Impendabelle wins dramatic Soliloquy

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  • October 31, 2023
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By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Classy filly Impendabelle is now a Group Two winner at the ages of both two and three, surviving a protest to take out a chaotic running of the Jamieson Park Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

The $175,000 fillies’ feature brought together the majority of the leading contenders for next month’s Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and was expected to clear up the classic picture. Instead, the race created more questions than it answered.

The first 1000m of the race were relatively uneventful, with the favourite Luberon shooting forward from a wide gate to lead the way until around the 300m mark. The challengers were by that stage beginning to build momentum in behind her, and the stage was set for an exciting battle to the finish.

But Luberon suddenly threw it all away, veering sharply to the left and crashing into the outside running rail. Fortunately, she and her jockey Celine Gaudray escaped injury.

In the meantime, Impendabelle surged through to take the lead in the centre of the track with 200m remaining. She was joined by Tulsi on her outside, while Mary Shan and Molly Bloom came at her with big strides closer to the rail.

Impendabelle’s margin steadily dwindled as the four fillies set down to fight out a desperate finish. The leader dug deep to cling on to her small advantage, but she raced very greenly in the final few strides, drifting towards the fence and impeding both Mary Shan and Molly Bloom.

The connections of Molly Bloom lodged a protest against the winner, but the placings stood, with Impendabelle beating Mary Shan, Tulsi and Molly Bloom.

It was the third win of a seven-start career for Impendabelle, who kicked off her career with back-to-back victories as a spring two-year-old last season including the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham.

The daughter of Impending later finished third at Pukekohe on Boxing Day, then fifth in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in her final start of the season.

Impendabelle was a luckless seventh when she resumed in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings in September, clipping a heel and almost falling before recovering to get within three lengths of the winner Quintessa. In her only other start, she overcame a wide run for a solid second behind the undefeated Crocetti at Te Rapa.

“She’s really had no luck at all this spring, and it looked like she might not get any today either,” Pike said. “I thought she’d have a nice run following Luberon, but she ended up being left alone in front and started to race a bit greenly. But she fought it out well and it was good to see her get the win. She deserved that.”

Impendabelle will now push on towards the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 18, for which the TAB now rates her an $8 chance.

“She’s a really relaxed filly, so I don’t expect the step up to 1600m to trouble her,” Pike said. “She ran the race out strongly today in a performance that looked a bit better to me than the margin might suggest.”

The minor placegetters lost little in defeat on Saturday, with Mary Shan coming into a $7 quote for the 1000 Guineas while Molly Bloom now holds outright favouritism at $4.50. Tulsi is rated a $12 chance.

“It was a huge run – she should have won the race,” Mary Shan’s jockey Craig Grylls said. “She got shuffled back and flew home.”

Joe Doyle, the rider of Molly Bloom, was similarly impressed with his mount.

“She did well in a very messy race,” he said. “I’m confident that she’ll get the mile, so it’s onwards and upwards for her.”

Luberon remains a $7 chance for the 1000 Guineas despite Saturday’s incident. It made for an up-and-down day for visiting Australian rider Celine Gaudray, who also recorded wins aboard Roc Dancer and Reputation.

“She’s got a mind of her own, that horse,” Gaudray said about Luberon. “She was giving me such a nice feel until that stage. She still really has no idea what she’s doing, but there’s so much untapped ability there.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk.

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