Asiago Too Strong in New Zealand Bloodstock Spring StakesSunday, Nov 17, 2019
New Zealand Bloodstock’s sponsorship of the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle began on a perfect note on Saturday in front of a bumper crowd of more than 6,000.
For just the fourth time in the history of the race, the Spring Stakes was won by a filly – Godolphin’s Asiago (Medaglia d’Oro), who followed in the footsteps of Lotteria (Redoute’s Choice) in 2004, Lovemelikearock (Fastnet Rock) in 2009 and Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible) in 2016.
Ridden by Rachel King, Asiago trailed Rule The World (Hallowed Crown) through the early part of the race before wearing that rival down in the straight.
Asiago kicked away, then fought off the late challenge of Game of Thorns (Animal Kingdom) to win by a half neck.
A daughter of the stakes-winning mare Disputes (Manton), Asiago has now won four of her nine starts and has earned her first piece of black type.
“Having some black type to her name now is a perfect result,” said Darren Beadman, assistant to trainer James Cummings.
“This is normally a colts’ type of race, and this win will set her up for something nice over the autumn carnival.”
New Zealand Bloodstock is proud to support such a quality three-year-old race, and its position in the calendar also holds some significance. The Ready to Run Sale will be held at Karaka later this month, while the iconic National Yearling Sale is looming just around the corner in January.
“The New Zealand Bloodstock Spring Stakes fits in with the breed, and the timing works for both our Ready to Run Sale of two-year-olds in November and our flagship Sale, the Karaka National Yearling Sale in January,” said Mike Kneebone, New Zealand Bloodstock’s Director of Business Development.
“With direct flights between Auckland and Newcastle, the city is the gateway to the iconic Hunter Valley and makes it even easier to visit Karaka. As one of the best value-for-money Sales in the world, we would like to encourage many more to do so.
“Our sponsorship commitment in Australia has grown in recent years, and we are committed to giving back to the industry. We also appreciate the support our provincial Australian clients give us.
“We would like to thank Matt Benson (Newcastle Jockey Club Chief Executive) and his team for putting together what I believe will be a long-lasting and successful race sponsorship.”
Saturday’s meeting drew praise for its turnout and atmosphere.
"It's not often you can come up to Newcastle on a Saturday and it's a stand-alone meeting but they've got the crowd, they've got a good response from the public and the trainers have supported it," Beadman said.
Champion expat New Zealand jockey James McDonald, who won the $1 million Hunter (1300m) later in the afternoon, was also highly impressed by the turnout.
“Look at the crowd – it feels like a really big day, and that’s what it is,” he said.