Visiting rider Mick Dee wasn’t going to let fellow ex-pat kiwi James McDonald take all the glory at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day when he struck gold on race favourite Prise De Fer in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).
Dee overcame a tricky barrier draw on the Jamie Richards-trained four-year-old who is really starting to hit his straps now with four wins in succession.
After showing promise in a three-year-old campaign that saw him finish close up in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) the Savabeel gelding was put aside for a decent winter spell.
A resuming run for third over 1300m at Taupo in September was followed by wins at Te Teko, Pukekohe and Ellerslie before Richards lifted his sights for Wednesday’s Group Two feature.
After jumping well from an outside barrier Dee had Prise De Fer three wide with cover for most of the journey before following topweight Yearn into the race at the 600m. Prise De Fer put a length on Yearn early in the run home and when Dee asked him to sprint he shot clear before easing down to win by two lengths from a valiant Yearn with Za Za Gabor taking third in a blanket finish for the minor placings.
“I’m really pleased for him as he’s done a great job to win four on the hop,” Richards said.
“The team at home have done a wonderful job with him and I thought Mick Dee gave him every possible chance, ten out of ten.
“He’s got that lovely big, long, loping stride and looks like he is only going half pace but he quickened well and put a hole in a decent field there.
“We can probably lift our sights now but we’ll get him home and take a look at him as he’s not the type of horse that wants to be racing every second week.
“We might have a look at the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) or whether we just come back a peg, I’m not sure.
“He’s got a bright future and will only continue to get better.”
Richards also outlined the relationship between Dee and Te Akau Racing which started when he was an apprentice.
“There is a lot of history there as he was apprenticed at Te Akau before even I was there,” he said.
“He’s good mates with Dan Miller, who has been an important man to Te Akau as well, so it’s great to have Mick in the team.”
Dee was lavish in his praise for Prise De Fer who was a $100,000 purchase by Te Akau Racing boss, David Ellis from the Trelawney Stud draft when consigned for breeder Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd during the Premier session of the 2017 National Yearling Sale.
“I ended up in a nice enough spot from the wide alley,” Dee said.
“I was just travelling so well I had to pop out earlier than I wanted too but he was just too good in the end.
“The further the better for him as he was running through the line after being in front a long way out.”
Trelawney Stud had a brilliant start to 2020 having also won the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) with their homebred filly Two Illicit. The farm also consigned Classified who won the first race on the card in Singapore on Wednesday evening.– NZ Racing Desk