Winning Debut for $800,000 Sale-Topping Zoustar Filly
Exciting Zoustar filly Stella Splendida justified her $1.30 favouritism when running away to a 1-1/2 length victory in the Taupo Veterinary Centre (1200m) at Taupo on Friday.
Making her debut, she was up on the speed early for jockey Opie Bosson before he elected to ease her back towards the rear of the field.
The leading hoop pushed the go button on his filly with 400m to go and she quickly looped the field and showed her class when blitzing the field in the straight to win effortlessly with plenty still in hand.
“Wow, she’s fast,” Bosson said. “She had a bit of a look around and needs to drop the bridle, but that’s newness and she’s just class.”
Trainer Mark Walker was pleased to see his filly win first-up and he is looking forward to stepping her up in class as the season progresses.
“She’s a big scopey filly that we’ve got a lot of time for and it was a really promising win,” Walker said.
“It was a muddling run race and she’ll only improve for the experience.
“She’d certainly prefer a more genuinely run race and she’ll get her chance in some of the better races for the three-year-old fillies.
Stella Splendida was purchased by David Ellis out of Pencarrow Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $800,000 and topped the sale.
The Te Akau principal was understandably impressed with the debut performance of the filly, who is out of the Group Three winning Galileo mare Scintillula, who was also placed in the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes (1400m) for Jim Bolger.
“It was pretty exciting to see her win so well on debut,” Ellis said.
“Opie has ridden plenty of good ones and he was pretty chuffed with her.
“We took her to Taupo because it’s such a good surface and the day and race was just about education.
“She’s owned by some really good clients of Te Akau Racing. One of the owners, Ben Kwok, is very loyal and supportive of Te Akau, and also the most successful owner in the world, John Magnier, who founded Coolmore Stud.
“We’ve trained horses for Coolmore, but she’s the first horse we’ve had in work for him personally. It’s very exciting to have trained a winner that he’s involved in.
“John got in touch with me to say that he’d been impressed with the horses that we’d been buying at Te Akau and he’d like to be involved in a nice filly.
“We’ll probably aim her towards the Soliloquy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m) on 22 October at Te Rapa, and then the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m), and try turning her into another New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year.
“A lot of our good horses over the years, like Burgundy, have started off at Taupo, and hopefully Stella Splendida goes on with the success.”
TAB Bookmakers reacted swiftly to the victory, marking her a $10 chance for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 50th New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on November 12.