Banchee Heads to Te Aroha Group 1

Three-year-old filly Banchee showed she is right on track for her next Group 1 assignment as she secured a commanding win in her trial at Cambridge yesterday.

Ridden by Vinnie Colgan in the 950m catchweight event, the daughter of Oratorio will skip a Sydney campaign and instead head to the Group 1 $200,000 Te Aroha Breeders Stakes on 9 April.

Banchee blitzed a quality field two starts back in the $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie on 30 January, demonstrating a return to form that saw her secure Group 1 glory in her two-year-old season and earn the title of NZ Champion 2YO. Since then she had an unlucky outing in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), being held up on the turn and checked 200m from home, trouncing her chances of featuring in the finish.

Banchee’s trainer John Sargent was pleased with yesterday’s performance and is happy that Banchee is on track for her next assignment.

“She won well at the trials and having spoken to Peter (Vela) our preference is to head her to the Group 1 feature at Te Aroha.

“We were toying with the idea of taking her to Sydney, but her prime opportunity was really last week which she was unfortunately forced to miss with a minor setback. With the bad weather in Sydney added to the mix, on balance the Te Aroha race looks to suit her better so we’ll head her there before giving her a break.”

Also currently in Sargent’s care is the Pencarrow Stud bred two-year-old colt Chateuneuf Dupape (Darci Brahma x Loudenne) who is heading to the $200,000 Manawatu Sires Produce (1400m) in two weeks’ time.

Group 1 placed in the Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie last time out, the youngster looks likely to face his nemeses Anabandana and Fort Lincoln again on 2 April.

“He’s looking well and is on track but he will have to show improvement to beat the filly (Anabandana),” commented Sargent.

“She’s obviously very good and will be hard to beat.”

Speaking for the connections of Anabandana, Marcus Corban says a decision hasn’t been made yet whether the filly will contest the race.

“The option is to go to the Sires, but she’ll only start if the track is reasonable. Otherwise she’ll go to the paddock and wait till the spring.”

One of the runs of the Group 1 Diamond Stakes came from fellow Pencarrow bred Bespoke (Pins x Velvet and Satin) who missed the start and ran on gamely for sixth. The Jason Bridgman trained colt is also nominated for the Manawatu Sires Produce.

Chateauneuf Dupape is the half-brother to New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year winner Insouciant (Keeper) from Pencarrow Stud broodmare Loudenne (Palace Music).