Devise (Michael Coleman) pulls away from Consensus (Alysha Collett) in the Haunui Farm WFA Classic.
Devise stepped out of Bonneval’s shadow and collected her first Group One win in today’s Haunui Farm WFA Classic at Hastings.
After finishing ahead of Bonneval in last season’s Gr. 3 Desert Gold Stakes, Devise was eclipsed by that rival and had to settle for placings in the Gr. 2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic, Gr. 3 Lowland Stakes and Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks.
Bonneval went on to claim further Group One spoils in the Australian Oaks and Underwood Stakes, and she was voted New Zealand’s Horse of the Year.
Devise was once again overshadowed by Bonneval this week as Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman's star mare was entered for today’s $200,000 feature and was installed as the hot pre-post favourite, but she was scratched yesterday due to a suspensory ligament injury.
That cleared the way for Devise, who rose to the occasion and finally got her day in the spotlight.
“She really does deserve it,” trainer Shaune Ritchie said. “Bonneval not being here today obviously helped us, she's been bridesmaid to her a couple of times.
“I’m just delighted for the horse. She always puts in her best, and she’s one of those mares who are just lovely to have in your stable.”
Matamata jockey Michael Coleman had ridden Devise throughout her promising 2017-18 campaign, featuring a first-up win, a fourth in the Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes and a second in the Gr. 3 Trentham Stakes, and he missed his home track’s biggest day of the year to take the mount at Hastings today.
Coleman had Devise nicely positioned in about fifth, doing things easily while a number of her well-credentialed rivals had to work forward from wide draws.
Proven Group One mare Consensus took a clear lead in the straight and was going to take some catching, but Devise hit top gear in the last 250 metres and stretched out impressively to win by half a length.
“There was good speed on,” Coleman said. “I was probably one spot further back than I was expecting, but she was travelling comfortably.
“When I peeled out she was travelling peaches and cream, and then I let her rip in the straight.”
Consensus held second, with Travimyfriend third and front-runner Brilliant Shine fourth. The favourite Start Wondering, who had to work hard from gate 14, peaked on his run in the last 150 metres and finished fifth.
Bred and raced by The Oaks Stud, Devise is by the stud’s headline stallion Darci Brahma out of the Volksraad mare Doneze Girl. Devise is a half-sister to Zurella, who Ritchie trained to win five races including the Gr. 2 Let’s Elope Stakes along with two Group One placings.
Devise has now had 14 starts for four wins, six placings and more than $280,000 in prize-money.
“We all know how much Dick Karreman and The Oaks Stud put into racing and breeding, so this is a great result for them,” Ritchie said. “She’s got that Group One weight-for-age win now, which has secured her future as a broodmare.
“Now Rick Williams and I will map out a programme from here and try to get her some more black type.”
It was Ritchie’s second win in this Group One feature, having taken it out with the New Zealand Oaks-winning Keeper mare Keep The Peace in 2011.