The Listed RM Ansett Classic at Mornington on Saturday proved a true staying test over 2400 metres with victory going to courageous mare Dame Clair (5m Danehill Dancer x Lovely Actress, by Kaldoun).
The Pat Carey trained daughter of Danehill Dancer was ridden forward by Peter Mertens and was always in contention, albeit settling a long way behind tearaway leader The Cleaner, who set a ferocious pace.
When The Cleaner waved the white flag, it was left to Dame Clair to pick up the running and she powered doggedly to the line to win by half a length from I’m Jake under the steadier 58 kg.
Already a stakes-winner of the Listed VRC Andrew Ramsden Stakes over 3200 metres last preparation Dame Clair is entered for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“Obviously she was one of the toughest stayers in the race,” Mertens said.
“I’m Jake is pretty tough when he’s ridden that way. He made her earn it.”
Dame Claire was a $30,000 purchase for her trainer from the Monovale Farm draft at the 2009 NZB Premier Yearling Sale and has won six of 28 starts and more than $270,000 in prizemoney.
Pat Carey is no stranger to success with the Danehill Dancer breed, his first Group I winner being one of his daughters in Arapaho Miss, who won the VRC Oaks in 2007.
Dame Claire is one of three winners, but the first stakes-winner for blue-blooded mare Lovely Actress (Fr), a half-sister by Kaldoun to Group I winner Cape Verdi from the family of multiple Group I winners Aquarelliste and Artiste Royal, who are both by Danehill.
Dame Claire is one of 141 stakes-winners worldwide for veteran shuttle sire Danehill Dancer, who turns 20 next year and now stands permanently at Coolmore in Ireland .