Hastings-trained filly Cinzento will now step up to the Group 2 $100,000 James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa on October 28 after breaking through for a maiden success at Taupō on Wednesday of last week.
The John Bary-trained daughter of Dalghar capped off three previous minor placings with a game winning performance in the 1300m maiden three-year-old race at Taupō, overcoming difficulties in the running in doing so.
Cinzento drew the widest of the nine runners and was taken back to a clear last in the early stages by jockey Donavan Mansour. She then started a forward move around the field entering the last 600m but was carted out very wide on the home turn when Laureate, on her inside, made the bend awkwardly.
By the time Mansour got the filly balanced up again she was many lengths off the leader Wild West, who looked to have established a winning break. But Cinzento hit top gear in the last 200m, charging home to snatch a short-head victory on the line.
Mansour was having his second consecutive ride on Cinzento and said the win made up for an unlucky last start sixth over 1200m at Hastings on September 21, where the filly was held up in the home straight and blundered 250m from the finish.
Cinzento is owned by the Challenge No.10 Syndicate, a 60-member group managed by Adrian Clark. The syndicate members include Brian and Lorraine Henneker from Napier and Taupō-based Allan and Judy Payne and both couples have enjoyed good success with Challenge Syndicates in the past. For three other members, it was their first ever winner.
Clark purchased Cinzento off gavelhouse.com for $5000 after an unfortunate incident with another syndicate filly.
"This syndicate had two fillies, one was by Atlante, the other was Jennifer Eccles and the Atlante went through a fence," Clark said.
"I said to the syndicate I have to buy you another horse to replace it as a goodwill gesture.
I found this horse on gavelhouse and loved her. She was raw and she was cheeky."
Cinzento won an 850m Woodville trial in November last year before a debut second over 1000m at Otaki. She followed that up with a fourth in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham but tended to want to over-race in her next few starts.
"She hasn't been an easy horse, but John and his team have moulded her, and the penny dropped two starts ago at Hastings, when she settled a lot better," Clark added.
"Now that we have got her to settle, she deserves a go at a stakes race, so we'll run her in the Sarten Memorial on Labour Day."
Cinzento's Taupō success was the first official win for the Challenge No.10 Syndicate although Jennifer Eccles was first past the post in an 1100m three-year-old fillies race at Hastings on August 31, only to be relegated to second for alleged interference. The daughter of Rip Van Winkle, prepared at Cambridge by Shaun Ritchie, then finished a creditable fourth in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings on September 21.
Jennifer Eccles holds a nomination for next month's Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and will have her next start in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on October 26.
"When I last looked, she was 18th in order of entry in the Thousand Guineas so, hopefully, a first three placing in the Soliloquy should get her a run in the race," Clark said.
"Mind you, she would need to perform well at Ellerslie to make it worthwhile putting her on a plane to Christchurch as it costs a lot of money to get a horse down there."
The Chosen One rehandicap
New Zealand galloper The Chosen One has been given a half-kilogram penalty for next month's Melbourne Cup (3200m) for his victory in last Saturday's Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained stayer also passed the first ballot clause with the win and now has 52kg in the Melbourne Cup on November 5 and is 37th in the order of entry.
In winning the Herbert Power, The Chosen One won exemption into tomorrow's Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), and under the conditions of that race could not be penalised and will run with 52kg.
"The Chosen One was, however, eligible to be penalised for the Melbourne Cup and it was appropriate to acknowledge he is a quality four-year-old with an emerging form line," VRC manager of racing Greg Carpenter said.
"While he already meets most rivals from Saturday on worse weight terms in the Melbourne Cup, he was strong at the end of the contest on Saturday, so the decision was made to issue a 0.5kg penalty to amend his Melbourne Cup weight to 52kg."
The Chosen One is at a $26 quote for the Melbourne Cup.
The Shark no certain Cox runner
The Moonee Valley Racing Club faces a major selection dilemma next week when assembling the field for this year's A$5 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 26.
