Locally trained filly Emily Margaret (Pins x Seven Schillings) showed
all her fighting qualities as she withstood a fierce challenge from northern
visitor Wekaforce to claim the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle
Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton.
The Trelawney Stud graduate had entered the race as the
South Island’s leading hope after dealing to a handy field over 1000m on her
home turf a fortnight ago. Most pundits expected her to put in a good showing
although pre-race discussions centred mainly around the Tony Pike trained
Cambridge raider Wekaforce, who was sent out a warm favourite.
Those predictions appeared to be well
founded with Wekaforce showing a torrent of speed to cross to the lead from the
outside barrier in the early stages of the contest. The key to the race
however, was the good beginning made by Emily Margaret from an inside draw with
rider Jasmine Fawcett happy to post the favourite one off the rail as she held
her place against the fence on her mount.
The pair went head to head for the entire
1200m journey with Emily Margaret finding a little more in the concluding
stages to draw clear by half-a-length as Wekaforce’s early exertions told on
her in the final 100m.
“It was a good tough win wasn’t it,” said
co-trainer Kevin Hughes.
“It was a great ride by Jasmine as I said
to her we had to use the barrier in a big field like that. With that many in
the field there can be carnage when you get in amongst them so we were much
better in front and out of trouble.
“I thought that Wekaforce was the one to
beat and they really set down to a ding-dong battle in the home straight.
“I know how tough my filly is so I was
hoping she would see it out as she loves a scrap.”
Hughes, who prepares the filly with his
wife Pam for owner Rodger Finlay, was also relieved the victory would allow him
to settle on a path to the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas (1600m) under his
“I think that should just about seal a
place in the 1000 Guineas for her so we can take our time and pick a path for
her,” he said.
“She doesn’t mind the ground the way it was
today but she also handles it with some cut in the track so if we could strike
that sort of ground at her next start it would be in her best interests.
“There is a 1400m race for the
three-year-olds at Ashburton coming up but I’m more inclined to tackle a grade
race instead where she should get in pretty well.
“We’ll just see how she comes through this
one and then look at what is available but she will definitely step up to 1400m
to get her ready to run the mile in the Guineas.”
The Gr.1 gavelhouse.com 46th New
Zealand 1000 Guineas will be run at Riccarton on November 17.
Emily Margaret was sold through Trelawney Stud's 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select draft for $55,000. – NZ