New Group 1 performers for Charge Forward & Flying Spur

Derby Day at Flemington is unquestionably one of the world’s most competitive racedays and every placing is keenly contested. Yesterday two Arrowfield stallions, champion sire Flying Spur and young gun Charge Forward added new Group 1 performers to their records.

Pictured: Arrowfield sale graduate Sabrage, third in yesterday’s Victoria Derby G1. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Arrowfield sale graduate Sabrage (ex Galroof by Maroof) became Charge Forward’s fifth Group 1 performer when he finished third, only 1.5 lengths from the winner Sangster, in the day’s marquee event, the $1.5 million VRC Victoria Derby 2500m G1.

It was a gallant effort by the Michael Moroney-trained colt who had defeated Sangster in the MRC Norman Robinson S. G3 two weeks earlier, after running third in the MVRC Stutt S. G2 on 30 September.

Charge Forward is also the sire of Group 1 winners Response & Headway, Group 1-placed dual Group winner Shrapnel & stakeswinner Fort Lincoln, second in last season’s ARC Diamond S. G1.

Sabrage contributed to a wonderful day for his part-owners Rupert & Cheryl Legh who also co-own Glass Harmonium, winner of the Mackinnon S. G1, and Niwot who took out the Lexus-sponsored Hotham H. G3.

Punters gave Flying Spur’s daughter Satin Shoes (ex Star Satire by Volksraad) little chance of footing it with the boys in the $500,000 Coolmore Stud-sponsored Ascot Vale S. 1200m G1, but she paid scant attention to their opinion.

Satin Shoes began the race down the famous “Straight Six” quickly, settled second behind Unique Quality, and took over the lead momentarily about 400 metres from home. She was caught first by Sepoy, and then by the fast-finishing Foxwedge – at which point serious fortitude was required to pay a dividend and secure that valuable Group 1 placing. And fortitude was exactly what the filly displayed to hold third position by one-hundredth of a second from Zamorar.

The result was memorable for owners Dr Edmund and Belinda Bateman who race both Foxwedge and Satin Shoes, from the

stables of John O’Shea and Clarry Conners.

A Group 2 winner at two, Satin Shoes opened her 3YO campaign with a Listed stakes win at Caulfield in August and has now won five of her 11 starts for total prizemoney of just over $500,000. She joins 3YO fillies Gliding and Bliss Street (4th & 5th in yesterday’s Wakeful S. G2) to make a more than handy trio of stakeswinners for Flying Spur in Australia so far this season.

Derby Day double for Redoute's Choice

Redoute’s Choice played a leading role on a magnificent day’s racing at Flemington today, supplying two of the nine winners and a Group 1 placegetter.

His 3YO son Galah (ex Rinky Dink by Distorted Humor) won $250,000 VRC Carbine Club S. 1600m G3 by only a short half-head, but it was a classy performance distinguished by the colt’s determined chase all the way up the long Flemington straight.

Pictured: Kerrin McEvoy drives Galah home in today’s Inglis-sponsored VRC Carbine Club S. G3. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Trainer Peter Snowden said after the race, “There is plenty of upside to the horse; he is still learning what it is all about…He is one of those horses where the more you wake him up, the more it ignites him and he lifts.

“He is probably another six months away from being at his best. I think in the autumn we will see him at his best. Probably 2000 metres or further will be his best distance,” he added.

Galah is raced by his breeder Sheikh Mohammed and has now won four of his five starts and more than $300,000. His is one of 20 3YO winners by Redoute’s Choice in Australia this season.

Seven races later Sister Madly (Redoute’s Choice-Jade Tiara by Bureaucracy) showed great courage to hold out a flurry of challengers in the $300,000 VRC Linlithgow S. 1200m G2. It was the strapping 5YO mare’s third Group win this year and took her record to four wins, eight placings (three at Group 1 level), and more than $680,000 from 17 starts.

Jockey Damien Oliver said of Sister Madly after today’s race, “She is very tough. She was probably going better early in her preparation, when she first started. She was out on her feet the last 100 (metres) and she was really brave to find what we needed to win.”

Ian Smith bred and then raced Sister Madly in partnership with Bernadette Cummings until the mare’s sale earlier this year to Segenhoe Thoroughbreds Australia.

An unlucky third in last weekend’s Cox Plate, Rekindled Interest put up another tremendous effort in the VRC Mackinnon S. 2000m G1 but once again had to settle for third placing, this time behind Glass Harmonium and Mourayan. The 4YO son of Redoute’s Choice and Rekindled Affair (by Rainbow Quest) has had a fine spring, winning the MVRC Dato Tan’ Chin Nam S. G2 and finishing no further back than fifth in his other five starts. His earnings for owner-breeder Jonathan Munz now stand at $774,700.

Rekindled Interest, Sister Madly and Galah are among this season’s seven ANZ stakeswinners by Redoute’s Choice. Their performances at Flemington today have boosted his season prizemoney to $3,554,061 – keeping him firmly on top of the Australian General Sires’ list.

Vale Phillip Esplin

The Australian flag is fluttering at half-mast at Arrowfield Stud as a mark of respect following the death on Friday of one of its founding directors, D. P. R. (Phillip) Esplin.

Mr Esplin was a director of the Arrowfield Group from its inception in 1985 until 1997, and was closely involved in the development of the Stud during that period.

The principal of Esplins, and a well-respected commercial lawyer, Mr Esplin had a passion for the thoroughbred industry and in recent years served on the board of the Australian Jockey Club, and as a Director and Acting Chairman of Racing NSW.

