No three-year-old in New Zealand this season has enjoyed as much black-type success as the prolific winner Need I Say More, who added Saturday’s Group 2 Fusion Electrical Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham to his near-faultless formline.
The winner of the Group 3 Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) as a juvenile, the classy chestnut has added this season’s Group 3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Sarten Memorial (1400m), Group 3 Almanzor Trophy (1200m), Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1300m) and now Saturday’s $100,000 feature.
The only defeats in the gelding’s nine-start career have been a close fourth after a taxing wide run in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), and a sixth over a distance just beyond his reach in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Saturday’s Guineas attracted a quality field of three-year-olds, and Need I Say More was overshadowed in the betting market by his talented stablemate Brando, who was the +190 favourite with a more favourable draw and star jockey Opie Bosson in the saddle.
But a wide gate of 11 was quickly overcome by Need I Say More’s jockey Johnathan Parkes, who drove him forward in the early stages to sit outside the front-running Hold The Press as the field rounded the first turn.
Need I Say More soon settled into a smooth rhythm as the pace came out of the race coming down the side of the track, and when Parkes pushed the button in the home straight, Need I Say More bounded to the front.
Hold The Press fought back gallantly on his inside, while last-start Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Bonham stormed home out wide on the track, but Need I Say More scooted clear and scored an emphatic victory by a length and a half.
“It was a bit tricky early in the race – drawn 11, and they made him work a bit to get across,” Parkes said. “But once he was able to get across, the pace slackened off as we turned into the bend, which was good.
“I knew I had a handful of horse coming into the straight, and he’s really found the line well. He’s a horse that just wants to win. He’s had nine starts now for seven wins. He’s a super horse, and he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Initially passed in when offered by Kilgravin Lodge in Book 1 at Karaka in 2019, Need I Say More was later bought for $130,000 by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis. Now the winner of seven of his nine starts, he has banked more than $280,000 in stakes.
“He had to do a lot of work today, but he’s a winner, no doubt about that,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “Parkesy gets on well with him, and I can’t fault the horse at all. He’s going really well.
“He was a little bit light and immature when he made the trip down to Christchurch in the spring, but with a good break at Te Akau Stud and a heap of feed, he’s come back and had a great late summer and autumn for a really good group of owners.
“I don’t think he needs to do a lot more this season. The horse probably deserves a nice break, and then we’ll get him ready for next year.”
Richards was also pleased with the strong-finishing third placing by Cornflower Blue, who had previously placed in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and resumed with a third in the Mufhasa Stakes earlier this month.
“She’s going well,” Richards said. “She’s probably looking for a little bit further, but the plan was always to run her over 1300 and 1400 before looking at a mile third up.”
Group One performer Brando, in his first start back from a disappointing unplaced finish in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) in Melbourne, finished seventh.
“He was a little bit disappointing on face value,” Richards said. “He might need a break. The trip to Australia may have taken a bit more out of him than we originally thought.”