Mercury Mistress proves too strong for Kitt Ann Miss, with The Beekeeper finishing third. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
A stakes winner as a three-year-old, and dropping back from weight-for-age fillies and mares company at her previous start, Mercury Mistress (4 B. M. No Excuse Needed – Flytaine, by Centaine) proved her worth at Pukekohe on Wednesday when beating her own sex in the Rating 80 Waitakere Corporate over 1400-metres.
Trained at Matamata by Lance Noble for Alan Burnet CBE, Rob Burnet, and Allan & Colleen Jackson, Mercury Mistress won the New Zealand Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes for three-year-old fillies over a mile at Riccarton in April.
She had resumed from a spell two starts ago with a creditable third to subsequent listed Counties Bowl winner Italian Princess (Bertolini) in a sprint at Te Rapa, and after racing keenly outside the leader she wilted on her run to finish ninth at her following start in the Auckland Breeders Stakes at Pukekohe 11-days ago.
Fitter for two runs, and following a sweet trip in the trail compliments of a perfect ride by Michael Coleman, she was able to challenge at an ideal time in the straight before being pushed out for a dominant victory.
At the line, she had three-quarters-of-a-length to spare over the pacemaker Kitt Ann Miss (Rock Of Gibraltar), who had resumed from a spell with a tidy win at her previous start, with impressive fresh-up winner, and race favourite, The Beekeeper (Keeper) displaying a few signs of second-up syndrome when finding the line for third, one-and-a-half-lengths away.
The Beekeeper became quite hot before the race and trainer Richard Collett suggested she would be better for it, next time.
Mercury Mistress ran the 1400-metre trip in a slick time of 1:21.92 on footing rated Good2, and carried plenty of support in the betting market to return $5.00 & $2.20 on the NZ TAB.
A $20,000 yearling purchase by part-owner Rob Burnet at the 2008 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale, Mercury Mistress is now the winner of four races for earnings of $63,000.
Mercury Mistress had recorded her prior success in a Rating 80 event for fillies and mares at Ellerslie in June, when narrowly beating Nicole Amy (Le Bec Fin), who had won the preceding race on the programme in the hands of James McDonald.
Satisfied with her previous start, trainer Lance Noble suggested Mercury Mistress is capable of further success.
“I thought her last start effort was pretty good”, said Noble. “She just didn’t have much luck from the draw. Today, we rode her positive again, got a nice sit, and she won well.”
“I think she’s a pretty handy mare, so obviously dropping back in class always helps.”
Coleman said, “She’s got nice gate speed and got covered up nicely and relaxed well. She found a good kick. They sprinted home quite quickly from the 600m, and she quickened up for it to work out well.”
The victory was one of three on the card for Coleman, who kicked in again two races late with consecutive wins. Firstly, aboard the strapping staying mare Ebony And Ivory (5 Br. M. Zabeel – Ebony Heights, by Gold And Ivory), trained by Andrew Scott for Gerard Petersen and Owen Glenn, followed by a richly-deserved success for the Ken Kelso-trained Sweet Diamond (4 Ch. G. Thorn Park – Marasie, by Stark South) for D L Hawkes.
Second-up from a spell, over a mile, Ebony And Ivory stormed home wide on the track after travelling back in the field off a wide gate, and now the winner of two from ten starts she appears a mare with a bright future over longer journeys.
Sweet Diamond was also able to overcome a wide barrier for Coleman when staging a massive run to circle the field from the 800m before hitting the lead in centre track a furlong out and remaining resolute, to score over a mile.