Now for Rotorua Stakes mission

Silhouette Noir (Trudy Thornton) beating Bonniegirl at Te Rapa.

Silhouette Noir (Trudy Thornton) beating Bonniegirl at Te Rapa.

Silhouette Noir was sent north in search of more black-type and she will get her opportunity at Rotorua this month.

The Dane Shadow mare earned a crack at the Listed $50,000 Rotorua Stakes (wfa fillies and mares 1400m) on May 14 when winning the Harness Jewels @ Cambridge June 4 Premier at Te Rapa last Saturday.

The win shocked punters who allowed her to start at odds of better than 42/1, but provided a timely 75th birthday present for co-owner Charles Hall, who was on course to witness the win. He races Silhouette Noir with his wife, Anne-Marie de Spa.

Silhouette Noir was originally trained at Riccarton by Terri Rae and showed talent from the outset, winning her debut as an early three-year-old at Ashburton.

Second-up she earned black-type when third in the Listed NZB Canterbury Belle Stakes and was twice more Listed placed during her time with Rae, In consecutive starts she finished second to Madam Victoria in the NZB Airfreight Stakes and the NZB Insurance Stakes.

Silhouette Noir won five of her 22 starts for Rae and was placed on eight occasions and she was welcomed into the Cambridge stable of Lee Somervell early this year.

“Terri had done a good job with her and she arrived in great order,” said Somervell. “She took a while to settle in up here but she’s fine now.”

Silhouette Noir’s first two starts for Somervell were at Ellerslie and she wasn’t suited by the right-handed track, having been used to racing left-handed in the South Island. She beat two home first-up in the Gr. 2 Westbury Classic, yet finished only four lengths from the winner, Perfect Fit, then was last of the six runners on the same course over 1600 and finished under three and a half lengths behind subsequent Gr. 1 Manco Easter Stakes winner Sound Proposition.

Somervell was stunned by the long odds last Saturday.

“I thought she would go a good race, but I didn’t think she would pay that much,” he said. “Her work had been good.”

Ridden by Trudy Thornton, Silhouette Noir settled fifth, ranged up to challenge halfway down the straight and fought determinedly after hitting the front to score by a head.

Somervell was also pleased with last Saturday’s performance of Celebrity Miss, who finished sixth in the Gr. 2 Travis Stakes.

“If there had been a bit of rain she would have been a lot closer,” said Somervell. “As it was she wasn’t far away from the second horse. I thought she might hold on for third.

“She’ll go to the Cornwall at Ellerslie.”