A confidence-boosting first stakes victory in Saturday’s Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui has laid the platform for proven black-type performer Romancing The Moon to embark on a Group One mission later this month.
Saturday’s three-year-old fillies’ feature was the sixth time in the El Roca filly’s 10-start career that she has taken on black-type company, having previously run second in the Listed O’Learys Fillies’ Stakes (1200m), second in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) – splitting superstar fillies Legarto and Prowess – then fourth in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), sixth in the Group Two Wellington Guineas (1400m) and a last-start second in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m).
Back against her own sex on Saturday, the Mark Walker-trained Romancing The Moon showed her true colours.
Given a comfortable run just in behind the leaders by jockey Joe Kamaruddin, the $2.20 favourite came off the rail at the home turn and angled out wide to make her run down the Wingatui straight.
She soon put a swift end to the race as a contest, charging to the lead and powering clear to score by five and a half lengths. Betty Spaghetti finished second, with the winner’s stablemate Miss Dunsford making a late run into third.
Romancing The Moon has now won three of her 10 starts, with four runner-up finishes and earnings of $126,445 for the Te Akau Moonstruck Racing Partnership. She was a $50,000 purchase by David Ellis from Westbury Stud’s draft at Karaka 2021.
“It was a lovely ride by Joe and a terrific effort by the filly,” Walker said. “She’s a filly that Dave (Ellis) bought cheaply, and to win a stakes race on the back of really good Group-race performances adds a lot of value for her future.
“She will come home via the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham (on March 18), and she certainly deserves her chance.”
She was bred by Hamish and Karyn McQuade and is the first foal out of their quality mare Underthemoonlight, who won six races including the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and also placed in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
Saturday’s race was the second leg of the four-race New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series. Romancing The Moon earned 7 points with her NZB Insurance Stakes victory, moving her into equal first place on the table alongside the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) winner One Kiss.
The third leg of the series is the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m), which is scheduled to be run at Riccarton on April 15.