If Saturday’s Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa is to be the last race for class mare Two Illicit then she has signed off a stellar career in the best possible fashion with a dominant victory.
Trainer Roger James, who prepares the five-year-old daughter of Jimmy Choux with Robert Wellwood, had spoken of her retirement leading into Saturday’s Group Two contest and she delighted her legion of fans with a performance that left no doubt about her underlying class.
Rider Michael McNab elected to position the mare outside surprise pacemaker Zola Express for the duration of the race before taking control shortly after turning for home.
Travelling easily, Two Illicit shot clear and maintained a powerful gallop to the winning post, downing outsider Rip Em Up by just over three lengths with Taranaki visitor Sinarahma running on nicely to take third.
“It was superb to see her go out on that note as she has been a very special mare for the stable,” Wellwood said.
“Her record at Te Rapa is very good, so to see her maintain that in such a commanding manner was just terrific.
“Michael rode her very confidently and when she was sitting outside them with no challenges, I thought she might have too much class in the run home.
“She has had her niggles along the way but Roger and I are so proud of the work our team at home has done to get her in tip top condition for today and she repaid us once again.
“I’m sure she will now continue that success into the broodmare paddock.”
Bred by the Taylor family and raced by Brent, Cherry, Jane and Faith Taylor, along with Scott Malcolm, Two Illicit will join the high-class broodmare band at Trelawney Stud after winning eight of her 21 starts including the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and over $680,000 in prizemoney. -NZ Racing Desk