Te Akau mare adds the Peter Young to growing Melbourne haul

New Zealand Group 1 winning racemare Campionessa (NZ) enhanced her impressive race record when scoring a narrow success in the $300,000, Group 2, Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) defeating Melbourne Cup winners Vow And Declare and Gold Trip (Fr) in second and third respectively.

A traditional lead-up to the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m),  the Standard Weight for Age contest saw the overseas visitor go to post the $2.70 favourite and receive a ground saving steer from Michael Dee. Ridden inside runners for most of the contest after breaking from barrier 1,  Campionessa (NZ) squeezed between her rivals in the short Caulfield straight and managed to score in an epic photo-finish from the evergreen 8-year-old Vow And Declare.

Third home proved to be another Melbourne Cup winner in the form of Gold Trip (Fr) who made up many lengths from the tail of the field to finish within a length of the winner on unfavourable Good 4 ground.

Significantly, Campionessa’s winning time of 1m50.45s was almost a full second slower than that recorded by the 3-year-old Immediacy (NZ) in the Autumn Classic one race earlier.

Campionessa (orange blinkers) just does enough to hold off Vow And Declare in the Peter Young; picture Racing Photos

Winning jockey Michael Dee claimed after the win: “I wasn’t sure pre-race if we were going to lead or box seat. Eventually did box seat and it was just a matter of biding our time at that stage and waiting for the gaps to come. Fortunately the gap did come and she gave a really good kick. 

“I thought we were going to win quite comfortably at that stage and then I think being first time at Caulfield, hit the front and probably just had a bit of a look around, so it wasn’t until Vow And Declare came again, she found that little bit extra.

“Her form in New Zealand is very, very good. Her run last start was huge behind Legarto, so I was very confident. I was happy with barrier one, although it can be a bit tricky at times — that just enabled us to possie-up where we needed to and she’s obviously very fit for this, so that probably got her across the line.”

Trained by Mark Walker for the  all conquering Te Akau trans-Tasman racing stable, Campionessa (NZ) is now more likely to drop back in distance than step up to the 2000m of the Australian Cup. Asked his immediate plans for the 6-year-old daughter of Contributor, Walker stated: “My gut feeling, [and I] don’t ever make decisions on race day, but my gut feel is we’ll probably come back to a mile. The Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley and there’s a Group One in Sydney called the Queen Of The Turf Stakes, so that’s my gut feeling on today.”

Campionessa (NZ) was returned a firm $2.70 favourite, Vow And Declare at $21.00, and Gold Trip (Fr) at $3.00.

As previously revealed, winning time was 1m50.45s, and the official margins 1/2 head x 3/4 lengths.

Campionessa (NZ) took her earnings through the seven-figure mark to $1,160,977 following 11 wins and nine placings from 30 career starts.