Recite prevailed in Saturday's Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes, keeping her unbeaten record alive and giving Hawke's Bay racing - and particularly Hastings trainer John Bary - yet another win in a prestigious event on the New Zealand racing calendar.
And, with three impressive victories in three starts so far, Hawke's Bay sport might just have a new superstar.
It was an eagerly-anticipated clash between two undefeated stakes-winning fillies, Bounding and Recite, and the Matamata Breeders' Stakes didn't disappoint. The rest of the small field had all shown plenty of ability in their careers to date as well, but the big two soon made it clear they were on another level. The rest of the field was instantly blown away by their acceleration.
Bounding - the only horse to defeat spectacular Karaka Million winner Ruud Awakening in that filly's scintillating career so far - and Recite burst six lengths clear of the rest of the field as they charged down the home straight, and they turned their attention to each other and set down to battle out the finish of the $100,000 feature.
And what a battle it was. Bounding and Recite dashed down the Matamata home straight locked together. One would move slightly ahead, then the other would lift again and draw level. Recite managed to summon one more last-gasp lunge in the dying strides, edging ahead of the gallant Bounding to just pip her at the post by a long head.
The Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes at Awapuni next month now looms as the next target for the still-unbeaten Recite, who has the potential to become a hugely popular star attraction for Hawke's Bay racing. She carries the familiar white-and-blue silks of The Oaks Stud, made so well-known in the region by champion mare Seachange's unforgettable four Hastings Group 1 victories.
And she's trained by Bary, who rose to stardom so early in his training career through the feats of the great Jimmy Choux. Of course it's not fair to compare Recite to that five-time Group 1-winning, $3.6 million earning legend of Hawke's Bay racing. But, with three wins in her first three starts and two superb stakes wins at 2, she has achieved more so far than even Jimmy had by this point in his glittering career. And what's most exciting is she still has more growing, learning and improving to do. This was a huge step up from her dominant wins down at Trentham on debut in December and in last month's Wakefield Challenge Stakes, and she lifted her game accordingly. She could be something very special at 3.
And it was an incredible day for Darci Brahma - himself the winner of the Hawke's Bay Guineas at Hastings in 2005. The rising star of New Zealand's stallion ranks sired the winners of both major races in the country on Saturday.
Minutes after Recite's win, Nashville caused a massive upset in the Group 1 Haunui Farm Classic at Otaki, beating the likes of Cox Plate winner Ocean Park and multiple Group 1 winners Veyron and Final Touch. It was a deserved change of fortunes for Nashville after a luckless trip to Wellington in January. Nashville was among the favourites in two Group 1 races on consecutive weekends in January, but in both events he had his chances completely extinguished by bad luck. Against just four other runners on Saturday, there was no repeat of that. Aided by a brilliant Kelly Myers ride, Nashville roared down the outside of the Otaki track, making his rivals look decidedly slower than their illustrious credentials would suggest and becoming Darci Brahma's second Group 1 winner. Recite may soon become his third.