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Kiwis fly in Japan, Australia & Dubai

As a bunch of gifted New Zealanders lined up in Hollywood to collect a total of five Oscars, Kiwi-bred horses provided the best possible supporting act in major races around the world.

Caulfield & Melbourne Cups winner Ethereal (Rhythm), raced by her breeders Peter & Philip Vela, produced a whirlwind finish to take out The BMW 2400m G1 at Rosehill in Sydney. The performance confirmed her ranking as the best stayer in Australasia. Reports from Australia indicate that the Velas are now keen to retire Ethereal but a final decision will be made this week.

Forty minutes later Sixty Seconds emphatically franked the quality of New Zealand three-year-old female form by winning the STC Arrowfield Stud Stakes 2000m G1. A magnificent, strapping daughter of Waikato Stud's outstanding sire Centaine, Sixty Seconds was bred by the Williams family's Te Parae Trust, Masterton and is a full sister to G3 winner Spottswoode. Their dam Fifteen Reasons won four races in the South Island and, co-incidentally, was a contemporary of Sunline's dam Songline in the Ashburton stable of Jan Hay.

New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Vapour Trail (Jetball) was an honourable fourth. Beaten into third by Sixty Seconds in the ARC Fayette Park Championship S. G2 on 2 March, Vapour Trail has raced with great consistency and courage from the end of last season until now. She is another product of the Vela brothers' Pencarrow Stud.

These two victories took the New Zealand-bred Group One tally in Australia this season to ten, and Sixty Seconds completed a very good day for the Chittick family of Waikato Stud. Garry Chittick bred and races Ugachaka (Danasinga) who had earlier won the STC Queen of the Turf S. 1500m G2. Her older half-sister Country Rose (Centaine) is a Group 3 winner and their dam Bolshoi Star, by Three Legs, was G3-placed.

But, as the ads say, there's more. On a star-studded day in Dubai three New Zealand-breds performed with great distinction. Skoozi (Prince Of Praise; bred by Lesley Marks of Westbury Stud) was second in the $US1 million Godolphin Mile G2.
Helene Vitality (Zabeel; bred by Jen Campin of Chequers Stud) also ran second in the $US2 million Sheema Classic 2400m G1. As Hades he won the New Zealand Derby G1 over the same distance two years ago. His two-year-old half-sister Swan Lake (Green Perfume) was second at her first start for Mrs Campin last week.
And yet another Vela-bred four-year-old mare, Hoeberg (Maroof) repeated Sunline's performance last year by running third in the $US2 million Dubai Duty Free 1777m G1.

Given New Zealand's high percentage of thoroughbred exports it's not surprising that all three of these runners ran for other countries: Skoozi for Dubai, Helene Vitality for Hong Kong and Hoeberg for Singapore, although she is trained by Kiwi expatriate Laurie Laxon for her South African owners, the Jaffees, and will soon move to David Payne's new stable in Sydney.

In Japan St Steven and Rand took their places in the Pegasus Stakes, the lead-up to next month's rich Nakayama Grand Jump. Rand (Omnicorp), who won the Pegasus last year, did very well to run third, giving 3 kg to the winner Fusaichi Gold. St Steven (Hula Town) was fifth.


- Susan Archer