New Year Victory for Duquesa

The New Year kicked off in the best possible way for Pencarrow Racing with Duquesa (NZ) (Encosta de Lago) winning the $30,000 The New Zealand Herald Special Conditions Maiden over 2100m, the first race on the premier race meeting at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

Duquesa a winner at Ellerslie at her last start on 11 December for trainers Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie and was still eligible to for the Special Conditions Maiden having won in December.

James McDonald was aboard the four-year-old mare and nestled his mount at the tail of the field in the early running of the race.

Approaching the straight the class of McDonald was on show as he cut the corner, got to the outside and produced a well-time run that saw Duquesa able to claim victory by a head at finishing post.

“It was quite a good effort because she was last the whole way and they didn’t actually go that hard,” commented Ramsay. “She has got home very quick, it was a good ride too.

“To come from where she did it was a pretty good effort, they ran 35 seconds off the front. James (McDonald) thinks she is going to be a nice stayer with a bit of time.

“We will give her a short let-up and aim her for the New Zealand St. Leger. It was 2100m yesterday and she took the length of the straight to get there so I’m picking 2400m wouldn’t worry her.”

The win was the second in the career of Duquesa from eight starts with both wins coming over staying distances. She has earned $28,525 in prizemoney for her owner Sir Peter Vela who bred the mare alongside Philip Vela.

The daughter of champion Australian sire Encosta de Lago is out Ethereal (Rhythm), a stellar racemare that won four Group 1 races and completed the Caulfield/Melbourne Cup double.

Ethereal has left four winners including the Group 1 placed Uberalles (Giant’s Causeway), the dam of Biddable who also recorded back-to-back wins at Taupo on 30 Decemeber. Ethereal was served in the 2013 breeding season by champion New Zealand sire O’Reilly.

Ramsay and Ritchie also trained Adolay (NZ) (Fast ‘n’ Famous) to run second for Pencarrow Racing in the last race at Ellerslie, going down by long neck margin.