Rising Star Prise De Fer (NZ) Captures Rich Hill Mile

 Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) dominated the Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m).
Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) dominated the Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m).

A dominant two-length victory in Wednesday’s $100,000 Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie was the fifth win in an 11-start career for Karaka graduate Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) – and his fourth in a row.

Bought for $100,000 from the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka by Te Akau principal David Ellis, Prise De Fer showed talent last season with a win, two placings and creditable unplaced performances in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), the Group Two Avondale Guineas (2100m) and the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m).

As a four-year-old, Prise De Fer is bigger, stronger and better. After a first-up third placing over 1300 metres at Taupo, he has been unstoppable.

After producing powerful finishes to win all of his three previous starts, the Jamie Richards-trained runner was sent out favourite in a quality field. He lived right up to expectations.

Jockey Mick Dee had him poised to pounce just behind the leaders, then turned him loose in the straight. He burst to the lead and raced clear, scoring by two lengths from Yearn (NZ) (Savabeel) and Za Za Gabor (NZ) (O’Reilly).

“I’m really pleased for him – he’s done a great job to win four on the hop,” Richards said.

“He’s got that lovely big, long, loping stride and looks like he is only going half-pace, but he quickened well and put a hole in a decent field there.

“We might have a look at the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Group One, 2000m at Te Rapa on February 8). He’s got a bright future and will only continue to get better.”

Prise De Fer has already exceeded his purchase price with $143,625 in prize-money for the Te Akau En Garde Syndicate.

Vendor Trelawney Stud Ltd
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Savabeel – Foiled
Sale Lot 168, 2017 Premier Sale, $100,000
Bred by Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd

Platinum Invador (NZ) Stars at Ellerslie Again

 Platinum Invador (NZ) (Redwood) wins Group Three SkyCity City of Auckland Cup (2400m).
Platinum Invador (NZ) (Redwood) wins Group Three SkyCity City of Auckland Cup (2400m).

$25,000 Festival Sale purchase Platinum Invador (NZ) (Redwood) returned to the scene of his best performance and starred again, winning the $200,000 Group Three SkyCity City of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

The Lisa Latta-trained gelding had a quality three-year-old campaign last season, culminating in a huge finish for third in the Group One New Zealand Derby over the same course and distance.

He subsequently performed below his best in Australia, but he showed signs of a return to form with come-from-behind placings in the Group Three Manawatu Cup (2300m) and Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m) in his last two starts.

At Ellerslie his superior stamina and powerful finish shone through, bursting away from the field in the straight to win by a widening margin of two and three-quarter lengths.

“He has been going some really good races and has been knocking on the door,” jockey Leith Innes said. “I was pretty confident heading into today.

“He got a little bit worked up before the start, and once he was in the race I couldn’t get in halfway down the straight, so I had to drop him back. He got to the lead nice and early in the straight, but he was too good.”

Platinum Invador has now had 17 starts for four wins, three placings and $267,885 in stakes – more than 10 times his purchase price – for owners Lincoln Farms Bloodstock and Neville McAlister.

Latta is planning another Ellerslie raid later in the season, with the $500,000 Group One Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 7 looming as Platinum Invador’s main target for the season.

Vendor Westbury Stud
Purchaser Lisa Latta Racing (Palmerston North)
Breeding Redwood – Atomic Dancer
Sale Lot 1133, 2017 Festival Sale, $25,000
Bred by C Stewart

Play That Song (NZ) Superb in Eclipse Stakes

 Play That Song (NZ) (Showcasing) wins Group Two Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m).
Play That Song (NZ) (Showcasing) dominates Group Two Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

Wednesday’s $100,000 Group Two Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie was an eagerly anticipated showdown of New Zealand’s standout two-year-olds, where the $40,000 Karaka purchase Play That Song (NZ) (Showcasing) emphatically prevailed.

The field featured four unbeaten runners, with all eyes on the impressive last-start Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) winner Not An Option (Not a Single Doubt).

But just as Not An Option loomed as a threat to the front-running Amor Fati (NZ) (Showcasing) at the top of the straight, Play That Song drew up alongside him.

The pair went clear of the rest of the field by more than four lengths, fighting out an exciting finish, and Play That Song gradually gained the upper hand. She edged away in the last 75 metres to win by a length and a quarter.

“She felt exceptional to me,” said the filly’s rider, champion Sydney-based Kiwi jockey James McDonald.

“She’s push-button, has a real will to win and a great turn of foot.

“She’s beaten a highly rated colt there, and done it pretty easily. If the team get her back to Ellerslie for the Karaka Million (1200m) in similar order, she’ll be hard to beat.”

The $1m Karaka Million 2YO will be run on Saturday January 25, on the eve of Karaka 2020.

Play That Song was bred by Windsor Park Stud, who offered her in Book 2 of Karaka 2019. Nigel Tiley, who trains and part-owns the filly, bought her for $40,000.

She is now unbeaten in three starts, with $94,375 in stakes – more than double her purchase price.

A half-sister to Play That Song, by Charm Spirit, will be offered as Lot 329 at Karaka 2020.

Vendor Windsor Park Stud
Purchaser Tiley Racing (Auckland)
Breeding Showcasing – Supreme
Sale Lot 944, Karaka 2019 Book 2, $40,000
Bred by Windsor Park Stud Ltd

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