Almost two years after her most recent win, quality staying mare High Emocean returned to the peak of her powers with a dominant victory in Saturday’s A$150,000 The Sally Chirnside (2500m) at Flemington.
The New Zealand-bred daughter of Ocean Park made an outstanding start to her career, winning five of her first 11 starts, culminating in the Listed R.M. Ansett Classic (2415m) at Mornington in September of 2020.
Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have endured a frustrating run since then, with High Emocean having eight starts in between times for two seconds, a third, two fourths, a fifth, an eighth and a ninth.
But Saturday was High Emocean’s day, powering home from off the pace in the hands of rider Harry Coffey and bounding clear to win by two lengths.
“It was a really handy field today,” Coffey said. “Because of that, we had a bit more speed and a little bit more competitiveness early in the race, compared with what we’ve been seeing in the winter months with the staying races. We’ve usually just sort of walked, trotted and cantered home.
“Today, there was a different dynamic and it really suited our mare. They were going along, and she got a beautiful cart into the race and she was too powerful late.
“When you’re riding Ciaron and Dave’s horses at 2000m plus, you can be really confident to ride them like they’re the best stayers because they do such a great job conditioning them.”
From 20 career starts, High Emocean has now recorded six wins and eight placings, earning A$390,635 in stakes. For Maher and Eustace, the long-awaited sixth win was among the most satisfying.
“She had some injuries and she’s showed glimpses of really good form,” Maher said. “She’s tricky to get right, because she needs her runs spaced and she needs to be fresh and well. I think the team have done a great job with her at Ballarat getting her right.
“She’s been a little bit frustrating for the owners, but she’s obviously coming right at the right time of year.
“She’s a horse that needs to be in work, but needs to be really fresh and you can see in her runs being spaced that she just really enjoys that.
“Harry Coffey does a lot of work for the stable, and he gave her an absolute peach of a ride. It’s great for him and great for the owners. They can dare to dream (of the Melbourne Cup) now if they can get a golden ticket in the Bart Cummings (Gr.3, 2500m).”
High Emocean was bred by the Llanhennock Trust, who offered her under their Wentwood Grange banner at Karaka 2018. She was bought for $80,000 by John Foote Bloodstock and Darren Weir Racing.
She is out of the unraced High Chaparral mare High Joy, whose five winning progeny also include Listed winner Elate and multiple winners Darci Joy, Hoard The Bourbon and Diamondsandbubbles. – NZ Racing Desk