Australian Cup focus for Blamey winner Atishu

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  • March 04, 2024
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Multiple Group One winning mare Atishu has claimed a berth in the A$4 million All-Star Mile (1600m) with a strong victory in the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.


The Chris Waller-trained daughter of Savabeel was ridden more forward than usual under Blake Shinn, who was aboard the six-year-old for the first time, defeating Holymanz by three-quarters of a length, with Ayrton close-up in third after being held-up for a run.


“We know she is a filly that has had her share of issues in the barriers and as a result we have always been riding her a little bit conservatively and she has been finishing off so well in that position,” Waller’s Assistant Trainer Charlie Duckworth said.


“I was a little bit concerned when he was so assertive out of the gates. It is all well and good when you win, but if you don’t there are questions to be asked.


“But she looked to get into a lovely rhythm and travelled tractably in that position. Blake was very soft on her up until the concluding stages when he had to ask an effort for her to lift. She is a genuine Group One performer and she absolutely loves it here at Flemington.


“So looking back it is a fantastic ride from Blake and we are delighted to get the win. She is obviously a valuable horse and the main thing is she is racing in a rich vein of form which is great to see after what on face-value looked like a slightly disappointing first-up performance for her.”


Duckworth believed it was the race pattern and the Caulfield circuit that brought about the undoing of Atishu when eighth behind Mr Brightside in the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) fresh-up.


“She was chasing a long way out that day, whereas today she was able to travel and that was the difference,” Duckworth said.


“If you can get her to travel and switch off and do everything right, then she has got a wicked turn of foot and we have seen that time and time again at Flemington and hopefully it can continue for a good while more.”


The A$3 million Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m) back at Flemington on March 30 is the chief target for the campaign, with Duckworth unsure whether the mare would contest the All-Star Mile which is to be contested at Caulfield on March 16.


“$4 million is a lot of money and I will leave it to Chris and the owners to work out whether we go there (to the All-Star Mile) or head straight to the Australian Cup,” Duckworth said.


Atishu won the Gr.1 Champions Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last spring, while she also won the Gr.1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) in Sydney last autumn.


Atishu sports the colours of Albert Bosma’s Go Racing, with the Kiwi mare having transferred to Waller as a multiple stakes winner for trainer Stephen Marsh in New Zealand as a three-year-old.


Bred by Waikato Stud, Atishu is by their champion sire Savabeel out of the No Excuse Needed mare Posy, who won two races and is a sister to the former Champion Three-Year-Old and multiple Group One winner Daffodil.


Go Racing went to $260,000 to secure Atishu as a yearling from Waikato Stud’s 2019 Karaka Book 1 draft.


Atishu is a sister to the Waikato Stud-raced Mazzolino, who won the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) for trainer Stephen Marsh last year and placed a further five times at stakes level before her recent retirement to the broodmare paddock, in-foal to Super Seth. – NZ Racing Desk



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