Champagne Stakes option for Cu Chulainn

Champagne Stakes option for Cu Chulainn25 Mar 2023

Two-year-old gelding Cu Chulainn backed-up his debut four-length victory at Wingatui earlier in the month with another good performance to land the Petersens Jewellers Ladies Bracelet Two-Year-Old (1000m) at Riccarton on Saturday, albeit with a much narrower margin.

The Mark Walker-trained son of Burgundy was sent out the $1.30 favourite and came through when it mattered under Joe Kamaruddin to score by a half neck from debutant Penvose Lad after racing midfield before making his run out wide.

“It was a really good effort today,” Walker said.

“It was only his second start, against a bigger field, and I liked the way he was able to relax off the pace and finish off.

“He’s a horse with good stretch about him and looks like he’s got a bright future.”

Walker suggested the trip away would aid the horse mentally and all going well he could aim towards the Listed Berkley Stud Champagne Stakes (1200m) at the Christchurch venue on May 6.

Cu Chulainn is bred by Glenn and Cathie Holmes and Te Akau Stud, who share ownership in the Te Akau Irish Warrior Racing Partnership who race the gelding.

Like his sister and former stablemate Irish Red, who was eye-catching when placed in both two-year-old starts, and triple stakes placed including second in the Listed Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui, Cu Chulainn has also shown natural precocity.

They are out of the winning Per Incanto mare Niamh Elizabeth, a half-sister to stakes winner Thrive – both trained by Te Akau.

After winning with two-year-old filly Quintessa during the week at Pukekohe, Cu Chulainn is among 10 two-year-old winners of 19 races for Mark Walker this season. – NZ Racing Desk