Jockey Mark Du Plessis scored a group I double Jan. 18 at Trentham Racecourse when piloting Recite
to victory in the Ocean Park Levin Classic (NZ-I) and Irish Fling
to capture the J&N Berkitt Telegraph Handicap (NZ-I).
The wins also marked a top-level double for sire Darci Brahma, an 11-year-old son of Danehill who stands in New Zealand at The Oaks Stud.
In the Levin Classic for 3-year-olds, The Oaks Stud's Recite raced to the outside of stablemate and pacesetter Franzac and showed her class in the run to the finish line, edging past Franzac for a half-length triumph. Aspen finished a short neck back in third with Puccini just a head behind in fourth.
In covering 1,600 meters (about one mile) in 1: 36.10, Recite halted a four-race winless stretch dating from her victory in The Oaks Stud Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (NZ-I) in March. The filly, out of the New Zealand 2005-2006 champion 2-year-old filly Chant, by Traditionally, improved her overall record to five wins and two seconds from nine career starts.
Both the winner and runner-up are trained by John Bary.
In a perfectly timed ride under Du Plessis, Pak n Save Syndicate's Irish Fling rallied from midfield to land the Telegraph, scoring by a neck from Natuzzi.
The 5-year-old mare out the O'Reilly mare Irish Belle notched her first win in a group stakes while finishing 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in 1:07.48.
The race lost some of its luster when star 3-year-old Cauthen and classic-placed Waterford, both also offspring of Darci Brahma, were scratched when the track was upgraded from good to fast midway through the card.
Darci Brahma, a three-time New Zealand champion and a group I winner in Australia, won the 2007 Telegraph. His group I-winning son Nashville finished 10th in this year's edition.
Trained by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen, Irish Fling has a career line of 5-3-1 from 15 career starts. She is the top earner this season for Darci Brahma, who currently holds a slim lead over O'Reilly to rank atop New Zealand's 2013-2014 general sire list by progeny earnings.