3 Win Saturday – Viva Vienna Black Type Victory
17 Sep 2023
Viva Vienna (3 f All Too Hard – Anna of Austria, by Snitzel) became the fifth $80,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (Listed, 1200m) winner for Te Akau, with victory on Saturday at Riccarton.
Having resumed with a defiant win in the 3YO 1000 metres on the course a fortnight earlier, Viva Vienna again had to pull out all stops in order to peg back courageous pacemaker Illicit Dreams (Vancouver) ridden by former Te Akau apprentice Tegan Newman.
Combining again with jockey Sam Weatherley, Viva Vienna drew the coveted barrier one and began swiftly before steadying to trail. Pocketed for a time inside the 400m, she was clear to challenge a furlong out and really dug in over the concluding stages to claim victory.
“I wanted to give her every chance to run out a strong 1200m and the most encouraging part was the last little bit,” said Weatherley, who rode three winners on the card.
“That was the question mark and, look, the way she’s racing, she can only win, a valuable bit of black type and I can’t see why they won’t push on up in trip.
“It was very encouraging the way she settled and attacked the line very strongly.”
All the rage in betting ($1.70 & $1.10), Viva Vienna ran 1200 metres in 1:07.1 on Good3 footing while stable-mate Rhetorical (Snitzel) also ran creditably for fourth.
“We knew she’d jump well and put herself there, and taking a sit was probably the winning of the race,” said co-trainer Sam Bergerson, from the course.
“She got a breather in behind the leader and came off her back. It was a really good ride. She was strong to the line and tough effort by a tough filly.”
Te Akau won the prestigious Canterbury Belle Stakes last year with One Kiss (Tivaci), having previously won it in 2005 with NZB Filly of the Year Shikoba (Chief Bearhart) and 2014 and 2015 with Darci Brahma (Danehill) sisters Darci’s Dream and Windborne, both out of Sweet Dream Baby (Van Nistelrooy), the sisters both bred by David Ellis CNZM and Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM.
“It was a great win by Viva Vienna,” added co-trainer Mark Walker.
“Gee she showed a lot of heart, when she was boxed in she had to it the tough way to get out of that pocket, so it was really pleasing to see.
“Obviously, now, we have to step her up in distance to see whether she can get further than 1200m.
“Dr. Douglas Black and Dr. Ronan Costello, along with colleagues from their equine practice, who all have had so much to do with the stable over the years, they’ve got shares in her, so a special win for them and a satisfying win for the whole team.”
It was the 31st domestic win by Te Akau this season, in addition to the mighty win by Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) in the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m) a week earlier at Moonee Valley, and interestingly the stable had 27 wins at the same time last year in a record-breaking season (203 wins).
Purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM for $100,000 at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Wesbury Stud, and owned by Te Akau Empress Of Austria Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Viva Vienna has now won four of her seven starts.
“I thought she had her work cut out at the furlong, but she’s such a defiant filly,” Ellis said.
“It’s been an incredible week, with 12 winners including five stakes wins and to be ahead of last year with wins at the same stage is quite unbelievable.
“This is what it’s all about when buying these nice fillies, to get black type, and we’ve got some pretty special friends in this filly.
“She’s the first stakes winner for a lot of them and I’m thrilled for them.
“We’ve got Ashley Handley and Kendyll Lee down there (Christchurch) looking after the horses and what a fantastic job they’re both doing.
“Ashley has travelled our horses for some years now and it was only a few years ago that she won two Group Ones within half an hour for us at Randwick with Probabeel and Te Akau Shark.
“What an incredible start Sam Bergerson’s had to his training career. He’s working so hard and deserves every success, as too does our racing manager Reece Trumper who is doing an outstanding job helping the two trainers and he’ll be a top trainer in years to come as well. Our new assistant trainer Nicole Shailer is also a key component of our team ”
The sire of Viva Vienna, All Too Hard (Casino Prince) is a half-brother to the unbeaten champion Black Caviar (Bel Esprit), winner of all 25 starts, including 15 Group Ones, and sire of Queensland Horse of the Year Alligator Blood.
Winning three times as a two-year-old, All Too Hard won three Group One races over 1400 metres in Australia: All Aged Stakes, Futurity Stakes, C. F. Orr Stakes, and made his mark as a sire in Australia with nearly 1400 winners, including 58 stakes winners.
Dam-sire Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) is one of three in the trilogy of breed shaping champion stallions in Australia, along with forefathers Danehill (Danzig), and Redoute’s Choice (Danehill).
A two-time Champion Sire of Two-Year-Olds in Australia, Snitzel equalled then surpassed Danehill with his record number of individual two-year-old winners in a season – a mark that now stands at 35. He has also headed the General Sires’ List twice and Australian Champion Sire in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
No stopping there, Snitzel has also left 24 stakes’ winners as a broodmare sire.
The filly carries bloodline crosses of Danehill and Snippets, while Anna of Austria has a Canny Lad cross, which overall accounts for the speed influence.
Viva Vienna was strapped by Ashley Handley.
Photo credit – Ajay Berry – www.raceimages.co.nz