Former U.S.-Based Princess Grace Takes Aussie Group 3

Princess Grace (Karakontie {Jpn}), a five-time graded winner and placed three times in Grade I company for John and Susan Moore and trainer Michael Stidham in this country, overcame some traffic at a critical stage and quickened home impressively to win Saturday’s G3 Hawkesbury Crown S. (1300m) by about 1 3/4 lengths.

Drawn the fence and sent off the lukewarm $4.40 (17-5) favorite on the back of an outstanding third in the G2 Sapphire S. on her Australian debut at Randwick two weeks back, the dark bay raced inside throughout beneath Nash Rawiller and traveled strongly from a joint fifth into the final quarter-mile. Opting to go for a run a few paths off the rail in the straight, Rawiller was forced to grab hold of Princess Grace for a stride or two when tight for running room, but she shouldered her way through and shot clear to win comfortably in the end.

“We were 50/50 whether we gave her a second run or waited for the Spring Carnival,” Charlie Duckworth, assistant to and racing manager for trainer Chris Waller, told SKY Racing. “When she drew well, we said, ‘let’s take our chances’, especially when the track came up a 5 [soft side of good] rather than the heavy track. Nash gave her a beautiful ride, obviously it looked a bit dicey, but no better man to have than Nash on when you’re stuck in a bit of a tight spot. Exciting horse.”

Racing as a homebred for the Moores, Princess Grace closed her 3-year-old season with a victory in the off-turf GIII Mrs. Revere S. and registered three wins at the graded level on the grass in succession in 2021–the GIII Dr. Penny Memorial S., the GII Yellow Ribbon H. and the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf–before closing the campaign with a sound third to Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) in the GI Matriarch S.

After successfully defending her title in the Penny, Princess Grace was second to Dalika (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}) in the GI Beverly D. S. and again in the Ladies’ Turf ahead of a third to In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Regal Glory in the GI First Lady S. China Horse Club acquired the mare for $1.7 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale and turned her over to Waller, most notably the trainer of the legendary Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}).

The Moores also race Princess Grace’s 4-year-old gelded half-brother Catnip (Kitten’s Joy), who broke his maiden at Colonial Downs like his half-sister, and who is entered for a first-level allowance on the turf at Keeneland Apr. 26. Masquerade is also the dam of the 2-year-old filly Mixologist (Frosted), a $175,000 Keeneland September purchase by Solis/Litt and, according to Cobra Farm manager Mike Owens, the Moores intend to race the mare’s yearling filly by American Pharoah named Miss U. S. A. Owens said that Masquerade delivered a Gun Runner filly at Cobra Farm Mar. 20.

Duckworth indicated that sex-restricted tests in Group 1 company loom as targets come the Australian springtime.



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