Orchestral hits the right notes at Hastings

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  • June 01, 2023
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Smart filly Orchestral ran out a dominant winner of the Agritrade Valagro 2YO Maiden (1200m) at Hawke’s Bay on Tuesday for trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood.

Orchestral impressed at the first time of asking at Pukekohe last month where she charged home to finish a close second behind the highly regarded Just A Floozie, after being slow to muster.

Sent out a $1.60 favourite on Tuesday, the daughter of Savabeel came from midfield under Warren Kennedy and bounded to a soft win, defeating stablemate Monsoon Knight by one and three-quarter lengths with her ears pricked.

“With every outing she has improved,” a delighted Roger James said. “She jumped over the 1200m today and was able to put herself in the race which she has never done in trials or at her first start, she just jumped out last every time.

“She is learning her trade and I like the ease in which she won. She had her ears pricked and was just coasting. I also liked the comments that Warren had afterwards – they were glowing.”

The filly will head to the paddock now and shapes as a promising prospect for next season for the training combination that have a knack of unearthing quality three-year-olds, including this season’s multiple Group One winner Prowess.

Bred by Barneswood Farm, Orchestral was purchased out of Haunui Farm’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for $625,000.

The filly is out of the O’Reilly mare Symphonic, a multiple winner and Group performer, from the family of the Group One winners Daffodil, Aegon and Atishu.

James was at this stage unsure whether the filly would stretch out over ground next season.

“I don’t know. I’m not qualified to make that assumption yet because we have only seen her over shorter distances,” he said.

“She has got a very relaxed attitude and you imagine she would, but Savabeel can leave all-sorts and often you don’t know what you’ve got until you try them.

“She does have a lovely relaxed demeanor which suggests that she may get a trip but she is very much an unread book at this stage.”

James was also upbeat about runner-up Monsoon Knight, with the Vadamos gelding also making good ground and coming between runners on debut.

“I thought his run was very good. He had only had one trial, so to have the ringcraft to do what he did and be beaten by a horse that we think a lot of, I thought was pretty special,” James said.

Like Orchestral, Monsoon Knight will now go for a break, with the pair having ventured to Hastings last Thursday for a race meeting that was abandoned after one race.

“It is certainly hardly ideal to have had to travel twice in quick succession from Cambridge,” James said.

“It is underestimated the stress of travel. I am just fortunate that they are both going out now and they can get over it and we have two exciting horses to look forward to in the spring.”

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