Papilio Bursts into Spring

Redoute’s Choice mare Papilio (ex Lafleur, by Zabeel) made the best possible start to her spring campaign with a strong performance to win fresh up in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday.

Partnered by leading jockey James McDonald in the $30,000 Rating 85 Benchmark (1400m), Papilio settled in fourth place and was set alight by McDonald entering the straight, catching the dominant race leader Guessing and racing away to win by a length.

The Steven Ramsay & Julia Ritchie trained five-year-old won the Listed South Island Breeders’ Stakes at Riccarton at her last start in March and the pair have their eyes set on further black-type success.

“She keeps improving and James rode a really good race on her,” said Ramsay. “She was a maiden mare this time last year so to have four wins and a stakes race to her name shows her progress.

“The Group 3 Breeders Stakes is a fillies and mares race over 1400 metres at Hawera on 13 October and that looks a nice race for her. There is also the Traderacks Stakes over 1400 metres at Hawke’s Bay on the final day of the Carnival and that could be another option.”

Bred by Peter and Philip Vela, Papilio is a half-sister to the Pencarrow bred, raced and owned Amaryllis (Red Ransom), an eight-time winner whose headline victory came in the Group 3 Darley Plate. Amaryllis was served by the champion sire Encosta de Lago in 2011.

Papilio is out of the Zabeel mare Lafleur who won the Group 2 ARC Royal Stakes, one of ten races in New Zealand Bloodstock’s Filly of the Year Series. Her grand-dam is the Group 1 Newmarket July Cup winning mare Habibti (Habitat).

Pencarrow’s star mare Guiseppina (Johar) also made the trip to Hawke’s Bay, contesting the opening race of the Triple Crown, the Group 1 Makfi Stakes (1400m), where she put in a big performance to finish just two lengths from the winner Ocean Park.

“She ran a huge race,” commented Ramsay. “To produce a performance like that on a dead surface was massive. She really needs a dry track to show her best but she did well and James (McDonald) rode another great race on her.

“She will be heading to the next leg, the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate over the mile, and we will be hoping that a few weeks of spring can dry the track out so she can show her best.”