Outstanding filly Savvy Coup has the right credentials to continue New Zealand’s run of success in next month’s A$1 million Australian Oaks (2400m).
The daughter of Savabeel bagged the first leg of a prized double on Saturday with a sublime performance to claim victory in the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham and will step out next in the Randwick feature on April 14.
“The way she won today we have to go, she’s a very fit horse and the last two winners have done the same thing so we’ll take that path as well,” said Matthew Pitman, who trains Savvy Coup with his father Michael.
Stephen Marsh’s Sofia Rosa was relegated to second behind Fanatic in the 2016 New Zealand Oaks before winning the Sydney classic and the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-prepared Bonneval won both Group Ones last season.
Savvy Coup’s win completed a red letter day at Trentham for the stable, who had earlier enjoyed success in the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) with Montoya Star.
“This is massive for us and all our team work incredibly hard,” Pitman said. “We’ve had an incredible year.”
Savvy Coup provided rider Chris Johnson, who opted to ride the three-year-old over runner-up Contessa Vanessa, with his fifth Oaks winner.
“I’ve been lucky enough to ride the two best fillies and I got on the right one,” the 53-year-old said. “She’s tough and very talented. Group Ones are hard to win, especially at my age.”
Savvy Coup settled midfield on the outer before Johnson made his move 800m from home.
“I couldn’t really hang on to her much longer, I would have preferred to wait but the pace steadied and I didn’t want to get too far off them when they quickened,” Johnson said.
Savvy Coup drew alongside Contessa Vanessa 400m out before easing clear to win by a length and a-quarter with Milseain a similar distance back in third.
Caricature was on the pace all the way and stuck on grimly for fourth ahead of the maiden Mark Two, who made solid ground from midfield.
Savvy Coup was bred by the Chittick family’s Waikato Stud and provided resident stallion Savabeel with his 17th individual Group One winner. New Zealand Bloodstock’s Insurance Advisor Jim Bruford purchased the filly for $65,000 from the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale.