Group One dress rehearsal

Cambridge mare Lady Kipling put her hand up for a start in the Group I Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day when recording her first stakes  success at Te Rapa today.

The four-year-old daughter of Savabeel proved too smart for the hot favourite Shez Sinsational in the Group II $85,000 Cal Isuzu Stakes, the fillies and mares weight-for-age 1600-metre feature. It was a performance which caused a pleasant surprise for trainer Murray Baker.

“I was thinking she was more of a handicap horse and mightn’t be up to weight-for-age, but she proved me wrong,” said Baker. “She looks as though she will get 2000 metres now so we might have to look at the Zabeel Classic.”

Lady Kipling has twice been stakes-placed, both times last season as a three-year-old. She was fourth in the Group III Stella Artois Tauranga Stakes behind Salvatore then chased her stablemate We Can Say It Now home when third in the Group I Levin Classic, both events being over 1600 metres.

Baker did try Lady Kipling over ground three times last season. She was seventh to King’s Rose in the Group II Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie then two starts later she was 12th in the Group II Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa  and followed with another unplaced run, 13th in the Listed Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie. “She’s stronger now and has been ridden a lot more forward this year and that’s made a big difference,” said Baker.

Lady Kipling has now won six of her 18 starts and been placed on a further six occasions. She went into today’s race with a last-start win over 1600 metres at Pukekohe.

Matt Cameron had the mount on Lady Kipling in the Cal Isuzu Stakes and he was impressed with her performance. “She did in on her ear,” said
Cameron. “I knew she was fit and from a good draw I gave her a good chance. She should go on with it.”

Lady Kipling was bought by Baker on behalf of her owners for $62,500 at the 2009 Select Session of the National Yearling Sales at Karaka. Her dam, Akela, was a six-times winner and Group III placed and Lady Kipling’s third dam is Sylvaner, who was a good winner from the stable of the late Brian Deacon.

Sylvaner won seven races including the Group III Eulogy Stakes (won today by Cambridge filly Zurella) and her placings included thirds in the Ladies Mile at Ellerslie and the Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Pukekohe.