Visiting Australian rider Blake Shinn made good use of his trip across the Tasman to ride at Pukekohe on Boxing Day as he guided Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Molly Bloom (Ace High) to a nail-biting victory in the Gr.2 Hallmark Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m).
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained daughter of Ace High had been unsighted since her victory at Riccarton last month and she gave her supporters, who backed her into a $1.60 favourite for the race, plenty of anxious moments before getting in the deciding stride to down her main rival, Mary Shan.
Shinn admitted he had some nervous moments of his own in the concluding stages as his saddle shifted backwards which made it hard for him to fully ride out his mount in a desperate finish.
“It was a great win but there were a few worrying moments as her saddle went back a long way and I had to nurse her from the 200m onwards,” Shinn said.
“Everything went to plan nicely apart from that as I let her fall asleep out the back and ended up getting on the back of one from the half mile and she had open air in the home straight.
“She had her momentum impeded by that saddle so I think the win had more merit than it may have looked.
“She is a great filly and I want to thank the connections for inviting me to ride a filly of this calibre.”
Scott confirmed Molly Bloom will now head to the $1.5million TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) on 27 January at Ellerslie for her next assignment.
“It was a good effort to come from off the speed as there was not a lot of it,” he said.
“She had to be tough to do what she did today as we had a feeling there was further improvement in her as she had done really well after getting back from Christchurch.
“She had to guts it out and we couldn’t be more proud of her.
“She is a beautiful type with length and strength and we had Blake on today to tell us where we might go with her.
“I would imagine we will be heading towards the Karaka Million Mile now and then we will take stock after that.”
Molly Bloom was bred by Seaton Park, who offered her in Book 1 at Karaka 2022 as a yearling where Wexford Stables secured her for $150,000.
With her third win from just six starts, Molly Bloom has now earned more than $439,000 in prizemoney for her large group of owners.
Her 1000 Guineas victory saw her become the first Group One winner for Ace High, who won the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and Gr.1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at elite-level as a three-year-old and now stands at Rich Hill Stud for a $10,000 service fee.
A total of 24 Ace High youngsters will be on offer during the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka from 28 January.