IN Racing
Kelly Coe delivers fitting result in Wanganui Cup
“It was a great local victory for the O’Learys, which is always good,” trainer Ashley Meadows said. “They’ll be humming tonight."
Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | December 02, 2023
Kelly Coe with Lisa Allpress aboard after the Listed Wanganui Cup. (Peter Rubery)

New Zealand’s oldest racing club celebrated its 175th anniversary with the running of Saturday’s Steelform Roofing Group Wanganui Cup (2040m), and the Listed feature could have had no more fitting and popular winner than Kelly Coe.

The Proisir mare races in the colours of owner-breeders Humphrey and Fiona O’Leary – a surname that has been synonymous with racing in the region for decades.

The other black-type feature on Saturday’s card was the Listed O’Learys Fillies’ Stakes (1340m), which has been sponsored by Humphrey O’Leary and his three brothers since 2010. The clan have also raced a long line of quality racetrack performers over the years – perhaps most notably the multiple Group One winner and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) placegetter Who Shot Thebarman, who earned more than $4 million in a remarkable 57-start career spanning both sides of the Tasman.

Kelly Coe’s connections celebrated a feature win much closer to home with an outstanding local victory in Saturday’s $80,000 Wanganui Cup.

Ridden by Lisa Allpress, the six-year-old Kelly Coe settled in midfield as Illusion Of Paris set a strong pace and ensured the Cup would be a true test of stamina.

In-form gelding Semper Magico swept past Illusion Of Paris at the home turn and went for gold, but Kelly Coe soon set her sights on him and started to wear him down.

Kelly Coe drew level with Semper Magico with 100m remaining, and she slowly but surely gained the upper hand and edged ahead to win by a length and a quarter.

“It was a great local victory for the O’Learys, which is always good,” trainer Ashley Meadows said. “They’ll be humming tonight.

“I’m very happy with the mare’s performance today. They went quite hard in front, which really played into our hands, and she was able to finish the race off strongly.

“This race has been the target that we’ve been working towards, so it’s great to get the job done and get this result. We’ll get her home now, see how she comes through the race and make a plan from there. It’s really good to have picked up that black type today.”

Kelly Coe is the best of four winners out of the Fasliyev mare Floridita, who the O’Learys bought for only $3,500 from the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka.

From 30 starts, Kelly Coe has recorded six wins and nine placings. She has earned $209,450, with Saturday’s Wanganui Cup a new peak performance at black-type level. She had previously finished second in the Gr.3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m) and third in the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m).

Kelly Coe headed a successful day for Meadows, who also saddled The True Believer for a close second in the final race on the card. The son of The Bold One was beaten by a half-head by Unscripted in the $45,000 Loaders Wanganui (2040m). 

Kelly Coe Ashley Meadows Listed O'Leary's Fillies' Classic Semper Magico Proisir Lisa Allpress Listed Wanganui Cup Who Shot Thebarman