After a heart-stopping victory over a stellar field in today’s $250,000 NZB Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie, Volpe Veloce’s unbeaten record now stands at seven out of seven.
The Foxwedge filly has become one of the pin-up stars of New Zealand racing over the last 12 months, stringing together impressive victories including the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic, Gr. 3 Eulogy Stakes and Listed Castletown Stakes.
Facing off this afternoon against Group One winners Sacred Elixir and Heroic Valour, Group One placegetter Jon Snow and Group Two winner Swissta among others, Volpe Veloce’s winning streak faced its toughest test to date – and at the top of the straight it was hanging by a thread.
After Swissta took the field along at a crawl through the first half of the race, the pace suddenly went on approaching the home turn. Volpe Veloce was a distant fifth and battling.
But under vigorous urging from rider Michael Coleman, who was filling in for the suspended Johnathan Parkes, Volpe Veloce began to eat into the deficit. She pinned her ears back, lengthened stride and gathered momentum.
Slowly but surely she drew up alongside the leading pair of Heroic Valour and Jon Snow. Heroic Valour lifted to meet Volpe Veloce’s challenge, but she refused to be denied and scored by a nose in a head-bobbing finish.
“She was unbeaten coming into this and this was her toughest test,” Coleman said. “She had to be good to win today. She was going nicely, but hit a bit of a flat spot when they all sprinted at the corner. But then she got going again, she really started to wind into it. I was confident at the 200, but then the other horse (Heroic Valour) fought back strongly. But she got up for a great win.”
Bought by trainer Graham Richardson for $240,000 as a yearling at Karaka, Volpe Veloce has now earned $293,125 for her 15-strong syndicate of owners.
“I had my eyes closed down the straight,” Richardson admitted. “But she’s a filly with a lot of grit. I still don’t know how good she is, but she just keeps improving.
“This is a huge result for our stable, and it’s fantastic for her great group of owners. This is what racing’s all about.”
Heroic Valour lifted his prize-money earnings to close to $300,000. The son of Fastnet Rock has never been out of a place, with four wins and five placings to his credit from nine appearances.
Jon Snow added another terrific third to a season that already includes placings in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic, Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas and Gr. 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
Favourite Sacred Elixir was last around the turn. While he couldn’t match the sprints of those who finished ahead of him, he warmed into his work solidly down the straight and will improve for today’s outing.