Stakes mission for impressive Charm Spirit two-year-old winner


Unbeaten Catsacharmer(inside) shows all the fighting qualities reminiscent of her sire when winning at Te Rapa at the weekend

Unbeaten two-year-old filly Catsacharmer (Charm Spirit) booked herself a place in the Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Otaki in three weeks after she lifted herself off the canvas to claim victory at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Having just her second career run after scoring impressively over 800m on debut at Otaki last month, the Charm Spirit filly was backed into the microscopic odds of $1.80 for the 1200m contest.

Allowed to stride to the front by rider Danielle Johnson, Catsacharmer looked to be in trouble turning for home as several rivals, including eventual runner-up Burgundy Dancer, launched their bids for victory.

Clearly headed by Burgundy Dancer at the 200m, Catsacharmer lifted bravely under the urgings of Johnson to snatch the lead back in the final few metres and win by a short head with Treasure State just a short neck away in third.

Trainer Allan Sharrock, who was watching on from Awapuni where he produced highly regarded three-year-old Butler for an effortless win earlier in the day, was left shaking his head in disbelief that his charge had managed to take the victory.

“That’s not something you see every day and certainly not by a two-year-old,” he said.

“I thought we were gone halfway down and there are not many babies who could do what she has done.

“I spoke with Danielle after the race and she said the runner-up had pestered her all the way, but my filly has just dug deep and refused to give in.

“I think we have to try and get some black type with her now, so I’ll set her for the Ryder Stakes at the end of the month.

“She deserves her chance and I think the trip away she has had today will help with her development.

“She will most likely go to the paddock after that for a freshen up before we get her ready for a few of those spring three-year-old races.”

By triple Gr.1 winning Windsor Park stallion Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit), Catsacharmer was bred and is raced by the Fleming & Oliver families from the Taranaki region and they also raced her dam Catwomandu, by another Windsor Park stallion Tale Of The Cat, to win four races from the stable of Trudy Keegan.