Raffles Knight (yellow) beats Yin Yang Master (inner) and Eight Schillings. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Raffles Knight (3 Ch. C. Encosta De Lago – Lady Circles, by Ascot Knight), a three-quarter brother to Elvstroem (Danehill) and Haradasun (Fusaichi Pegasus), followed his impressive win over 1400m on debut with another promising performance in the $20,000 Trevor Eagle Memorial for three-year-olds over 1500-metres at Ellerslie on Saturday.
From back in the field on the rail, he travelled sweetly in the run before working up camped on the leading division one off the fence rounding the home turn. Into the clear at the 300m, he kept winding up to score narrowly, but with some authority on the line.
Rider Leith Innes said Raffles Knight showed signs of newness both in his preliminary and after the race, but “he travelled up on the bit” during the race and gave him a nice feel.
In a close finish, Raffles Knight scored by a short-head from Yin Yang Master (Fastnet Rock), with a head to third placed Eight Schillings (O’Reilly), and a short-head to Annie Higgins (O’Reilly) in fourth.
A half-brother to promising New Zealand galloper King Raedwald (Red Ransom), Raffles Knight boasts AJC Oaks winner Circles Of Gold (Marscay) as his grand-dam.
Trainer Stephen McKee suggested the path for Raffles Knight would be in keeping with his nomination for the NZ Derby, at Ellerslie next March.
McKee said, “He’s kept improving and as the distances increase he’ll improve further. He’s a horse that has enough talent to earmark the Derby. We’ll set a programme and see how he goes as the distances increase and the company gets better.”
Raffles Knight was purchased by Tony Pike for $280,000 at the Australian Easter Yearling Sales for the Raffles Dancers Limited.