Jockey Leith Innes produced a gem of a ride to land the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial 3YO (1500m) on Espresso Martini at Ellerslie on Saturday, with the well-bred filly securing valuable black-type.
The daughter of High Chaparral and The Oaks Studs’ Group One winner Keepa Cruisin, stalked the leader Jip Jip Rock throughout, before peeling off her back to collar her late.
“Leith rode her an absolute treat and it is great for Donna Love and the team to get a result here with a stakes win,” co-trainer Andrew Forsman said.
“She has come a long way from winning a New Plymouth maiden in a short period of time, but Leith gave her every opportunity.
“When he went out, Leith said he’d won a Group One on the mother and she wasn’t much bigger than her, so it gives us a bit of hope heading forward and it’s a massive result.”
Forsman, who prepares Espresso Martini in partnership with Murray Baker, admitted he wasn’t confident heading into the race.
“We thought she was an each-way chance at best coming in and would have been delighted if she could land some black-type,” he said.
“That was why we brought her here and it probably wasn’t the strongest race in the world.
“There are a lot of horses on the way up that are looking for further in the future, but she got her race today and she deserves it.”
Forsman said the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day was the most likely next assignment for Espresso Martini.
“While a filly like her is in form, you’ve just got to keep targeting the good fillies’ races,” he said.
Espresso Martini also holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on January 12, a race won by her mother in 2007 with Leith Innes in the saddle.
Espresso Martini was purchased by Bloodstock Agent James Harron on behalf of prominent Australian owners Donna and Rob Love, who have raced Group One winners Shamal Wind and Capitalist.
A 150,000 purchase from The Oaks Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale draft, Espresso Martini’s mother is a half-sister to seven-time Group One winner Seachange – NZ Racing Desk.