Mare tack­ling Taranaki

Waipa Post - - The Country -

Un­der­rated Te Awa­mutu mare Santa Monica showed she was ready to tackle her big­gest as­sign­ment this month af­ter pro­duc­ing a com­pre­hen­sive per­for­mance to win at New Ply­mouth.

The five year old had reg­is­tered a pair of run­ner-up fin­ishes at her most re­cent starts, with one of those com­ing be­hind speed ma­chine Prom Queen at Ruakaka.

De­spite that form rec­om­men­da­tion the

Per In­canto mare was largely over­looked as a win­ning chance in the NZB In­sur­ance Pearl Se­ries Race (1200m).

A tardy start didn't en­hance her prospects but aided by a heady ride by ap­pren­tice Dar­ren Da­nis, who hugged the rails through­out, Santa Monica pro­duced an ir­re­sistible fin­ish to burst clear in the clos­ing stages and claim her fourth ca­reer vic­tory from just her 22nd start.

Trainer Stephen Ralph ad­mit­ted he got a bit of a sur­prise when his charge burst up the fence in the straight as he had been an­tic­i­pat­ing her fin­ish­ing on out wide.

“I lost her on the cor­ner and was look­ing out wide for her,” Ralph said.

“Then I spot­ted her on the fence and thought she has got this.

“The form be­hind Prom Queen is very good so we're happy to win this one.”

Ralph has the Gr.3 Swey­nesse Stakes (1215m) at Ro­torua on Oc­to­ber 20 as the mare's next tar­get.

“Hope­fully we can get into that Ro­torua stakes race now and get some black print,” he said.

Da­nis was sport­ing a wide grin when ques­tioned about his dar­ing tac­tics to spear his mount through a nee­dle-eye gap in the run home.

“We got squeezed at the start but I didn't want to panic as I knew she has a good turn of foot,” he said.

“I saw the gap open up on the in­side so why not take the easy way home.

“All I had to do was push the but­ton and she just went and showed a real good turn of foot.”

Santa Monica is the grand­daugh­ter of top race­mare Bal­macara who took out the 1993 Gr.2 New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Breed­ers' Stakes (1600m) amongst her eight ca­reer wins, be­fore it was up­graded to the Group One sta­tus it now en­joys.

Photo / Peter Ru­bery, Race Im­ages

Santa Monica bursts clear to score at New Ply­mouth in the hands of ap­pren­tice jockey Dar­ren Da­nis.

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