Group 1 glory for Danzdanzdance

Danzdanzdance (Mastercraftsman) cost just $5,000 as a yearling at Karaka, and on Saturday she became a Group 1 winner with an outstanding performance in the $200,000 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

The Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley-trained runner had already proven that she belonged at the elite level, placing in this year’s New Zealand Derby (2400m) and Livamol Classic (2040m). Saturday’s big breakthrough performance boosted her career earnings past $300,000, and her overall value far beyond that.

Ridden by Opie Bosson, the grey four-year-old raced in midfield before emerging on the outside at the top of the home straight. Bosson pushed the button and Danzdanzdance’s response was explosive, powering away to win by four lengths.

“She is a very smart mare,” Bosson said. “I was a little bit sceptical coming into it fresh-up over a mile with a bit of cut in the ground.

“Turning for home I was just hoping I wasn’t going to get there too soon, but she is a very classy mare. I didn’t realise the turn of foot she had.”

Danzdanzdance was bought out of the 2016 Select Sale and syndicated by Kylie Bax under her BAX Bloodstock Achieving Xcellence banner.

“It’s amazing – we were all shouting, it’s lucky we didn’t bring the stand down,” she said. “I paid only $5000 to buy her. It’s unbelievable. She’s raced by a great and diverse group of owners, and some of them have never even had horses before.”

Danzdanzdance has now had 10 starts for three wins, four placings and $316,713 in prize-money, which is more than 63 times her purchase price.

Fellow Karaka graduates Our Abbadean (NZ) (Lookin At Lucky) and Ocean Emperor (NZ) (Zabeel) finished third and fourth.

Vendor Blandford Lodge
Purchaser NZB as agent (Matamata)
Breeding Mastercraftsman – Night Danza
Sale Lot 1061, 2016 Select Sale, $5,000
Bred by W G & H G Bax

In other news Karaka Book 1 graduate Aotea Lad (NZ) (Savabeel) began his career on the perfect note at Trentham on Saturday, winning the $100,000 Group 2 Anuka Smoker Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) in his very first start.

The Jamie Richards-trained gelding had shown good ability in a recent trial win and was the $2.20 favourite for the time-honoured two-year-old feature, and he lived up to expectations with a stylish performance.

Rider Opie Bosson positioned him in third-last in the eight-horse field, and he rushed to the lead with a strong turn of foot in the straight. He faced challenges on both flanks, but fought them off and won by half a length.

“He showed a really good turn of foot and got to the lead all by himself, but then a little bit of greenness kicked in,” Bosson said. “He had a look at the big screen.

“He’d had only two trials before this, so he’s going to learn a lot. He’s a special little horse, a little professional and I think he’s got a lot ahead of him.”

Trained by Jamie Richards for the Te Akau Love Life Syndicate, Aotea Lad has had one start for one win, earning $62,500 in prize-money.

He is now likely to be set for the Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 26.

“He’s got it all ahead of him,” travelling foreman Paul Richards said. “He’ll probably go for the Eclipse Stakes now (Ellerslie, January 1) and then on to the Karaka Million.”

Aotea Lad was offered in Phoenix Park’s draft at the Karaka Book 1 Sale in January of this year, and he was bought for $200,000 by Te Akau principal David Ellis.

The catalogue for Book 1 of Karaka 2019 features a half-sister to Aotea Lad. Lot 651 is a filly by Makfi out of Corsage (NZ) (Volksraad).

Vendor Phoenix Park
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Savabeel – Corsage
Sale Lot 124, 2018 Karaka Book 1, $200,000
Bred by M W Boyd, D C Ellis, J A Elstob, K W Fenton-Ellis MNZM, J M Langley, G M Southworth, Mrs J & M W Walker

aturday’s $70,000 Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie produced a trifecta of Karaka graduates, headed by Spirits Aubeer (Spirit of Boom).

Spirits Aubeer was bought for $55,000 at the 2017 Select Sale, and Saturday’s win was his third and the biggest of his career to date. The $160,000 Premier Sale graduate Surely Sacred (NZ) (Rock ‘N’ Pop) was a fast-finishing second, with $50,000 Select Sale graduate Hypnos (NZ) (Reliable Man) third.

Trained and part-owned by Nigel Tiley and ridden by Rowena Smyth, Spirits Aubeer scored a dominant front-running win. He went straight to the lead and never surrendered that advantage, scoring a commanding victory by two and a half lengths.

Spirits Aubeer has now had six starts for three wins, a placing and $66,375 in prize-money – more than his purchase price.

“He’s quite green,” Tiley said. “He is still a pretty raw sort of horse, but he has just got so much ability. I don’t think he knows how good he is.”

Vendor Bradbury Park
Purchaser Mr N Tiley (Auckland)
Breeding Spirit of Boom – Friendly Glow
Sale Lot 711, 2017 Select Sale, $55,000
Bred by Eureka Cambooya Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd

Karaka graduate Celebrity Dream (NZ) (Thorn Park) defended her title in the A$100,000 Listed Ascend Sales-Jungle Dawn Classic (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday, lifting her tally of career black-type victories to four.

With champion Perth jockey William Pike in the saddle, the $260,000 Premier Sale purchase raced in third position in the 11-horse field before asserting her superiority in the straight and winning by a length.

Pike is a big believer in Celebrity Dream’s ability, but he admitted that a deviation from her come-from-behind style had caused him some concern.

“I definitely thought she was capable, but I was worried when she landed so close,” he said.

Trained by Adam Durant for Perth racing’s powerhouse owners Peters Investments Pty Ltd, Celebrity Dream has now had 20 starts for nine wins, six placings and A$453,250 in prize-money – almost double her purchase price.

In addition to her two Jungle Dawn Classic victories, Celebrity Dream has also scored stakes wins in the Listed Jungle Mist Classic (1600m) and Listed Starstruck Classic (1600m).

Bred by Garry Cranny, Frantic Bloodstock Ltd and Haunui Bloodstock Ltd, Celebrity Dream is a daughter of the Red Ransom mare Valpolicella (NZ), winner of three races including the Group 3 Manawatu Classic and Listed Champagne Stakes.

Valpolicella is the dam of four foals to race, three of them winners and three of them stakes winners. Vavasour (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice) won the Group 2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic, Group 3 Counties Cup and Group 3 Waikato Cup, while Vilanova (NZ) (Commands) won the Group 2 Autumn Classic, Group 3 Grand Prix, Listed Tattersalls Club Cup and Listed Star Way Stakes.

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser John Chalmers Bloodstock (Western Australia)
Breeding Thorn Park - Valpolicella
Sale Lot 325, 2014 Premier Sale, $260,000
Bred by G J Cranny, Frantic Bloodstock Ltd & Haunui Bloodstock Ltd