Costa Viva

Costa Viva (2010)

Bay filly by Encosta de Lago out of Vivacious Spirit.

2013-2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year


At just her 4th career start, Costa Viva reached the pinnacle in racing with Group One success in the prestigious New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600 metres) at Riccarton Park. The indications for success were high after her stablemate, Chambord, had run such a brilliant 2nd in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas the previous week - this coming after being defeated by Costa Viva at his previous start.  

In winning, Costa Viva overcame her nemesis - and only horse to have beaten her home at that point - the star filly, Bounding, who went out as a prohibitive $1.80 favourite for the classic event. It was a masterful ride by jockey Leith Innes on Costa Viva to secure a 3/4 length victory over Bounding - with Costa Viva’s Te Akau stablemate, Spellbinder, finishing 3 lengths from the winner in 3rd placing.

As much as Bounding was unlucky with a wide trip, nothing must be taken away from Costa Viva, winning as she did from the outside barrier in the field of 8, and coming - against her usual pattern of racing - from the tail of the field. An often overlooked trait in the racehorse is intelligence and the ability to be dynamic under varying sets of circumstance. Costa Viva has proven herself to have the enviable attribute to be able to be placed by her jockey in the best possible position for success. This is a high value asset usually observable in the best of the best in the world of racing: WFA champions. The expectations are high for the placegetters in the 2013 New Zealand 1000 Guineas: both Costa Viva and Bounding likely to have many intriguing battles - and Spellbinder also sure to train on.

Click photo link above for replay of the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas

Following Costa Viva’s 1000 Guineas success she went to the top of the leader-board for the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title - and was given a freshen before returning to compete in further legs to consolidate her premier position.

What followed was a brave 2nd to Hera in the G2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie - beaten a neck after (uncharacteristically) running out in the straight after claiming the lead and looking set to win - with Rising Romance more than a length behind in 3rd position. Knowing what we now know about Hera and Rising Romance, the performance of Costa Viva (subsequently found to be performing under difficulty) was sensational. Costa Viva would earn vital points both on this occasion and at Trentham when 3rd to Moozoon and Miss Selby in the G3 Desert Gold Stakes. After ducking in on this occasion going anti-clockwise - following running out the start before when going clockwise - Costa Viva was assessed to be suffering soreness and was sent straight into the spelling paddock.

Then came the agonising wait as the final three legs of the series were contested, with Costa Viva injured and absent. It all came down to the final race - the G1 New Zealand Oaks - with (favourite for the race) Miss Selby needing to win to steal the title at the very end. Fortunately, for our brave filly, it was another Miss - Miss Mossman - who would win the Oaks, with Miss Selby a gallant 2nd here, and also as a result 2nd in the title race for New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year.

Congratulations and thanks must go to the management and training team of Te Akau Racing who have handled Costa Viva so brilliantly through her first campaign - a campaign that saw her rise from a maiden performer to Group One Champion. At this time Costa Viva has started just 6 times, with 3 wins (including a Listed Race & Group One win) and has yet to miss a place.

Costa Viva is the fifth New Zealand Filly of the Year to be produced by Te Akau Racing. A remarkable achievement. It is Tarcoola Stud’s first. With Costa Viva’s dam - Vivacious Spirit - a star of the current broodmare band at Tarcoola, hopefully it may not be the last champion to come from the breeding program and lush nursery of Tarcoola Stud.


A look back to the beginning:

From day one she looked special, impressing everyone who came across her path. But shin soreness followed two impressive trials, and the 2yo campaign for Costa Viva was put on ice. A minor delay, though expectations remained high.

Returning to training for what would be her first full campaign - now as a three-year-old - Costa Viva produced a stunning trial performance to win an 800 metre trial at Te Teko by an eased-down 6 lengths, running the best time of the day.

Trying to find a race to start her career was proving difficult as persistent rain meant that Te Akau Racing three times accepted with Costa Viva in Maiden races - and three times had to scratch because of heavy conditions. Patience was required. You don’t rush quality.

Finally, a dry (dead rated) track at Ruakaka was found and Costa Viva was ready to go - but instead of a straightforward win in a Maiden race, Costa Viva found herself up against the highly regarded Donnie Brasco, an O’Reilly colt who had won by 2.3 lengths at Avondale at his previous start. Heavy stable support for Donnie Brasco on the day left no misunderstanding that it was the considered expectation that he would win again.

Costa Viva (Craig Grylls) followed the speed set by Donnie Brasco - peeled out at the top of the straight - and ran home a comfortable (eased down) 2 1/2 length winner from pacemaker and favourite, Donnie Brasco. She recorded 1:11.51 for the 1200 metre trip off a moderate tempo - nearly surpassing the time recorded by the winner of the open handicap on the day.

First step. But what very promising strides they were.

Twenty-one days later, Costa Viva, ridden this time by Matthew Cameron,  jumped straight into Group company at only her second race appearance, finishing a valiant 2nd behind star filly Bounding in the G3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200 metres) at Hawke’s Bay - beaten only 3/4 of a length (and closing resolutely) - while the rest of the field could finish no closer than a distant 3 1/2 lengths astern.  If not for a bump suffered when turning for home, Costa Viva may have finished even closer to the odds-on favourite on the day. Both fillies are expected to meet again in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas, with Bounding currently a clear favourite - and Costa Viva now 2nd favourite for this premier race.

With her impressive win in the Listed Ray Coupland Stakes (1400 metres) at Ashburton on the 19th of October, Costa Viva became a stakes-winner at just her third career start.

Starting a resounding $1.60 favourite, jockey Matthew Cameron positioned Costa Viva just behind the speed, bringing her into clear galloping room at the top of the straight when she then sprinted clear, quickly putting the race well in her keeping. Her stablemate, Chambord* (an impressive Zabeel gelding), ran home powerfully from the rear of the field to get within half a length of the filly on the line. The remainder of the field were over 3 lengths further astern. Lofty aspirations are held for both of these horses trained by Jason Bridgman for Te Akau Racing.


*note that Chambord ran a brilliant 2nd at his very next start in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas.


View race performances of Costa Viva at this link

(click on horse performance profile for race history and video replay)


Video below shows Costa Viva as a foal in a paddock at Tarcoola Stud with her dam, Vivacious Spirit