Unbeaten Windsor Park filly plays Group winning tune at Ellerslie


Exciting Windsor Park-bred juvenile Play That Song (Showcasing) maintained her unbeaten record when she downed hot favourite Not An Option (Not A Single Doubt) to win the first of the feature races at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, the Gr.2 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

Trainer Nigel Tiley had been cautiously optimistic about her winning chances although an outside barrier draw and the filly’s two month break since winning the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) on a Heavy 11 surface at Trentham in October had him concerned she might be found wanting in the concluding stages. That was far from the scenario that played out though as rider James McDonald gave her a peach of a trip, settling beautifully one-off the fence in midfield as Amor Fati (NZ) (Showcasing) set up a breakneck speed in front.

McDonald tracked race favourite Not An Option into the race approaching the home turn before sprinting to the lead at the 300m. The pair set down to a tooth and nail struggle over the concluding stages with Play That Song proving too tough as she eased clear to win by a length from Not An Option with Tivaan Warrior (NZ) (Swiss Ace) four lengths away in third.

Tiley was beaming as he waited for the Showcasing filly to return to the winner’s enclosure, confident there was plenty of improvement in her before her main assignment, the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 25.

“She really struggled to win at Trentham and it took quite a bit out of her,” Tiley said.

“That is why we haven’t seen her up until today.

“The scary thing is that I know she is going to improve.

“I’m hoping he (McDonald) gets off her and says I want to ride her (in the Karaka Million).”

McDonald was taken with Play That Song’s performance although he was quick to admit he was lucky to miss an early skirmish that put paid to the chances of De La Terre (NZ) (Reliable Man) and Preakness (NZ) (Darci Brahma) who were badly interfered with.

“I was lucky as we ended up with a good draw being drawn on the outside,” he said.

“She’s a pretty professional filly and if she was needing the run like Nigel said, then she’s going to be pretty scary come Karaka Million time.

“She’s very push button with plenty of pace and she’s as strong as an ox.”

Bred by Windsor Park Stud, Play That Song is the from Falkirk mare Supreme (NZ) who is a daughter of Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) winner Maxamore (NZ) (Volksraad).

Raced by Tiley and his wife Lee along with his sister-in-law Mandy Rutherford, Americanbased businessman Alex Opie and International Racehorse Transport (IRT) director Richard Cole, Play That Song was a $40,000 purchase by Tiley from the Windsor Park Stud’s Book 2 draft at Karaka in 2019.

Windsor Park will offer a Charm Spirit half-sister to Play That Song during Book 1 at the National Yearling Sale at Karaka later this month.