BONNIE JOAN SEARCHING FOR GROUP 1 WIN THIS MONTH
Bonnie Joan cemented her rating as one of NZ’s golden girls with a second Group 2 victory, this time in the $50,000 NZ Premier Mares Championship at Addington on Friday, February 2.
She has a previous Group 2 win in the in last season’s Southland Oaks Final, won in a 3YO fillies and allcomers female record 1:57.4 rate over 2700m, and a Gr. 3 win in December’s Caduceus Club Northern Breeders Stakes at Auckland.
However, her owners, the Tuapeka Lodge Syndciate, may only have to wait another two weeks before the classy daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Wave Runner takes a Group 1 title.
She’ll get her chance to grab a top Group race victory in the $100,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Standardbred Breeders Stakes over 2600m at Addington on Friday week (February 16).
Bonnie Joan has been close previously. She was the runner-up in both 3YO fillies Gr. 1 features at Addington last May behind the now retired Spanish Armada, and ran fourth in the Gr 1 Harness Jewels 3YO Diamond (also to Spanish Armada).
This term, just a fancy step on the home turn, resulted in her arriving a stride too late in the Gr. 1 Queen Of Hearts at Auckland in December, settling for a close third behind dead-heaters, Jo’s Dream and Partyon.
“Yes, she didn’t get round the last turn quite as good as we liked in the Queen Of Hearts. That was one that got away, but she’ll get there,” said trainer Cran Dalgety.
Bonnie Joan justified her short quote in the Mares Championship, taking her record to 10 wins, seven seconds and two thirds, from 21 starts, for $187,194.
She moved up parked and fighting off trailer American Tart to hold by a head in a 1:55.2 rate for the 1950m (leaders last 800m in 56.2s), providing Cran with his first win in the race.
Top driver Dexter Dunn was winning his third Mares Championship, having earlier won the race back-to-back in 2010-11 with top south mare, Beaudiene Bad Babe.
Dexter was in sublime form as he ramped up his charge after premiership leader Blair Orange.
He completed a five-win spree on the night (three for the Cran Dalgety stable), although Blair won the last to hold a 20-win advantage.
Dexter also drove first-starter Bringitonhome, and smart three-year-old Master Moonlite, to win for Cran’s Kentuckiana Lodge stable.
Bringitonhome, a four-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding from former useful Kentuckiana Lodge mare Bubba Ho Tep (1:57), confirmed his promise in the Williamson-Blackie-Neville-Bain Mobile Pace.
At two, Bringitonhome was tried by Greg Payne for his Ready To Run Sale, trialling over 800m at Ashburton in 57.9s, but wasn’t a natural two-year-old.
The big bay transferred into Cran Dalgety’s stable six months ago and qualified at Rangiora in late October in a 1:59.3 rate over 2000m.
Given further time, Bringitonhome was impressive on Friday, leading over the last 1300m and winning as he liked by 2 1/4 lengths in a 1:56.2 rate (1950m), free-wheeling in front over his last 800m in 56.6s and final 400m in 27.2s.
He’s the first foal and second winner from Bubba Ho Tep, a Washington VC mare whose track career was cut short after winning four of 23 starts.
Her second foal Mistahmistah won as a late two-year-old at Addington in July for the Cran Dalgety stable and was subsequently sold to West Australia, where he’s won two of four and taken a 1:57.6 record.
West Melton breeders, Paul and Yvonne Hogan, race Bringitonhome with daughters, Lydia, Gemma and Virginia, along with Ross Ramsay and Murray Forde.
Master Moonlite, a hot $1.40 favourite for the Havetime Breeding-Collett-Cournane-Baucke Mobile Pace, was driven with a one-one sit and despite a sharp final 400m on the front end in 27s, he had too much speed for his rating 61-73 rivals.
The Art Major-Miss Moonlite gelding ripped into his work in the run home, winning by two lengths from second favourite Malik in a 1:56 rate (1950m), the leaders running their last 800m in 56.1s.
Master Moonlite, raced by Chrissie Dalgety, Norm Cherry, Peter Bishop, Jean Coates-Reid, Kevin Clark, Ross Stanbury and Gary Merlo, was notching his fourth win in 12 starts for $39,914.