Matamata filly Cornflower Blue reinvigorated her challenge for next months Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) with a determined win at Ashburton on Sunday. The Jamie Richards-trained three-year-old had her halo dented slightly when battling home for fourth in the Group 3 Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton at her last start but made no mistake today when she produced a determined home straight burst to down fellow northern raider Embers in the Group 3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m).
Embers had tried to lead throughout and looked to be going well rounding the home bend however rider Danielle Johnson had Cornflower Blue winding up strongly and got the upperhand short of the line after a stirring home straight battle.
Bred and raced by Waikato Stud, Cornflower Blue is by champion sire Savabeel and is out of O’Reilly mare Tiffany Yellow. She comes from an extended family that includes Group 3 Concorde Handicap (1200m) winner Mosse and Group 1 winners Terravista, Tiger Tees and Il Quello Veloce.
The Savabeel and O’Reilly cross also came to fore on Saturday when Albarado won the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) and the cross currently produces 13 percent stakes winners to runners. “I watched the race with the trainer and I’m absolutely rapt,” Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said. “Jamie and the team, his father Paul, have done an incredible job with her after she felt the ground in the Canterbury Belle Stakes. “We’re looking forward to her contesting the 1000 Guineas, if she goes the right way, but we’d like to see a touch more give in the ground if possible.”
Chittick earmarked Cornflower Blue as a top filly in their 2019 National Yearling sale draft, but she broke a wither leading up to the sale and had to be withdrawn. Furthermore, after finishing second on debut to subsequent dual stakes winner Need I Say More, she fractured a bone in her leg. “I’ve got to say, the expert veterinary care of Ronan (Costello) at Te Akau, and our vet Chris (Phillips), who diagnosed what was an unusual sort of fracture, and all the love and attention she got from the staff going through her rehab has given us the opportunity to get her back to the track,” he said.
Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis CNZM was also delighted with the win. “That was Savabeel’s 104th stakes winner,” he said. “He’s been our Champion Stallion for six years in a row and it’s just incredible how much success we’ve had with his progeny in the last five or six years. “Recently, I can think of Probabeel, Savy Yong Blonk, Cool Aza Beel, Prise De Fer, Embellish, Hall of Fame, Sword of Osman, Splurge, Royal Success, Shillelagh, Grazia, and others, all really good horses. “It’s so good to be entrusted with a beautiful filly like this from the Breeder of the Year (Waikato Stud) and to be able to win a Group 3.”
Cornflower Blue now sits on the third line of betting for the 1000 Guineas at an $8 quote behind Tinker Mcphee ($5) and impressive Hastings winner Bonham ($6).
The race was marred by the fall of two runners on the point of the home turn with both Zoltan and Showemhowitsdone crashing heavily to the turf, although both horses were up quickly and came through relatively unscathed.
Showemhowitsdone’s rider Brett Murray was unhurt however Jason Laking, who was aboard Zoltan, suffered a suspected broken collarbone and concussion.