Maria Farina kept her unbeaten record intact at Ellerslie on Sunday in the Blue Bubble Taxis 1200 and now a Group 3 target beckons the promising filly later this month. The Darryn Weatherley-trained three-year-old settled to the rear of the field for Weatherley’s jockey son Sam.
The pair were last turning for home, however, Weatherley was able to navigate his charge through a gap that presented itself at the 200m mark and Maria Farina showed an explosive turn of foot and dashed away to a three-quarters of a length victory over Cadeau, with a further short neck back to Group 3 performer Explosively in third.
Darryn Weatherley, who also co-owns and bred the horse, admitted he got a bit animated in the stands when his filly started to open up down the Ellerslie straight. “We have watched the replay about 943 times, and she seems to be improving each time we watch it,” he quipped.
“After a couple hundred metres I thought she might be outpaced, but Sam rode her really well. He drew a sticky gate (5) and went back to the tail of the field, although there were only seven in it, got on the rail and then she came up underneath them before the turn and I thought we might run fourth, but when she burst between a couple halfway up the straight I got out of my seat and started yelling and screaming.
“We weren’t expecting her to win like that, but we weren’t surprised either. We have had a lot of time for her. “She has just got something about her. I have ridden a few over the years and she has got a bit of an x-factor there.”
Weatherley said he also has a lot of time for her year older half-sister, La Velocita, who won at Rotorua last month, and he said he has to thank Barry Wright for persuading him to breed from their dam, La Vitesse.
“We have had a good association with Barry Wright,” Weatherley said. “He has pushed us along and he has wanted to breed from the mare, La Vitesse. At times we were like ‘we can’t breed anymore horses’, but I am glad he made us.
“The older half-sister won a couple of starts ago and was unlucky at Ellerslie in the $50,000 rating 65. The mare has proved she is throwing good stock at the moment.”
With the win on Sunday, Maria Farina continued her unbeaten streak, which includes two trial and raceday starts, and now Weatherley is eyeing a return to Ellerslie on January 23 to contest the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m).
“We haven’t looked too far into the future, but her next run will be on Karaka Million night in the Almanzor Trophy,” he said. “She might meet a few stronger ones, but a few that she beat on Sunday will be heading to the same race, so I don’t think she is out of it.”
On Sunday, Weatherley also celebrated a winning double when stablemate Capistrano Rocs took out the Monstavision 1600. “That was Capistrano Rocs’ fifth start yesterday and she hasn’t failed to pay a dividend, so she is promising enough,” Weatherley said.