The sensational run for the all conquering Te Akau Racing operation rolled on at Pukekohe in New Zealand on Boxing Day when star mare Campionessa scored a classy win in the Gr1 Zabeel Classic (2050m).
In a gutsy performance, Campionessa held out the Australian raider No Compromise to win the time honoured feature, her first at the elite level.
It was a third group win in a row for the daughter of Contributer, who was a A$60,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale buy for Te Akau’s David Ellis from the Westbury Stud draft.
Tracking the speed for much of today’s race, Campionessa found herself in a tight and tricky spot between runners, but she showed guts to force between runners and work to the front.
No sooner had that happened and No Compromise was charging on the outside, but the favourite switched legs and found another gear late to win.
“Things didn’t go right in the early part of the spring,” co-trainer Mark Walker said.
“So we just gave her a break and she’s come back in such great form.”
“When a mare gets in form they usually hold it as well. She deserved that – she’d had a couple of seconds in Group Ones, it’s great for the ownership group.”
“The ex-wife was trying to hold him (Opie Bosson) in there a little bit. But he got Spratty out the way and then it was pretty good. She dug deep to win – that was great!”
“It was brilliant for the mare. We will just let the dust settle for the mare. She’s nominated for all of those big races.”
“Now she’s got a Group One on her CV we will probably need to look at something in Australia,” Walker added.
The effort from Campionessa impressed star rider Opie Bosson, who rounded out the Pukekohe card with five winners.
“It was a good effort,” Bosson noted. “She’s tough to pick herself up from that and then fight off the other challenger.”
“She deserves that Group One. She got a lot of confidence back after that win two starts back and she showed that again last time.”
As well as her outstanding race record, Campionessa possesses a first class pedigree – being one of three stakes winners for her dam.
Enjoy the replay:
Bred by Simms Davison of Mapperley Stud, Campionessa is from the grand producing O’Reilly mare Bella Carolina – a three time winner in her own right.
Successful at distances to 1400 metres, Bella Carolina is the dam of Campionessa as well as stakes winners Leedox and Tennessee.
Bella Carolina in turn is from from a Centaine half sister to Group One Metropolitan Handicap winner Dress Circle.
Campionessa is the latest star Group One winner for Te Akau purchased from the Gold Coast. Others to carry the famous tangerine and blue colours to victory after a Magic Millions purchase include superstar sprinter Imperatriz, crack young stallion Sword of State, former NZ Horse of the Year Princess Coup and Costa Viva and Tell a Tale.
Meanwhile, Magic Millions graduates swept the Caulfield features on a big Boxing Day card with Zennzella (Snitzel) and Sghirripa (Lonhro) delighting their connections with black type successes.
Zennzella, a Gold Coast Yearling Sale buy from Baramul Stud and then National Broodmare Sale buy from the Newgate Consignment, was back to her best with a strong win in the Magic Millions Lord Stakes.
The Maher and Eustace trained mare provided a timely pedigree boost for her full sister by Snitzel heading to January’s 2024 Gold Coast Yearling Sale. She is Lot 384 in the Baramul Stud draft.
Untapped Adelaide sprinter Sghirripa provided the father-daughter training team of Shane and Cassie Oxlade with a late Christmas present when she scored an effortless win in the Listed Christmas Stakes.
A winner of six of his 13 lifetime starts, Sghirripa burst through between runners in the straight under Craig Newitt for an impressive win.
Connections purchased the son of Lonhro for $70,000 from the Grenville Stud draft at the 2021 Adelaide Yearling Sale and Grenville are preparing his Merchant Navy half sister for the 2024 Adelaide Yearling Sale.
- Winner: Campionessa
- Breeding: Contributer-Bella Carolina (O’Reilly)
- Breeder: Simms Davison
- Race: Auckland TC Zabeel Classic G1 (2050m)
- Sold for: $60,000
- Sale: 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale
- Vendor: Westbury Stud (As Agent)
- Buyer: DC Ellis
- Earnings: NZ$936,590
- Owners: Te Akau Campionessa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM)
- Trainer(s): Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson (Matamata)