With the retirement of star mare Winx, who won the Cox Plate for a record-breaking four years in a row, the weight-for-age ranks in Australasia are looking decidedly even.
Factoring in spots taken by overseas-trained invited runners, plus the winners of exemption races means several of Australasia's best weight-for-age gallopers may be left out of this year's race.
Exempt race winners this year include Harlem (Australian Cup), Homesman (Feehan Stakes) and Cape of Good Hope (Caulfield Stakes) and that trio remain paid-up acceptors for the Cox Plate.
There are a further three horses that have accepted invites from the MVRC to run in the Cox Plate – Danceteria (David Menuisier), Kluger (Tomokazu Takano) and Lys Gracieux (Yoshito Yahagi).
It leaves just eight spots remaining in the capacity 14-horse field with the MVRC using their discretion to select the remainder of the runners next week, with around 23 horses holding legitimate claims for a place in the race.
Among those contenders is the Jamie Richards-trained Te Akau Shark, who turned in a strong performance to run a narrow second in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) when carrying 4kg more than the winner Kolding.
The star Kiwi with a cult-following has won five of his nine career starts and finished second in a further three, but without a Group 1 win on his CV, the prospects of the $9-chance gaining a start remain at the discretion of the committee, who have a difficult task to select the final field early next week.
Group 1 winners Avilius, Mystic Journey, Hartnell, Humidor, Gailo Chop, Gatting, Kings Will Dream, Fierce Impact, Verry Elleegant, Castelvecchio and Flit all remain in contention.
"The committee is going to have their work ahead of them to knock this down to 14 horses, plus emergencies," Moonee Valley chief executive Michael Browell said.
"It is a good problem to have. We have had smallish Cox Plate fields in recent years, mainly due to the Winx impact. We have guidelines that aren't written in stone, but it does come down to final committee discretion.
"There has been plenty of discussion and debate over the merits of a horse like Te Akau Shark, but it might be that the committee do consider an X-factor component as to whether or not a horse like Te Akau Shark makes his way into the final field."
Dundeel's fourth Group 1 winner
Arrowfield Stud-based stallion Dundeel, by High Chaparral, was credited with his fourth Group 1 winner last Saturday courtesy of Super Seth's remarkable win in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
The Anthony Freedman-trained three-year-old was purchased for $280,000 by Dean Hawthorne at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the Arrowfield Stud draft and has now won four of his seven starts.
Dundeel's other elite level winners are Yourdeel, Castelvecchio and Atyaab and he is standing at Arrowfield for a fee of $A66,000. Several Hawke's Bay people still retain shares in Dundeel, including Havelock North couples Murray and Jo Andersen and Dave and Jenny Morison.
Travelling Light glows
Lightly raced three-year-old Travelling Light indicated she is on target for some bigger assignments when she produced a powerful sprint in difficult conditions for a hollow victory at Matamata last Saturday.
The Ben Foote-trained El Roca filly had been a stylish winner over 1300m on a good surface at Taupō last month after being unbeaten in two trials preceding that debut effort.
Saturday's heavy-10 underfoot conditions added intrigue to the three-year-old 1400m contest however Travelling Light handled the testing ground with aplomb as she travelled like a winner behind the pacemaker Gigolo George throughout.
Angled into the clear on the point of the home turn by rider Sam Collett, Travelling Light quickly burst past race favourite Harlech before cruising clear to win untouched by just over six lengths.
Foote had been confident of a good performance but did harbour some concerns about the heavy track.
"She's not an extravagant filly, as she does just what she has to at home, but she has shown us plenty all the way through.
"She travelled up really well and the turn of foot in the ground was quite surprising actually, but just showed what she is capable of."
Foote will now aim Travelling Light at the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie tomorrow week before deciding on whether she makes a trip south to contest the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton next month.
Travelling Light is the third foal of their handy racemare Cissy Bowen who won five times from 30 career starts. She is also a half-sister to stakes performer The Great Southern who finished third in the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) as a three-year-old.