Dolmabache surprises all but Ramsay
Dolmabache and Burgundy combined for a rare family double at Te Rapa on Saturday, writes Aidan Rodley.
Steven Ramsay was almost apologetic for daring to believe Dolmabache could win Saturday's Gr II $100,000 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.
On paper, the Redoute's Choice mare seemed outclassed and betting suggested she had little chance of success.
But Maungatautari's Ramsay, who, with his partner Julia Ritchie, prepares a stable of richly-bred gallopers for brothers Peter and Philip Vela, not only went into the weight-for-age fillies and mares feature confident Dolmabache could cause an upset, he had sectional analysis from her previous-start to back it up.
"Not trying to sound to cocky but we were pretty confident,'' he said afterwards.
"Her run last-start was massive at Palmy. She's missed away and then in a slowly-run race she's come home the quickest of anything on the day and hit the line really hard. ``They ran it at good tempo today and Darryl [Bradley] gave her a lovely ride. She's always shown us a lot of ability.''
Sent out the 11th favourite at $27.90 in a field of 15, Dolmabache settled third-last but surged home in the straight to claim Postmans Daughter, O'Fille and Villifye on the line in a grandstand finish.
The margin between each of the quartet was just a short head, though a protest saw O'Fille promoted to second ahead of Postmans Daughter after suffering interference.
It was Dolmabache's third - and easily the most important - win from 17 starts and followed her fast-finishing fifth in the Listed Manawatu Breeders' Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni at her previous start.
"I was watching with Leon [Casey] and I didn't think she'd won. I thought she'd got beaten and only run third,'' Ramsay said afterwards.
"A Gr II win - this will put good value on her. She's actually only a two-winner so at weight-for-age it's a massive run.''
Casey had every reason for delight.
He runs the Vela brothers' Pencarrow Stud and manages their racing team.
For Pencarrow Stud, Dolmabache's win completed a momentous day, with her blood brother Burgundy winning the Gr III Windsor Park Stud Breeders' Stakes earlier in the day for a rare double.
The Vela brothers also bred Burgundy, a Redoute's Choice colt out of Grand Echezeaux, who is a sister to Dolmabache's dam Our Echezeaux.
In his acceptance speech, Casey referred to the dual stakes-race success from Pencarrow Stud's best family as a "double collect''.
"It's been a big day for us,'' Casey said.
"Peter and Philip have always had faith in [Dolmabache]. I think she's a really good stayer in the making so we're rapt.
"You can have a great family like that but people still want to see current form coming out of it to show it's still active and on the rise. To get the two wins is an enormous result for the stud.''
Casey, who prepared Christiania Belle to win the race for the Vela brothers in 1993, praised Ramsay and Ritchie for their work in getting Dolmabache into career-best form.
"Rambo [Ramsey] and Julia have a big team of horses that have really come right in the last couple of months and all the credit for this win goes to them,'' Casey said.
"It was a little bit cheeky even putting her in a race like this but now she's won it, we've got to review our assessment of her. Perhaps she's going to be capable of going on to better things.''
Ramsay yesterday said Dolmabache was likely to head for a winter break now before returning in the spring with a race like the Gr I Zabeel Classic as a mid-season target.
"We've got a younger sister at home called Pure Elegance who's not a bad animal too,'' Ramsay said.
Bradley's success was his second at stakes level for the stable in the past five weeks, having ridden Papilio to win the Listed South Island Breeders' Stakes at Riccarton last month.
He also combined with Vercors to win the 2007 Listed Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes in the same colours.
"Steven and Jules have done a great job. This mare looked terrific today,'' Bradley said.
"That was a huge effort. Our intentions were to try and ride her hard out of the gates and be midfield or better but she just walked out of the barriers.
"But I didn't panic. I knew I was on a good mare who felt great and the sea just parted for me in the straight and she just accelerated. She knew where that line was.
"Her run at Manawatu last start was huge and I knew she was a fitter horse with the run. She's still got a lot of potential.''