Banchee is Back

The newest addition to the Pencarrow Racing string - superstar filly Banchee – has carried the colours of her new owners Peter and Philip Vela for the first time at the Te Teko trials on Tuesday (31 August).

With her new pilot James McDonald aboard, the John Sargent-trained Oratorio filly travelled well in her 1000m open catchweight heat, being caught slightly flatfooted when her challengers emerged, but with her signature turn of foot she scorched home in the final 200m to score an emphatic win in the open heat.

James MacDonald admitted he had a moment’s concern about whether she had the fuel in the tank.

"But she just seems to have a real laziness thing about her. That's my first ride on her and she's a lovely horse. She's come home really good. She's just got something about her and I can't wait to ride her this spring. She feels like a Ferrari," he commented.

The winner of the Group 1 Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie is the half-sister to the star three-year-old of last season, Katie Lee, who is herself in the running for the Mercedes Horse of the Year at tonight’s Mercedes Racing Awards, being already crowned the latest winner of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series.

She was purchased by Pencarrow Stud from Sam Kelt after her stellar two-year-old season which saw her emerge as the top filly on the New Zealand 2YO free handicap.

Matamata trainer John Sargent has his sights on the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series in the footsteps of her sister, with the Gr III $70,000 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings on September 18 set as Banchee's first start as a three-year-old.

Sargent was delighted with Banchee's trial and said the filly would be given her chance to emulate Katie Lee's landmark One Thousand Guineas and Two Thousand Guineas double at Riccarton in November.

"She's so laid-back," Sargent said, in reference to her taking time to wind up into her dazzling finish.

"She's still got to lose her winter coat but she's come up stronger this year. She should get up to a mile this year no problem."