On a day where the Te Akau Racing tangerine and blue colours played a prominent role in most results it was promising filly Romancing The Moon that provided one of the highlights.
The Mark Walker-trained three-year-old was having her first start since finishing fourth behind the unbeaten Legarto in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.
Punters were convinced that quality would prevail in the rating 65 1200m contest, sending the daughter of El Roca out a $1.90 favourite in the hands of Opie Bosson.
The champion hoop hardly had to move a muscle as the filly landed right on the speed after beginning well and then dashed away in the run home to defeat stablemates Image Of You and Hayate.
“She has a lot quality about her and she has freshened up nicely since she came home from Riccarton,” Walker said.
“I actually think she is better with some cut in the track but the facilities and tracks here at Matamata are presented to such a high quality that it definitely helps them out even when it is a little firmer.
“The beauty of the race today is that she is already at home having her dinner without all the travel that can take it out of them, so I would expect she will bounce through the effort well.
“It also helps when David (Ellis) is out there buying this type of horse as it makes my job so much easier.
“I have always said that the races are won and lost at the sale ring door and we’re lucky to have David, Karyn and all the staff here who operate with such a passion and dedication in what they do.”
While Romancing The Moon holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on March 18, it is a more immediate target at the venue that is on Walker’s radar.
“She will likely go to the Wellington Guineas (Gr.2, 1400m) next,” he said.
“She does hold a nomination for the Levin Classic but I think she would need a wet track to have her best opportunity in the race.
“You never know with the weather though and she is just so honest and gives her all each time, which means she is always in with a shout.”
The win was the fourth for Walker on the ten-race card and he added another when Belle Of The Ball roared home from well back to capture the Coastwood Homes Lockwood Thames Cup (1600m) in the hands of Bosson, who picked up a winning treble on the day. Walker’s five-timer brought his seasonal tally to 95.
Romancing The Moon is a daughter of well performed El Hermano mare Underthemoonlight who won six races including the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m), the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and the Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m) while also being placed in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
She was purchased by Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis for $50,000 out of the Westbury Stud Book 1 draft at Karaka in 2021.
Kilgravin Lodge will offer a half brother by Ardrossan as Lot 1065 during the Book 2 sale at Karaka later this month.