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Cm grads in HOY contention

Provocative - Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images

Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images

Three Curraghmore graduates feature in the the New Zealand Horse of the Year finalists announced by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing earlier this week.

Two Cm graduates stake claims on Champion 3YO honours, Gr.1 Queensland Oaks heroine Provocative and Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic.

Cantankerous filly Provocative burst on to the scene in December with a customarily wayward but convincing win on debut at Taranaki. Jockey Leith Innes' saddle slipped at her next start, at Ellerslie in January, but the pair managed to finish fourth. She redeemed herself at Ellerslie a month later posting a four length win. Her next two performances netted a sixth and fourth before trainer Tony Pike sent her to Brisbane.

The daughter of Zabeel didn't betray her trainer's confidence taking the Sunshine State by storm winning a lead up run at Ipswich by two-and-a-half lengths before coming off the ballot to win the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks by three lengths.

Unfortunately, an extreme weather system played havoc in Brisbane resulting in the transfer of the Queensland Derby to Oaks day, forcing Pike to pick between the two features and denying Provocative a chance at a historical double.

Bred by Nearco Stud, Provocative is by Zabeel out of the Gr.3 Tasmanian Derby winner Betwixt. She was a $250,000 purchase for Paul Moroney Bloodstock out of Curraghmore's 2014 NZB Premier Yearling Sale and is raced by Robin Peel-Walker and Mark Wyborn.

Fanatic caught the eye when winning at Waipa first up this season. She followed that performance with a third at Rotorua and a couple of below-par performances before a respectable fourth in the Gr.3 Lowland Stakes as a precursor to her elite level success.

The first Group One winner for Rich Hill Stud-based sire Shocking, Fanatic is raced by her breeder Sean Kiernan and was born and raised at Curraghmore.

Her dam is Kiernan's only broodmare Komplete Klass, a daughter of Groom Dancer who is a half-sister to the dam of the Gr.1 TJ Smith Classic winner Rockdale.

Meanwhile, Te Akau's Heroic Valour is a strong contender for the Champion 2YO title following his faultless debut season in which he won all three of his races including the Gr.1 Diamond Stakes and Listed Reid and Harrison Slipper.

Bred by Katom, Cobra Bloodstock Australia Pty Ltd, Austramore Pty Ltd Heroic Valour is by Fastnet Rock out of the winning Nassipour mare Myrrh, making him a half-brother to the Gr.1 Doncaster Handicap winner Triple Honour.

David Ellis purchased the son of champion sire Fastnet Rock, for $400,000 out of Curraghmore's 2015 Premier draft and he also purchased the full-brother for $510,000 in January.

All finalists are eligible for the Horse of the Year title, which will be announced at the awards dinner in Auckland on Sunday, August 7.


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