St Reims Sizzles In The Derby

27 December 2002

The time-honoured Group 1 $500,000 Mercedes New Zealand Derby (2400m) produced another great finish at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, with a brave St Reims (Zabeel x L'Quiz) holding off the late challengers to score a very satisfying win for his connections.

In a great front running display, ex-pat jockey Greg Childs rated the regally bred St Reims beautifully, ensuring that the colt had just enough left at the end of the race to hold out gallant second place-getter Kajema (O'Reilly x Vreeland) by a neck, with Woburn (Groom Dancer x Harriet) finishing in third place.

Trainer Chris McNab and owners the February Syndicate, headed by Rob McAnulty, will undoubtedly be delighted with St Reims' Group 1 winning effort, as the horse has had its detractors after taking a few races to find winning form.

The talented young stayer was purchased by Rob McAnulty for a cool $1 million at the Premier Session of the 2001 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale from the draft of Cambridge Stud. The winner's share of the $500,000 prize money goes some way to repaying his purchase price but more importantly the win has increased his value at stud.

St Reims' win has ensured that there will be plenty of interest in Lot 190, a full sister to not only St Reims, but also the classy Group 1 winning mare Champagne, of the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales Series. The well related filly will be offered by Cambridge Stud on the second day of the Premier Sale at Karaka on January 28.

The National Yearling Sales Series takes place at Karaka from January 27 to February 4.

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