Promising stayer Our Hail Mary demonstrated she will be a force to be reckoned with in the Group 2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) in March when she produced a resolute effort to take out the Listed Japac Homes Marton Cup (2200m) at Awapuni.
The Allan Sharrock-trained daughter of Ocean Park had disappointed when finishing towards the rear over 1600m at Te Rapa at her last start but stepping up to a middle distance on Saturday she showed her undoubted staying qualities in the hands of Johnathan Parkes to take out her eighth career victory, and second at stakes level, in fine fashion.
Parkes settled Our Hail Mary in a handy position one off the fence as Sagunto set up a solid speed out in front, before moving into a striking position on the point of the home turn.
At that point the six-year-old mare appeared to hit a flat spot before Parkes got to work and under his urgings, she powered home to take the win a neck to the good of House Of Cartier, with Uareastar also finishing resolutely for third.
It was a timely stakes victory for Our Hail Mary, which delighted her trainer.
“That was a very gutsy win and is terrific for her pedigree page when she finally goes to the broodmare paddock,” Sharrock said.
“She is out of a full sister to our good mare Shez Sinsational, so there is some real residual value for her now she has that additional black type to her name.
“Interestingly enough the runner-up is out of Shez Sinsational, so it was a real family result to the race.”
Sharrock was quick to praise the ride by Parkes, who he believed had been the major factor in securing the victory.
“Parkesy rode her an absolute treat,” he said.
“I told him she would probably hit a flat spot somewhere in the race and to try and just ride through it.
“She wasn’t really going any good around the turn, but he never gave up and really lifted her to victory.
“It was a tenacious effort by the mare, aided by a superb ride.”
Sharrock will now set his sights on the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie in March with the mare, bypassing the Group 3 NZ Campus Of Innovation and Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) for which she also holds a nomination.
“She can go for the Auckland Cup now and miss the Wellington Cup,” he said.
“I’ve got Waisake in the Wellington Cup and I wasn’t disappointed in his effort today despite finishing at the rear of the field.
“He can have a run in the Trentham Stakes (Group 3, 2100m) next week and he will be spot on to try and defend his Wellington Cup title from last year.
“I will probably also have Sinarahma in the Wellington Cup as well, so I’m hoping to have a strong hand in the race.”
Purchased by Sharrock for NZD$35,000 out of the Cambridge Stud draft at Karaka in 2017, Our Hail Mary has taken her record to eight wins from 20 starts and over NZD$170,000 in prizemoney.