Matamata visitor Force Of Will carried on her winning way when she proved too strong for her rivals in the Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) on Saturday. The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained filly travelled south to Trentham off the back of consecutive wins at Tauranga, including an eye-catching performance against the older horses over 1400m at her last start.
Stepped up to the mile against her own age and sex this time, the Power filly travelled sweetly in midfield for rider Craig Grylls before being angled into the centre of the track to make her run. Grylls unleashed her at the 200m and she drove clear to score from a brave Victorem who fought hard after leading into the home straight, with Passione close up in third.
Bred and raced by Sir Owen Glenn under his Go Bloodstock Australia banner, Force of Will has now won three of her four starts, with O’Sullivan contemplating how far she might go in this campaign. “I’m thrilled for Sir Owen as I think he has got himself a very promising filly,” O’Sullivan said.
“It is a great result as the black type she picks up from the win cements her value when Sir Owen retires her to his broodmare band. “We were stepping into the unknown a little with her as we weren’t sure she could get the trip, especially on a track where it is a tough mile. “Her last two runs suggested she was looking for more ground and after what we’ve seen today, she might be able to get further still.”
O’Sullivan was also delighted with the ride by Grylls who was bringing up the middle leg of a winning treble after winning aboard On Show and Ruby Rocks during the day. “Kozzi Asano had ridden her in her two previous wins, but given it was a stakes race, we just opted for a little more experience today,” O’Sullivan said. “We have had a lot of luck with Craig and he produced another no panic ride for us.”
O’Sullivan and Scott were both absent from the track after spending nine energy sapping days travelling back and forth from the National Yearling Sale at Karaka. “Both Scotty and I were pretty weary after having spent so much time up at Karaka,” he said.
“We sent her down with our stable employee Ellen Osbourne, who does a great job for us and she has done that again today. “I’ve actually got the place to myself at home this afternoon with just the dog for company, so it was just the two of us cheering her on. “When she won, the dog gave me a high five and we celebrated in style.”
Force Of Will is the third foal of Savabeel mare Sade and comes from an extended family that stretches back to Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner (3200m) Brew, the son of multiple Group One winner Horlicks.