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m) and was runner-up in the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m).

Since relocating across the Tasman to join new trainer Mike Moroney, Milford has added three wins – all at Caulfield – including the Group Three Easter Cup (2000m) and Saturday’s Eclipse.

Milford has struggled on rain-affected ground at times during this spring preparation, and Moroney believed Saturday’s improved track conditions contributed to his return to winning form.

“It’s just down to the good ground,” he said. “If you watch his run in the Five Diamonds (1800m) in Sydney, he copped a battering from pillar to post. He got one right in the ribs and set off towards the outside fence on the corner. He picked himself up and ran home, but the ground was too wet for him, so getting back on better ground was the key. A couple of runs ago, he travelled up like the winner but his wheels began to spin, so it was really just the change of ground.

“He was travelling nicely throughout today. For a while there, I thought he let a couple go around him and I thought he was struggling, but Blake knew what he was doing and got out at the right time.

“This horse is just hitting his straps now, so we could look at the Lord Stakes (Listed, 1700m) on Boxing Day. But we’ve got to consider the autumn to a degree too, so we’ll just see what there is for him.”

Bred by Waikato Stud, Milford is out of Etiquette (NZ) (O’Reilly), an unraced full-sister to the multiple Group One winner and highly successful sire Sacred Falls (NZ).

Vendor Waikato Stud Ltd
Purchaser Bruce Perry Bloodstock (BAFNZ) (Masterton)
Breeding Savabeel – Etiquette
Sale Lot 14, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $360,000
Bred by Waikato Stud Ltd