Handy staying mare Donatrice (NZ) (Contributer) has claimed an all-important metropolitan victory, when scoring in the Ladbrokes Challenger Handicap (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Prepared by Archie Alexander, the six-year-old daughter of Contributer came from midfield to score under Declan Bates, in a strongly-run staying contest.
Sent out an $18 chance, Donatrice had previously prevailed at Geelong and has continued to improve for the Ballarat stable.
“She is a well-bred Kiwi mare that has taken a bit of time, but full credit to everyone at home including Ash who rides her. She gets better each prep.
“She needs quite a bit of work. She is one of those horses who can get a bit fresh and above herself, but really it is a case of keeping her in a routine, keeping her happy.”
Alexander praised the ride of Bates and said the rider had a good affinity with the mare.
“She got a great ride from Dec. Midrace there was a little gap that appeared and then we could get into the race. Before that we were stuck on a rail,” Alexander said.
“I said to Dec beforehand, looking at her form, she only really runs well for him, so they obviously get on well.”
The city win is a big boost for Yabby Dam Farm’s Pat Driscoll, who has an affinity for staying types and went to $130,000 to secure Donatrice as a yearling at Karaka when presented by breeder Mapperley Stud.
Donatrice is a half-sister to multiple Group Two winner Mime (NZ) (Mastercraftsman) and Group Three performed Artiste (NZ) (Mastercraftsman).
“You don’t look at the prizemoney too much until you have won it, but more importantly for the owner Pat Driscoll, she is now a horse that he bought from New Zealand that is a city winner and she will go to Flemington in two and a bit weeks and have another crack at a city race,” Alexander said.