NZ 1000 Guineas runner-up - back story
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
The enormous run by Jennifer Eccles to finish within a long neck of Loire in last weekend's Gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas-Gr.1 has seen her labelled 'New Zealand's best maiden' and rightly so.
Her effort to clock 32.82 seconds for the last 600m - the fastest of all the Guineas fillies - has also been noticed, particularly in light of the fact that her sectionals in the Barneswood Farm Soliloquy Stakes-Gr.3 when third at her previous start were also the quickest.
Jennifer Eccles flew back to Auckland yesterday before being floated down to Paul Pertab's Matamata agistment farm where she will have a let-up before phase two of her three-year-old campaign is launched. The daughter of Rip Van Winkle sits second on the NZB 3YO Filly of the Year Series points table and it's that series which she is set to follow.
I went to the 2017 NZB National Weanling Sale with the aim of buying two fillies which would eventually be put into a Challenge Racehorse Syndications' ownership package.
I remember viewing Jennifer Eccles and liking her athleticism. I liked her calm demeanour and the pedigree page had enough of the ingredients I like to see. I got Dr Alec Jorgensen (Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre) to vet her for me, which she passed. I then went back for a second look. While I was there, the filly slipped over and grazed herself. Unfortunately for her breeders & vendors Westend Partnership, they were then required to announce the injury when the filly went through the ring. That hurt their market opportunity and the filly was passed in.
Off the back of Jennifer Eccles' time in the Karaka sale ring, I got Dr Alec Jorgensen to inspect her a second time. He declared her suitable for purchase and I then negotiated to buy the filly. From memory the asking price was $6,000, but I managed to bargain the price down to $5,000.
While it is early in this filly's very promising career, I need to give thanks to a few people for moulding her into the competitor she is today. Casey Dando (Bradbury Park) wintered the filly for me. She ran amongst a pack of other young fillies & learned to compete. Paul Pertab then broke the filly in and gave her that all-important early education. He declared very early on that the filly had excellent promise. Shaune Ritchie is a great trainer and patient. His approach has suited Jennifer Eccles to a tee. A shout out also to stable employee Colm Murray who rides the filly in much of her work and has formed a real bond with her. I also can't forget Donavan Mansour who rode the filly in her first five starts and would have been aboard at Riccarton Park if he hadn't been struck down with injury.