An unlucky second in the New Zealand One Thousand Guineas (NZ-I) last time out, favorite Bounding took control early in the Railway Stakes (NZ-I) Jan. 1 at Ellerslie and held on for a breakthrough triumph at the top level.
On a day of showers with the track rated as dead, the 3-year-old daughter of Darley's Central Kentucky shuttler Lonhro broke from the less-than-ideal inside post in the 14-horse field as third-place finisher Little Wonder spurted to the front out of the gate.
In a surprise move, Bounding was quickly guided four wide off the rail by jockey Mark Du Pleiss to better footing soon after the start and soon seized command. She was never headed from there in a narrow victory over older rivals and became the first 3-year-old to win the Railway since filly Gold Hope in 1981.
Bounding repelled bids from runner-up Waterford and Little Wonder, both 4-year-olds, and knuckled down to win by a long neck as the favorite while covering 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in 1:10.25.
Trained by Ken and Bev Kelso for owner Gary Harding, Bounding has an impressive record of six wins and three seconds from nine career starts, including a pair of group III victories in consecutive starts prior to her luckless runner-up finish to Costa Viva in the Nov. 16 One Thousand Guineas. Du Pleiss took criticism for his ride in the classic after allowing Bounding to race three wide without cover nearing the home turn, where she was passed by eventual winner Costa Viva. The rider redeemed himself in the Railway.
"I'm just grateful for being given another chance to prove she's a genuine group I filly," Du Pleiss said after the race.
Bred by Michael Birchall, Australian-bred Bounding is the first foal out of Australian group III winner Believe'N'Succeed
and is from the family of United States grade I winners November Snow and Morning Line
. With her Railway win, Bounding provides Darley's reigning Australian champion sire Exceed And Excel
with his first group I winner as a broodmare sire.
Bounding is among 41 stakes winners and is the sixth group or grade I winner for Australian champion sire Lonhro, a 16-year-old son of Octagonal. He has stood the Northern Hemisphere season for Darley's Lexington operation since 2012.
Harding bought Bounding for $425,000 ($438,303 in United States funds) out of the Willow Park Stud consignment at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale.