Princess Rihanna back to her best at Ellerslie

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Princess Rihanna

Consistent New Zealand performer Princess Rihanna got a just reward on Saturday when she stormed to victory in an open 1100m contest at Ellerslie.

The rising seven-year-old mare had finished an unlucky third at the venue in a similar event last month but snared the thick end of the prize this time, courtesy of a well-judged ride by apprentice Taiki Yanagida.

The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained daughter of Showcasing made her usual good beginning to sit handy to the pace before looking to issue her challenge shortly after turning for home.

Yanagida didn’t panic when held up for several strides at the 250m, extricating Princess Rihanna from a pocket before she charged to the front in the shadows of the post to record her fifth career victory.

O’Sullivan was pleased to see the mare pick up another victory as she comes towards the end of her racing career, while he also praised the ride by his young apprentice.

“She deserved that win as she has been running good races without a lot of luck,” O’Sullivan said.

“She had bad luck there last time and it looked like she might find trouble again on Saturday, but Taiki was patient and got her momentum up nicely when he found the gap in the straight.

“It was a good race for her and when she can get a run like that, she can be hard to beat.

“I was also thrilled for her owners who have been very patient with her all the way through.”

O’Sullivan doesn’t have any major plans for the mare who could well be headed to the broodmare paddock later in the year.

“There isn’t a lot around for her so we will take a look at the programme in the next few days to see if we can find a suitable race,” he said.

“I think she is probably coming towards the end of her career, but while she is going so well it would be nice to think she could get another win or two.”

O’Sullivan also reported that the Queensland campaigns for several stable members had come to an end with the individual horses each going in different directions.

“We had three horses in Brisbane, but they have all been turned out now for various reasons,” he said.

“Dragon Leap was going to run at Doomben last weekend but after working nicely on the Tuesday he spiked a temperature on Thursday morning, so we had to scratch him.

“We’ve decided to bring him home and give him a spell before getting him ready for the spring.

“We didn’t see the point in taking any risks, so he is having a fortnight in the Queensland sun before he heads back to us.

“Spring Heat has been retired and will now become part of the broodmare band for Hermitage Thoroughbreds while Force Of Will has been turned out and will do her future racing in Sydney.”

O’Sullivan and training partner Scott will maintain a low profile over the next few months with just one or two winter gallopers in work, however they will remain busy getting their younger members of the racing team ready for the spring.

“We’ve lost quite a few out of the stable with retirements and the like but we have a nice bunch of younger horses coming through,” he said.

“It’s sometimes hard to know where your next good horse will come from, but it only takes one to get you going and I think with the talent we have on our hands it is going to be exciting to see which of them can step up to the mantle.”

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