Ghibellines Dominates Stakes Racing at Riccarton

Ghibellines mare Live Drama wins the Group Three South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Riccarton on Saturday

By Jonny Turner

Hororata Gold Cup day on Saturday turned into the Ghibellines show with the White Robe Lodge sire sweeping the feature races and producing outstanding results.

Those incredible winning results were headed by White Robe Lodge producing the quinella in the Group Three South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes with Live Drama (Ghibellines-Sheeza Drama-Pure Theatre) and Burgie (Ghibellines-Norah-Gallant Guru).

The Lance Robinson trained Live Drama went one better than her excellent second in the Group Three White Robe Lodge Weight-For-Age to run to a thoroughly deserved stakes victory.

“It was her day today and I’m just so pleased that she pulled it off because she deserved it, she always tries her very best,” Robinson said.

“She has always run in the best of company and we’re all so very proud of her.”

Sold for the bargain price of $8,500, Live Drama took her already sizeable value as a broodmare even higher with Saturday’s comprehensive victory.

“She’s quite valuable as a broodmare now she’s a Group Three winner as well,” Robinson said.

“She’s been a terrific horse to train and a pleasure to have in the stable.

“She has got a few little quirks, but we just know her inside and out and we don’t have any issues with her.”

Burgie ran another excellent race in the South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, following her win the recent ODT Southern Mile Final.

In a clean sweep of Saturday’s features at Riccarton, Ghibellines also produced the Hororata Gold Cup winner in Second Thought (Ghibellines-Wellsey-Yaminin Vital).

Bred on the golden Ghibellines-Yamanin Vital cross, the Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong trained five-year-old settled in midfield before letting down powerfully for an impressive win in the 1800m feature.

The win brought consolation for Second Thought’s connections after the mare ran a very unlucky fifth when running out of room late in the Listed Dunedin Gold Cup.

To top off an already outstanding day, Ghibellines produced the quinella in race 10 at Riccarton when Noble Knight (Ghibellines-Flight Arrival-Yamanin Vital) and Mayor Of Norwood (Ghibellines-Gallant Babe-Gallant Guru) fought out a stirring homestraight battle.

Just half a neck separated the two talented gallopers at the end of their 2000m test.

Bred by Wayne and Karen Stewart and sold at the South Island sale, Noble Knight has developed into a most consistent stayer for trainer Sandy Cunningham.

The five-year-old has now won two of his last three starts and he hasn’t been out of the first four in his last four starts.

Saturday’s outstanding results capped off a big week for Ghibellines.

The stallion produced two winners at Wingatui on Otago Anniversary day in Gintys Girl (Ghibellines-Ginty's Choice-Coats Choice) and Generation Joy (Ghibellines-Lucille-Remind).

In another strong result, Ghibellines was also represented by Smokin Romans (Ghibellines-Inferno-Yamanin Vital) who ran a very brave fourth in the Group One Australia Cup at Flemington on Saturday.