Markus Aurelius ends Cup Week in style
By Jonny Turner
The New Zealand Cup Carnival was wrapped up in style when Ghibellines' exciting son Markus Aurelius powered home to win its final event.
Slotted in behind the speed by rider Opie Bosson, the White Robe Lodge bred cleared out by more than three lengths in his brilliant 1600m victory.
Markus Aurelius (Ghibellines-Evancho-Shinzig) has been a constant improver since first stepping out for trainer Jamie Richards, who described the four-year-old as a horse on the rise.
"He was able to capitalize on a good draw and raced prominently," Richards said in Te Akau Racing's post-race report.
"Opie had a lapful of horse when he turned for home."
"He went through his gears nicely and won with a fair bit of authority, so he's a horse on the rise."
With improvement still to come from the four-year-old, Markus Aurelius should be a big force in the autumn.
"We've taken him along quietly and I think it's all in front of him."
"He's sort of an old fashioned type of South Island bred horse and getting better with time."
"I thought Opie gave him a lovely ride and he's a progressive horse heading into next autumn."
Markus Aurelius' victory set off cheers across New Zealand, with plenty of noise coming from White Robe Lodge.
He is not just a White Robe Lodge bred galloper, but also raced by a group of stable clients.
Staff member Jack Stewart shares in the ownership of the talented miler with his brother Ricky.
The Stewart brothers are members of the Te Akau Great Southern Man Syndicate alongside Matt Joy, Henry Parker, Hayden Parker, Hayden Miller, Callum Wardell, Craig Miller and Will McKee.
The same group raced five win race mare Willow (Gallant Guru-Woodini-Woodman) from the White Robe Lodge training arm.
Markus Aurelius was knocked down to Te Akau Racing's David Ellis for the bargain price of just $13,000 at the 2018 South Island Sale.
Another purchase at the same sale, Golden Harvest, ran in to a close up third placing over on Saturday in a 1200m premier event.
The staying power of Raise The Flag's progeny were also on show during the New Zealand Cup carnival through Madam De Soir (Raise The Flag-Grace De Soir-Volksraad).
The nine-year-old relished stepping up to 2500m, scoring for trainer John Phillips and rider Tina Comignaghi on Wednesday.
Madam De Soir held out Beaudz Well, who went on to win on Saturday.
Raise The Flag also kept his outstanding results in Australia going last week when Periscope (Raise The Flag-Perceptible-Personal Escort) won in Victoria over 2200m.