Cambridge Stud’s imported mare Terra Mitica (Ulysses) recorded her first New Zealand win with a powerful staying performance in Saturday’s $65,000 Dunstan Horsefeeds Stayers’ Championship Qualifier (2100m) at Pukekohe.
A two-time winner from seven starts in England, the chestnut was bought by Cambridge Stud for 100,000 guineas from the Tattersalls December Mares Sale at Newmarket a year ago.
Trainer Lance Noble has brought her up slowly and steadily in this campaign, starting off with three trials between June and September. Terra Mitica made her New Zealand debut with a third placing over 1400m at Te Rapa on October 21, then did her best work late when finishing midfield in the Listed Fulton Family Stakes (1500m) in early November.
After a trial placing behind star stablemate Habana at Ruakaka on November 28, Terra Mitica returned to the races on Saturday, stepped up over ground and showed her true colours.
The third winner on the Pukekohe card for jockey Craig Grylls, Terra Mitica settled into a smooth rhythm in third, a big margin behind an energy-sapping pace set by Sagunto and Rua Rocks.
Terra Mitica was doing things easily at the top of the home straight, and the five-year-old soon sailed past Sagunto and opened up an emphatic winning margin of two and a half lengths. Ess Vee Are produced a strong finish into second, with another two lengths back to the third-placed Selva Verde.
Terra Mitica’s 10-start career has now produced three wins, five placings and $89,752 in stakes. She holds a nomination for the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day, as well as the Dunstan Stayers’ Championship Final (2400m) on Boxing Day. Noble and Cambridge Stud won the latter event last season with the quality mare Aquacade.
“That was a good, strong staying performance today,” Noble said. “She won two races over 2000m in England, and we just started off by giving her a couple of runs over shorter distances here to get her acclimatised and settled into her new surroundings.
“Getting up over ground was always going to suit her, and she got a good run today and a very nice ride and was able to finish it off strongly. It was pleasing to see
“She’s a nice staying prospect, and we’ll look to keep developing her through the summer months. She holds a nomination for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Dunstan Stayers’ Championship, but it might be just a little early to step her up into that sort of company. We could potentially take a bit more time to develop her through this campaign. But we’ll see how she comes through this, discuss it with the Cambridge Stud team and pick out a path that suits her.”
Terra Mitica is the first New Zealand winner for Ulysses, who is by the legendary stallion Galileo out of the Gr.1 Epsom Oaks (2400m) winner Light Shift. Ulysses himself won five races including the Gr.1 Juddmonte International (2050m) and the Gr.1 Eclipse Stakes (2000m), and he stands for a £9,000 service fee at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket. He is the sire of 71 individual stakes winners worldwide, with half a dozen at stakes level.
The dam of Terra Mitica is the Giant’s Causeway mare Mississippi Delta, whose seven wins included Belmont Park’s Gr.3 Intercontinental Stakes (1400m) and three Listed races. She also placed three times at Grade Two level in the United States and Canada.