The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Dolphin Skin has boosted her value as a potential broodmare with a narrow victory in a Stakes race at Flemington.
A $13,000 purchase at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale last year, Dolphin Skin has recouped that outlay and more while adding valuable black-type to her pedigree with victory in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) on Saturday.
The task was made easier for the two-year-old filly following the scratchings of pre-race favourite Steparty and African Pioneer, but Dolphin Skin was forced to dig deep to get past the leader Line 'Em Up Louie.
Ridden by Kiwi apprentice Wiremu Pinn, Dolphin Skin ($8) scored a half-head win over Line 'Em Up Louie ($3.10) with the $3 favourite Sunsource a further 1-¼ lengths away third.
Troy Corstens only arrived back in Melbourne following a trip to England for the Royal Ascot meeting in the early hours of Saturday.
"I was on a plane and landed in Hong Kong when I got a message that the favourite (Steparty) was out," Corstens said.
"I said 'beautiful, we might be able to pick up some black-type’ and then when I saw the other horse (African Pioneer) was out as well, I was rapt.
"I've been really pleased with her and her first run down the straight (on debut) was terrific.
"Danny O'Brien commented that (VRC Oaks winner) Miami Bound ran well in the same race first-up and I'm hoping that we can get her out over a trip."
Corstens said providing Dolphin Skin recovers well, the Byerly Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on July 15 was likely to be the next assignment for the filly.
Success in that race gives the winner a ballot exemption into either the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) or the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.
"She's up and going really well, so we'll be keeping her going for the moment," Corstens said.
"There's no pressure from the owners as it's mostly me as well."
Pinn cut a satisfied figure as he celebrated his first feature win since relocating, putting a tumultuous few weeks behind him.
The gun New Zealand hoop was the unfortunate victim of an administrative blunder between Racing Victoria and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing which saw him incorrectly allocated a 3kg metropolitan claim, which should only have been 2kgs.
From his first 29 rides in Victoria, Pinn achieved five wins, with 25 of them securing prizemoney for the connections. In light of the situation, the stewards made the decision to disqualify the 29 horses ridden by Pinn in Victorian races between May 27, 2023, and June 12, 2023, stating that other horses in those races were disadvantaged due to the incorrect claim.
"It's pretty special (to get my first Australian Stakes win)," Pinn said.
"There are no claiming races today, so I'm grateful they kept me on. They could have had a good jockey on like Shinny (Blake Shinn), or someone else, but they've kept me on.
"I thought we had no hope with Steparty in there, but when he came out, I was really confident."
Bred by Gerry Harvey’s NZ Thoroughbred Holdings Ltd, Dolphin Skin is by former Westbury Stud stallion Telperion out of the four-time winning General Nediym mare Tempo Manor.
The filly was purchased from the draft of Westbury Stud by Flemington Bloodstock at last year’s Ready to Run Sale and has now earned A$136,000 from her first three starts, having finished runner-up to Steparty on debut in addition to Saturday’s stakes victory.
Dolphin Skin is the second stakes winner for Telperion, a Group One performed son of Street Cry, who is also the sire of Group Two winner Stormy.