Oaks Plan for Dark and Stormy

A brilliant finishing burst from Dark and Stormy (Zabeel x Floridita) has landed the three-year-old filly her second career victory at Counties yesterday.

Trained by Pencarrow Racing’s resident trainer Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie, the daughter of Zabeel entered the $7,000 Scholars Pre-School Rating 65 (1600m) in good form having won two starts ago and was beaten into second last start by less than a length.

Ridden by Michael Coleman, Dark and Stormy started from barrier 1 and settled behind mid-field in the 10-horse field. As the field entered the long straight at Pukekohe, Coleman pulled his mount to the outside and the filly sprinted quickly to hit the front to win by a short neck over Bachelor’s Dream (Bachelor Duke) and Eskabar (Viking Ruler) in third.

“It is hard to do what she had to do at Counties,” commented Ramsay. “She got a long way back off not a fast tempo and hit the line really hard. For a brief minute I didn’t think she was going to get there but that last 75m she really got into her work.

“She looks like she is going the right way and I think on that run that stepping up in trip is not going to be a worry.

“We put the blinkers on not because she wasn’t trying but she had been a little bit field shy and a bit timid in amongst them. She actually pulled a bit at her last start but she settled better with the blinkers on because she wasn’t as nervous amongst them.

“She will either go to the Lowland Stakes or the Sunline Vase next. The Lowland is the same day as the Derby and all the riders are in Auckland. She will have one more, either one of those two races, and then into the Oaks.

“She is by Zabeel and looking at her you would think a trip is right up her alley, touch wood at this stage everything is going the right way.”

Dark and Stormy has only finished out of the first three placings once in her five-start career, winning two races and placing twice.

Bred by Cambridge Hunt Ltd, Dark and Stormy is out of the stakes placed mare Floridita (Fasliyev) from an international family that includes Group 1 winners Dr Devious (Ahonoora), Suzuka Phoenix (Sunday Silence), Dancing Rain (Danehill Dancer) and Maybe (Galileo).

Dark and Stormy was purchased by Pencarrow Stud for $200,000 from Curraghmore Stud at the 2012 Karaka Premier Sale.