Zee Falls (NZ) Claims Deserved Karaka Cup Success
21 January 2023
After coming so close in countless feature races, quality Karaka-sourced staying mare Zee Falls (NZ) (Sacred Falls) had a deserved moment in the spotlight as the $120,000 Collinson Forex Karaka Cup (2200m) kicked off the action on Karaka Million night at Pukekohe on Saturday.
Zee Falls was bought for $130,000 at Karaka 2019 from the Book 1 draft of Waikato Stud, who will offer a half-brother by Tivaci (Lot 5) at Karaka 2023 next week. From 26 starts, Zee Falls has now recorded three wins, four seconds and five thirds, earning $273,300.
Zee Falls was a black-type winner early in her three-year-old season, taking out the Group Three Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki in just her fourth career start. But she was forced to play supporting roles through the rest of her three and four-year-old campaigns, finishing eighth in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), second in the Group Two Waikato Guineas (2000m), fourth in the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m), sixth in the Group One New Zealand Oaks (2400m), second in the Group Three Manawatu Cup (2250m), third in the Group Three City of Auckland Cup (2400m) and third in the Listed Anzac Mile (1550m).
Until Saturday’s breakthrough, her five-year-old season had brought more of the same – fourth in the Listed Staphanos Classic (1950m), second in the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m), fourth in the Group Three Counties Cup (2100m), sixth in the Group Three Waikato Cup (2400m) and a last-start third in the Group Three Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m).
But this was finally her day. Slotted into a beautiful midfield position by world-class visiting Australian jockey Damian Lane, Zee Falls was doing everything with ease as she cruised into striking position approaching the home turn.
Lane went for gold in the straight and Zee Falls responded, charging past the front-running Sagunto (NZ) (O’Reilly) and opening up a clear lead. She began to tire in the last 150 metres, but held all challengers at bay and scored by three-quarters of a length.
“Thanks to New Zealand Bloodstock for putting on this fantastic raceday – it’s one of the best days on the calendar, and it’s great to start off with a win,” trainer Stephen Marsh said.
“This is a brilliant result. She’s been running such good races in all of those big Cups, and we just thought this would be a beautiful race for her. It’s awesome to have a world-class rider like Damian Lane aboard today, and he rode her perfectly.
“I’m thrilled for the owners. She’s a lovely mare, and she’ll make a lovely broodmare in time. She might end up being sold a bit later in the year for her breeding career, but a race like the Travis Stakes (Group Two, 2000m) for fillies and mares at Te Rapa might be a nice one to aim at before that happens.”
The Tivaci half-brother to Zee Falls will be offered early on the first day of Book 1 of Karaka 2023, going through the ring as Lot 5.
|Marsh Racing (Waikato)
|Sacred Falls – Zelitist
|Lot 541, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $130,000