Molly Bloom heads Wexford quartet in Karaka Millions 3YO

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  • February 05, 2024
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By Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott will saddle more than a quarter of the field in Saturday’s $1.5 million TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) at Ellerslie, with Group One-winning filly Molly Bloom a headline act among their talented quartet.

Molly Bloom burst to stardom with an enormous finish from third-last in an 18-horse field in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November. The Ace High filly added another trophy to the cabinet on Boxing Day with a hard-fought victory over Mary Shan in the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe, and Scott believes she has improved through the month since that race.

“We’ve been really pleased with her and she’s certainly gone the right way since Boxing Day,” he said. “She’s maintained a very good body weight, and I thought her work on Tuesday morning was probably one of the best pieces of work she’s done this season.

“She had a wee twist more improvement on her when she raced on Boxing Day, but now we think we’ve got her pretty close to the mark for Saturday.”

Molly Bloom was the outright favourite for the Karaka Millions 3YO until Wednesday night’s barrier draw, where second favourite Orchestral landed the inside gate. That saw her tighten into $3.50 equal favouritism alongside Molly Bloom, who drew gate 10.

“We weren’t too worried about Molly’s draw on Wednesday,” Scott said. “She was probably never going to utilise an inside barrier anyway. Her style tends to be to take her time to settle, then quicken late in the race. We weren’t going to rush her out of the gates even if she’d drawn well.”

Australian jockey Blake Shinn had his first ride on Molly Bloom in last month’s Eight Carat, and he will make a return across the Tasman to continue that partnership on Saturday.

Molly Bloom will be joined in Saturday’s line-up by stablemates Geriatrix, The Weapon and Grande Gallo, who will be ridden by Vinnie Colgan, Matt Cameron and Wiremu Pinn respectively.

“Grande Gallo was a very good winner at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day,” Scott said. “She sustained a good gallop that day and showed that she really excels right-handed. She’s worked well since then. She doesn’t quite have the form lines that Molly has, but we wouldn’t be surprised if she made her presence felt. She’s drawn in close, which should be to her advantage.

“The Weapon found the line very well at Ellerslie last start and is going the right way. He has the hood on for the first time this weekend.

“Geriatrix has had some hold-ups and has gone a wee while without a run, but he’s got a good load of talent there.”

O’Sullivan and Scott will be represented in Saturday’s Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) by Karman Line, who played a major role at this meeting two years ago. In just her fourth career start, she charged home for a close and unlucky third behind Pin Me Up and Tutukaka in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

Now a five-year-old, Karman Line collected the second win of her 12-start career with an impressive performance in Rating 75 company at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day.

“We think she’s taken a good bit of confidence from that win,” Scott said. “For one reason or another, her form probably hasn’t been quite as strong as we might have hoped, but we know she’s very capable on her day.

“She’s up in class on Saturday, taking on Group Two company, but she’s a talented mare and we think we’ve got her as good as we’ve had her for quite some time.” LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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