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Major prize for Grail Seeker at Trentham

Australian hoop Kyle Wilson-Taylor has made his first visit to New Zealand a memorable one by guiding promising filly Grail Seeker to a hollow victory in the Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham. 

The Queensland-based rider struck up a friendship with trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott when he rode trackwork for the pair during the Queensland winter carnival last year, and was quick to take up an invitation to ride members of their team at Trentham including the daughter of Iffraaj along with El Roca filly Cupid’s Arrow in the feature event, the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m). 

Wilson-Taylor has more than 320 winners to his name in a short career so far, including a maiden Group One victory aboard Palaisipan in last year’s Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm, but had never previously ridden outside Australia until Saturday. 

He showed an immediate affinity with the roomy Trentham track as he produced an exemplary effort aboard Grail Seeker, settling her quietly near the rear and biding his time until asking her for an effort in the final 200m of the contest. 

Grail Seeker burst through the pack to dash away from her rivals, winning easing down by three lengths from the late closing Witz End, with outsider New Millenium battling on gamely for third. 

Co-trainer Andrew Scott heaped plenty of praise on Wilson-Taylor as well as the filly, who he believes has an exciting future ahead of her. 

“She was pretty dominant there and it is great for Kyle to come over and ride her and a huge thrill for Team Wexford,” Scott said. 

“She really deserved a win like this as it would have been a real shame if she had gone to the paddock without a win like that in her three-year-old campaign. 

“She has a good future as she is a big, raw filly who is only going to get better with age. 

“Kyle was in Queensland last winter and we got talking to him, we thought what a nice guy and he can really ride. 

“When he rang us out of the blue, we were happy to get him on and hopefully he is keen to come back again and ride her, as she relaxed the best she ever has for him.” 

For his part Wilson-Taylor was thrilled to repay the O’Sullivan Scott camp for the faith they showed in him after meeting up last winter. 

“That’s very satisfying and shows that helping people out when they need a hand can lead to good things,” he said. 

“Geez what a good filly as she got me out of a bit of trouble and she was just dominant. 

“I had planned to get back and ride for luck and I’m just pumped. 

“She has a very short, sharp turn of foot and we were able to ride her to execute that. 

“I’m just very thankful for the opportunity and it is great to ride a good winner here.”  

Raced by Trevor Clarke and Chris Jones, Grail Seeker was a $130,000 purchase by Rudy Liefting under his Kakapo Lodge banner from her breeder Jamieson Park’s draft during the Book 1 Sale at Karaka in 2022. 

Her dam Starwish is a Redoute’s Choice daughter of Gr.1 Australia Stakes (1200m) winner Stella Cadente and she comes from a family that includes stakes winners Deep Image, Brilliant Bisc and outstanding Hong Kong sprinter Dashing Fellow.



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