Wins both sides of Tas­man

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Lo­cal cou­ple Kylie Fawcett and Eddie Wright had a week­end to re­mem­ber when their two horses Vil­li­fye and Miss Keep­sake won im­por­tant races on ei­ther side of the Tas­man last Satur­day and Sun­day.

The pair op­er­ate Ox­ford Thor­ough­breds, a medium-scale breed­ing, ag­ist­ment and sales prepa­ra­tion fa­cil­ity near Hin­uera. Miss Keep­sake, who be­gan her rac­ing ca­reer in New Zealand un­der the name My Keep­sake, and Vil­li­fye are half-sis­ters who were bred and reared by the cou­ple, but un­like oth­ers in the same model they were not put through the sale ring.

In­stead Miss Keep­sake went into train­ing with An­drew Scott and in the au­tumn of 2010 hit form and was sent to Queens­land in the hope of con­test­ing ma­jor three-year-old events at the win­ter car­ni­val.

She met the chal­lenge with two early wins and then hit the jack­pot by win­ning the $500,000 Queens­land Oaks, then a week later added a third plac­ing in the Queens­land Derby.

Back for spring rac­ing, Miss Keep­sake was set for the Melbourne car­ni­val but failed to re­pro­duce her best form, af­ter which the decision was made to trans­fer her to Syd­ney trainer Joseph Pride.

It has been a long road back to win­ning form, with her best per­for­mances over the past two sea­sons three mi­nor plac­ings at black-type level, but on Sun­day she bounced back in style with a fresh-up win in a A$70,000 race over 1300 me­tres at Kem­bla Grange, on the south­ern out­skirts of Syd­ney.

‘‘We’re re­ally thrilled for Keep­sake,’’ Kylie added. ‘‘It’s so hard when you reach that level and to be all around the good ones.’’

That win of course came just a day af­ter Vil­li­fye had made her own mark in fea­ture race com­pany by win­ning the $85,000 Wind­sor Park Stud Ja­pan Tro­phy at Tau­ranga.

In just her tenth race­day ap­pear­ance, the four-year-old O’reilly mare got in the de­cid­ing strides to win the Group Two race by a long head.

Vil­li­fye and Miss Keep­sake are daugh­ters of a mare named Jacilo, who was a spur-of-the-mo­ment pur­chase by Kylie Fawcett and an­other lo­cal horse­woman, Rachel Wil­liamson (Spriggens) when they saw her go­ing through the ring cheaply at a Karaka mixed blood­stock sale in 2005.

‘‘I was stand­ing there with Rachel and her fa­ther Tom, who both reck­oned she was worth a punt, so we ended up buy­ing her for $2600,’’ Kylie said.

‘‘We sent her to Keeper to breed Miss Keep­sake in part­ner­ship and then when Rachel de­cided to move to Australia, Eddie and I bought out her share.’’

Vil­li­fye’s win also con­tin­ued the fan­tas­tic run of form be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced this sea­son by horses from the Gra­ham Richard­son sta­ble.

With a tally of 33 wins and a top-10 train­ers’ pre­mier­ship po­si­tion, Gra­ham is en­joy­ing the best sea­son of his ca­reer.

Satur­day’s win­ning rider Craig Grylls has also been a big part of that suc­cess. As well as his lat­est big win on Vil­li­fye, he has also played his part on the Richard­son­trained stayer Sin­gle Minded, the win­ner this year of the City of Auck­land Cup and Avon­dale Gold Cup.

Hav­ing proven her­self in open com­pany, Vil­li­fye will now be given her chance in the coun­try’s only Group One race for fil­lies and mares, the $200,000 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Breed­ers’ Stakes at Te Aroha on Easter Satur­day, April 7.

An­other Mata­mata-trained win­ner from Tau­ranga on the week­end head­ing in the same di­rec­tion is the Ken and Bev Kelso-trained filly Xanadu.

She took her record to four wins from six starts with a com­pre­hen­sive per­for­mance un­der Michael Cole­man in an age­group 1300-me­tre event.

Xanadu earned seven rat­ing points with the win, tak­ing her to 85, which her con­nec­tions are now hop­ing will be suf­fi­cient to gain a start in the big Te Aroha race.

Great mo­ment: Vil­li­fye and Craig Grylls re­turn to scale af­ter win­ning the $85,000 Wind­sor Park Stud Ja­pan Tro­phy at Tau­ranga on Satur­day.

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