Drakaina dominates NZB Airfreight Stakes

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  • March 04, 2024
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By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Drakaina’s commanding victory in Saturday’s Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui completed a remarkable rise to prominence for a filly that was bought for just $3,000.

The daughter of Ace High caught the eye of her trainer and part-owner Ebony Turner on Gavelhouse last year. She was unplaced on debut at Ascot Park in November, then won at $50 odds at Gore on December 24 before finishing fourth in the Listed Gore Guineas (1335m) and second in last month’s Listed Dunedin Guineas (1400m).

Drakaina stepped out as a $5.50 second favourite for Saturday’s NZB Airfreight Stakes, and she continued her rapid rise with a runaway win.

Jockey Jasmine Fawcett drove Drakaina forward from a wide gate and took an early lead, but then was happy to settle in second when The Real Treasure made a big mid-race move to take over in the back straight.

Drakaina cruised back up on the outside of that rival coming towards the home turn, but she was being accompanied every step of the way by the riderless Amiinit, who had parted company with jockey Lee Callaway when the gates opened.

The riderless horse drifted across towards the rail just in front of Drakaina at the top of the home straight, but she was unfazed and produced a brilliant turn of foot to dash clear of the rest of the field.

Drakaina got further and further in front through the final 200m, dashing to victory by six and a half lengths over Sense Of Timing and Epee Beel.

The NZB Airfreight Stakes was the first stakes success for the Riverton-based Turner, who is in only her second season of training.

Fawcett, who had her first ride on Drakaina in Saturday’s $80,000 feature, was delighted to play her part.

“I hadn’t ridden her before, but my agent (Jacob Edens) had a good opinion of her previous form and was keen for me to ride her,” she said. “I was really glad I ended up on the right horse.

“This filly gave me a fantastic feel and it was a great performance. It was a good-quality field today and she proved she was definitely up to stakes standard. I thought the loose horse made it an even more impressive performance – that didn’t make it easy for her at all, but she handled everything really well and then put them away very convincingly in the straight.”

Drakaina has now had five starts for two wins, a placing and $79,235 in stakes – more than 26 times her purchase price.

The NZB Airfreight Stakes was the second leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series, and Drakaina earned 7 points and now shares top spot on the table with the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) winner Viva Vienna.

The two remaining legs of the series are the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on April 13 and the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a week later.

“I have no doubt that she’ll go a bit further than this,” Fawcett said. “I’m sure she’d be very competitive in those other three-year-old fillies’ races that are coming up at Riccarton, if that’s the way she goes. I’m not sure what her plans are from here. I’ll leave that up to Ebony, who’s done a great job with this horse so far. I’ll just do as I’m told, and I’ll definitely be keen to ride her again.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk


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