Pencarrow Racing’s last winner Irion (Danroad x Dopff) blazed to victory while simultaneously breaking the track record at Hastings in the $18,500 The Stella Artois Mile (1600m) on Saturday.
From Irion’s 11 starts, Saturday was her fourth start and second win in New Zealand for trainers Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie. Beginning her racing career in the Australian stable of Mark Kavanagh, she debuted as a three-year-old where she collected two places before earning her first two wins consecutively.
“It was a great win and exciting to see her break Greene Street’s record set from 1998,” commented Ramsay. “She has taken the next step up and so we will be looking for some black-type races for her now.
“Every race she has in New Zealand she just keeps improving and she has quite a high cruising speed.”
The small field of seven jumped together in a level line, Irion, getting a burst of speed on the outside, was the first to press forward and took the lead. Leading by one-and-a-half lengths with rider Darryl Bradley, the pair set the pace at a strong tempo.
Leading all the way, Irion was uncatchable as Start Wondering (NZ) (Eighth Wonder) attempted to pick her up the straight with the pair four-lengths ahead. Irion kicked away to win by two-lengths with Start Wondering taking second place and Quitastics (NZ) (Postponed) finishing in third place.
The Danroad filly ran the 1600m race in 1.32.92 minutes, breaking the track record which was set in 1998 by multiple Group 1 winner Greene Street (Zabeel) at 1.33.6 minutes.
“She will possibly go to the Cuddle Stakes Saturday week, or a week after that is the Valachi Downs Stakes at Riccarton both at a mile. We haven’t made a decision yet, we will just gauge her until closer to the time,” said Ramsay.
The four-year-old mare has now earned a total of $55,433 for her owner Sir Peter Vela.
Bred by Highview Stud, Irion is out of stakes winning mare Dopff (Tights), winner of the Group 2 Bluebird Foods Trophy. She is a half-sister to stakes performer Octapussy (Octagonal), who placed second in the Group 1 Doomben Cup.
Close relations to Irion include stakes winners Pussy Willow (O’Reilly), Pussy O’Reilly (O’Reilly), Valpolicella (Red Ransome), Vavasour (Redoute’s Choice), Catalonia-Vilanova (Commands) and Dancer’s Tale (Tale of the Cat).