Ghibellines son Markus Aurelius heads outstanding Cup Week

Markus Aurelius registers WRL sire Ghibellines’ first Group race win

By Jonny Turner 

White Robe Lodge stallion Ghibellines continued his success when Markus Aurelius clinched his sire’s first Group race victory in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile amid strong results at the New Zealand Cup Carnival.

The all-White Robe Lodge product, by Ghibellines from Brian and Lorraine Anderton’s Shinzig mare Evancho, produced a powerful display to win the $230,000 Group Two feature on the middle day of New Zealand Cup week.

The victory continued a remarkable journey the five-year-old began at the 2018 South Island Sale when purchased from White Robe Lodge by Te Akau Racing's David Ellis for the bargain price of $13,000.

After excellent performances over 1400m in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile Trial and Prelude, Markus Aurelius was primed to run a big race in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile.

He didn’t let his army of supporters down when pulling out the biggest performance of his career to see his sire crowned a Group producing stallion.

Markus Aurelius sat without cover for much of the race, outside of the leader for rider Opie Bosson.

When Bosson asked him for an effort the horse’s class shone through.

“He just travelled beautifully for me throughout the race, we actually got a little bit of cover in behind the leader, which is what we were looking for,” Bosson said.

“I thought I was a sitting duck and I was a bit worried when the other ones came up beside me, but I just brought him out a little bit so he could see them and to his credit he just kept digging.”

Though the star miler left his home at White Robe Lodge some time ago, the team still revel in his success.

Everyone involved gets a kick out of seeing the son of Ghibellines do well, but none more so than Jack Stewart.

Jack and brother Ricky are members of the Te Akau Great Southern Man Syndicate and own Markus Aurelius alongside friends Matt Joy, Henry Parker, Hayden Parker, Hayden Miller, Callum Wardell, Craig Miller, Matt Casey and Will McKee.

New Zealand Cup Week success continued for Ghibellines when the consistent Jack Knows Best scored over 2000m on New Zealand Cup Day.

Another bargain purchase, the son of Ghibellines and Yamanin Vital mare Structure was bred by White Robe Lodge and sold among the same draft Markus Aurelius was offered at the South Island Sale in 2018.

Purchased by Lance and Kerri Spence and placed with trainer Lance Robinson, the five-year-old has won twice and placed on seven more occasions.

Robinson produced his star Ghibellines mare Live Drama for two excellent performances over the New Zealand Cup Carnival.

Live Drama is yet another bargain purchase from the White Robe Lodge Draft at the 2018 South Island Sales.

The daughter of Ghibellines, bred by Brian and Lorraine Anderton from Pure Theatre mare Sheeza Drama, was a $8500 purchase by the No. 8 Syndicate.

Live Drama ran second in the Listed Pegusus Stakes on the first day of the carnival before again running second in the Group Three Stewards Stakes on day two.

Raise The Flag also notched more black-type during New Zealand Cup week with Madam De Soir (Raise The Flag-Grace De Soir-Volksraad) running third in the Listed Metropolitan Trophy.