Consistent mare Tomelilla put further value into her future breeding prospects when she led home a Tavistock one-two in the Listed Haunui Farm Karaka Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe yesterday.
The six-year-old Tavistock mare made it eight victories from just 25 starts as she cruised home in the day’s feature by a comfortable two length margin. Three of her wins have now come in black-type contests including the Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) back in May.
Sent for a brief let-up after finishing third in the Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) in July, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained galloper tuned up for her raceday return with a handy run over 935m at the Cambridge trials 10 days ago.
Punters saw enough in the trial to send her out favourite on Sunday and were on good terms throughout as rider Matt Cameron produced a gem of a ride to secure the victory.
Handy stayer Excalibur made up good ground after an interrupted run in the home straight to finish second while He’s Cavalier continued his purple patch of form with a gritty third.
“She’s had five black-type races now with a Group Three win, two Listed and two thirds so she is a very honest mare,” co-trainer Murray Baker said.
“We gave her a big show today as the track suited her with a bit of give in it.
“We’ll have a look at what’s next now, maybe a mile, but we’ll give it some thought in the next couple of weeks.”
A $15,000 yearling purchase, Tomelilla has now earned more than $200,000 in prizemoney for her owners, Greg Jones and Baker’s wife Maryanne.
Trainer Shaune Ritchie was delighted with the effort of Excalibur as he looks to step his charge up in distance at short notice.
“It’s obviously well short of his best, the mile, but I told Bridget (Grylls) to ride him cold and pick a path through them,” he said.
“She did a good job and he certainly looks like he’s coming back to his best.
“Races like the Egmont Cup and Hawera Cup will be perfect for him and then perhaps races like the Counties and Waikato Cups.
“It’s nice to have a horse like him in the stable.” – NZ Racing Desk