Westbury Stud savoured a Trentham double, including feature race success, and a notable Hong Kong victory off the back of excellent results in the auction ring.
Farm principal Gerry Harvey bred and sold the impressive G2 Wellington Guineas winner Cognito while nursery graduate Laneway Flirting was to the fore on the undercard and higher honours await Tuchel following his latest victory at Sha Tin.
Meanwhile, Westbury’s draft at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale found favour with the buying bench during a frenzied week at the Gold Coast.
Cognito hadn’t been seen since he finished in behind the major players in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas and paraded in forward condition for trainer Mark Walker on his return.
He settled beyond midfield on the rail and once clear in the straight for rider Opie Bosson the son of So You Think let down powerfully to post the third victory of his six-start career.
“We just had a little bit of a hiccup with the horse when he missed a run at Taupo so full credit to Cognito and the team,” Walker said.
“He has furnished now and we love taking horses to Riccarton because they grow up mentally there. The trip away made him.”
Te Akau’s Head Trainer is unsure which path he will follow with Cognito through the summer and autumn.
“It’s a bit of a tricky one and we’ll have a good think about that, he does hold a nomination for the G1 New Zealand Derby but we need a few days to decide,” Walker said.
However, Bosson is of the opinion that the G1 Levin Classic will be the ideal target.
“He would eat up the mile and I think he is that sort of horse,” he said.
“We got a beautiful run on the fence and he was cruising along, but from the 600 I was sweating on the gaps. They opened up for us and he’s a very good horse.”
A son of the unraced More Than Ready mare Lady Primrose was a A$165,000 purchase at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale for Te Akau’s David Ellis and agent Andrew Williams.
Lady Primrose has a yearling colt by Exceedance and a filly foal by Tarzino and is back in foal to Tavistock’s son.
In the right lane
Laneway Flirting capped off a couple of placed efforts with a strong display to down her Rating 65 over 1200 metres rivals at Trentham.
Trainer Stephen Marsh had expected the Gerry Harvey-bred daughter of El Roca to prove hard to roll and she delivered in style.
“I was really confident and she had paraded beautifully,” he said.
“She’s been going super and she deserved that for a good team of owners, I’m very proud of her.”
The four-year-old was away well to sit in third spot to the turn and let down strongly under apprentice Tayla Mitchell for a comfortable victory.
Marsh purchased Laneway Flirting for $29,000 from Westbury’s New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale draft in 2020.
She is out of the Mossman mare Flustered, who has produced six winners and delivered a filly by El Roca last season before returning to the son of Fastnet Rock.
The dam is out of a half-sister to the multiple Group 2 winners Snowland and Portillo.
Tuchel back in style
Redwood’s son Tuchel made a stylish return from an injury break to score over 1400 metres at Sha Tin for trainer John Size and rider Zac Purton to put himself in line for a crack at the G1 Hong Kong Classic Mile.
The Westbury graduate, a $130,000 Karaka purchase for Hong Kong’s Simple Bloodstock Services, was making his first appearance since he was successful in September and has now won four of his eight starts.
“It was a very good effort, he had a setback with the injury, he drew the outside gate and I wasn’t able to get in,” Purton said.
“I had to cop my medicine and just try to keep him nice and balanced and in a rhythm.
“He just enjoyed being back to the races, he was happy to be back and when he had to dig deep, he waited for me to ask him and he went and he didn’t change his leg either. It was a very big effort after such a long time off.”
Tuchel is out of the Testa Rossa mare Trista Rossa, a daughter of stakes-winning Sir Tristram mare Altrista, who has a yearling filly by Redwood and is back in foal to the Group 1-winning son of High Chaparral.
Hot time at Gold Coast
Westbury enjoyed a royal time at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale with its top offering bound for New Zealand.
The headline act was Lot 14, a top-quality son of Snitzel and the High Chaparral mare Joy Forever who was purchased by Te Akau’s David Ellis for A$650,000.
The colt is from the family of the three-time top-flight winner Bentley Biscuit and the G1 Stradbroke Handicap winner and successful sire Thorn Park.
A youngster by Written Tycoon, Lot 425, was also keenly sought after before he was knocked down to the A$420,000 final bid of agents Andrew Williams and Bevan Smith.
He is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stella Sea Sun, who was successful on six occasions, and hails from the family of the former champion Singapore performer Better Than Ever.
Other major sales were an I Am Invincible colt, Lot 397, from the stallion family of Catbird and Danbird who went to Yu Long for A$350,000 while Tarzino’s son realised A$300,000.
Offered as Lot 98, he was secured by trainer Ciaron Maher with Group 1 Bloodstock and is a half-brother to the multiple winner and Group performer Swampland with their dam the Volksraad mare Marsh Harbour.