Back-To-Back Wins for Arpeggio

During a special night of racing at Ellerslie, on the eve of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales Series at Karaka, the tried and trusted combination of Sir Peter Vela, Te Akau principal David Ellis and rider James McDonald again melded together for a sterling win by Arpeggio (3 f Tavistock – Macchiato, by Night Shift) in the Curraghmore Stud 1200 metres.

“We trained the mother of this filly,” said David Ellis. “She was a very smart mare and we were delighted when Sir Peter gave us this filly to train and I think she beat a couple of really good horses today, winning in a manner that she can go on and win more races in the blue & white colours.

“Jason (Bridgman) trained Equanimity (More Than Ready) to win at this meeting last year for Sir Peter and James (McDonald) rode her, so it’s tremendous to replicate that again,” said Ellis.

“It was a very good effort, a big thrill and it’s lovely to get the Pencarrow colours up with James (McDonald) on board,” said Sir Peter Vela, who instigated the Karaka Million meeting seven years ago.

“It was something we thought was definitely worth a try and we’ve found a formula with the Auckland Racing Club, and our sponsors, and it’s just fantastic.

With the sales looming, Sir Peter said that he was thrilled with the turnout and ‘there is not too many missing’. There are a lot of Aussies back that haven’t been for awhile, so fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow for the vendors.

With Arpeggio, Bridgman followed a similar path as he had with Equanimity. Both fillies had won their previous starts at Rotorua, before each making it two in a row on Karaka Million night, while the class of James McDonald was evident once more.

Working up to hold a position one off the fence in fourth, McDonald had Arpeggio range to the leaders approaching the home turn. Challenging to level at the 300m, it was left until the final 100m that Arpeggio was then asked for a serious effort in order to prevail narrowly.

Indicating her quality when clocking 1:10.16 for the 1200 metres at Rotorua, Arpeggio franked the performance in 1:10.12 and returned $6.40 & $1.70 on the NZ TAB.

“She dug deep and hopefully she’ll go forward from here,” said McDonald. “The pace was quite strong through the mid stages, but I got a lovely cover and although popping out a bit earlier than I hoped to I just made sure she had a clear run and she responds to hard riding.

“I saw The Cosmos (Darci Brahma) shooting through on the inner and thought I may run second, but it was a really good effort,” said McDonald.

“She’s a nice progressive filly and I’m absolutely rapt to get a win for Sir Peter on sales eve,” said Te Akau trainer Bridgman. “I think she’ll probably be better as a four-year-old, but we’ll space her races and there is a suitable race for her here in about four weeks – Mr Tiz Trophy (Gr.3, 1200m) on Derby Day. She may even have a freshen-up now and wait for autumn tracks.

A race earlier, stable-mate Rockfast, a three-year-old colt by Fastnet Rock (Danehill) finished second to Volkstok’n’barrell (Tavistock) in the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile (Listed, 1600m). The pair had finished in the same order when meeting previously in the Great Northern Guineas (Gr. 2, 1600m) on Jan. 1 at Ellerslie.

“It was a top effort by Rockfast and I was really pleased with the run,” said Bridgman. “I think he looking for 2000 metres now and we are looking forward to seeing him step up.

“I guess with Tavistock’s if you can’t beat them, join them,” said Bridgman, with Arpeggio being by the same Cambridge Stud stallion.

Following a busy period of yearling inspections, David Ellis, Mark Walker and Jamie Richards are all happy with the preparatory work they have completed ahead of the sales.

“We’ve now finished inspecting every horse in the sale series and I think this is one of the great years to buy horses,” said Ellis. “The catalogue represents great buying and I’ve seen some top quality horses in the sale. We are very happy with the list of horses we have and we are going to go there and buy some.

- Courtesy of Jeff Dore