IN Racing
Stand-out youngster Viva Vienna realising potential
The rise to prominence of Viva Vienna has been of no surprise to Westbury Stud general manager Russell Warwick.
Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | September 18, 2023
Westbury Stud graduates Viva Vienna (outside) and Illicit Dreams. (Race Images South)

The rise to prominence of Viva Vienna has been of no surprise to Westbury Stud general manager Russell Warwick, who formed a strong early opinion of the filly.

The daughter of All Too Hard was bred by farm principal Gerry Harvey and sold through the Karaka nursery’s draft to Te Akau chief David Ellis for $100,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale.

Viva Vienna has won four of her seven starts, including success in Saturday’s Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) for trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson at Riccarton where she defeated another stud graduate in Illicit Dreams.

“She was a lovely filly, very neat and a good walker and I thought she was well bought,” Warwick said.

“She’s out of a Snitzel mare and looked like a runner and is now a very valuable filly.

“She was professional and a couple of local trainers looked at her and I said she’s a good filly, unfortunately they didn’t have the budgets to buy her and David did so good luck to them.”

Viva Vienna’s dam is the unraced Anna Of Austria, who has a juvenile filly by Swiss Ace named Liechtenstein.

“She starts pre-training this week with Chad Ormsby and will have six or seven weeks with him,” Warwick said.

“She’s well named being by Swiss Ace out of Anna Of Austria, the little land-locked country between Switzerland and Austria is Liechtenstein.”

Anna Of Austria produced a colt by El Roca earlier this month and is booked to visit Cambridge Stud’s Hello Youmzain.

Illicit Dreams is also out of a Snitzel mare, but sadly Illicit Romance has passed away.

“We lost her unfortunately, which was bad luck because she’s a good filly as well,” Warwick said.

“She won the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1200m) as a two-year-old so she’s a valuable filly as well and Kenny Rae only paid $30,000 for her.”

Another well-related filly by Redwood being put through her early paces at Lilywhites Lodge is the Westbury-bred and owned three-year-old sister to multiple Group One winner and recently crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year Sharp ‘N’ Smart.

“She’s in pre-training at the moment, she’s a big filly who has needed some time,” Warwick said.

“We are being very patient with her and she has strengthened a lot from two to three and quite feasible that she has another month before going back to the paddock and kick off training seriously in December to kick off in the autumn.”

Meanwhile, the farm has a sizeable team of juveniles preparing for New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale on November 22-23.

“We’ve entered 60, but more likely by the time some go shin sore and things evolve that we’ll have 50 by the time we get there,” Warwick said.

“We took 43 last year and sold 38 so if we get the same clearance rate it will be a big achievement.”

Among them is Lot 273, a son of Reliable Man whose profile has been significantly boosted this year.

“He has improved in value markedly and grown into a nice horse. He’s a half-brother to Solidify and I think he will attract a fair bit of interest,” Warwick said.

The colt is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare The Warrior Woman, a half-sister to Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) winner Royal Descent, and her son Solidify has won three of his seven starts including the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1200m).

Viva Vienna Illicit Dreams All Too Hard Canterbury Belle Stakes Westbury Stud Gerry Harvey