We’re half way through the Maoris Idol Trotting Championship season with many country cups run and won, and it seems the squaregaiter events are where we are likely to see the ladies' triumphant.
Here, we look at the only two Cup-winning mares for 2021, Monaro Maro and Starlight Red.
The only mare in a five-horse field, which included seemingly unstoppable Country Cups king, Well Defined, Monaro Maro started only third favourite and stepped away cleanly from the stand start for the 2700m trip of the Group 3 Horsham Trotters Cup.
She managed to maintain her lead and stopped the clock at 2:06.7 to take the feature, ahead of The Penny Drops and Well Defined.
By Canadian trotting sire, Superfast Stuart, Monaro Maro was bred in New Zealand and was brought to Australia in 2019 after her fifth victory, having amassed $30,000 from her 29 starts.
Her record now stands at earnings of more than $179,000 with a best mile rate of TR1:55.8 and the Group 3 her highest mark.
Her win at Horsham came off the back of a very handy form line from late 2020, which included placings in the EB Cochrane Trotters Cup (GR2), The Matriarch (GR2), the Uncle Petrika FFA (GR3), Carlotta's Pride FFA (GR3), and also a fourth in the Group 1 Breed For Speed Gold Final.
Her dam, Monaro Miss (Wrestle), banked more than $89,000 herself, and threw Monaro Mia (Imperial Count), who has earnt more than $218,000 and also been brought to Australia. She's seen success at Group level, securing the DJA Memorial Final at Albion Park soon after her arrival. Monaro Miss was last served by Superfast Stuart earlier this year and has unnamed full sisters to both Monaro Maro (weanling) and Monaro Mia (2YO) on the ground.
Monaro Maro is owned by HBV member, Norm Jenkins, and it will be interesting to see what crosses appeal when it comes time for her to go to the breeding barn.
Just this week, the Mooroopna Trotters Cup was run at Shepparton with a field of nine over 2190m from a stand start.
Four mares lined up and over the line filled the first and third positions with Levina taking the placing and Starlight Red entering the winner’s circle.
A five-year old mare by ill-fated colonial sire, Red Samurai, Starlight Red now boasts earnings of $53,000 and seven victories, four of them – along with her best mile rate of TR2:02.2 – coming in 2021.
She easily accounted for her half-brother who also lined up in the field, Starlights Storm (Yankee Spider), and is nearing his earnings record of $83,000, the highest of all five siblings to race from Roydon Boy mare, Starlight’s Silver.
The Starlight prefix is well known in trotting circles, with Starlight Josh (Keystone Salute, $201,000) and Starlights Rebel (Yankee Jolter, $41,000) also successful, both being out of Starlights Star, a sister to Starlights Silver.
Starlight Red is the last foal from Starlights Silver, the mare having died following her foaling, but her elder sister, Starlight Beau (Last Sunset), has started in the breeding barn with her Im Stately foal Im Walkerville having her first starts this season.