NZ's best Maiden chasing Gr.1 glory
When I visited Shaune Ritchie's excellent training establishment in Cambridge yesterday afternoon to photograph JENNIFER ECCLES for her owners - the Challenge No.10 Syndicate - it occurred to me that the athlete in front of me could easily deserve the label of 'New Zealand's best Maiden'.
Here's a snapshot of her five starts to date - third at Gr.3 level in the Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), third in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m), defeated Kali (then lost on protest) in the Taupo Pak 'n Save Fillies (1100m), fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) and third on debut at two in a strong Maiden (1200m) at Matamata.
Add to that two trials - which she won both - and it's a record which sees her fourth favourite on the NZ TAB Futures Market for next week's Gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas-Gr.1 (1600m) at Riccarton Park.
JENNIFER ECCLES (Rip Van Winkle) has a devastating turn of foot - as seen by her remarkable sectionals in the Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie last start - and another outstanding quality is her laid-back demeanour. Yesterday she was a breeze to photograph, stood there like an international model!
The jockey next week will be Sam Weatherley who replaces the injured Donavan Mansour.