NZ Oaks heroine joins Australian powerhouse

Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner Pulchritudinous - Photo: Race Images
Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner Pulchritudinous

Photo: Race Images

Impressive last-start Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner Pulchritudinous (NZ) (Wrote) will continue her racing career in Australia following her sale this week.

The Chad Ormsby-trained filly has been the subject of interest from prospective buyers from around the globe, care of her commanding Oaks victory, which came just eight days after a strong win in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2000m).

The daughter of Wrote will join the stable of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott after a deal was brokered by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo in conjunction with the Waterhouse-Bott team.

The winner of three of her seven starts, the staying-bred three-year-old flagged her ability last spring when winning a 1400m maiden at Tauranga, but has taken giant strides more latterly as one of the elite members of the three-year-old crop.

With the Lowland Stakes postponed and relocated to Taupo this year due to the abandonment of the Hastings meeting on which the fillies feature was originally carded, plans for Pulchritudinous to join the Waterhouse-Bott stable sooner were thwarted.

“She’s a filly that we have been following closely based on Rob’s (Waterhouse) form,” Bott said.

“Rob has helped us buy a lot of horses out of New Zealand in the tried-horse space, which have been very good to the stable over a long period of time. This is a filly that Rob identified pretty early. We actually tried to buy her after the Lowland, but the (short) time-frame (to the Oaks) didn’t allow vetting in time.

“From Rob’s data standpoint, it was no surprise to see her come out and win the Oaks and we were lucky we had great support on the filly and were able to secure her for the stable.”

Waterhouse and Bott are keen to assess the filly when she arrives next week, but given the close proximity to the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) following a sale-pending few weeks, other three-year-old targets are more likely.

“She will arrive over here on Monday and we will keep going with her this preparation,” Bott said.

“With the timing of the Australian Oaks it might be a bit of a tight turnaround.

“At this stage we are looking at all of the Group One targets for three-year-olds in that middle distance range. The Australasian Oaks (Gr.1, 2000m) and the South Australian Derby (Gr.1, 2500m) are now worth $1 million each and then there is the Queensland Oaks (Gr.1, 2200m) and Queensland Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) as well.”

Bott said the eyes and ears of respected bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo were a significant assist and they were buoyed by his positive feedback. 

“I was at Tauranga the day that she won (in October) and I thought she was most impressive that day,” Cataldo said.

Quality filly Pulchritudinous will join the stable of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

“She presented as a great type. I thought she was a real classic style of filly. She came onto the radar that day and I had been watching her ever since and tried to buy her straight after the Lowland.

“Hence I thought we were always at the front of the queue and I’m delighted she will be joining Gai and Adrian. She’s a stunning filly with plenty of upside.”

Pulchritudinous was the first Group One winner for Chad Ormsby, who only trains a small team and is most-noted as a trader of horses under his Riverrock Farm banner.

Ormsby purchased the daughter of Wrote out of Milan Park’s 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft for $32,500 as a pinhook prospect for the Ready To Run Sale later that year, however, she failed to meet her $50,000 reserve.

Ormsby backed his judgement in the filly, who he always envisaged would be a middle-distance type, and brought in partners including Chris Grace, Jason Walker and his mother-in-law Jane and her partner Darren Roach to race the filly.

“It is bitter-sweet to sell her, but that’s the business we’re in,” Ormsby said. “As much as it didn’t feel quite right to sell her, it is the right thing at this stage of our career and pathway we are taking. We move on to the next one hopefully.

“I’m delighted for our owners as they all jumped on board with the hope to sell her at some point and the fact that we did get a Group One out of her sealed the deal and we were able to enjoy that along the way. It’s a case of having the cake and eating it too.”

The hands-on horseman said the New Zealand Oaks would long hold fond memories, with his young family on-course to witness the Group One triumph. Additionally the fact he selected Pulchritudinous as a yearling and was able to take her through to being a Group One winner was particularly special.

Ormsby wished the new connections well and believes there is plenty of upside.

“She has hit a rich vein of form and with fillies when they hit that form they can be very hard to beat,” he said. “I feel like with time there is a lot more in store for her and from what I feel even in this last week, she is a filly I think will mature into a Group One winner over a mile.”


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