The third time was the charm for Dragon Queen at Ellerslie’s Karaka Million twilight meeting on Saturday, landing a career-best victory in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).
Since her purchase for $50,000 by the New Zealand Chinese Jockey Club and Paul Moroney Bloodstock at Karaka in 2019, the daughter of Sweynesse has spent much of her 18-start career in stakes grade. That includes a close fifth in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in 2020, followed by a sixth in last year’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).
Dragon Queen returned to Karaka Million night for the third year in a row on Saturday, and this time she came out on top.
Dragon Queen has now won two of her 18 starts, with another eight placings including a last-start third in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) and a third in last year’s Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m). She has also run fourth in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and seventh in another three Group races including the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
For trainers Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard, Saturday’s narrow win was not only a deserved triumph for Dragon Queen,"This is a great result. We’ve been trying at this meeting for three years and we’ve finally done it. She’s one of my absolute favourite mares in the stable – she’s just got such a great nature. Gerard said
“She’s been a bit unlucky and probably should have been Group One-placed already."
“She’s really matured and has come back in outstanding order this season. She’s just getting better and better, and she really deserved this."