Second Group One Winner for Per Incanto
Media Release - Tuesday January 1

Outsider Santa Monica belied her $77 winning-odds to take out the Group ISistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.

Santa Monica - Trish DunnellIn a gutsy performance, the Per Incanto five-year-old was able to nab Princess Kereru on the line to win by a neck, with a further head back to the luckless race favourite Melody Belle, who was posted out three-wide throughout the 1200m feature.

The five-year-old has been in solid form of late for Te Awamtu trainer Stephen Ralph, finishing runner-up in the Listed Counties Bowl (1100m) and Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m) last-start, and Ralph said he expected another good showing from his mare.

"She has been knocking on the door and we knew we could win this," he said. "The only horse we feared was Melody Belle.

"It was great work by Trudy (Thornton, jockey), she has stuck with us the whole way through, she knows the horse and just summed it up perfectly."

Ralph said he received a confidence boost with his mare after her unplaced performance in the Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) in October, which set her on a path for Group One glory.

Per Incanto"We posted the best last 600m in the sprint down in Rotorua (Sweynesse Stakes) against some of the best sprinters around at the time, so we knew we had the horse," he said.

Ralph reflected on the long journey it has taken to attain his first win at elite-level and he was quick to mention the loyalty of his owners Stuart and Cherie Hope.

"It's our first Group One winner," he said.

"We formed a partnership all the way through. It's about 13 years in the making with Stuart and Cherie with this horse, so big ups to them."

Winning jockey Trudy Thornton was just as jubilant for Santa Monica's connections and said her mount appreciated the firmer ground on Tuesday.

"She is such a tough little competitor," she said.

"It all panned out alright, the speed was on which suited her. She got into air when she needed to and tried her heart out, as she does.

"Last-start she went a really good race, but the track was a bit off and she likes it really firm and she got that today. She is just so much happier on good ground."

Ralph capped off a great day by taking out the last race on the card at Ellerslie, the Barfoot & Thompson 1600, with Marissa.

Santa Monica is the second Group I winner for Little Avondale Stud's Per Incanto joining Dal Cielo– NZ Racing Desk

Sistema Railway Gr1 1200m
Ellerslie Track: Good(3) Time: 1:09.47
Santa Monica
T: S Ralph J: T D Thornton 53
5m Per Incanto (USA) x Monarch (NZ) (Volksraad (GB))
Princess Kereru
T: K and B Kelso and M Donoghue J: C E Lammas 53
5m Pins (AUS) x Fleur D'Amour (NZ) (Thorn Park (AUS))
Melody Belle
T: J W Richards J: R S Rusof 57
4m Commands (AUS) x Meleka Belle (NZ) (Iffraaj (GB))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $57,500
V:Haunui Farm
B: Mr DC Ellis
Volpe Veloce
T: G Richardson and G Parker J: M T Coleman 56
5m Foxwedge (AUS) x Bardego (AUS) (Barathea (IRE))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $240,000
V:Lyndhurst Farm
MM National Weanling Sale Select Session $120,000
V:Newgate Farm, Scone, NSW
B: Lyndhurst Farm
T: A W Pike J: L G Innes 54.5
5m Per Incanto (USA) x Yeah Nah (NZ) (Kinjite (NZ))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $260,000
V:Little Avondale Stud
B: Bruce Perry Bloodstock
Sleeping Beauty
T: L O'Sullivan and A Scott J: S C Spratt 53
6m Rip Van Winkle (IRE) x Kailey Princess (AUS) (Danehill (USA))
T: A W Pike J: V A Colgan 55.5
4g Jimmy Choux (NZ) x Keepa Cheval (NZ) (Keeper (AUS))
T: E and D Browne J: O P Bosson 55.5
7g Mastercraftsman (IRE) x Very Musical (IRE) (Green Tune (USA))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $100,000
V:Windsor Park Stud
B: McVean Racing
T: Team Rogerson J: M Cameron 55.5
5h Fast 'n' Famous (AUS) x Rio Nugget (NZ) (Captain Rio (GB))
NZB Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs $40,000
V:Ohukia Lodge Ltd
B: NZB as agent
Volks Lightning
T: Team Rogerson J: R T Elliot 54
6m Volksraad (GB) x Next Century (NZ) (Stravinsky (USA))
NZB Ready To Run Sale $60,000
V:Windsor Park Stud
B: Vermair Racing
Livin' On A Prayer
T: W P Hillis J: S T Collett 53
5m Redwood (GB) x It's My Sin (AUS) (Success Express (USA))
Gift Of Power
T: Team Rogerson J: L J Allpress 53.5
4m Power (GB) x Capital Diamond (NZ) (Lucky Unicorn (AUS))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $180,000
V:Cambridge Stud
B: Team Rogerson
T: S B Marsh J: C W Johnson 55
6g Per Incanto (USA) x Romantic Liaisons (NZ) (Danasinga (AUS))
William Wallace
T: A M Bull J: A J Calder 55
6g Darci Brahma (NZ) x Huluava (NZ) (Pins (AUS))
NZB Ready To Run Sale $40,000
V:Kilgravin Lodge
B: Makaraka Stables