Vosne Romanee springs another Group 1 surprise
Report: New Zealand, Saturday
Ellerslie: Zabeel Classic (Group 1) 1m2f, 3yo+, wfa
TWO MONTHS after causing an upset by landing the Group 1 Kelt Capital Stakes at 54-1, Vosne Romanee (Jeff Lynds/Matthew Cameron) scored another surprise win at the highest level in the Zabeel Classic.
The six-year-old son of Electronic Zone was returned at just over 25-1 in the NZ$200,000 (£88,500/€98,000) contest, but the manner of his victory demonstrated his win was no fluke.
With Matthew Cameron deputising for regular jockey Buddy Lamas, absent through injury, Vosne Romanee travelled sweetly in mid division for much of the race.
As Group 2 winners Culminate and Ginga Dude set a smart early pace, Cameron settled Vosne Romanee one off the rail in around sixth place.
Called on for his effort a furlong and a half from home, Vosne Romanee challenged between horses and swept easily to the lead.
Once at the head of affairs, Cameron maintained the pressure and Vosne Romanee cruisedhome by two and a quarter lengths.
Red Ruler made up a huge amount of ground late on to take second, while the consistent Tell A Tale secured third.
The disappointment of the race was the favourite Monaco Consul, an impressive winner of the Group 1 VRC Derby in Australia last month, who could manage only tenthin the field of 12.
Vosne Romanee is owned by the vintners Ian and Alana Smart, and during the presentation Ian Smart paid tribute to his horse and trainer, urging people to get involved in ownership.
"It's a huge thrill to come up here from the Wairarapa to Auckland and win a race like the Zabeel Classic. Stick with your dreams because you never know what might happen," he commented.
Also on Saturday
Ellerslie: New Zealand Herald Great Northern Guineas (Group 2) 1m2½f, 3yo
JUST half an hour before the race run in her illustrious sire's honour, the lightly-raced Zarzuela (Mark Waller/James McDonald) became Zabeel's latest big-race winner with a last-gasp victory.
The Mark Walker-trained filly travelled well back in the field for much of the NZ$100,000 (£44,000/€49,000) race.
Having been urged wide, Zarzuela still had around seven horses ahead of her with two furlongs to run but she hit a different gear in the final furlong and scored by a head.
Walker is now hoping to persuade owner-breeder David Paykel to target the New Zealand Derby in March with his filly.
Ellerslie: Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (Group 2) 1m, 3yo fillies 1m
Dual New Zealand Guineas heroine Katie Lee added this NZ$100,000 (£44,000/€49,000) to her CV in fine style.
The daughter of Pins, trained by Graeme and Debbie Rogerson, made her challenge late in the race under Opie Bosson, sprinting from well back in the field to take the lead with a furlong left to run.