The future of blue-blooded mare Excelida was already guaranteed as a valuable addition to Cambridge Stud’s broodmare band, but she added a further boost to her credentials with a richly deserved first stakes win in Saturday’s Gr.2 Rose Of Kingston Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Bred by Trelawney Stud, the six-year-old mare is by Exceed And Excel out of three-race-winning mare Lady Sayyida, who is a half-sister to New Zealand Horse of the Year and highly successful Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park.
Another half-sister, Ruqqaya, is the dam of dual Group One winner Grunt and Group Two winner Zayydani.
Excelida herself was a five-race winner before Saturday’s Flemington feature, but black-type races had been just beyond her grasp.
She had finished second in the Gr.3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m) and third in the Gr.3 Victoria Handicap (1400m), Gr.3 Robert A Lee Stakes (1600m), Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m), Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) and Listed Anniversary Vase (1400m).
Saturday was finally her day, cruising around the track just behind the leaders before quickening through a narrow gap to lodge her claim with 300m remaining.
She steadily made ground on the tiring front-runner She’s All Class, surging past and scoring by three-quarters of a length with Michael Dee in the saddle.
“That was just a great result,” co-trainer Ben Hayes said. “This one’s been placed in so many stakes races and was yet to win one, so for her to win this for Cambridge Stud – Brendan and Jo Lindsay and Henry Plumptre – it’s just a big thrill.
“They were very patient, they allowed her to stay in training and it was great to get that result for them. The whole stable is absolutely thrilled.
“I think the barrier gave him (Dee) options today, and it was a 10-out-of-10 ride. It just worked out beautifully. She had a beautiful cart into the race and he rode her perfectly.
“There are lots of options now – we’ll have to see how she pulls up. But she’s in really good form, and getting back on a dry track was great. The Empire Rose (Gr.1, 1600m) is definitely something we’ll look at, but we’ll talk with Brendan and Henry and come up with a plan.”
Excelida has now had 34 starts for six wins, 13 placings and A$579,725 in stakes. – NZ Racing Desk.