Guiseppina’s Group 1 Glory

Five-year-old Pencarrow bred filly Guiseppina covered herself in Group 1 glory on Saturday, producing a career-best performance to take the biggest win of her short career thus far in Saturday’s Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham.
With Trentham sporting a good track for the Group 1 race, Guiseppina (Johar x Battocchi) drew the very widest barrier at 22, forcing jockey James McDonald take the mare to the back in transit. Around the home corner Guiseppina was the widest runner and was giving dual Group 1 winner Atomic Force (Danehill Dancer) a big lead on the rail.
In a calculated ride from McDonald, he was patient on the five-year-old and asked her to unleash her trademark turn of foot at the 250 metre mark, and she did so to devastating effect, making many lengths on the pack to run down race leader Atomic Force to win by a long neck at the post.
Running a red-hot time, Guiseppina stopped the clock at 1.06.94 seconds. To put this achievement into perspective, the national record for the 1200 metres was set at Trentham in 1993 by Victory Dias who clocked the 1200 metres in 1.06.59 with just 49.5 kilograms. Guiseppina carried 53 kilograms from the outside barrier on Saturday and was within 0.35 seconds of the national record.
Trainers Stephen Ramsay and Julia Ritchie were thrilled with the result and were confident that Guiseppina could provide them with their first Group 1 winner from the Maungatautari based training facility.
“We were pretty confident coming into the race,” said Stephen Ramsay. “Her work on Wednesday was absolutely first class and she paraded so well in the birdcage before the race.
“It is never easy to win a race from the outside barrier, especially a Group 1, but we knew that this was her big chance. James (McDonald) said from the outset that there was going to be no hard luck stories and he was going to keep her out of trouble.
“He did exactly that and brought her wide and she was simply electric when she went. When she gets balanced she gains momentum and the speed she produces for her last 100 metres is unbelievable. She has a massive stride and to run 32.60 seconds for the final 600 metres says it all really.
“She has come through the race in fantastic order. She is at Pencarrow Stud for a few days to relax and she will come back early this week.
“The next goal for her is the Group 1 Waikato Draught Sprint over 1400 metres which is the perfect race for her. That’s in three weeks so that will be her next target.”
James McDonald was full of emotion after the win and declared it the highlight of his career.
“This is just incredible, to ride a Group One winner in these colours, I just can’t believe it.
“We didn’t want any hard luck stories so I rode her to keep out of trouble. To get this result is the highlight of my career so far.”
The Group 1 victory was Guiseppina’s third at black-type level after winning the Listed Flying Handicap in April last season and the Listed Levin Stakes in November.
With this season producing a number of wet tracks, and Guiseppina proving a good track specialist, the team was forced to miss the Group 1 Railway Stakes with her due to the dead track. Saturday’s win further enhances her record on good surfaces with all of her six victories coming on good tracks.
Her impressive record now stands at 12 starts, six wins, two placings, and over $250,000 in stakes. Stephen and Julia have confirmed that Guiseppina will not make a return to Trentham this weekend for the Group 1 Thorndon Mile despite the mare being installed as equal favorite with last start Group 1 winner Shez Sinsational.
Out of the Pencarrow mare Battocchi, by Success Express, Guiseppina was bred by Peter & Philip Vela at Pencarrow Stud. Battocchi was named after the owner of La Taverna restaurant in Windsor, England, Mr Peppino Battocchi, a much-loved haunt of the Vela family for decades. Guiseppina was named by Mr Battocchi after his Italian mother, Guiseppina.
Battocchi has also left the Group 2 placegetter Micken (by Darci Brahma), who ran second in the Wellington Guineas last October, and is nominated for the Group 1 New Zealand Derby on March 3.