Classy mare Love Affair called upon all her reserves to run down a gallant Meeska Mooska in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Sent out a $2.30-favourite, punters can be grateful jockey Matthew Cameron was alert to the muddling tempo and had the Savabeel mare poised to pounce upon rounding the home turn.
“She had to be good because Meeska Mooska actually kicked really well and he surprised me when he put a couple of lengths on me, but she is a good mare and she deserves that,” Cameron said. “She dug deep like good horses do.”
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained five-year-old notched her first Stakes success, and her sixth win from 12 starts, to go with her earlier placings at Group Two and Group Three level.
“She is a day by day mare and Andrew and Murray and the girls at home have done a super job nursing her along,” Cameron said.
Love Affair commenced her spring campaign with a solid second placing behind Te Akau Shark in the Gr.3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay and has subsequently had no luck when unplaced at Rotorua and Tauranga.
She was then thwarted by bad weather when scratched from last week’s Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe before finally getting conditions to suit today.
“It was a good effort,” co-trainer Andrew Forsman said.
“The second horse was brave too, he was three-wide the whole way without any cover.
“It was a muddling run race and definitely didn’t suit her and that’s what we were nervous about, but I said to Matt, ‘don’t panic, just ride her like she’s the best in the race,’ and thankfully her class got her through.”
Sporting the colours of Waikato Stud, Forsman believes the mare is best suited at 1400m in a truly run race.
“She deserved a Stakes win and she has got it today,” he said. “I am delighted for Waikato Stud.
“We will just take it one race at a time. She has had a fair bit of racing now this preparation, so we will just keep her ticking over and find suitable races for her.”
Waikato Stud will offer a half-sister to Love Affair by Ocean Park at January’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales. – NZ Racing Desk