IN Racing
Speedy Ulanova making all the right moves
Ulanova has a way to go to match the deeds of the best two-year-old through Stephen Marsh’s stable, but the unbeaten youngster has the potential.
NZ Racing Desk | December 13, 2022
Promising juvenile Ulanova winning on debut. Photo: Trish Dunell

Ulanova has a way to go to match the deeds of the best two-year-old through Stephen Marsh’s stable, but the unbeaten youngster has the potential to make a race of it.

The current Double Tree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) $4 co-favourite delivered in style at Te Rapa in her spring debut and, following a break, was a runaway trial winner at Avondale on Monday.

As far as juveniles are concerned, Ruud Awakening is clearly the Marsh benchmark with five wins from seven juvenile appearances and victories in the Karaka Million and Gr.1 Diamond Stakes (1200m).

Her efforts earned a crack at the Gr.1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), but the outside barrier at Rosehill proved a step too far and she was unplaced.

“Ruud Awakening is easily the best two-year-old we’ve had and I have never thought we’ve had the ultimate two-year-old since her until this filly came along,” Marsh said.

“Ulanova is the most naturally talented we’ve had since Ruud Awakening, but I don’t like comparing them.”

A daughter of Santos, Ulanova was bred by Ancroft Stud and sold through Kilgravin Lodge’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale to expatriate New Zealand agent Michael Wallace for $150,000.

His Lexington-based Telluride Agency races the filly with brother David and American client Kuldeep Singh Rajput's Gandharvi Racing.

Wallace knows Ulanova’s family well as her pedigree page features his father Jim’s two-time Group One winner Cent Home.

Ulanova won both of her trials before carrying that form over to race day and pleased Marsh with her return hit-out over 800m on Monday.

“She was very good and I was happy she relaxed nicely enough outside of the leader and took over at the right time and was strong through the line,” he said.

“That will tidy her up and she will go to the Eclipse Stakes (Gr.2, 1200m) on January 1 and then into the Karaka Million.”

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing as the youngster proved a handful early on.

“She was very difficult at the start and hard to ride. She was really tough and now everything has clicked,” Marsh said. “She still has a bit of a streak in her though, but much better than she was.”

The stable will have a number of runners at Te Rapa this Saturday and a pair of black type contenders heading south to Trentham, which is hosting relocated Awapuni features.

Oseleta will take her place in the Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) off the back of a fourth placing following a tardy start in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe.

“We were going to run her at Te Rapa last Saturday, but she drew an outside gate so we decided to wait,” Marsh said.

“Craig Zackey will ride her and we’re desperate to get some black type with her.”

The daughter of Deep Field, a four-time winner, will be accompanied south by Margaret Jean.

“She will run in the Manawatu Cup (Gr.3, 2300m) and she’s very progressive, a good and tough mare,” Marsh said.

The Sacred Falls five-year-old has won two of her previous four starts, including a tenacious last-start victory over 2100m at Pukekohe.

“Tina Comignaghi will be on her and she is riding as good as anyone so we’ve got two good jockeys and very happy to have them,” Marsh said. 

Ulanova Stephen Marsh Karaka Million 2YO Ruud Awakening Gr.1 Diamond Stakes Gr.1 Golden Slipper Stakes Ancroft Stud Santos Michael Wallace Kilgravin Lodge Telluride Agency Cent Home Gr.2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes Craig Zackey Deep Field Tina Comignaghi Sacred Falls