Princess Coup Completes Aussie Double in NZ Oaks

Australian-breds completed an unprecedented classic New Zealand double when Princess Coup stormed away to win the NZ Oaks (NZ-I) north of the nation’s capital, Wellington, on March 17.

As a 5-2 elect, the daughter of Encosta de Lago gave nothing else in the Trentham stretch to win the Oaks by 4 1/2 lengths.

Only two weeks earlier, the Muir family-bred Redoute's Dancer (Redoute's Choice) landed the NZ$700,000 New Zealand Derby (NZ-I) in Auckland.

Overkaast (by Kaapstad) battled away to gain second in the $300,000 classic by 1 1/2 lengths from Veloce Bella (Volksraad). The 6-1 third favorite gained third in the final stride from Kilimanjaro filly, Shira.

Veloce Bella came off an eighth against the males in the Derby to post her first grade I placing.

A slow surface saw the 2,400 meters traversed in 2:32.94.

Brendan Wise bred Princess Coup in South Australia. After the filly's withdrawal from the 2005 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, she changed hands at a Gold Coast winter sale two months later at AUS$260,000.

David Ellis signed for the filly and the Waikato owner/breeder sold her to other large investors in New Zealand racing, Ray Coupland and John Bromley.

The filly has won half of her 16 starts, her $480,000 earnings saying more about the paucity of funds for graded purses than her ability. The Oaks purse contributed a rather miserly $184,000.

Her four placings include a second in the New Zealand Guineas (NZ-I) at 1,600 meters in November.

Perhaps at the insistence of Coupland, a one-time sponsor of the NZ Two Thousand Guineas (NZ-I), her trainer, Mark Walker, backed her up seven days later against the males over the same Riccarton mile. She finished a brave third.

Opie Bosson took over on her as she won two and placed second twice in her next five races, all graded. In the Oaks he placed Princess Coup well back, timing his run out wide to swamp the leaders midstretch.

Encosta de Lago is an Australian-bred son of Fairy King and the only non-shuttler on the Coolmore roster. He has vied for general sire honors with Arrowfield’s Redoute’s Choice for the past two seasons.

Stoneyfell Road, dam of Princess Coup, is by Sovereign Red, the NZ-bred winner of six Australian grade I races including the Victoria Derby.

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