Piccadilly Princess in full flight for co-trainer Mark Purdon. Photo: Ashlea Brennan.
Brilliant mare Piccadilly Princess has run her last race.
The five-time Group 1 winner returned to New Zealand this week after a protracted Australian campaign and has headed to Breckon Farms in Ohaupo to let down.
Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained the daughter of Bettor’s Delight, a winner of 17 races and more than $750,000.
Among her feature wins were two Harness Diamonds, the Victoria Oaks, Ladyship Mile in Sydney and Northern Oaks.
Singapore-based co-owner Simon Bradley, who raced her with a group of friends including Tom Patterson, Mike Ward, Antony Wilson and Christian Cuneen, says it was a mighty thrill to be a part of her career.
“Tom and Mike had been involved in several race horses previously but for Ant, Christian and myself it was a first.
“Initially we agreed we’d be thrilled to breed a horse good enough to make it to the races and hopefully win a race and thankfully that came pretty quickly for us in her first start as a three-year-old at Motukarara.
“As first-time owners, the thrill of purely winning a race was a real buzz and we certainly didn’t dare to dream of the successes that followed.
“To win five Group 1 races with our first race horse definitely well and truly exceeded our expectations.
“All of her Group 1 wins were special in their own ways – a lot of it for me comes down to sharing the moments of success with friends and family.
“We aren’t under any illusions how fortunate we have been with her.”
While all the wins were a huge deal, perhaps their biggest thrill came in defeat.
“To have her line up in the NZ Cup last year was also one of the biggest highlights as an owner.
“Jonny Cox gave her a beautiful trip behind Lazarus and, whilst it was disappointing she couldn’t quite stay with Lazarus in the final 250 meters, to be there on the day was a privilege and life-long dream fulfilled.”
The group will soon make a decision on her first consort, and Bradley says there a few names being bandied about.
“We’ll look to take some advice from Mark and others, but early possibilities for a Bettor’s mare include Art Major and Sweet Lou.
“I’m personally pretty keen on Vincent, having seen what he has done on the race track in New Zealand and Australia over the past couple of seasons.
“We’ll have to have a chat amongst the syndicate members and make some decisions in the coming months.
"We’ve also reinvested some of our winnings into another young Bettor’s Colt who has just completed his education so hopefully our luck and enjoyment continues."