Ears Back wins Southland Stakes

Talented performer Ears Back (NZ) (Jakkalberry) maintained her perfect record at Invercargill when she produced a game effort to take out the Cruickshank Pryde Southland Stakes (1400m).

The John Blackadder-trained five-year-old was shooting for her third victory from as many attempts at the venue but had to overcome a wide barrier (8 of 9) and a line-up that included race favourite The Radiant One who was also sporting an unbeaten two from two form-line on the track.

The Radiant One set up a solid pace in front with Lisa Allpress working Ears Back across to sit on her outer before applying the pressure rounding the home bend.

The Radiant One fought strongly but Ears Back had her measure and drove clear to win by more than a length as Watch Out and Green Luck finished strongly to take third and fourth respectively.

Blackadder, who had taken a three-strong team south from his Rangiora base, was delighted with the performance of the mare that he also part-owns.

“It’s a long way to come, an eight-hour trip, but she loves it down here and has now won three from her three visits,” Blackadder said.

“It was a good field and the runner-up is a very smart horse but she thrived on the trip down and hasn’t turned a hair since we got here on Thursday.

“I’m lucky as I can stay at Bruce Laking’s place and keep her away from the hustle and bustle of the track. Bruce had a winner as well (Molly Shaw).”

Blackadder now has his sights set on two feature events closer to home with next month’s Gr.3 Valachi Downs South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton first up on his play list.

“We brought her down here as it was the most suitable race to get her ready for Riccarton,” he said.

“She has had a great hit-out and a decent trip here and back so her fitness will be right up to the mark.

“Her target after the Breeders’ Stakes is the new $350,000 race at Riccarton in April so she has a big couple of months ahead of her.”

Blackadder was referring to the inaugural $350,000 Southern Alps Challenge (1600m), a new innovation event to be run at Riccarton on April 13 for horses that have their trainers operating a premises in the South Island from August 1 last year, have been stabled at that premises since December 31 and have run at least twice in the South Island since that date.

Out of the Grass Wonder mare Makesmewonder, Ears Back is the younger half-sister to four race winner Smoke House Bay and hails from an extended family that boasts Japanese Group Three winner Felicia and dual French Group Three winner Gagnoa.

She has now won six of her 20 starts and more than $144,000 in prizemoney.

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