IN Racing
Kiwi acquisition scores in Frank Packer
Verona has quickly repaid her new owners when landing the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate on Saturday.
NZ Racing Desk | April 16, 2022

New Zealand filly Verona has quickly repaid her new owners when landing the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.

The daughter of Belardo had performed well in five starts in New Zealand for former trainer Jenna Mahoney, winning on debut before running fifth in the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m), and fourth in both the Gr.2 Royal Stakes (2000m) and Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

Her connections were aiming her towards the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), however, an offer from clients of trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace was too tempting and the filly was subsequently sold across the Tasman

Eight weeks between runs, Verona finished fifth in her first Australian start over 1600m at Warwick Farm before getting under punters guards in the Frank Packer Plate.

Sent out a $21 chance, Verona proved too good for her rivals as she went home a comfortable 1½ length winner over Maurice’s Medad, with favourite Straight Arron a long head back in third.

Given a perfect run by jockey William Pike, Verona relished the step up to 2000m and now looks an ideal Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) prospect.

“There is plenty of improvement in her, she was still very new in the run and a bit shy around horses. Obviously the step up in trip too was always going to be a big plus. She had a lovely run, it was good,” stable representative Johann Gerard-Dubord said.

“She was well bought from New Zealand. The Boxall family are involved, it’s their colours, so it’s good to get a win for them.

“She raced end of January and landed here about 10 days after the Karaka Million 3YO. She has been here for a while. She spent a bit of time at the beach. We have taken our time with her.”

As one of the fresher fillies on the scene, a trip north to Queensland looks almost certain.

“She probably has to (go to Queensland) now. Top of the ground is no issue for her. She gets through the wet but top of the ground will be just as good. Her first run was good. She was still very new behind horses," Gerard- Dubord said.

Verona is one of seven stakes winners by Group One winning son of Lope de Vega, Belardo, who shuttles to Haunui Farm.

Bred by Don and Dame Wendy Pye, Verona is the best of three winners from four to race out of the Stravinsky mare Spamalot.

Verona was purchased for $8,000 out of Haunui Farm’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 3 Yearling Sale by Mahoney under her Cypress Point Farms banner. – NZ Racing Desk