Lillikoi back to her winning ways

29 DEC 20 | WPS news

Group 3 winner Lilikoi (4 m Charm Spirit – Barbadine, by Giant’s Causeway) returned to the Winners Circle in the $11,000 Lance Lawson Rating 74 1400 metres on 28 December at Rotorua.

Having run good times throughout her career, and winner of the Eulogy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m) in December last year, Lilikoi had made ground from last to finish fourth in the Rating 74 1200 metres on 12 December at Te Rapa, and warranted favouritism.

First out on a pace that no one wanted, rider Danielle Johnson was able to spot perfectly in fourth with cover aboard Lilikoi. She travelled up best rounding the home turn and proved too strong over the concluding stages.

On footing rated Dead 6, after 35mls rain overnight, Lilikoi ran the 1400 metres in 1:24.9, last 600m 35.7, and paid $2.90 & $1.20 on the NZ TAB tote.

“We took the soft option after a disappointing run first up on a wet track, but she ran very well last time at Te Rapa, and a nice lead-up to the win,” said trainer Jamie Richards, who trained an unprecedented six winners in a row on Boxing Day at Ellerslie. 

“I’m sure she’ll improve out of that and we’ll pick and choose carefully. I think she is capable of getting black type again if we can find the right race, under the right conditions. 

“It’s always good to have a winner in the blue and white colours and for a filly that’s shown so much it’s good to see her back winning as a four-year-old.”

Following her win last season in the Eulogy Stakes, Lilikoi finished third in the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) on 1 January at Ellerslie.

On course to soak up the victory, owner/breeder Sir Peter Vela said: “She ran very good sectionals finishing fourth last time at Te Rapa, and it was good to see her get the win.

“My racing manager Gary Cossey suggested Can I Get An Amen (Hallowed Crown) could be the hardest to beat and sure enough she was. Thankfully we were on the right side of her at the line and it was a lovely ride by Danielle.

“Having already won a Group 3 last season as a three-year-old is a bonus. She hasn’t had all favours finding suitable tracks when Jamie (Richards) has put her in to race, but could be on her way now with a confidence building win under her belt.”

Lilikoi is from the first crop of triple Group 1 winner Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit), who commenced stallion duties in 2015 at Windsor Park Stud, and the highest earning son of leading international sire and sire of sires Invincible Spirit (Green Desert). While her dam, Barbadine (Giant’s Causeway), won three times (1800m – 2300m) and to date has left three individual winners of six races, with Lilikoi becoming her first at stakes level. 

Lilikoi sports a lovely cross of internationally acclaimed sire Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), through Charm Spirit as the sire of his dam sire Montjeu and Barbadine’s dam sire Entrepreneur. 

Sir Peter had said previously: “Barbadine, I bought as a yearling in Ireland, and I raced her there. A beautifully bred filly, she was a very nice racehorse and I was delighted to get her home to New Zealand and breed from her. And it seems that Charm Spirit has been the answer.”

Lilikoi was strapped by Sam Bergerson.

Photo credit –