The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Smart Sydney mare Hurtle Myrtle from the stables of Warwick Farm horseman Matthew Smith lived up to her name at Eagle Farm today dashing away to record a tidy win in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m).
Now set to tackle the $500,000 Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m) at the end of the month, Dane Shadow four-year-old Hurtle Myrtle won her second Group race in just three starts on Queensland Oaks Day.
“It’s super, I’m very happy,” Smith said after the win.
Smith and connections have never shied away from running Hurtle Myrtle against top company, the mare having started in 11 black-type races from 14 starts before today.
After taking out the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in April, which was just her second career win and first at Group level, Hurtle Myrtle most recently ran a credible fifth in the Listed Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone.
But she was back in the winner’s stall today and showed her potential to score an elite level next run.
Race favourite was the Peter Snowden-trained Kanzan, Snowden hoping for a better result in the fillies and mares Dane Ripper after his two of his top juveniles failed in the BRC Sires Produce Stakes in the previous race.
Despite being one of the best away from her inside draw, Kanzan was quickly run down, found herself caught deep and was never a threat.
Upon settling it was Kelso Wood’s well-backed fancy Zero Rock who took up the front running position after jumping away beautifully from the gates.
Settling into second behind the leader was the Gillian Heinrich-trained Swiss Rose followed by the likes of Culminate and Casholet.
Zero Rock and jockey Chris Munce were able to maintain their lead right up until the straight.
On the home run, however, Hurtle Myrtle and a number of the other mid-field runners made their move.
The race was run at a slow pace and Zero Rock had all the favours up front but couldn’t hold off Hurtle Myrtle who came bolting up the outside, went up to Zero Rock and pulled away in the final few strides to finish the race strongly and win while Pontiana won the battle for third.
Confirming her talent and the form, Hurtle Myrtle also added another Group win to the record of her underrated sire Dane Shadow, whose crop are continuing to turn up more frequently winning over good ground.
This year’s Dane Ripper Stakes winner was ridden by hot Sydney jockey Brenton Avdulla, who described Hurtle Myrtle’s performance as a “good, solid win.”
“We had a nice soft alley and were able to hold a spot a little bit closer to the speed,” he said.
“Hopefully we can win the Winter Stakes in a few weeks.”
The Winter Stakes will run at Eagle Farm on Saturday, June 25.
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