New Zealand-bred filly Gypsy Goddess left her rivals with few excuses after landing the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) for trainer David Vandyke and jockey William Pike at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The daughter of Tarzino went back from the horror outside draw of 18, and while the rangy filly relaxed well throughout, she was forced to cover plenty of ground rounding the home turn and presented widest in the home straight.
It mattered little as the $4.40 favourite landed the Classic with a length to spare from Barb Raider, with Kiwi breds Le Villi (by Puccini) and Smirk (by Preferment) finishing third and fourth respectively.
The win was yet another feather in the cap of trainer David Vandyke, who has meticulously-placed the star filly since she burst on the scene when breaking maiden ranks back in October.
“That was just amazing. The love and care that has gone into her over the last seven-and-a-half months, since she won her maiden, to keep her up,” an emotional Vandyke said.
“Emma, the staff, the vet, the farrier. It’s just been an amazing period of time where we were just focussed on getting this girl to the best possible place, and to finish that with a Group One is a career highlight.
“She’s had a hard journey. She’s raced up here (Queensland), she went down (to Sydney) on the heavy tracks, came back up. I said to the boys a couple of weeks ago, ‘if it was any other horse, we’d probably turn her out’.
“But, we just gave her every chance to get here. She bounced back well this last week. Willie (William Pike) probably wished he waited another furlong, she just rounded them up and went to the front, I thought he might’ve gone too soon.
“He (Pike) just had a lapful of horse and doesn’t she love Eagle Farm? I mean, (the) job’s done, she’s won her Group One, she would never have to race again. She’s done a fantastic job, a great group of patient owners. Bob Jones, he’s been with me for many, many years, he’s been a great client. To win a Group One for him, it’s just still sinking in.”
Vandyke, said claiming the Oaks in his home state was his career highlight, particularly given the filly made little impression early in the piece and she has had to overcome a preparation that has been thwarted by rain-affected going.
“This is my career highlight with this girl,” he said.
“Seven and-a-half months ago she won her maiden, which I didn’t even think she could do. Now, it’s been a journey, such an arduous time, and to see her wrap up a field of quality fillies like that, at Group One level in our home state, that’ll do me.”
Winning jockey William Pike was thrilled that a long-term plan to chase the ride when relocating from Western Australia to the Eastern States had paid off and he took little credit for the win.
“I guess barriers aren’t too big of an issue when you have a horse with gears like her,” he said.
“She had a bit on this field today. I rode her accordingly but I still got there a bit early. That was ‘Plan B’ for sure.
“I’ve had a few Group Ones, I’ve been lucky, but this one goes right up there because of the significance of the move that I made (east) and everything surrounding it. Just being here, I really appreciate it.”
The victory further enhances the reputation of Westbury Stud’s exciting young stallion Tarzino, who is shaping as the heir apparent to his late father Tavistock, who sired last week’s Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) winner Pinarello.
Winner of both the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), Tarzino is also the sire of recent Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) winner Jungle Magnate and will stand at a fee of NZ$15,000+GST this season after leaving two first-crop Group One winners.
Gypsy Goddess is yet another quality galloper raised at Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore but the parrot-mouthed filly failed to meet her $20,000 reserve when offered as Lot 1145 in the Book 2 session of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale.
Co-bred by highly-regarded veterinarian Chris Lawler, who also purchased and raced her sire Tarzino, Gypsy Goddess is out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Invisible Coin.
Lawler remains in the ownership of Gypsy Goddess, racing her with a syndicate that includes Bob Jones, one of Vandyke’s biggest stable clients.
Jones had her transferred to Vandyke and the Sunshine Coast-based mentor is glad that he did.
“I just love the Kiwi-bred horses and when Bob told me about this filly, I was happy to take her,” Vandyke said.
“Bob comes to the Karaka Yearling Sales with me every year and we have had plenty of success with the horses we have bought.”
Gypsy Goddess has never finished out of the money in nine starts, winning on six occasions while a runner-up finish in the Gr.1 ATC Oaks (2400m) and third placing in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (1850m) are among her three placings.
The star young stayer will now enjoy a well-deserved break and heads to the spelling paddock with A$972,300 in career earnings. – NZ Racing Desk