In-form partnership chase Breeders’ crown with Dazzling Miss

Dazzling Miss
Dazzling Miss (inside) will contest the Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday. Photo: Race Images South

Monovale Holdings’ Joe and Max Smithies have enjoyed a myriad of success since beginning their association with Terri Rae, a run they hope to continue when Dazzling Miss contests Saturday’s Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeder’s Stakes (1600m).

A daughter of Proisir, Dazzling Miss won three races under the care of Tony Pike, who also prepared promising four-year-old Hat Trick to a pair of recent victories for the Waikato farm, operated by the Smithies brothers.

At the beginning of the 2023/34 season, the Smithies transferred their homebred Dazzling Miss to Rae, and the mare swiftly settled into the South Island environment, posting three wins from five starts, including a dead-heat with Jon Ol Rocco in the Timaru Heritage Cup (1600m).

The mare struck valuable black-type with a narrow second in the Group 3 White Robe Lodge Weight-For-Age (1600m) last month, a result she replicated in a final lead-in to the Breeder’s over 1400m a fortnight ago.

“She’s doing really well and working super, just a nice, happy horse,” Rae said.

“We would’ve liked a bit of a shower, but she went a great race on a Good track there last start.

“She’s looking good, especially at the set weights, that’s a big bonus for her, and the mile is right up her alley. It seems to be her pet distance.”

Rae has an impressive strike-rate of 4.3 with leading Central Districts hoop Lisa Allpress, and the pair will combine in the Riccarton feature, where bookmakers have rated Dazzling Miss a $3.60 favourite.

“Hopefully we can get a bit of good luck on Saturday, there’s a couple of nice mares in there with Ears Back and Miss Layla, they’ve got to be well respected,” Rae said.

“She usually puts herself in a good position from the jump, so she’ll likely be in the first four and she’s got the draw to do that (8).”

Rae intends to continue the mare’s preparation with the inaugural Southern Alps Challenge (1600m) on April 13, with a potential step-up to 2000m in the Group 3 Canterbury Gold Cup a week later.

“We’ll look at the Southern Alps Challenge for her after this, and see how she pulls up from there,” she said.

“If she’s feeling well, we may look at the Canterbury Gold Cup as it’s another Group 3 for her, any further black-type is just going to enhance her value as a broodmare in the future.

“She seems to settle really well, so I can’t see why it would hinder her going that further distance. After that, that’ll be her for the season.”

Promising stayer Aristocrat has been another southern success for the Smithies, the four-year-old progressing from maidens to a smart Rating 75 victory over 2000m last start, a performance Rae hopes to repeat in the Cochranes Farm Machinery & Pat Reardon Family Rating 75 (2000m).

“He seems very genuine, and he’s getting a lot more comfortable out on the track, he doesn’t sweat up so much. He’s a bit of a thinker, so his confidence is building at every start,” she said.

“Being by Savabeel, the distance really suits, he loves getting out there and rolling around. He doesn’t necessarily have to be in front, but he does like to have a fairly handy position.

“He’s done a great job this season, so consistent and he isn’t far off going for a spell, he’ll let us know if that’s after Saturday.

“He’s another Monovale Holdings horse, and they’re having such a great run at the moment. It’s nice for Max and Joe, they’ve got a couple of really nice horses up in the North Island with Tony Pike and Ken & Bev Kelso (Scarlet Oak).

“Dazzling Miss has been the first one I’ve trained for them, and then Aristocrat, so it’s great to have both performing well down here.”

Rae’s home-track contingent is completed by three-year-old fillies Raptylight and Texas Dolly, who finished fourth and eighth in the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui earlier this month.

“Raptylight went a nice, honest race at Wingatui, she’s not really bred to get over ground, but she seems to settle well and finish off,” Rae said.

“Texas Dolly just had a few issues in the Airfreight, getting her tongue over the bit and a few other things so she pulled up a bit stressed, but we think we’ve got that sorted now.

“We’re hoping we’ll see a turnaround in form from her because she is quite smart.

“All going well, they’ll both head to the fillies’ mile on the 13th of April (Listed NZB Insurance Stakes).

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