Ocean Emperor (NZ) Defends Tauranga Stakes Crown

Ocean Emperor has now had 27 starts for nine wins, five placings and $269,125 in prize-money.
Ocean Emperor has now had 27 starts for nine wins, five placings and $269,125 in prize-money.

Karaka graduate Ocean Emperor (NZ) (Zabeel) has gone back-to-back in the $100,000 Group 2 Gartshore Tauranga Stakes (1600m), defending his title in Tauranga’s weight-for-age feature on Saturday.

Last year’s Tauranga Stakes was the first stakes win for the $450,000 Premier Sale purchase, beating the Group One pair of Kawi (NZ) (Savabeel) and Miss Wilson (Stratum).

On Saturday he lifted his tally of black-type victories to three. Rider Lynsey Satherley had the seven-year-old trailing the early leader Nicoletta (NZ) (Savabeel), then moved him up beside that rival at the top of the straight.

Nicoletta refused to go down without a fight, but Ocean Emperor slowly but surely got the better of her and won by a length and a quarter.

Ocean Emperor has now had 27 starts for nine wins, five placings and $269,125 in prize-money. As well as the last two editions of the Tauranga Stakes, he has also won the Group 2 Japan-NZ International Trophy (1600m).

“He looks amazing and he’s just doing things right this time in,” trainer and part-owner Gary Hennessy said.

“I think he showed today that he’s definitely got a decent race in him. He has a huge turn of foot. When he gets a nice trail, he can just explode in the straight.

“He’s also got a ton of guts and doesn’t give in. He’s just a lovely horse to deal with.”

The Tauranga Stakes produced a Karaka trifecta. Nicoletta was a $90,000 purchase at the 2015 Select Sale and has now earned $252,100.

Vendor Waikato Stud Ltd
Purchaser Mr G Hennessy (Matamata)
Breeding Zabeel – Tootsie
Sale Lot 402, 2013 Premier Sale, $450,000
Bred by G J Chittick

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