Racing on Saturday and Sunday saw strong performances from November Rain and Yourein as they both signalled their intentions for future summer assignments with stakes race wins.
The Group 2 $85,000 Waikato Racing Club Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) saw a New Zealand Bloodstock graduate trifecta, and a much improved performance from the Richard Collett trained November Rain (Stravinsky x Lady Teruko). Having shown promise for much of her career including a second in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks last season, the mare delivered on that promise on Saturday with the Group 2 win.
Racing at the back of the pack, jockey Jason Collett pulled her to the outside in the home straight and she flew home over the top of the pack to win by three-quarters-of-a-length.
Running in second was the brave Eileen Dubh (Storm Creek x Vingtaine). Leading from the jump she rounded the home corner a length in front and showed real courage at the 200 metre mark where she was still two lengths ahead of the pack. Run down in the final strides, she showed vast improvement from her last two starts and will add intrigue to the Group 1 races she that is nominated for next year. No stranger to Group 1 success, she won the Group 1 Levin Classic last season.
Completing the NZB trifecta was Sharp Princess (Pins x She's Snubbed) who was kept to third place by the smallest of margins as she wound up from the pack to finish less than a length from the winner.
November Rain was bought by Collett Racing Stables from Trelawney Stud at the 2008 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale for $170,000. She has won connections over $210,000 in stakes and holds nominations for the Wellington and Auckland Cups.
The running of the Listed $45,000 Mad Butcher Championship Stakes Prelude (2100m) at Ellerslie on Sunday saw the Derby contender Yourein (Reset x It's You) put on a stunning performance.
Settling well in the running in the box seat, the John Sargent trained Yourein in the hands of Leith Innes took the lead at the point of the turn and never looked threatened. Already well over a length in front at the 200 metres, the son of Reset kicked away for an effortless two-and-a-half-length win at the post.
In a highly promising performance, the win was Yourein's maiden victory from five starts. Bought by the Two Colts Syndicate from Wellfield Lodge from the 2009 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale for $140,000, and owned by Sir Patrick Hogan, A J Sutherland, A C Timpson & P J Walker, the three-year-old looks to have plenty to offer on the track.
The son of Reset is showing good value for the Group 1 New Zealand Derby in March sitting at $31.