Race-caller Tony Lee succinctly summed up the performance of Listed Gallagher Marton Cup (2100m) winner Seraphim (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) when he exclaimed “she just keeps on raising the bar” shortly after runners hit the finish line at Awapuni.
The royally-bred five-year-old mare, a daughter of Rip Van Winkle (Galileo) and the dual Caulfield and Melbourne Cups winner, Ethereal (NZ) (Rhythm), notched up her biggest career achievement to date when she out-stayed a handy line-up in the day’s feature event.
The victory completed a winning treble that started with a rating 65 grade win over 1550m at the same venue back in November and came off the back of a Trentham success in rating 75 company over 1600m in December.
The ease of those two wins saw Seraphim sent out a warm favourite for her first attempt at stakes company where she didn’t disappoint as she held out a determined challenge by local galloper Itsallbelt (NZ) (Handsome Ransom) to snatch a deserved victory.
“The biggest worry we had today was her settling in the race but as you can see, she loves a scrap,” said cotrainer Stephen Ramsay after the race.
“With the pace on it made for a good race, where the best stayer generally wins. “Each time they came at her she knuckled down and raised another effort, so she showed plenty of ticker.”
Ramsay is keen to add further staying tests to the mare’s programme that will be set once discussions have taken place with her owner and cobreeder, Sir Peter Vela.
“She has really come on in leaps and bounds in this prep,” he said. “We’ll just see what there is around but there are some more Cup races coming up which could suit.
“Today was her first staying test which she handled well, so I will talk to Sir Peter and his racing manager, Gary Cossey, to see where we go next.”
The win took Seraphim’s career record to four wins and 6 minor placings from 13 starts with prizemoney in excess of $80,000. The victory also helped achieve a milestone for her Windsor Park Stud based sire, Rip Van Winkle, as she provided him with his 20th individual stakes winner.