Heni (Rosie Myers) scores an emphatic victory in the Canterbury Breeders' Stakes.
Riccarton specialist Heni returned to her home away from home this afternoon for her fifth and most significant win at the Christchurch track – the Gr. 3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes.
The daughter of Towkay is trained at Awapuni, but more than half of her career wins have come in trips to the South Island. Riccarton also provided her only previous black type – a third placing behind First Serve in last year’s edition of the Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes. Today she went two better.
“After we ran third in this race last year, the owner and I decided that we’d try to come back and win it this year,” trainer Mike Breslin said. “It’s a great result and we’re very pleased.”
A close second in her first-up run at Ashburton last month, Heni was backed into $4.40 favouritism for today’s $80,000 fillies and mares’ feature and lived right up to expectations.
She sat in fourth place behind a sold early pace, then quickly put the result beyond any doubt when Rosie Myers asked her to sprint after turning for home. She burst clear of her rivals and crossed the finish line two and a half lengths in front of Montoya Star and the fast-finishing Laaffaire.
Raced by her breeder Willie Duncan, the seven-year-old Heni has now had 34 starts for nine wins, 12 placings and more than $200,000 in prize-money.
She has had five wins and five placings from 12 starts at Riccarton, and she has also been a winner at Ashburton.
“She always does well when she comes down here,” Breslin said.
The race was delayed by almost 10 minutes after one of the leading contenders, Morse Code, got under the front of the starting gate and ran a riderless lap of the Riccarton track before being recaptured.