Pacific Dragon (NZ) Relentless in Ryder Stakes

1 August 2022

Pacific Dragon (NZ) wins the $60,000 Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa.

With a never-say-die performance in Saturday’s $60,000 Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa, Cambridge filly Pacific Dragon (NZ) (Charm Spirit) became the 10th individual stakes winner from the class of Karaka 2021. 

Bought for $70,000 from the Book 1 draft of Windsor Park Stud, Pacific Dragon has now had nine starts for three wins, four placings and $138,300 in stakes – almost double her purchase price.

She has joined the Karaka 2021 stakes-winning club alongside Group Two winner and Group One-placed Wolverine (NZ) (Tivaci), Group winners Alabama Gold (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) and Ruthless Dame (NZ) (Tavistock), $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner and Group One-placed Dynastic (NZ) (Almanzor), and Listed winners Diss Is Dramatic (NZ) (Dissident), Leedox (NZ) (Time Test), Lord Cosmos (Pierro), Sharp ‘N’ Smart (NZ) (Redwood) and Sophmaze (NZ) (Derryn).

Pacific Dragon has been a quality performer throughout the New Zealand two-year-old season. Trained by Tony Pike, she finished second in her first two starts in September and October before clearing maiden grade at Pukekohe Park in December.

Stepping up to stakes class in the Group Two Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, Pacific Dragon was first past the post but was later relegated to second behind Wolverine.

She finished fifth in the Karaka Million 2YO and the Group Two Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), then came back from an autumn break with a third placing at Ruakaka in June. Pacific Dragon returned to winning form with a commanding victory in the inaugural $60,000 2YO Winter Championship Series Final (1200m) at Ruakaka on July 16, then added Saturday’s Listed feature two weeks later.

Ridden positively by Michael McNab, Pacific Dragon sat outside the leader before taking command in the home straight. Challengers lined up wider out on the track, but Pacific Dragon never surrendered her advantage, hanging tough and holding on to win by three-quarters of a length.

“Today she hit the ground running from a wide draw,” stable representative Chris McNab told NZ Racing Desk. “I think the others probably got on terms with her at least, but just never went past her.

“She was being attacked on both sides, and she did it really well. She is one tough customer.

“We will see what happens now – at some stage she will end up in Australia with Henry Dwyer. Getting that stakes win today is fantastic after having one taken off her at Ellerslie.

“We will let the dust settle before deciding what she does next, but she has matured a lot lately and is a good tough filly who you’d like to have a hundred of in the stable.

“She has been to every dance, on every track condition, and you probably wouldn’t get a heavier surface than today, so it is very satisfying to see her get the reward she has.”

Pacific Dragon was bred by Qatar Bloodstock and races in the emerald green, royal blue and white colours of owners Swettenham Stud.

The Ryder Stakes produced a clean sweep for New Zealand Bloodstock, with the second to fifth placegetters all being Karaka graduates – Sophmaze (NZ) (Derryn), Lycomedes (Nicconi), Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) and Winexpress (NZ) (Shamexpress).

Vendor Windsor Park Stud
Purchaser Henry Dwyer Racing (Victoria)
Breeding Charm Spirit – Daring
Sale Lot 341, Karaka 2021 Book 1, $70,000
Bred by Qatar Bloodstock