Valuable black type win by Minnaloushka. Colin Berry Race Images Christchurch
A plan hatched over dinner some years ago came to fruition at Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch on Wednesday when 46-1 Minnaloushka (5 Br. M. Black Minnaloushe – Russian Embassy, by Encosta De Lago) proved strongest in the run home to win the $50,000, Listed, Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders Stakes for fillies and mares over 1400-metres.
Trainer Mark Harris, Mike Boissard and Rob Johnstone acquired Russian Embassy for $1,000 at the 2003 New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Sale and she won three times.
Harris said, “We took on this project to buy a broodmare, pick the stallion, and here we are”.
Having formerly trained with his father Ray Harris in conjunction with his brother Paul Harris, he embarked on a thirty year professional polo career of international acclaim, advancing to a six handicap while also winning three NZ Opens, and only renewed his training license three weeks ago.
Minnaloushka was ridden for the first time by Chris Johnson, who was recording his fourth win in the race. He first combined with Arda Rose (Rojpath) to win in 1985 before scoring a double aboard Covered N’ Grey (Lord Triad) in 1994-95.
After being camped on the leaders turning for home, Minnaloushka was eased into the clear by Johnson to level four off the fence at the furlong and she remained resolute to the line.
The favourite Que Sera (Daggers Drawn) was game finishing three-quarters-of-a-length away in second, a nose ahead of Split Endz (Howbaddouwantit) in third.
The time for the 1400m on good footing was 1:22.80.
Mark Harris runs the New Zealand Polo School at Kaiapoi, Christchurch and also prepares twelve thoroughbreds, with quite a few of them for the Hawksfield Syndicate.