Princess Meritaten's win on debut - "she was impressive"

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Commentator Justin Evans called it a "dazzling win on debut" but Princess Meritaten's victory at Timaru yesterday was not without incident.

Backed into $1.50 favouritism, the four-year-old, trained by Brian O'Meara, lost a stack of ground at the start and was seven lengths off the lead with a lap to go. But driver Ricky May went round to sit parked at the 800 before holding on by half a length. She ran the last 800 in 57.6, the last 400 in 29.4.

"I was quite relaxed," says O'Meara, "and with Ricky making all the right moves it worked out well."

"She was impressive."

O'Meara did admit to being surprised that she bobbled at the start, having been well-mannered at her previous attempts.

"At the trials she's been first out ... she was just left a bit flat-footed."

Princess Meritaten's debut was about a year later than originally planned. She qualified at Rangiora in March 2022, winning her two-horse trial by 18 lengths.

"We thought we'd go to the Southland Oaks but she got very ill - she tied up and got crook."

A change of feed - "no oats" - helped with her recovery, leading up to yesterday's debut.

The mare is by A Rocknroll Dance out of The Princess (Falcon Seelster - Dreamsaregold). Her dam Dreamsaregold is a full sister to the horse O'Meara will forever be associated with, millionaire pacer Christian Cullen. Both are by In The Pocket out of Pleasant Franco.

O'Meara is still working out where to next for his latest winner, thinking he'll try another stand before going behind the mobiles.

Usually O'Meara opts for names with a strong sporting (or famous) theme - think Christian Cullen, Tiger Woods, Oscar De la Hoya, and Di Caprio - so how did Princess Meritaten get her distinctive name?

It comes from O'Meara's wife Lynette who had been reading an article about ancient Egypt, with Meritaten being a royal figure in the 14th century BC, with some experts believing she was also a foster mother to Egypt's boy king Tutankhamun.

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