Black Mamba adds another dimension to the Gai Waterhouse team for the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups double. The NZ bred mare has turned full circle since her earliest days in Hawke’s Bay at Keltern Stud.
Black Mamba (Black Minnaloushe) won once in 10 starts in NZ for Cambridge trainer Murray Baker. She was sold to Richard Templer’s Doubledown Stables after finishing fifth to Princess Coup in the 2007 G1 NZ Oaks at Trentham.
The Kiwi bred mare developed into a classy performer on the Southern California circuit. She scored a signature victory in the 2008 John C. Mabee Hcp (G1) and landed two editions of the Beverly Hills Hcp. She also ran third in three editions of the G1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
Black Mamba was sold for $1.5 million at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky last November. The bay mare raced for Siu Pak Kwan in the G1 Hong Kong Vase the following month but was tailed off. She has since undergone another change in ownership.
“She had a couple of months off with a cracked heel but she’s well now,” Waterhouse said. “Hopefully we can get her to the Melbourne Cup.”
Californian trainer John Sadler was considering a 2009 Melbourne Cup campaign for the Kiwi expat after she won last year’s Beverly Hills Hcp for the second d time. “She’s not nominated for the Breeders’ Cup but she’s Melbourne Cup eligible, so it’s something we’re thinking about,” Sadler said during the last northern summer. “We’ve got all of her vaccination shots up.”
Sadler didn’t get a chance to bring her Down Under. Instead, Black Mamba detoured to Hong Kong before final arriving here as part of a syndicate managed by Tony Bott. He is developing a select broodmare band at Evergreen Farm near Raymond Terrace in NSW. The most expensive to date is the $3 million paid for NZ champion Princess Coup at the 2009 Magic Millions National Sale.
Black Mamba’s dam Sneech (Grosvenor) was a G3 winner of the Auckland Ladies Mile and she has been represented by six other winners including Gussy Godiva (Last Tycoon) who has foaled G1 Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor (Montjeu) and G2 Wellington Guineas winner Rios (Hussonet).
Her regular US jockey Garrett Gomez said Black Mamba raced like a stayer after steering her to a fast-finishing win over 2000 metres last year. “She’s kind of steady and long-striding and just keeps coming,” Gomez said. “She’s a little one-paced but gets the job done.”
Black Mamba heads a strong Kiwi bred contingent among the Waterhouse entrants for the cups double. Gai has called upon the (NZ) factor among her nominations for the Melbourne Cup. “I am a great believer in the (NZ) suffix when the races are a mile plus,” Waterhouse claimed. “The NZ suffix does something remarkably magical.”
Waterhouse has G1 Rosehill Guineas winner Zabrasive (NZ) and Precedence (NZ) leading the charge ahead of fellow NZ breds Herculian Prince (Yamanin Vital) and Descarado (High Chaparral).
Herculian Prince (NZ) announced himself as a real Cup contender following two Australian Listed level wins from 1900m-2000m in April that impressed onlookers. “Herculian Prince is just thriving,” Waterhouse added. “He beats his chest every time and the owners hope he will be King Kong in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.”
Melbourne Cup hopeful Descarado (NZ) was runner-up to fellow High Chaparral colt Shoot Out in the G1 Australian Derby (2400m). “His biggest asset is the way he relaxes and his remarkable stride,” Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse’s other (NZ) contenders for the Melbourne Cup are Go With The Flo (Tristaking), Just A Blaze (The Gladiator), Tullamore (Savabeel) and Two For Tea (Drama Critic).