Racing at Rotorua and across the Tasman on Saturday saw New Zealand Bloodstock graduates take three stakes races in a fantastic day for Kiwi horses.
The Listed $45,000 Rotorua Plate (1950m) saw a strong win from the Richard French trained Royal Tudor (Zabeel x Tudor Era). Jumping well and settling mid-field, jockey Trudy Thornton took the daughter of Zabeel wide round the home turn heading into the straight.
Looking to be well held by the brave Sir Slick (Volksraad x Miss Opera) throughout the straight, Royal Tudor fought hard in the last 100 metres to beat the multiple Group 1 winner by a neck in a tough win.
Fellow New Zealand Bloodstock graduate Elblitzem lost no admirers running a good one-and-a-quarter-lengths third.
Bought and owned by Oira Road Investments in the 2007 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale for $105,000, Royal Tudor has won five of her 12 race day appearances.
The $45,000 Listed Rotorua Lion Red Plate (1200m) attracted a strong field including Group 1 winners Prince Kaapstad and Vonusti. However, in an a fantastic contest, it was the Murray and Bjorn Baker trained Twilight Savings (Secret Savings x Ghemashah) who proved too strong for her rivals.
Settling well off the pace for Danielle Johnson, the three-year-old was taken wide at the 600 metres and began circling the field on the turn. Straightening for home the filly maintained her momentum and at the final furlong, produced a strong turn of foot to win by half-a-length.
Vonusti ran a good race coming from last at the 600 metres to post a half-a-length second placing with the old war horse Bulginbaah producing a strong rails run for third.
Twilight Savings was bought by Murray Baker from the 2009 Karaka Select Yearling sale for $20,000. Making only six race day appearances, the filly has saluted the judge on four occasions with the Lion Red Plate being her second consecutive stakes win. With Saturday's performance, Twilight Savings has won over $80,000 and has proved an outstanding purchase for her owners.
Vonusti, the Group 1 winning graduate from New Zealand Bloodstock's Ready to Run Sale showed that he is heading in the right direction with the country's premier Group 1 sprint races on the horizon. Vonusti is one of over 10 Group 1 winning graduates from the sale.
Across the Tasman it was the turn of Maluckyday (Zabeel x Natalie Wood) who thrashed his rivals in the Tattersalls Club Cup over 2400 metres in Sydney.
Trained by John Hawkes and ridden by Jim Cassidy, the son of Zabeel showed that he has a lot to offer with a hands and heals four length win in the Listed event.
Having passed the first qualifying clause for the Melbourne Cup, connections will be deciding over the next week as to whether Maluckyday will head to Melbourne in an effort to make the field.
Bought by Hawkes Racing for $625,000 from the 2008 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale, Maluckyday has had only seven starts and has notched up four wins and three placings for over $128,000 in stakes.
If connections decide to head to Melbourne, his next target is likely to be the Lexus Stakes (2500m) in two weeks time. Maluckyday is now quoted at $31 for the Melbourne Cup with the New Zealand TAB.