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Talented mare Bridal Veil (4 m Niagara – Eye Me Up, by Agnes World) gave visiting U.K. jockey Patrick Pilley his first win in New Zealand, when coasting to victory in the $10,000 NZB Insurance Pearl Series Rating 65 1400 metres on 19 December at Matamata.

In similar manner to the win by stable-mate She’s A Goddess (Tavistock) earlier on the programme, Bridal Veil put the slipper into her rivals with a good turn of foot in the straight, after taking over effortlessly at the 400m, to win easing down by two and quarter lengths.

On Dead4 footing, Bridal Veil ran the 1400 metres in 1:24.2, last 600m in 34.8, and paid $3.10 & $1.40 on the tote.

“Her work had been very good and she looked really good today,” said co-trainer Pam Gerard. “She’s a good mare, just taken a bit of time and I think she can go on with it.”

In training for The Oaks Stud, Bridal Veil has inherent ability on her dam side from Eye Me Up, a mare that impressed winning three times over 1200 metres.

“I thought when she won her Maiden last season at Matamata that she’s got something, a bit of ability, and we put her in the deep end in the Mufhasa Stakes at Ellerslie, but it wasn’t her day so we gave her a long spell,” said The Oaks general manager Rick Williams.

“Her second-up run for second, last time at Rotorua, was very good to Graham Richardson’s Azamour horse Paisley Park, who I think is a group class horse, and they were six lengths clear of the third horse.

“On that form she looked pretty much a good thing today and she won very well. She’s a filly that doesn’t carry a lot of condition and we’ll just leave it up to Pam (Gerard) to pick a path for her to hopefully work through grades.

“I was quite impressed with the ride by Patrick Pilley. It was a tidy ride and he got the stick from one hand through to the other pretty quickly and looked quite polished. It was good to get another win with her and placed carefully she looks like she can go on and we’ll see where her level is.

“I bought her as a weanling out of the paddock for $5,000 when Greg and Jo Griffin were going to Australia, and we took over standing Niagara. I bought her and Tenacious, who we’ve subsequently leased out and she’s won and finished second for Fraser Auret. But, we probably preferred this filly and I’m a pretty hard marker but felt she was worth keeping in work as a four-year-old because she’s got a bit of talent.”

Having notched 54 wins in the U.K., most recently out of the Manor House stables of Michael Owen, Cheshire, England, Patrick Pilley and his partner, Hayley Ashcroft, who strapped She’s A Goddess and also recent winner Pinmedown (Pins) are enjoying a stint working for Ballymore Stables in Matamata.

“He’s a great boy and he rides super,” said co-trainer Pam Gerard. “I can’t believe he’s struggling to get outside rides at the moment, but hopefully people will jump on the bandwagon now and he’ll get support. He is a little bit taller and a bit heavier, so it restricts him a little but he’s a very, very good rider.

“He won a scholarship a couple of years ago and went to Australia, and Mike (Moroney) met him and he rode out and rode race day. He had five wins there and just finished a flat season in England where he is quite successful.

“He wanted to come to New Zealand, for a change, and with his girlfriend (Hayley) they’ve come out and we’re very pleased to have them.”

Following the victory, Patrick Pilley said: “I’ve placed a few times, seconds and thirds, but it’s nice to get my head in front. I watched her (Bridal Veil) last run and she ran well from the front, and it was nice to sit outside the leader. She probably over raced a little bit early, but relaxed nicely through the mid-stages and finished it off well.

“I’ve been with Pam (Gerard) for a few weeks now and she’s given me good opportunities, so I’m grateful.”

Bridal Veil was strapped by Joline Visser. 
[19 Dec 18]


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