Southern mare takes the spoils in Westbury Classic

Kiwi Ida
Southern mare Kiwi Ida produces a classy effort to win the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) Photo credit: Trish Dunell

Outstanding southern mare Kiwi Ida showed northern racegoers a glimpse of her undoubted class when she dashed home to take out the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) in her first look at the Ellerslie track. Prepared at Balcairn in the South Island by John and Karen Parsons, the Squamosa five-year-old had upset the applecart prior to Christmas with a rugged victory in the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.

Taken home for a brief let-up, the Parsons team resisted the temptation to tackle one of the feature events at the recent Wellington Cup carnival in preference to an attack on the Group 2 fillies and mares contest at Ellerslie. The plan was executed to perfection courtesy of a peach of a ride from the magic man Chris Johnson who had been aboard the mare in five of her 13 victories leading into Saturday’s contest.

Johnson bided his time in midfield throughout before commencing a run between horses on Kiwi Ida at the 300m mark. Extracting the mare from a tricky position he quickly bounded up to Volpe Veloce and Santa Monica before Kiwi Ida asserted her superiority in the final 100m to race away to her fourteenth career victory. “She a very honest horse who tries hard,” Johnson said. “She was trained to the minute and put in a really hard last 100m in what was a nice field of horses.”

Karen Parsons paid tribute to Johnson who is an integral member of the stable, to the extent that he will even be playing chauffeur on the trip home. “That’s why he is called the magic man,” Parsons said. “He has a great relationship with us and he is even going to drive home for me now.”

Parsons was still coming to terms with the mare’s achievements after the race as she looked forward to the next challenge with her which will include a shot at the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha in April. “Unbelievable really and I did think John was biting off more than he could chew shooting for three on end as it is hard to do,” she said. “It’s just unbelievable what she has done for us. “We have to have a go now (at the Group 1).”

Kiwi Ida has won fourteen of her 41 career starts and has been placed on another 14 occasions with four of her wins at stakes level. The victory will provide renewed interest in the mare’s full brother who will be offered through the Highline Thoroughbreds draft as Lot 574 during the Book 1 session at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale that kicks off at Karaka on Sunday at 11am.