Obsession claims Cool Storm, She Rules, and Dancing Jess. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Obsession (4 Br. M. Bachelor Duke – Mystery Creek, by Kaapstad) managed to overcome some adversity in a topsy-turvy run $100,000, Group II, NRM/Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes for Fillies and Mares over 1400-metres at Pukekohe on Saturday.
Scrubbed along in the early stages by rider Matthew Cameron before settling beyond midfield on the rail, Obsession sidestepped a concertina effect to a group of horses off the pace near the 600m before surging into the clear at the 300m.
From that point, she unwound a strong finish to collar the game pacemaker Cool Storm (One Cool Cat) in the shadows of the post.
After racing handy throughout, She Rules (Commands) finished third, Dancing Jess (Danske) flashed home from the rear for fourth, and Pennacchio (Align), who raced ungenerously near home, finished fifth.
An ensuing inquiry, fifth against second, ended with no change to the outcome.
The winning margin was a half-length, by one-and-a-quarter-lengths and a short-head, with the 1400-metres covered in 1:22.52.
The win continued a roll for trainer Frank Ritchie, who a week earlier saddled Showcause (Giant’s Causeway) to win the $225,000, Group II, New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Riccarton.
On debut as a two-year-old Obsession produced a big finish to win her only previous start at Pukekohe, and adding to her listed win in the Westbury Classic, and group one third in the Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha, the recent victory is a terrific result for her owner Dick Karreman and The Oaks Stud.
Stud manager Rick Williams was surprised Obsession ended up back in the field from a handy barrier. “I asked Matt (Cameron) to ride her handy and positively, I’ve been a bit worried about her in amongst horses lately, she doesn’t seem to be putting in and it was a big surprise to see what she did in the end”, he said.
“She seems to get intimidated in there, so it was a great ride, really, as I thought after 200-metres we were gone”, he added.
Cameron said, “She wasn’t too comfortable amongst them, but I gave her a dig and she travelled good. There was a little bit of carnage near the turn and she thought ‘I’ve got to get out of here’, but once angled into the clear I just kept riding and she kept giving.”
The favourite Katie Lee (Pins) paraded quite pretty in condition after not racing for one month, finishing four-lengths from the winner in seventh after copping a bit of buffeting early in the run home.