Dominant Auckland Cup Victory for Chenille
Breednet - Thursday, 16 March 2017
Quality mare Chenille (NZ) (Pentire), who was purchased at the 2013 Premier Sale for $55,000, won a race worth almost 10 times that amount when she scored a dominant victory in Thursday's $500,000 Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie.

Chenille. Photo Trish DunellThe Auckland Cup had been the five-year-old mare's target all season, and she boasted impressive form credentials with three wins this season including the $100,000 Windsor Park Stud Karaka Stayers' Cup (2200m) and the $50,000 Nathans Memorial (2100m).

She was also perfectly placed near the bottom of the handicap with 53.5 kilograms, half a kilogram above the minimum. She was the clear favourite for the staying showpiece, which was originally set to be run last Saturday.

But renowned dry-tracker Chenille's hopes seemed to wash away with the monstrous storm that hit the Auckland region late last week, sending the track rating plummeting from a Good2 to a Heavy11.

However, conditions became so bad that the Auckland Racing Club was forced to pull the pin on Saturday's racing altogether and reschedule it as a twilight meeting on Thursday.

On a much-improved Dead5 surface, the cream rose to the top and Chenille produced a staying masterclass.

Ridden by Leith Innes, Chenille settled beautifully in midfield before swooping around the outside approaching the home turn.

She always had the race in safe keeping from there, crossing the finish line three-quarters of a length in front of fellow Karaka graduate El Pistola (NZ) (El Hermano).

"She looked a good thing on the turn," said trainer Tony Pike, who also won the Auckland Cup in 2015 with another Karaka graduate, Rock Diva (NZ) (Lucky Unicorn).

"She probably got to the front too soon, but she's a very good staying mare.

"I'm just glad we got a second chance and the track came back. It's a huge buzz for my parents.

"Leith rode her perfectly and he got her to drop her head down the back and she was bolting on the corner."

Chenille improved from midfield with 600 metres to run and she came widest into the straight to hit the lead early in the run home.

Chenille was bred by Pike in partnership with his parents Wayne and Vicki, and they now share in the ownership with their long-time friends Graeme and Jackie Capes.

The Cup winner is a half-sister to the Pikes' Group 2-winning and Group 1-placed mare Chintz (NZ) (Savabeel).

From 27 career starts, Chenille has now won nine and placed in another eight, earning more than $548,000 in prize-money.

Under their Longlands Stud banner, the Pikes offered Chenille at the 2013 Premier Sale, where she sold to champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller for $55,000.

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