20th Group One Winner for Encosta

The Group I NZ Two Thousand Guineas last weekend fell to an Aussie bred colt in Atlante (3c Fastnet Rock x Readyforcatherine, by More Than Ready) and the fillies equivalent on Saturday at Riccarton has gone the same way with Aussie bred three year-old filly Costa Viva (3f Encosta de Lago x Vivacious Spirit, by Bel Esprit) capturing the NZ Thousand Guineas.

Allowed to settle back in the field, the Jason Bridgman trained Costa Viva came with a late rush to power home for Leith Innes and win the 1600 metre feature by three parts of a length.

“It played out well for her with a bit of early tempo and unfortunately Bounding (race favourite) got caught wide and Leith ended up in a lovely spot and set it up for the last shot and he executed it perfectly,” Bridgman said.

Costa Viva was an easy winner on debut at the end of August, then chased Bounding home in the Group III Hawkes Bay Breeders Stakes before winning at Listed level before this tougher assignment, so she now has the impressive record of three wins and a second from just four starts.

“This filly has done absolutely nothing wrong and David (Ellis) bought her at the Gold Coast and she didn’t get broken in until June as a two-year-old,” Bridgman said.

“She’s a terrific filly in the making and the logical focus is the Filly of the Year series so we’ll be following that path with her.”

A $100,000 Magic Millions National Sale purchase for Te Akau boss David Ellis from the draft of Tyreel Stud as agent, Costa Viva was bred by Tarcoola Stud and is the first foal of Group III winning Bel Esprit mare Vivacious Spirit, a three-quarter sister-in-blood to stakes-winner Audacious Spirit.

Costa Viva is the 20th Group I winner for champion sire Encosta de Lago.

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