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Going one better than second on debut, Sassy Merlot (3 f Burgundy – Saveadance, by Savabeel) took out $15,000 Colchester Engineering Maiden 1200 metres on Saturday at Matamata.

Second over 1100 metres on 6 October at Taupo, fighting hard after sharing pace, Sassy Merlot sat off the leader on this occasion before quickening appreciably over the concluding stages.

Ridden by Ashvin Goindasamy, Sassy Merlot ran 1200 metres in 1:10.5 on Dead4 footing and lengthened in betting to return $4.20 & $1.60 on NZ TAB tote.

From family noted for producing horses with turn of foot (acceleration), including Singalong (Danasinga), Coup Ray (Exploding Prospect), and Penny Arcade (Straussbrook), Sassy Merlot rated top three on the back of her fresh-up effort and provided celebrations for owners M & W Bloomfield, D C & P M Dean, J P Gray, A & J Hayne, D Lean, M N McConnell, A H Panther, Savvy Racing Swamp Fox Syndicate (Mgr. Keith McDonald), and Ballymore Stables.

Selected by Paul Moroney Bloodstock, and typifying his quality eye, Sassy Merlot was purchased for $24,000 at the Karaka 2020 Book 3 Sale, on account of Advantageous Ventures.

Her sire Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice), a three-quarter brother to multiple champion stallion Darci Brahma (Danehill), was a fast horse that won five stakes races to 1600 metres. He sired New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Dijon Bleu and was Leading Second Season Sire.

From a young mare by six-time Champion Sire and emerging broodmare sire Savabeel (Zabeel), dam, Saveadance, had already left a winner over 1100 metres, plus dual winner to 1600 metres, and notably the filly carries a Zabeel (Sir Tristram) cross as the dam-sire of Burgundy and sire of the dam.

Sassy Merlot is from a family that Ballymore knows well and at the time of purchase drew comment from Moroney: “There are a lot of similarities to Zabeel about her. She is a good moving filly, athletic, that looks to have spring classics potential as a three-year-old.”

Given time, co-trainers Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard will discuss the prospect of 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) tilt, for which she holds nomination, on Saturday 13 November at Riccarton.

“She had worked up super since Taupo, drew well (3), Ashvin (Goindasamy) is a good rider and she was on her home track,” Gerard said.

“Although it was a pretty strong field, I thought she would race well. She was super in her first run, on Slow9, and obviously appreciated better footing today.

“She looked hard fit this morning and as though she could step up in distance after this run. We were certainly happy with her, looking terrific, and she’d worked up really well.

“It appeared as though she might end up outside the leader, which is how it panned out, and Ashvin did the job perfectly.”

Sassy Merlot was strapped by Michael Thompson. 
[23 Oct 21]


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