Valuable Filly Claims Early Black Type

21 November 2022

Well-bred filly Ethereal Star (NZ) claims the Listed Challenge Stakes. Photo: Trish Dunell.

One of Karaka 2022’s highest-priced fillies has provided a valuable early return to her connections, capturing Saturday’s $90,000 Listed Barfoot & Thompson Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe in her second career start. 

Ethereal Star (Snitzel) was a $600,000 purchase from the Book 1 draft of Blandford Lodge earlier this year. She has now had a win and a placing from two starts, with her value far surpassing her earnings of $57,300.

A strong-finishing second on debut at Te Rapa earlier this month, the Andrew Forsman-trained Ethereal Star greatly appreciated the step up to 1100 metres on Saturday and delivered a high-class performance.

Racing wide and midfield under jockey Wiremu Pinn through the early stages of the race, Ethereal Star worked through her gears after rounding the home turn. Her final 150 metres were the strongest of all, drawing clear for a comfortable win by a length and three-quarters over Balance Of Power (NZ) (Almanzor). The rest of the field finished almost five lengths adrift of the first pair.

“She’s a really nice horse,” Pinn said. “I didn’t do her any favours, being out three wide with no cover. From that sticky gate (six), she jumped too well to go back and get cover, while going forward would have left her vulnerable.

“Full credit to her. She travelled well all the way, and I think she will be even better on top of the ground. She has won with a bit of authority today.”

Saturday’s win was particularly satisfying for Forsman, who bought her at Karaka during a period of transition at his Cambridge stable – his long-time training partner Murray Baker was in the process of retiring and leaving Forsman in sole charge of the operation.

Ethereal Star is a daughter of Eleonora (NZ) (Makfi), who was trained by Baker and Forsman to win Group Three races at Caulfield and Ellerslie along with a placing in the Group One VRC Oaks (2500m).

“It was great to see this filly win like that,” Forsman said. “You’re always a bit nervous when the track is rain-affected and you don’t know whether they are going to handle it, but there were only seven runners and black type was up for grabs.

“Provided she comes through this race well, she won’t need another run between now and the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).

“It’s great to get this result for the Zame Family – we’ve had so much success with their colours over the years – and also Ben Kwok, who has been one of my biggest supporters since I started my solo training career and gave me the confidence to go to Karaka to buy this filly.”

Runner-up Balance Of Power is also a graduate of Book 1 of Karaka 2022, where he was bought by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $300,000.

Vendor Blandford Lodge
Purchaser Forsman Racing/Andrew Williams Bloodstock/Bevan Smith Bloodstock (Waikato)
Breeding Snitzel – Eleonora
Sale Lot 217, Karaka 2022 Book 1, $600,000
Bred by JML Bloodstock