Rank outsider lands first Group 1 of 2011 in NZ
Report: New Zealand, Saturday
Ellerslie: Railway Stakes (Group 1 hcap) 6f, turf, 3yo+
FEW people expected Miss Raggedy Ann (Andrew Scott/Tasha Collett) to win the first Group 1 of the New Year, Saturday's Railway Handicap at Ellerslie in Auckland - and that included her connections.
Miss Raggedy Ann was an 86-1 for the Railway after running 11th of 13 in last Sunday's NewmarketHandicap and her trainer Andrew Scott had been struggling to keep the weight off her.
But the Boxing Day run, along with rain earlier in the week which meant the track was not too hard, gave them some hope she might sneak a placing.
As it turned out, Tasha Collett found Miss Raggedy Ann a good spot one off the fence behind midfield and she found plenty in the straight to fight off Atapi by a nose.
"It's been a pretty tough six weeks for us," said Scott, for whom the Railway was his first Group 1 win on his own account in New Zealand.
"She was running through winter and as the weather warmed she just put on weight," he added. "Butwe gave her three runs in the past two weeks and she went into today in better shape."
The Railway was the first Group 1 win for Collett, who beat her jockey brother Jason and her father Richard, who trains at Pukekohe, to a top-level success.
"I thought she might run a nice fifth or sixth but she got a nice run and gave me plenty when I let her down," said Collett, not long out of her apprenticeship.
It was also the first Group 1winner bred by the Llanhennock Trust, run by the Hawkins family of Cambridge, which also owns Miss Raggedy Ann.
The trust bought her dam, the Gold Brose mare Miss Pollyanna, when she was carrying Miss Raggedy Ann.
"Miss Pollyanna was a phenomenal racehorse but she was also nuts," Des Hawkins said. "We were part of the team which brought in Gold Brose and we really wanted a Gold Brose mare."
Atapi ran second in the race for the second year in a row, just ahead of Tip The Wink.
The Australian visitor Monton, who started favourite, looked to have every chance in running eighth.