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Well rated in front by Kozzi Asano, Iridessa (5 m Eurozone – Zennita, by Commands) ran out a clear winner in the $22,500 Rating 65 2100 metres on Lowland Stakes Day (3 March) at Hastings.

A beautiful big mare that presented in striking condition, Iridessa had recorded an easy Maiden victory over 1600 metres in September at Matamata, after leading, and not far away in a handful of middle-distance assignments since. She had contested strong staying races at her last two starts, including a lesser stakes affair last time on Legends Day at Te Rapa, and appeared to face a softer line-up on this occasion.

Out smartly from an awkward draw (11), Iridessa had crossed to lead at the post with a lap to go. Unpressured, she bowled along at a comfortable tempo and it was evident rounding the home turn, when travelling sweetly with a two-length advantage, that she would take some catching. She never flinched over the concluding stages and if anything quickened again to win stylishly.

“We had considered not starting from a wide draw, but the way she worked over the past week I thought we’d be silly not to,” said co-trainer Pam Gerard. “She worked tremendously last Saturday morning and we felt the (Dead4) track would suit her. Also, she’d finished third at her only previous course attempt over 2000 metres.

“She’s always had the ability, but needed time to strengthen, and it was a great ride by Kozzi (Asano). He was Champion Apprentice last season, a very good young Japanese jockey, now riding out of Matamata, and it’s great to get him on our horses.

“They left her alone in front, but she quickened away when Kozzi asked to up the tempo at the 600m and she sustained the sprint very well. You would think she could be competitive in the next grade on that performance.”

In the race sponsored by Tremains Starting Gates, Iridessa ran the 2100 metres in 2:10.5, winning by two and a half lengths, and shortened from an earlier $31.00 fixed quote to return $18.40 & $5.40 on the NZ TAB tote.

In training for breeders Kevin & Julie Taylor and from a strong female family, Iridessa is by Eurozone, one of the first stallions to stud by ill-fated sire of sires Northern Meteor (Encosta de Lago).

After her Maiden victory, Julie Taylor explained the background and mating decision. “We raced the mother (Zennita) in Australia, but she got injured. Zoustar, another Northern Meteor stallion was A$40,000 and she didn’t warrant that cost, and Eurozone was a top racehorse.

“Pam (Gerard) has always had plenty of confidence in Iridessa, but she is a big mare and needed time to mature. Today is just amazing and a thrill to win.

“The grand-dam Talista raced here (NZ) and as Talista Belle in Australia. She won seven and was stakes placed. We bought her off Terry Jarvis, off the track, and we’ve sold just under $1 million in foals from her at Karaka.”

For the stable, victory by Iridessa was some consolation after solidly supported Fleetwood Maca (Rock ‘n’ Pop) was scratched on veterinary advice a race prior in the Lowland Stakes (Gr. 2, 2100m). Fleetwood Maca became fractious in the starting gates and incurred a facial abrasion.
[03 Mar 21]


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