HONEST FILLY CHASES ALABAR SIRES STAKES FILLIES START
By Jeff Scott
Honest Kentuckiana Lodge filly Gemma Mac made the most of a drop-down to the rating 48-55 grade to win at Rangiora on Friday, November 8, as she works towards qualifying for the Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Final at Auckland on New Year’s Eve.
She racked up the 22nd training win for the Kentuckiana Lodge team, maintaining a consistent weekly winning strike rate for trainers, Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon, from the outset of the season.
Gemma Mac, a $41,000 yearling for owners, Chrissie Dalgety, Darryl Brown, Gary Merlo, Phil Creighton, Graeme Mee, Kevin Clark, Peter Bishop and T Mander, had run two solid fifths in her Sires Stakes Fillies Heat racing at Addington last month.
Gemma Mac, named after the former NZ field hockey player Gemma Flynn after her marriage to All Black legend Richie McCaw, was bred by Southland’s Taffy Ltd (Todd and Fleur Anderson) after they secured the unraced Imaginery Bet (Bettor’s Delight-Imagine Me, by Dream Away-Scuse Me), the hottest producing family in NZ harness racing.
Gemma Mac’s nine-win grand-dam Imagine Me is a sister to Splendid Dreams, the dam of former Kentuckiana Lodge dual Australasian Grand Circuit champ Christen Me (1:49.1 & $2.6 million), paced the mobile 2000m at Rangiora in 2:25.4, a mile rate of 1:56.9,with her last 800m in 58.6s and 400m in 28.8s.
The daughter of Art Major confirmed the family ability last term, winning twice and setting a Southland 2YO filly mile record of 1:55.4 at Wyndham in February.
She was honest in her 2YO filly Group racing last term.
Gemma Mac ran third third to Amazing Dream and Tiffany Rose, in the Listed $146,250 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Final at Addington in May, and ran fifth to age group star Sweet On Me, Tiffany Rose, Amazing Dream and Little Miss Perfect, in the Group Two $75,000 Delightful Lady Classic at Auckland in March.
After getting a good run through at Rangiora from the second row but three wide with cover, premiership leading driver Blair Orange drove her confidently, taking control from outsider Markham Eyre, a lap out.
She appreciated a drop in grade, proving much too good in the run home, winning by a length and three-quarters from Nirvana Beach, Christian Who and That Alexander Guy.
The win was her first at three in four starts, lifting her earnings to $39,743 from three wins in 14 career starts.
The Group One $100,000 Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship Stakes is another target for Gemma Mac, along with stablemates Dr Susan and Woman In Gold, at Auckland on December 14, two weeks before the $150,000 Alabar Sires Stakes Final and Consolation.