Unbeaten Captured By Love dominant in Breeders’ Stakes

Captured By Love - Matamata Breeders' Stakes
Captured By Love strides clear in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) under Opie Bosson. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

All roads now lead to the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) for Captured By Love, after the talented juvenile maintained her unbeaten status in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).

Local powerhouse stable Te Akau Racing have been victorious in the last two editions of the Breeders’ with Zourion (2023) and Maven Belle (2022) and headed to Matamata on Saturday with a top chance of scoring a three-peat.

A daughter of Written Tycoon, Captured By Love had formed an impeccable record early in her career, with a comfortable victory on debut preceding a three-length demolition in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) in December.

Starting a scorching $1.40 favourite in the Group 3 Taranaki 2YO Classic (1200m), the filly showed her fighting quality through undesirable track conditions to score a third win on the bounce, setting up an intriguing battle with newcomer Alabama Lass at their home track on Saturday.

Alabama Lass, courtesy of a storming nine-length debut win a fortnight ago, started the $2.30 favourite, with Captured By Love just adrift in the market at $2.90.

Ken & Bev Kelso’s filly flew the ace draw to assume the front-running role under Sam Spratt, while Opie Bosson slotted Captured By Love in behind a strong tempo in third.

Bosson moved the filly into contention turning for home, and the two favourites went head-to-head at the 200m, Captured By Love proving too strong for her less-experienced counterpart and stormed clear by 1.75 lengths, with her ears pricked crossing the line.

“She’s got a lot of star qualities about her and it really was another terrific win by her today,” co-trainer Mark Walker said.

“She’s certainly a very exciting filly and what she’s doing as a two-year-old could be a bonus to what she does at three, as she looks the type to keep getting better with age.

“She not only has natural talent, but also a tremendous will to win and all roads lead to the Group 1 now.”

Today’s contest is a key lead-in for the fast-approaching Sistema Stakes, which will be contested at Ellerslie on March 9.

All going to plan for both parties, it will be the first occasion Captured By Love will face-off against Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) hero Velocious, another daughter of in-form stallion Written Tycoon.

Velocious maintains early futures favouritism for the $450,000 juvenile feature at $2.40, though Captured By Love has shortened into $2.80, with Alabama Lass currently sitting at $6.

“What a thrill for us to win this race again, it’s very exciting and I’m especially happy to provide Sam Bergerson (co-trainer) with his first win in the Matamata Breeder’s Stakes,” Ellis said.

“It keeps our colours to the forefront on the jockey statue in the birdcage and it’s a race that we just love to compete in and try to win.”

Captured By Love headlined a successful local meeting for Te Akau, with impressive victories by El Viento (Ancroft Developments 1400), and Freeze Frame (Westbury Stud 1400), alongside a strong runner-up finish in the Lisa Chittick Plate (1400m) by Fashion Shoot.

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