Dionysus in sparkling Cup form

Dionysus in sparkling Cup form16 Dec 2023

Well-performed stayer Dionysus confirmed he will be at the top of his game to defend his G3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup title at Pukekohe Park on New Year’s Day.

The genuine Cambridge Stud graduate emphasised that point at Te Rapa where the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained representative claimed the Gr.3 Waikato Cup after finishing runner-up 12 months ago.

The son of Ocean Park was well-placed on the minimum (53kg) and took full advantage under rider Warren Kennedy for the sixth win of his career.

“We were pretty positive, he got in with a light weight, he had worked well and the mile and a-half is his sweet spot,” Wellwood said.

“We’ll take it a race at a time, but more than likely he’ll go to the Queen Elizabeth and then to the Wellington Cup (third last season).”

Ridden patiently, Dionysus settled third last before making ground across the top and he produced a stout finish in the straight.

“They kept up a reasonable gallop and he settled beautifully,” Kennedy said.

“He’s a horse that likes to challenge late, but I had to make my move earlier the way the race panned out.”

Dionysus was purchased out of our draft at New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale by his trainers for $45,000 on behalf of James’ long-time clients Ron and Fran Dixon.

He is the first foal of the unraced Tavistock mare La Quinta who is from the family of the G3 Vanity Stakes winner and G1 South Australian Oaks placegetter Gold Lottey.