Perfect tune-up for Princess Rhaenys

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  • June 10, 2024
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NZ Racing Desk

Well-related mare Princess Rhaenys has overcome a wide run to score the fifth victory of her career when landing the Mittys Benchmark 90 Handicap (1800m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Tony Gollan-trained six-year-old was sent out a well-supported $2.90 favourite with James McDonald in the saddle.
Sporting the colours of Linda and Graham Huddy’s Peachester Lodge, connections would have been anxious throughout as the mare travelled three-wide throughout, yet still dug deep to defeat Brookhaven by just over half a length at the line.
A multiple stakes-performer, including a Group Three placing in the Pam O’Neill Stakes (1600m), Princess Rhaenys will now get another black-type opportunity when she contests the Listed Tattersall’s Gold Crown (2100m) at Eagle Farm on June 29.
“She got caught in an awkward spot and you could see that after they went a couple of hundred metres she wasn’t going to get in, so James just had to take his medicine,” Gollan said.
“He was able to get her in a good rhythm and that is what we spoke before the race.
“She’s got to relax and get breathing, and give herself a chance to really finish these trips off. We know she’s good over this distance and even further. He would’ve preferred not to be covering that much ground, but in the end it didn’t matter because she was the strongest stayer.
“It’s good to get that run under our belt. I spoke to Mrs Huddy at the start of the week about going in this race or the mares race later (Magic Millions National Classic, 1600m) and she was in beautifully in benchmark grade.
“The 1800m really sets us up well for the Tatts Gold over 2100 metres on Tatts Tiara Day. She was narrowly beaten in the race last year. She has had a faultless preparation until now and I think she’ll be the mare to beat in three weeks’ time.”
Winning jockey James McDonald is confident Princess Rhaenys, a full sister to Derby hero Jon Snow, will relish getting over further.
“She was in a comfortable rhythm even though we were trapped wide, so I didn’t want to take her out of it,” McDonald said. “Fortunately we were able to get a bit of cover from the 700m to the 400m, and she showed a good turn of foot at the end.
“At least we know she’ll run 2000m-plus, because she probably ran it today!”
By Iffraaj out of the O’Reilly mare Orinda, Princess Rhaenys was bred by the Hong Kong Breeders Club at Highview Stud.

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