Promising New Zealand-bred mare Essonne picked up the sixth and most significant win of her career with a barnstorming finish in Saturday’s Listed Attwood Marshall Lawyers Silk Stocking (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
Trained by Richard Litt for owner-breeder Gerry Harvey, the daughter of Reliable Man had shown promise with wins from five of her first nine starts, but none had been above Benchmark 72 level.
Essonne was then unplaced in her next two appearances, finishing well back in the Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick before an unlucky last-start fourth at Warwick Farm.
She stepped up to stakes level for the first time in her career on Saturday, and the four-year-old immediately showed that she belonged.
Ridden patiently by Chad Schofield, Essonne dropped back to third-last in a 16-horse field before producing an irresistible finish down the Sunshine Coast straight to score by a length and a quarter.
“It's great to get the job done,” Litt said. “She'd been a bit luckless her last two starts. I'm very pleased for Gerry (Harvey) and Luke (McDonald, Harvey’s bloodstock and racing manager).
“We had originally planned to take her back home after this race, but we'll have a chat with Gerry and Luke and see if we stay up here for a bit.
“She's a very talented horse, even though there's not much of her. With a bit of a spell, I think she'll come back even better next prep.
“She's bred to stay, so I think she'll get up to 1800m eventually, which would be quite exciting. She loved the wide open spaces here today and Chad did a wonderful job with her. He rode her fantastically, and a big thanks to Billy Healey, who has been looking after her for us.”
The 21st individual stakes winner for Westbury Stud stallion Reliable Man, Essonne is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Riviere. Herself a three-time winner over sprint distances, Riviere is a half-sister to the Group Two winners First Command and Oneworld.
Essonne is the first winner from two foals to race out of Riviere, who has subsequently produced a colt by Swiss Ace and a filly by Telperion.