6 Win Saturday – Merlotti Makes His Mark
19 Mar 2023
Green but too good, Merlotti (3 g Burgundy – Ruppertsberg, by Montjeu) led home a Te Akau quinella in the $15,000 Maiden 1200 metres on Saturday at Tauranga.
After coasting to the lead and winning easily at the trials on 7 March at Rotorua, Merlotti was having his third start for owners in the Te Akau Merlotti Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM) and evidence of his siblings acting on rain-affected ground stood by him.
Ridden by Te Akau apprentice Niranjan Parmar (a2), Merlotti was presented to the outside of stable-mate Angel Wings (Heroic Valour) in the straight and although running out, he raced clear to win by four lengths.
Angel Wings fought well for second and provided a strong hand for Fortuna Racing (Mgr: John Galvin) after winning the first race with stable-mate Inca Belle (Per Incanto).
“He’s still really green, but once he gets more experience and puts it together mentally he’ll definitely win more races,” said trainer Mark Walker.
In the race sponsored by Papamoa Poker at the Flying Mullet, Merlotti ran 1200 metres in 1:14.8 on Heavy10 footing and paid $5.30 & $2.90 on the NZ TAB tote.
Like Inca Belle, Merlotti was also bought by David Ellis CNZM at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale, from the draft of Kilgravin Lodge, paying $30,000.
At the time of purchase, Ellis said: “He presented well, breezed up nicely once his mind was on the job, and we think he snuck under the radar.
“He’s a nice horse by a sire we know so well, from a good Pencarrow Stud family, where we bought Burgundy and Darci Brahma, and it’s a family that leaves plenty of winners.”
David Ellis purchased Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice) as a yearling at Karaka, having already purchased his three-quarter brother Darci Brahma (Danehill), the subsequent five-time Group One winner and Champion Sire, trained by Te Akau.
Burgundy followed suit, winning five stakes races, Group One placed in Telegraph (Gr. 1, 1200m), and is widely regarded as the fastest horse ever trained by Te Akau.
At stud, his first three two-year-olds to race all won, with stakes’ winner and NZB Filly of the Year Dijon Bleu among his first crop. Unfortunately, Burgundy died after serving only four seasons, yet his progeny have continued in terrific form and shown versatility winning from 1000 metres to 3200 metres.
Last season, his Te Akau homebred fillies Belle En Rouge and Maven Belle raced with particular distinction. Belle En Rouge won the New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) and became New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year, while Maven Belle was a Group One winner and crowned Champion Two-Year-Old.
The dam of Merlotti, Ruppertsburg, is by internationally acclaimed Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells), who made significant impact as a sire in New Zealand, after winning French and Irish Derby, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
As a broodmare, Ruppertsburg has left five winners of 15 races, including stakes’ placed Adolay (Fast ‘N’ Famous).
Grand-dam Clear Rose (Deputy Governor) was an exceptionally good filly, very athletic, 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner and Joint Top Filly in 3YO Free Handicaps. At three, she won the Eulogy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m) and Desert Gold Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m), runner-up in the NZ Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m), and went on to winning the Japan/NZ International Stakes (Gr. 2, 1600m) before leaving five individual winners as broodmare.
Merlotti was strapped by Shaun Magee.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz