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Karaka graduate Black Mamba is tipped as the one to beat when she lines up in the Group 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
She'll line up against nine other competitors in the US$400,000 race for 3YO fillies and mares over 2000 metres. A win in the race provides automatic entry into the US$2 million Group 1 Emirates Airline Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on 24 October.
Black Mamba (Black Minnaloushe x Sneetch, by Grosvenor) recorded her first Group 1 win on American soil in the US$400,000 John C Mabee Handicap (1800m) at Del Mar on 3 August. She went into the race off the back of a win in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap and prior to that had run in the money in all eight of her starts in America, including placings in seven stakes races.
Raced by John Templer's Double Down Stables and trained by John Sadler, she finished an agonisingly close third in the Yellow Ribbon last season as a four-year-old.
Bred by Hawkes Bay businessman Sam Kelt's Keltern Stud, Black Mamba was sold as a yearling by Trelawney Stud at the Karaka Premier Sale for NZ$120,000 to Cambridge trainer Murray Baker.
The bay mare is a half-sister to Gussy Godiva (Last Tycoon), the dam of one of the stand-out three-year-olds in New Zealand this year in Rios (Hussonet), and from the family of Fleur de Chine and Tully Thunder.
Sneetch's yearling filly by Galileo was purchased at the Karaka Premier Sale earlier this year by Matamata trainer John Sargent for NZ$270,000 from Esker Lodge. Next year she has a yearling colt by Oratorio entered in New Zealand Bloodstock's National Yearling Sales Series. At the same Sales, the final New Zealand crop of yearlings by former Windsor Park shuttle sire, Black Minnaloushe, will go under the hammer.