Underrated local mare House Of Cartier made her return to racing in emphatic fashion on Saturday when she stormed home from near last on the home bend to take out the Group 3 Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile (1600m) at Awapuni.
The Peter Didham-trained six-year-old has always promised to win a good race having finished runner-up to Pinmedown in the 2018 Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie as a three-year-old before finishing third in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville later that season after transferring to the Sydney stable of ex-pat Kiwi John Sargent.
Returned to Didham’s Awapuni operation in December last year, the daughter of Alamosa and multiple Group One winner Shez Sinsational had been close-up in five starts before being put aside for a winter break after finishing fourth at Listed level over 1600m at Wanganui back in June.
A trial win over 1000m at Foxton earlier this month fitted her for the Metric Mile assignment.
In-form rider Sarah Macnab elected to go back on House Of Cartier on Saturday, with the mare producing a powerful late burst to down the well-fancied Beauden by just over two lengths, with Mauna Kea also closing well to take third.
Didham was keen to get a run into his mare before she tackles her main goal, the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings next month and settled on the local feature as his best option.
“It was a bit of a risk going fresh-up into a mile at this level, but she is just so well in herself for this campaign,” he said.
“It’s the best I’ve had her since she got back from Australia and her trial win was very impressive.
“We needed to get the win today if we were even going to qualify for the Livamol and she did the job in fine fashion.”
Didham will now take a few days to determine whether the mare has another run before the Hastings feature, as he is mindful of her workload as she is also likely to be bred this season.
“I think this will most likely be her last campaign before she goes to stud, so I want to make sure we get it right for her,” he said.
“She can have a few quiet days before we look at where to go next and it might be she goes straight to the Livamol.
“I’m also delighted for Sarah, as she is reaping the rewards of all the hard work she puts into her riding.
“She drives for over an hour to come and ride trackwork for me during the week, so she deserves every success she gets.”
Macnab claimed a winning double after taking out the opening event aboard the Trudy Keegan-trained Thomas Aquinas.
The victory also concluded a satisfying day for Wellfield Lodge resident stallion Alamosa who is the sire of impressive open 1200m winner Colorado Star.
Wellfield Lodge proprietor Bill Gleeson bred Colorado Star, while he combined with business partner and co-owner Peter Gillespie, along with Greg Tomlinson’s Nearco Stud, to breed House Of Cartier.
Bookmakers reacted to the win by tightening House Of Cartier into +1300 from +2500 on the Fixed Odds market for the Livamol Classic that will be held at Hastings on October 16.