Any doubts about speedy filly Bonnie Joan handling the longer distance of the Southland Oaks were well and truly kicked for touch today when she lead all the way and held on to win in a new New Zealand, Southland, race and track record time.
“Even when she qualified on the grass at Balfour she seemed to be stronger. She’s got a great cruising speed and looks relaxed. The other feature she’s got is gait speed, and she doesn’t have to grind to get to the front. She seems to be able to do it and then they leave her alone which is great,” said Fr Dan Cummings who shares in the ownership with sister Julie Davie and brother Peter.
“She’s the best filly we've raced in our own name," he added.
In today's Group Two feature she was taken straight to the front by driver Dexter Dunn. Quality Southland filly Seaswift Joy sat parked beside her and her main danger, Delightful Memphis was hot on her tail in the trailing position. But it didn't matter with Bonnie Joan proving too good for those main rivals which ran second (Delightful Memphis) and third (Seaswift Joy).
The winning time of 3-17.1 bettered Nek Time's race record of 3-19.1, surpassed the all-comers record of 3-18.2 held by The Big Boss, broke the track and Southland record for the distance and became a new New Zealand record for three year old fillies. Piccadilly Princess's old record for the 2700 metre mobile for fillies was 3-17.9.
Trained by Cran Dalgety, Bonnie Joan is fast becoming a new stable star for the Canterbury trainer.
“He (Dalgety) said at one stage when Christen Me wasn’t firing that people were starting to ask him about her (Bonnie Joan).”
Bonnie Joan is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the eight win Live Or Die mare Wave Runner and is named after Dan, Julie and Peter's mum Bonnie Joan Cummings.
“Mum was completely responsible for Tuapeka Lodge. It’s a great delight for us that this filly is named after her. It’s been over forty years since mum died and to have her name on it – whether it’s a fluke or what?” The horse that’s putting up the performance has got her name and it's very delightful.”
The win caps off a sensational few days for Tuapeka Lodge. Bonnie Joan’s half sister Break Dance won the North Island Breeders Stakes in Auckland on Friday night and last night at Menangle Tuapeka Glory (Art Major – Lillian) won the Menangle Country Series pacing the 1609 metres in 1-52.1. Galactic Star also won in Perth on Friday night.
“It’s an unbelievable roll that we are on. You get a bit anxious about how long it’s going to last. We’ve been in the game too long to know that it will last forever.”
For driver Dexter Dunn it cemented his domination of some of the feature races in Southland He's now won four of the last six Southland Oaks, winning with Nek Time last season, Safedra in 2013 and Gaylee’s Delight in 2012.