Bold front-running mare Pride Of Jenni broke her rivals hearts under a daring Declan Bates ride to score a thrilling victory in the Gr.1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
Bates admitted to some nerves and indeed some loneliness as he kept the mare rolling along in front by as many as eight lengths before the home turn, comfortably staving off the late challenge of Kiwi bred mares Atishu and Life Lessons, who filled the minor placings.
"It's her style and that was the plan and I just wanted to execute it," Bates said.
"She likes to go quick and you've got to let her do her thing.
"It can be a bit of a balancing act. I was quite happy early in the day to see a few leaders win and the closer I got to the race, I was really confident. I felt like I could win this race and it just worked out nicely.
"The outside gate was a blessing really as it meant I had nothing on her outside and I could just coast across.
"(At the) midway point, I wasn't too happy, she felt like she was working a bit. She never relaxes like you want her to, but she's so tough and got such an engine and she can break their hearts. She really deserves to win a race like this."
Already Group One placed in the Coolmore Classic (1500m) and multiple Group Two-placed, Pride Of Jenni was a deserved elite-level winner.
A daughter of Pride Of Dubai, Pride Of Jenni was bred by Trelawney Stud and is out of the O’Reilly mare Sancerre, who was prepared by Cambridge trainer Tony Pike to win on four occasions for the Stud.
The Empire Rose victor stems from a family fashioned over generations at the famed Kiwi nursery, which has been in the Taylor family’s ownership since 1993, having been established by Seton Otway in the 1930s.
“We have been pretty fortunate that Real Success, the taproot of Vouvray, Loire, A Touch Of Ruby and now Pride Of Jenni and many others around them was one of the first families that we bought into when we bought the farm many years ago,” a delighted Brent Taylor said from Flemington.
“We bought Real Success off the track. Frank Ritchie trained her for an American client and she was a Group Two winner.
“We bought her early on with a good friend of ours. We bred her and kept her all the way through and obviously bred Vouvray (Gr.1 Queensland Oaks winner) and there have been a number out of the family that have done particularly well.
“Pride Of Jenni is a legacy of sending young mares to Australia, which we have done over the years, to go to at the time either proven stallions or stallions we really like.
“Pride Of Dubai is a horse we saw at Coolmore and loved him on pedigree and type. We ended up breeding a really nice filly and sold her through Segenhoe Stud because we weren’t selling at the time at the Classic Sale in Sydney.”
The now six-year-old mare in raced by Tony and Lynn Ottobre, who name all of their racehorses after their late daughter Jennifer, who died after a battle with brain cancer.
“They put a lot in and it is fantastic for them to get a Group One result,” Taylor said. “She is a lovely filly and she is now rewarding them.”
Sancerre is in foal to Cambridge Stud stallion Hello Youmzain.
“We have actually sent Sancerre to Per Incanto twice to try and replicate the Street Cry blood that we see through Pride Of Dubai.
“Tony Pike has a really nice promising three-year-old called Awatere by Per Incanto and we have another yearling filly by Per Incanto which we are keeping to race,” Taylor said.
“Cherry (wife) and I are both stoked, and it is great to cheer on a winner today. Flemington is a wonderful place to come and when you get a winner, it’s even better.”