JENNIFER ECCLES - the modern-day La Mer?
I got a mountain of messages off the back of Jennifer Eccles' stunning win in yesterday's Little Avondale Lowland Stakes-Gr.2 (2100m) at Hastings, but one really stuck out to me.
The Silver Fox Des Coppins suggested "there was a La Mer turn of foot in that" and you know, I think he might be right.
The late Malcolm Smith prepared La Mer (Copenhagen 11) to win 24 races during the seventies & she was the 1977 New Zealand 3YO Filly of the Year. It might be 40+ years ago, but I can still remember the chestnut's dazzling turn of foot.
Jennifer Eccles has repeatedly run the fastest last 600m in her races and that was the case again yesterday. It's a weapon which Jason Waddell has been able to utilise to the max and in her last two runs it's been clear to see how leathal that burst of speed has become.
I'm a racing purist; the industry's traditions are close to my heart and to have a filly win races named in the honour of the likes of Eight Carat, Sir Tristram & Lowland is super-special.
Fillies and mares have long been my specialist area, so to have a filly good enough to lead the NZB 3YO Filly of the Year Series - amongst what is a spectacular crop of fillies - makes me feel blessed.
I've often been asked recently what makes Jennifer Eccles so good. Well it hasn't happened by chance and she's the result of may elements including...
* terrific athlete, faultless constitution & killer-instinct to win
* clearly well raised by her breeders, Peter & Sue Westend
* wintered as a weanling/yearling at Bradbury Park where she learned to run with the pack
* expertly broken-in & educated by the king of breakers, Paul Pertab
* prepared by fourth-generation trainer Shaune Ritchie - he & his team have produced a masterclass
* all her riders have played their part - Colm Murray (track), Donavan Mansour, Sam Weatherley & Jason Waddell
In closing, this 'racing purist' has a big birthday coming up on Tuesday; can't imagine a better 60th birthday present that having Jennifer Eccles in my life!
Bring on the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks-Gr.1!!!