Talented filly Viva Vienna impressed during her first preparation and she returned from a break in a blaze of glory at Te Rapa.
Bred by Gerry Harvey, the two-year-old hadn’t raced since Boxing Day but was produced in tip-top order by trainer Mark Walker for her return to competition over 1100 metres.
The daughter of All Too Hard had given a clear indication of her fitness level by winning a 1000 metre heat at Taupo last month and duly obliged on race day under jockey Warren Kennedy.
“She’s a class horse and her trial was good and we thought she would be a really good chance,” Te Akau Racing Manager Reece Trumper said.
The chestnut was quickly into stride to sit outside of the leader and, after hitting the front 300 metres from home, held on gallantly.
Viva Vienna’s form last time in was impressive and finished third behind subsequent stakes performer Luberon on debut at Ruakaka in the spring before beating Ethereal Star, who then went on to score at black type level at Pukekohe.
She was given one more outing and again performed with distinction when second behind Listed Karaka Million 2YO winner Tokyo Tycoon before she had to be turned out.
“She had a lot of issues in the summer, she kept going shin sore so we gave her the time to get over that,” Trumper said.
Viva Vienna was offered by Westbury Stud at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale and was knocked down to Te Akau chief David Ellis for $100,000.
She is a daughter of the unraced Snitzel mare Anna Of Austria, whose three foals to race have all been successful and includes stakes placegetter Divine Innana.
Anna Of Austria is a half-sister to the Listed Geelong Classic winner Milestone and has a Swiss Ace yearling filly and is in foal to El Roca.
Stradbroke hope on target
Rising Queensland star Antino opened his G1 Stradbroke Handicap preparation in outstanding style at Eagle Farm.
The gifted son of Redwood returned in the best possible fashion for trainer Tony Gollan and rider James Orman with a terrific first-up victory over 1200 metres.
“You get nervous with a horse like this resuming and really want him to kick the preparation off well,” Gollan said.
“He’s got the win and that’s the first part of the puzzle and now we’ve got to get his rating up and get in the Stradbroke, he’s the right horse for it.”
The winner of four of his five starts, Antino was purchased out of Cheltenham Stables’ New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft for $27,000 and is out of a sister to the G1 Captain Cook Stakes winner Hurrah.
He was bred by the Blossom Trading & Breeding Company, who bought his dam Mahamaya when in foal to Redwood from New Zealand breeder Craig Dawson.
Telperion’s son impresses
Stakes performer Accidental Tourist returned to winning ways in a competitive age group line-up over 1400 metres at Awapuni to prove he’s no one trick pony.
The Harvey-bred son of Telperion’s previous victory from limited appearances had come on a heavy track at Hawera and on similar going placed in the Listed Wanganui Guineas.
In his most recent appearance, Accidental Tourist handled a Good 4 surface with aplomb when the gelding powered home from the tail of the field after blowing the start for an impressive win in the hands of Michael McNab.
“He’s just getting stronger physically, but mentally he’s still hard work,” trainer Mark Walker said.
“He walked out of the gates and seems to get a new trick every meeting he goes to, but he can gallop and is highly talented. He will continue to get better as time goes on.
“We’ll get him home and look over him and then make a plan from there.”
He was purchased out of Westbury’s draft at Karaka for $80,000 by Te Akau chief David Ellis and races in the colours of Windsor Park Stud.
Accidental Tourist is a half-brother to the Listed Newmarket Handicap winner and multiple Group 3 placegetter Red Striker.
Their dam is the Encosta De Lago mare Megara, who has a yearling brother to Accident Tourist and last season produced a filly by El Roca before a return visit.
Megara is from the family of the former top sprinter Atomic Force, the dual Group 1 winner of the Oakleigh Plate and the Railway Handicap, and also finished runner-up in the G1 Telegraph.
Opal shines brightest
Outback Opal’s purple patch of form continued at Te Rapa where she proved too good for a strong line-up of Rating 75 milers.
Part-owned and trained by Mark Brosnan, the progressive daughter of El Roca rounded off powerfully in the hands of Trudy Thornton for her fourth victory from 10 appearances.
Bred by Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham, the five-year-old is out of the Bachelor Duke mare Kashika who is from the family of the dual Group 1 winner A Little Kiss.
El Roca was also represented by Riccarton winner Royce Roca, who showed admirable fighting qualities to beat her Rating 75 sprint rivals.
The mare was in front at the top of the straight and was clearly headed in the straight before she fought back gallantly for rider Diego Montes de Oca.
Trained by Russell McKay and daughter Ashley Harrington, Royce Roca was bred by Daniel Nakhle and his father Elias. She is from the Almutawakel mare Mount Albert Lions whose pedigree page features the Group 1 winner Riverina Charm.