Grande Gallo back to winning ways at Tauranga

Grande Gallo
Grande Gallo surges to victory at Tauranga. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Grande Gallo has competed among the best of the country’s three-year-olds this season, and the talented filly proved too strong when stepping out of stakes company at Tauranga on Saturday.

The daughter of Belardo broke maiden status stylishly at the Bay Of Plenty course in November, earning a trip south for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), where glamour stablemate Molly Bloom triumphed.

Grande Gallo returned to the winner’s circle in MAAT company on New Year’s Day, taking a clear shining to the right-handed direction, though met classy fields and luckless runs when contesting the Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) and Group 3 Mufhasa Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie.

Co-trainer Andrew Scott was confident the filly would be competitive prior to Saturday’s Bayleys Tauranga & Mount Maunganui 3YO (1400m), and punters followed suit backing Grande Gallo into +320 second-favouritism with horse racing bookies, behind the promising You Say D’Orsay at +230.

The two favourites bounded from the 1400m start, with You Say D’Orsay sliding into the pacemaking role, while jockey Masa Hashizume settled Grande Gallo in close quarters on the rail. A gap appeared for the filly at the top of the straight, and once in clear air, Grande Gallo had the upper hand on You Say D’Orsay, and was a comfortable two-length victor at the post.

“Going this way around, she quickens well and she’s continuing to learn,” Scott said, who trains in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan.

“She’s held up to a long preparation well, we were going well before November with her. She’s a good, sound, robust filly whose going to make a really nice New Zealand racehorse.

“We may pull up stumps now (for the season), I’m not sure, we’ll have to look at the programme. She’s done a really good job for the team.”

Northern-based Mashizume is enjoying his best season to date in the saddle, adding a 42nd winner to his season’s tally, far exceeding his previous total of 33 in 2021/22.

“She felt amazing going down to the start and jumped well, she’s a big horse so I didn’t want to lose her rhythm,” he said.

“The leader wasn’t going hard, but she relaxed well and had plenty left on the corner. She kicked very strongly.

“It worked out well, she’s a very promising filly.”

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