It was a case of third time’s a charm for Miss Ella when she was a convincing winner of the Listed Grangewilliam Stud “Derryn” Oaks Prelude (1600m) at Pukekohe on Wednesday.
The race was initially set to be held at New Plymouth on February 5 over 1800m, but the meeting was abandoned after a slip in the first race.
The race was subsequently rescheduled to the Taranaki Club’s February 18 meeting, which was also abandoned with the track being deemed unfit for racing before a race was conducted.
The Oaks Prelude finally took place at Pukekohe over a reduced distance of a mile on Wednesday and trainer Stephen Marsh and connections were rewarded for their persistence when Miss Ella took out the feature.
The daughter of Iffraaj was sent forward to take an early lead by jockey Michael McNab and they were kept honest up front by Gingerbread and Sam Weatherley.
At the 300m mark Miss Ella put several lengths on her rivals and despite a late rally by Outfit and Miss Madison, Miss Ella proved too strong, posting a 2.5 length victory.
Marsh was pleased with what he saw from his filly who hasn’t raced since her sixth placed effort in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie last month.
“It’s been a little while coming, we ended up in the ‘Naki twice. She is such a nice, relaxed filly, it didn’t seem to worry her too much, hence the reason we had a crack at this third running,” Marsh said.
“She jumped and put herself there and travelled beautifully throughout. I thought her turn of foot at the top of the straight was good and she won with a fair bit in hand.”
While the series of postponements have hampered Miss Ella’s preparation towards the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham next month, Marsh is still confident he can get his filly to the March 19 feature.
“It is not ideal, but she is a stakes winner now and she is beautifully bred. She is such a laidback filly and a good type, we are still a chance of getting there,” Marsh said.
“It just means we have to run Saturday week in the Sunline Vase (Group 2, 2100m). We won’t be giving her a trip down to the Lowland (Group 2, 2100m), and then onto the Oaks if we can.”
Bred by Cambridge Stud principals Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Miss Ella was purchased out of their 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft by Albert Bosma’s Go Racing for NZD$240,000.
Earlier on the card, Marsh was pleased to see Aspiring take out the Dunstan Horsefeeds 2100.
“It was nice to see her get back to form,” he said. “She has always shown us enough but has been a bit disappointing.
“I thought it was a nice convincing win today. She is a well bred Redoute’s Choice mare and it would be nice late in the autumn if we can get her down south and get a bit of black-type with her for the owners.”