Seraphim (Danielle Johnson) shows some of her champion dam's staying prowess in the Marton Cup.
A fierce pace turned today’s $55,000 Listed Marton Cup at Awapuni into a gruelling test of stamina, and it was a daughter of one of New Zealand’s greatest stayers who came out on top.
Seraphim, by Rip Van Winkle out of the 2001 Melbourne and Caulfield Cup heroine Ethereal, passed her first black-type test with flying colours.
After dropping back to third-last as Saint Kitt and Gobstopper went hard in front, rider Danielle Johnson began to improve Seraphim’s position approaching the home turn and then brought her wide in the straight to make her bid.
Seraphim bounded to the lead within a few strides, then kept up a strong gallop to the line to deny the late challenge of Itsallbelt. Leading Role took third in a close photo with Dr Watson, China Star and Princess Brook.
The five-year-old mare has now had 13 starts for four wins, six placings and more than $80,000 in prize-money. She has won her last three in a row in Rating 65, Rating 75 and now Listed open class.
“She’s gone ahead in leaps and bounds in this preparation,” said Steven Ramsay, who trains in partnership with Julia Ritchie.
“The biggest thing we were worried about today was how she would settle in the running, but the strong pace helped with that. Pace makes for a good race where generally the best stayer wins.
“She loves a scrap. When another horse comes up beside her, she knuckles down and raises another effort. She showed plenty of ticker today.
“Today was her first real staying test. We’ll talk to Sir Peter Vela and Garry Cossey and see where we go next, but we might look at some more Cup races down the track.”
Seraphim became the first stakes winner for Ethereal, who is the dam of six winners from seven foals to race. Her first foal Uberalles was placed in two stakes races including the New Zealand Derby, while Duquesa and Imperium have also recorded black-type placings. Unraced daughter Sopra Tutto produced the multiple stakes winner and Group One-placed Eleonora.
The time of today’s race was a quick 2:09.63 for the 2100 metres. It was the first time the Marton Cup has been run over that trip, having previously been staged over 2200.