IN Racing
La Crique brilliant in Desert Gold Stakes
La Crique lapped up the surrounds at Trentham on Saturday as she spaced her rivals for a brilliant win in the NZB Desert Gold Stakes.
NZ Racing Desk | January 29, 2022
Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images)

Talented filly La Crique lapped up the roomy surrounds at Trentham on Saturday as she spaced her rivals for a brilliant win in the Gr.3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).

Backed in to a warm $2.20 favourite, the daughter of Rich Hill Stud stallion Vadamos travelled sweetly throughout as she stalked the pacemakers for rider Craig Grylls before being unleashed shortly after turning for home.

Grylls waited as long as he could before asking for a supreme effort and the Katrina and Simon Alexander-trained galloper responded as she turned on the afterburners to score by five lengths from fellow Matamata-trained filly Sassy Merlot with Love Letter making up good ground for third.

Katrina Alexander was delighted with the win although she had her mind on a Group One assignment further down the track as she watched Grylls let La Crique clear away from her rivals.

“I was thinking leave me some for next time Gryllsy,” she said.

“He had his game plan to have her thereabouts and then go at the 200m and he has ridden to that really well.

“I’ve always known she will go this distance and further as well, but she is a little unique as she has also shown she has brilliant gate speed as well, which had people thinking she might not get over a distance.

“I believe she will just go on and get better as she gets older.”

Alexander will now have to choose a path for the filly who holds a nomination for both the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m), the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks (2400m) as well as the Gr.1 Wellington Seamarket Levin Classic (1600m).

“It hasn’t decided too much for us really as the key aspect was whether she could travel and that’s why we came down here today,” she said.

“We will need to go back and look at the timing of everything for her with the Derby high on the list as well as the Oaks.

“We’ll have a talk with her owners and we could also look at overseas, although the logistics of that at the moment make it very hard.”

La Crique is out of the five-race winning mare Destiny Cove and is raced by her breeders John and Jan Cassin, who also bred and race her progressive older half-brother, Bari out of the Margaret Falconer stable.

Grylls was also pleased with the way La Crique settled in the running before showing a fine turn of foot in the run home.

“It worked out perfectly as she lobbed into the one-one and she was beautifully relaxed the whole way,” he said.

“She just jogged up to them turning in and was just trying to wait and wait before I let her go.

“She was strong to the line and has beaten a couple of very handy horses today.”

The Desert Gold Stakes was the seventh leg of the NZB Filly Of The Year series which is led by the Jamie Richards-trained Belle En Rouge on 19 points, with La Crique registering her first result in the series, taking six points from today’s victory.

The filly has now won four of her six starts and over $104,000 in prizemoney.

La Crique is from the first crop of Group One-winning miler Vadamos and one of three stakes winners for the son of Monsun to date. 

La Crique New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes Rich Hill Stud Vadamos Katrina and Simon Alexander Craig Grylls Love Letter Sassy Merlot Wellington Seamarket Levin Classic Destiny Cove Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks John and Jan Cassin Bari Margaret Falconer NZB Filly Of The Year Jamie Richards Belle En Rouge