A gritty victory by two-year-old filly Lickety Split at her first raceday start at Ellerslie has given her sire Turn Me Loose a timely boost ahead of the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained youngster followed up an impressive trial win at Ellerslie late last month with a similar performance on Saturday as she overhauled pacemaker Slipper Island in the final stages after the pair had gone head-to-head over the final 400m.
The well-proportioned filly looks a likely three-year-old type for next season, an opinion shared by co-trainer Forsman who was pleased to see her pick up the victory at just her first start.
“She has a bit of scope about her and to see the way she knuckled down and fought so hard after just the one trial was very heartening,” Forsman said.
“She did most things right, which was also good to see and I liked the way she found the line so strongly over the last little bit.
“She is a filly we think can go on with it next season now she has had a taste of what the racing game is all about.
“We’re not sure what we are going to do next with her, but I’m hoping we can get one or two more starts before we put her away for the winter.”
An interested observer was Windsor Park Stud Master Rodney Schick who stands Turn Me Loose at his Kaipaki property in Cambridge.
Windsor Park will offer a total of 14 individuals by Turn Me Loose across the Book 1 and 2 sessions at Karaka and the win, combined with a tenacious performance by three-year-old filly Ancient Girl, who went down narrowly in the Gr.3 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington later in the day, a perfect advertisement for their resident son of Iffraaj.
“That was a great win by Lickety Split and there is a really neat story around her,” Schick said.
“She was bred by Dean Hawkins and Nick Hewson, who both worked for me when they were starting out.
“While Dean and his brothers and family established Wentwood Grange, Nick went off playing rugby overseas for 15 years, but he came back a couple of years ago and is back working for me again.
“Dean and Nick got some mates together to race Lickety Split so it is just great they could have such a good win first up with her.
“It is also perfect timing for Turn Me Loose who went pretty close to getting his second stakes winner with Ancient Girl, who went a cracker of a race at Flemington.
“Funnily enough she was bred by Dave Morris and Jason Thomasen, who also worked for me, so there is quite a tie in there.”
Schick is bullish about prospects for the success of this year’s sale at Karaka, with a good-sized draft of 45 yearlings to be presented from Windsor Park Stud, featuring a wide cross-section of stallions that he believes will appeal to the buying bench.
“We have some lovely horses to sell right across our draft,” Schick said.
“Turn Me Loose has a cracking filly in Lot 26 from the good mare Trepidation, who has already produced a winner in the two-year-old full sister named Wessex who won on debut.
“Lot 540 is a Turn Me Loose colt out of Rolling In Thedeep and is from a wonderful family while Lot 246 is out of Fastnet Rose and from the family of Stradbroke Handicap (Gr.1, 1400m) winner Trekking.
“They are both beautiful, athletic colts with the looks to match.
“We also have stunning individuals by Shamexpress, Ocean Park, Almanzor and Charm Spirit to name just a few off the top of my head.
“I think the best thing about our draft is the variety you can find in it.
“New Zealand bred horses have had another outstanding season in our major markets like Australia and Asia and I would like to think that will be evident when the bidding starts.”
Like other vendors, Schick would love to have seen the borders open to welcome international buyers and visitors to the sale but is still confident that the sale will deliver without them physically in attendance.
“It’s certainly not ideal that we can’t have our international friends on the ground at Karaka, but it is a different ball game to what it was when COVID first struck,” he said.
“People are far more attuned to buying online now and we have the material and procedures in place to get them the information they need.
“We’ve seen the yearling sales so far in Australia be extremely strong and I have no reason to think it will be any different at Karaka this year.”
The National Yearling Sale will commence at 11am on March 7 and run until March 12.