It has been a long time in the making but grand galloper Prise De Fer finally claimed his first elite level title when he took out the Gr.1 Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.
In a distinguished career that is littered with black type wins the seven-year-old son of Savabeel shed the bridesmaid tag he had been saddled with after five placings at Group One level, including a runner-up finish in the race last year, to put a tick in the win column for the first time.
An impressive last start win in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe saw the Mark Walker-trained runner installed a $3.60 favourite behind Aegon ($1.90), with the pair fighting out an exciting finish to the contest.
Rider Michael McNab on Prise De Fer tracked ex-pat kiwi jockey Mick Dee on Aegon throughout as they both sat back before starting their runs at the 600m.
Aegon hit the front at the 200m but shortly after was joined by Prise De Fer, who found a little more in the last few strides to down the favourite, with outsider Chase running the race of his life to take third ahead of gallant pacemaker Deerfield.
Assistant trainer Sam Bergerson was on hand for Te Akau Racing and was delighted that the stable favourite had finally cracked it at the highest level.
“He’s been so genuine throughout his whole career,” Bergerson said.
“I think this was his 14th go at a Group One, so to see him finally get a result is wonderful.
“The only instruction Michael had was to get on Aegon’s back and see how far he could take us (into the race).
“He’s definitely a stable favourite, a bit if a character and everyone at home has had to deal with him, so this is quite amazing.”
McNab revealed that his race plan had been formulated once he had seen the barrier draw for the race and the scenario that had been imagined played out perfectly.
“We saw the plan as soon as the draw came out and they ran along at a genuine tempo,” he said.
“That is how it should be run, where they all get their chance and he was the best horse today and really deserved it.
“He’s tough and genuine and he was well prepared for today.
“I’m really happy and do it in these colours is special as Dave (Ellis) has been super to me.”
Raced by the Te Akau En Garde Syndicate, Prise De Fer was purchased as a yearling by Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis for $100,000 out of the Trelawney Stud Karaka 2017 draft, where he was offered on behalf of breeders Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd.
The half-brother to Australian Group Two winner Belong To Many, Prise De Fer has now won eleven of his 39 starts along with being placed on another 15 occasions and stakes earnings in excess of $823,000. – NZ Racing Desk