Pop Star Princess (NZ) Heads Karaka Trifecta in Tauranga Classic

28 June 2021

Pop Star Princess (NZ) leads Karaka trifecta in the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m). Photo: Trish Dunell 

Quality mare Pop Star Princess (NZ) (Makfi) scored her second stakes success in Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m), heading a Karaka trifecta with a superb front-running performance.

Bought for just $4,000 from Blandford Lodge’s draft at the 2015 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, the six-year-old has had 39 starts for 10 wins, 11 placings and $271,092 in stakes – more than 67 times her purchase price.

Runner-up Supreme Heights (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) was passed in with a $10,000 reserve at Karaka 2017, and she has earned $227,210 in a 22-start, eight-win career. The third placegetter, Sweet Clementine (NZ) (Sweet Orange), was bought for $75,000 at Karaka 2018. The winner of three of her 18 starts, she collected a valuable first piece of black type on Saturday.

This was the second time in six weeks that Pop Star Princess and Supreme Heights have clashed in a black-type fillies and mares’ feature. They also met in the Group Three Rotorua Stakes (1400m) on May 15, where Pop Star Princess again finished first with Supreme Heights in second.

Supreme Heights had subsequently scored an outstanding win in the Listed AGC Training Stakes (1600m), while Pop Star Princess had been unplaced in an open sprint at Ellerslie, so Supreme Heights was widely expected to turn the tables on Saturday. But Pop Star Princess had other ideas.

Jumping brilliantly from the starting gate under jockey Jonathan Riddell, Pop Star Princess dominated the race from the front. She always had a clear lead, and she quickened again in the straight to increase her advantage.

Supreme Heights forced her way out of a pocket along the rail and tried hard to give chase, but Pop Star Princess powered through the testing rain-affected ground and scored an emphatic win by two and a quarter lengths. Supreme Heights got up into second place, half a length in front of the strong-finishing Sweet Clementine.

Pop Star Princess is trained at Cambridge by Fred and Lindsay Cornege, who also share ownership in a lease arrangement with their co-owners Sue and Pat Calnan.

“What I enjoy is upsetting the experts, and most didn’t have her as the winner today,” Fred Cornege told NZ Racing Desk. “I think they looked at her last start and the fact she was up against Supreme Heights and dismissed her.

“We knew we were in for a good scrap, but it pays to put a line through that Ellerslie run – she has never really gone any good there. She just loves to get into her own rhythm and do things her way. At Ellerslie, it is quite an undulating surface and that seems to trip her up.

“She got her own way today and it was just a lovely ride by Jonathan. That is why you put the senior riders on for the big races. He rode her perfectly.

“She is ours for the next month, and then the lease expires. At this stage there are a few open handicaps that we can look at before then, including a nice open sprint at New Plymouth (Listed Opunake Cup, 1400m, July 24) that might be her swansong for us.”

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