The Westbury Stud stallion roster was again in the thick of the action both at home and away at the weekend.
El Roca led the way with his daughter Irish Girl bagging another domestic black-type success while Gypsy Goddess and Annavisto posted Group 1 placings across the Tasman for sires Tarzino and Reliable Man respectively.
Not to be outdone, Swiss Ace was represented by a winning inter-Island double across Riccarton and Rotorua where a lightly tried Telperion filly also made an impressive return to action.
One of six individual stakes winner for Fastnet Rock stallion El Roca, Irish Girl won the G3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes last month at Riccarton and she made another successful return there on Saturday.
The Kenny Rae and Krystal Williams-Tuhoro-trained mare added a seventh career victory to her record when she proved too strong in the Listed Easter Cup to earn further travelling expenses for a planned Brisbane venture.
“We’ve been very lucky as everything has gone to plan. Her main mission was the Breeders’ Stakes and once we won that anything afterwards is icing on the cake,” Rae said.
“I said to Vince Roberts, who co-bred and part owns her, that we should think about going over to Queensland.
“When we made the decision to stay down at Riccarton, we planned to tackle the Easter Cup and then the G3 Canterbury Gold Cup in a fortnight.
“We don’t know if she can get 2000 metres, but at weight-for-age down at Riccarton she will get her best chance.
“Safely through that, she can have a short break and we could still put her on a plane to Queensland for late June and July, when the other Kiwis are coming home.”
On a heavily rain-affected track at Randwick, there was honour in defeat for Queensland filly Gypsy Goddess when the Tarzino three-year-old finished a gallant runner-up in the G1 Australian Oaks for trainer David Vandyke.
“I was proud of Gypsy Goddess because she looked likely to drop out at the 300-metre mark, but she kept trying hard and did a wonderful job to finish second,” he said.
“Whether we continue with her to the G1 Queensland Oaks depends on how she pulls up. She has tried her best and that is all you can ask.’’
The testing conditions in Sydney didn’t help Annavisto’s cause, but the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-prepared Reliable Man four-year-old still made a bold play for top honours in the G1 Queen of the Turf Stakes. She made all the running before surrendering late to finish second.
"It was a really super run. I don't think she is in love with the heavy track, but was very honest," rider Rachel King said.
On the domestic front, Ross Beckett’s Chilly Filly returned from an eight-month spell to continue her winning habit at Riccarton. The daughter of Swiss Ace delivered a game front-running performance for the fourth victory of her seven-start career.
The Secret Savings stallion Swiss Ace has long been a reliable source of success and trainer Ralph Manning had his promising daughter Fonteyn ready to roll at Rotorua where she impressively put away her Rating 74 rivals off a four-month break.
Likewise, Karen Fursdon’s Telperion filly Gemma Flitz also returned from time off in a blaze of glory when she overcame a wide run to break her maiden at her fifth appearance and in a manner that strongly suggested she can make her mark in stronger company.