McKendry Guides Lady Of The Light (NZ) to Emphatic Group One Win

18 December 2023

Lady of The Light (NZ) pictured as a yearling.

Maurice McKendry took control of the $106,000 Group One Woodlands Stud Queen Of Hearts (2200m) to Lady Of The Light (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) showing her class and delivering her first victory at the elite level.

McKendry had the NZB Standardbred graduate in front throughout Alexandra Park’s biggest mares feature of the year and the pair never looked like being caught.

Lady Of The Light was purchased for just $16,000 when she was offered by the race sponsors Woodlands Stud at the 2020 National Yearling Sales.

The pacer was knocked down to trainer Jeremy Young who syndicated her among a big group of owners, including McKendry’s wife Sue.

An elated ownership group filled the winner’s circle at Alexandra Park, much to the delight of the winning trainer.

“They are a great bunch,” Young said.

“This is what racing is all about.”

Young and McKendry had a plan to give Lady Of The Light her best shot of breaking through for a Group One victory at Alexandra Park.

But that plan wasn’t hatched until earlier on Friday.

Lady of The Light (NZ) takes out the G1 Queen of Hearts.

 “She is a very good mare and we decided at lunchtime today to have a crack early,” Young said.

“She is so genuine and loves being in front because she is a great stayer.”

McKendry launched Lady Of The Light off the gate and she crossed one of her main rivals in Manhattan (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) to take the early lead.

The reinsman controlled the pace before letting his mare charge away from the field to score by more than two lengths.

After chasing the leader throughout, fellow NZB Standardbred graduate Manhattan fought on strongly to take third.

Lady Of The Light’s victory added a deserved Group One victory to her already impressive resume.

After racing in outstanding company throughout her career, the mare came into the Queen Of Hearts having already placed three times in Group One company.

An outstanding night for Maurice McKendry was capped when he also trained and drove NZB Standardbred graduate Miki Shan (NZ) (Always B Miki) to win the $28,000 Thames Goldfields Summer Pacing Cup (2700m).

Photo: HRNZ