n ambitious plan hatched by trainer Stephen Marsh and Bloodstock agent Dylan Johnson kicked its first goal at Tauranga on Sunday when former Australian mare Iconic Star (Brazen Beau) strode clear to win the New World Te Puke 1200.
Marsh and Johnson had been kicking around the idea of buying a mare from the competitive Australian market to continue her racing career in New Zealand with the aim of adding valuable black type to her career record for any potential resale.
After doing plenty of research they narrowed the search down to around 10-15 horses and were successful in purchasing Iconic Star for A$60,000 from the National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast in June last year.
“It’s pretty easy to buy yearlings from the sales, but Dylan and I felt that the idea we had around buying a tried mare that still had plenty of life left in her racing legs could appeal to people back here,” Marsh said.
“We wanted a mare with a good pedigree, that may have trained off or reached her potential in Australia, that would still be competitive back here if we could get her into a new environment and spark her up again.
“The aim is to try and get some black type on her record and then take her back to the sale a year later, where she would have an enhanced value.
“It really is a one-year business venture and my clients back here absolutely loved the idea.
“We had her fully sold within twenty minutes of signing for her at the sale and since she has been back here, she has absolutely thrived.”
Iconic Star won both of her trials leading into her first New Zealand start at Awapuni in early December, however a tricky track that day tripped her up as she finished in midfield.
With the mare producing five of her six Australian wins going right-handed, Marsh was confident she could atone at Tauranga last Sunday, with his judgement proving spot on as the five-year-old daughter of Brazen Beau proved too slick for her rivals over 1200m in the hands of Craig Grylls.
“It was both a relief and a real feeling of accomplishment to see her win the way she did,” Marsh said.
“One of the factors we had been concerned with was that all her Australian wins had come at 1000m or less and we were asking her to go 1200m at Tauranga.
“Craig came back in and said that wasn’t a worry at all as she was very strong to the post, so that opens up so many options for us now.”
While Marsh was delighted to get that initial victory on the board, he is now getting the mare ready for her first stakes assignment as she prepares to tackle the Gr.3 Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie later this month.
“It was great to see her win like she did on Sunday and she has come through the run well,” he said.
“She should get into the Concorde with a manageable weight and if she can get the right luck in running we believe she will be really competitive.
“While we know this is a special project, it was also great to see how much pleasure the owners who were on track at Tauranga took from her win.
“You just can’t go past the thrill of winning a race and to see them celebrating and having such a good time was just fantastic.”
Iconic Star is out of the winning Elusive Quality mare Order Me, herself a half or three quarter-sister to 5 individual stakes performers and has now won seven of her 22 starts for over $197,000 in prizemoney.