The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Concert Hall produced an impressive last-to-first performance to land the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday, setting her up for a tilt at even better things.
The daughter of Savabeel has now won three races in succession and claimed her first black-type for Hamilton owner-breeder Joan Egan.
“I thought it was a bit special,” James said.
“She was last for a lot of the race and they haven’t really been getting home that well from the back, so it was a super effort.
“I looked at the half-mile and thought, while we’re last, there is true pace so that helped us. Having said that it is still a good effort.”
The four-year-old mare will now tackle the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 6.
“It is wonderful for Joan Egan,” James said. “She is a passionate breeder and she has had the family for a long time. I can’t imagine the thrill she is getting.”
Winning rider Matthew Cameron was comfortable going back from the gate and was never too concerned on the well-supported $1.80 favourite.
“Just talking to Roger before the race, he left it up to me and barrier 10 out of 11 is a bit awkward,” Cameron said.
“She’s not a horse you want to get too carried away with at the start and we know she has got an electric turn of foot, so I was happy to flop out the back.
“When I got that three-wide train going forward, it got a little bit messy on the turn, I got flushed out trying to keep her balanced, but once she balanced up, she really let-down nicely.”
Cameron said he thought the step-up to Group One company would not be beyond Concert Hall and there was more to come.
“The track is a bit off, it is quite testing, but she has got a lot of upside to her,” Cameron said.
“I think she will measure up fine with a step-up in class. When she comes up against these older, proven horses, she is going to have something to chase and she is pretty versatile where she races, so the long straight at Te Aroha should suit her.”
Concert Hall had 2½ lengths to spare from Jessiegee, with Tinkalicious back in third.
Concert Hall is likely to be one of two runners in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes for Joan Egan, with the Team Rogerson-trained Sandrine, also a homebred daughter of Savabeel, set to contest the fillies and mares feature. – NZ Racing Desk
Race Replay: Trentham Race 5 (Group 3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes) - 16 March 2019