Perfect start for Savile Row

Perfectly Suited
Perfectly Suited winning at Wanganui on Thursday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Valachi Downs stallion Savile Row made the perfect start to his career as a sire when his daughter Perfectly Suited scored on debut at Wanganui on Thursday.

The juvenile was sent straight to the front in the Whanganui Chronicle 2YO (1200m) by jockey Bridget Grylls and the pair didn’t relinquish their advantage, with Perfectly Suited kicking clear of her rivals when turning for home, eventually running out a 6.5 length victor over Vino Bianca.

Co-trainer Stephen Autridge was thrilled with the result, with Perfectly Suited the first starter for her sire. She is out of the three-win Sir Percy mare Muscat Hills.

“I am absolutely rapt,” said Autridge, who trains the filly in partnership with Kris Shailer for their employers Valachi Downs.

“She is a beautiful filly who is great to do anything with. She has always shown that she has had ability.”

Perfectly Suited was originally set to make her debut at New Plymouth last Friday, however, with the meeting abandoned her trainers were forced to make alternative plans which put a stop to a potential black-type target.

“We were a bit unlucky that she didn’t go around at Taranaki the other day because if she had won, I was going to back her up in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Group 2, 1200m),” Autridge said.

While she won’t get a crack at any stakes assignments as a juvenile, Autridge said there will be plenty of opportunities for the filly next season.

“We won’t get too carried away,” he said. “We will just give her another race or two and then a bit of a break. She should be an ideal three-year-old filly.”

Valachi Downs general manager Gareth Downey said there was an outpouring of emotion following the win, with Savile Row holding a special place in the hearts of the Matamata farm’s principals Kevin and Joanna Hickman.

“I reckon that will be one of the best feelings the Hickmans have had in racing,” Downey said.

“He means so much to them that stallion, and they’ve got so much faith in him.

“He hasn’t served a lot of mares and to win with his first race day runner is fantastic. Kevin and Joanna have been talking for some time about Savile Row’s first runners and finally, today, it’s started with a victory. And to see her win like that, they’re absolutely over the moon.

“I’ve spoken to them both and they’re incredibly excited, and their daughter Jasmine messaged me to say she was in tears and said it means more than she can put into words.

“She was very well ridden by Bridget (Grylls) and that’s exactly how we wanted her to be ridden. We had quite high hopes but didn’t think she was going to win like that and by such a big margin.

“I watched it in the office and our farm manager Tommy Hazlett has just gone out in the paddock to give Savile Row a big pat.

“We’ve got a few in the stable by Savile Row and, without being biased, we really do like all of them. Although not having served many mares, we think he could be a chance of making it as a sire.

“He was quite a brilliant racehorse, has a terrific pedigree, and to begin his stallion career with such a smart winner is obviously a great advertisement for him.”

A good looking son of Makfi, Savile Row won three of his 13 starts for breeder-owner Kevin Hickman before retiring to stud, including the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m), and was runner-up in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m).

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