Garry Chittick's homebred Costume
denied group I winner Shuka
's attempt at a last-to-first victory, digging in to narrowly prevail by a nose for her first stakes win in the Herbie Dyke (NZ-I) Feb. 8 at Te Rapa Racecourse
The race was one of two group I events on the card, both won by distaffers. The co-featured NRM Sprint was captured by Viadana.
A 4-year-old Savabeel filly, Costume returned for her stakes breakthrough following a runner-up finish in the Harcourts Thorndon Mile (NZ-I) Jan. 25. She improved to 5-2-2 from 17 career starts for trainers Graeme and Debbie Rogerson.
"I had to ride her along to keep her in the race but she's very brave, one of those mares that gives you everything," winning jockey Michael Coleman told The Informant. "I think Shuka headed us just short of the line, but she wouldn't have it. She really dug deep."
Costume, who is out of the O'Reilly mare Disguised, covered 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in 2:02.91 on turf rated officially as dead. She could be pointed for the 3,200-meter (about two-mile) Auckland Cup (NZ-I) March 1 at Ellerslie.
The Solitaire finished third, a neck behind Shuka.
Shuka was trying to bounce back from an unplaced finish Dec. 26 in the Zabeel Classic (NZ-I), which followed her victory over Viadana in the Captain Cook Stakes (NZ-I) earlier that month. She was further flattered when Easdon No. 4 Racing Syndicate's Viadana took the NRM Sprint two races later, riding the inside path to victory.
With the field bunching up and sweeping into the straight, the 6-year-old Towkay mare entered contention as Xanadu, Sacred Star, and Diademe broke from the pack and set sail for the finish line.
Under Craig Grylls, Viadana powered up and prevailed in thrilling four-horse finish, thrusting her head in front of runner-up Scared Star. Third-place finisher Diademe was a long neck back, and Xanadu a half head in fourth in the 16-horse field.
Time for the 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) was 1.22.19.
Trained by Lance Noble, New Zealand-bred Viadana added a fourth stakes triumph and second group I win to her record, which improved to 9-6-2 from 26 career starts. She captured the 2013 Easter Stakes (NZ-I) last April.
Viadana was bred by Little Avondale Trust, which sold her as a yearling to Noble for $25,000 (US$13,078) at the 2009 Karaka sale. She is out of the winning Kinjite mare Yeah Nah.