Royal Era (yellow) grabs Sir Slick on the line. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Royal Era (5 B. M. Zabeel – Tudor Era, by Nassipour) gained a feather in her cap at Rotorua on Saturday when collaring near $2million earner Sir Slick (Volksraad) to take out the $45,000, Listed, Platinum Homes NZ Rotorua Plate over 1950-metres.
Combining with rider Trudy Thornton for the first time, the Richard French-trained Royal Era was keen in the early stages before settling handy in seventh one off the fence. Coming from five-lengths off the pace at the 600m, she improved on the turn to challenge when straightening for the run home and sustained a strong staying finish to grab a gallant Sir Slick on the line.
Only half-a-head separated the first pair, with one-and-a-quarter-lengths to Elblitzem (Elnadim) in third, and three-quarters-of-a-length to fourth placed So Royal (Shinko King).
There was plenty of merit in the performances of the first four with a view to their upcoming assignments.
A course and distance winner of her only other attempt at Rotorua, three starts ago in July, Royal Era was suited coming off a 62-day let-up, having showed previously she could act in a fresh state, while slow track conditions also played a part. Four of her five wins have been recorded on footing of similar nature.
Richard French said, “We had a race planned over a mile before coming here, because she’d had a break, but she got a stone bruise before heading to the mile so we had to pull her from there. We took a big gamble coming here fresh, but it’s paid off. She’s a great mare. It’s a pleasure to train her, and it was a brilliant ride from Trudy (Thornton).”
Tudor Era, the dam of Royal Era, was at her best around 2000 metres in a career of six wins on a range of footing from good to slow, while she has a full-sister, Haya, who has impressed winning twice on slow footing and is still in commission with trainer Stephen McKee.
A record of five wins from twelve starts suggests Royal Era has a touch of class about her, and she appears to be a type that could prove adept in cup races of the future.