CAMPIONESSA ALL CLASS IN RICH HILL MILE
Dropping way down in distance from a last-start Listed win over 2500 metres in November, Campionessa (NZ) (Contributer) produced a brilliant fresh-up performance to take out the $140,000 Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Te Rapa on New Year’s Day.
Te Akau Racing’s emerging star is now a dual blacktype winner with $232,135 in earnings to her name – more than three times her reserve at Karaka. Her 18-start career has produced seven wins and six placings, with the Rich Hill Mile sitting alongside the Listed Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) at Riccarton on her mantelpiece.
The five-year-old had already shown consistency, stamina and a fierce will to win during her breakthrough 2022-23 season, but Sunday’s Rich Hill Mile added a new string to her bow. Rider Opie Bosson settled her in the back half of the field before going full-bore in the straight, and Campionessa responded with a sparkling turn of foot.
She effortlessly sailed past a big field of well-credentialled milers, clearing out to win by two and a half lengths.
“She gave me a great feel,” Bosson said. “She was dropping a long way back in distance today and beat a good field over a mile, so I think there’s bigger and better things in store for her.”
Trainer Mark Walker had been pleased with Campionessa’s progress between her last-start win in the Metropolitan at Riccarton and Sunday’s return, and he was quick to deflect the credit for her remarkable fresh-up success.
“This mare freshened up really nicely after her win at Riccarton,” he said. “Our racing manager, Reece Trumper, suggested this race as a possible target. I asked him if it might be a little bit too rich for her at this stage of her career, but he really wanted to have a crack at it. This result is a real credit to him.
“It was a very good performance today, and we might have to set our sights a bit higher after this.”
Bought by Te Akau’s David Ellis after she was passed in at Karaka, Campionessa has become a special member of the formidable Te Akau Racing team, who won three Group races on Te Rapa’s New Year’s Day card.
“It’s fair to say this mare is a bit of a tart – she has a huge heart, but a whole lot of attitude as well,” said Karyn Fenton-Ellis, who manages the Te Akau Campionessa Syndicate. “Both of those qualities served her well in winning this race, which is a time-honoured event that everyone really wants to win.”
Campionessa was bred by Mapperley Stud’s Simms Davison and is one of five winners from six foals to race out of the three-race-winning mare Bella Carolina (NZ) (O’Reilly). Remarkably, three of Bella Carolina’s progeny have been stakes winners. Campionessa is now the headline act with wins at Group Two and Listed level, while Tennessee (NZ) (Per Incanto) and Leedox (NZ) (Time Test) both won Listed races.