New Zealand trainer Lisa Latta was confident of a good showing from Group One performer Charms Star in Friday’s Group 3 JAPAC Homes Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (2000m) at Awapuni and under a positive Wiremu Pinn ride the four-year-old mare narrowly saluted from the fast-finishing favourite Sinarahma, with Samiam Seussie back in third.
Latta and Pinn combined for a treble on the day with Wild Moose and Lincoln Star also successful on the undercard, but it was a case of job well done with Charms Star.
A daughter of Per Incanto, Charms Star had finished second in last year’s Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) won by Amarelinha when prepared by Latta, before transferring to Champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller.
She finished third in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) before finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) behind Duais but returned to New Zealand after failing to show her best in the spring.
“It was very satisfying to see her tick that black-type box,” Latta said.
“It was a worry going in on a track that she sometimes hasn’t handled, but she is definitely a stronger mare now and it was a great ride by Wiremu.
“He took his own initiative to go forward and I left it to him in the end in a tricky little field. He just let her roll and said there was no point fighting her, particularly when the ground was a bit testing.”
Latta was full of praise for the apprentice jockey, who is making every post a winner since resuming from a lengthy suspension earlier in the season.
“He has got that bit of spunk about him, a bit of get-up-and-go and he can ride,” Latta said.
Raced by Hawke’s Bay owner Noel Nicholson, Charms Star will contest the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on April 30 with Latta keen to explore options in Queensland should the mare perform well again.
Charms Star was a NZD$65,000 purchase from Little Avondale Stud’s Book 2 draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale in 2019. She is out of the Zed mare Anniesstar, winner of the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m), whose brother is the Group 3 Manawatu Cup (2300m) winner Jacksstar.
Earlier in the day seven-year-old gelding Lincoln Star added a fifth career win when landing the Courtesy Ford 2200 under 60kg top-weight, while black-type options loom for Wild Moose, who won an Open Handicap over a mile.
“Wild Moose likes the fire out of the ground and is a horse that can put himself thereabouts and he kicked strongly today. We will probably look at the ANZAC Mile (Listed, 1550m at Awapuni on April 24) with him,” Latta said.
“Lincoln Star was a good positive ride. He carried a lot of weight and he took luck out of the equation and we will press on with him at this stage.”