Over the years Mr Esplin earned a reputation as a shrewd and distinguished breeder, operating under the Twin Palms Stud banner. On his own account and in partnership with the Johnson family, he was responsible for many stakeswinners, among them Reset, Charge Forward, Merlene, Miss Pennymoney, Timbourina, Well Rounded, Fast ‘n’ Famous and Duelled. Current Esplin-bred performers include Group 2 winner Varenna Miss and Group 2-placed Platinum Passion.

“Phillip was a fierce competitor in every sphere. He had the capacity to think outside the square and was always clear and direct in his assessments. This made him a great advocate to have on your side, and a formidable opponent,” said Arrowfield chairman, John Messara.

“In the thirty years that I knew Phillip, he constantly tested my ideas and opinions, and I will miss our often lengthy debates on racing topics. Most of all, I will miss his friendship and counsel. May he rest in peace.”

Yearling staff wanted for 2012 sales season

If you’ve ever wanted to work a sales season at the leading Australian-owned farm, now is the time to apply.

Arrowfield invites applications from experienced staff for its 2012 sales preparation team. Please contact the Arrowfield Operations Manager Sam Fairgray, Mob: 0418 427 568 or Email: sam@arrowfield.com.au .

Pictured: Arrowfield staff prepare the Charge Forward-Jeanarmour colt for the ring at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. He was purchased for $180,000 by Blue Sky Thoroughbreds. (PHOTO: Katrina Partridge)

In the past five years alone, Arrowfield has sold 365 yearlings for an average price of more than $190,000, twice achieving a top price of $2.1 million. Arrowfield yearling drafts have an enviable record as a source of stakeswinners, with a graduate list that includes Group 1 winners Miss Finland, Weekend Hussler, Alverta, Reaan, Forensics, Mentality & Inspiration. Current season performers sold by Arrowfield include Group winners Master of Design & Sabrage.

In 2012 Arrowfield will be consigning yearlings to the Magic Millions Gold Coast, Inglis Melbourne Premier & Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sales.

Blue Skies ahead for NSW Racing

The past three years have been very testing for everyone who works and invests in the Australian thoroughbred industry, but I believe there are now real reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Pictured: The thoroughbred horse remains racing’s best asset – Black Caviar receives her fans at Moonee Valley on 2011 Cox Plate day. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

There is no doubt we have had a rough run. No sooner did we get through the EI crisis in 2007 than the GFC hit in 2008, followed by a depressed bloodstock market and then the AI challenge. Through all of this we have faced a steadily worsening ratio of prizemoney to racing costs at every level of the sport. It has been enough to drive the most ardent participant to despair.

However, good news is on its way. The first despatch is likely before or just after Christmas, in the form of what I hope and believe will be a favourable High Court decision on the race fields legislation.

Prizemoney, and specifically the relationship of average training costs to average prizemoney per horse, is a major driver of ownership. On this key performance measure Australia is an also-ran among racing nations.

It is true that most of us are sustained through horse-racing’s inevitable risks and losses by our passion for the sport and our experience of ownership. However, there is a point at which even the most enthusiastic, long-standing owners begin to wonder if there are more enjoyable ways to spend their leisure time and their disposable income. If we do not address the costs/prizemoney ratio, existing owners will drift away and they will not be replaced.

That is why a favourable result in the upcoming High Court judgement is critical to the health and future of NSW and Australian racing. To date Racing NSW is said to have collected about $150 million from wagering operators, and placed it in trust until the case is decided. If this amount is added to future annual product fees of around $60 million, then a serious lift in across-the-board prizemoney becomes possible.

The key is going to be distributing this additional revenue in a way that supports the broad base of horse ownership without killing owners’ aspirations for excellence. A real balance is required here.

Significantly, the Racing NSW board is being restructured under legislation introduced by the Racing Minister, the Hon. George Souris to improve its governance and decision-making. The decisions on prizemoney allocation will be among the first taken by the new board and must be made in the context of a clear action plan for the rejuvenation of NSW racing at every level – city, provincial and country.

Mr Souris’ activism on behalf of the NSW industry is another reason to be optimistic about the future. The resurgence of Victorian racing was driven by Premier Jeff Kennett and his Ministers who believed it could do better – that is, attract more tourism & investment, and generate more employment. NSW racing now has a decisive political advocate with a similar grasp of its economic potential, as well as an understanding of its role in communities.

The imminent renewal of Randwick’s infrastructure gives Sydney racing a wonderful opportunity to refresh the presentation and marketing of the sport to new and existing fans, owners and national corporate sponsors. That must include a new, exciting menu of racing for Sydney’s Autumn Carnival based on a review of its timing and content, and the creation of a destination meeting to match Flemington’s Cup Week. If that is achieved, we can look forward to more than positive change – it will be a completely new era in Australian racing.

The tide seems to be turning in the international bloodstock market too. The recovery of bloodstock values at the 2011 European and US yearling sales indicates that owners are returning to the marketplace despite poor economic conditions.

Australia is in better economic shape and racing still holds a distinct place in our culture. It is now up to our industry leaders to capitalise on those advantages. That means using our assets and income effectively to keep current owners and racegoers in the game, and adopting modern technology to reach new owners and fans. Rationalising racing’s specialist media assets and engaging with mainstream media must be high on the task-list.

The crowds that have flocked to English and Australian racecourses this year to see Frankel and Black Caviar remind us that our best asset is the thoroughbred horse itself, bred and trained for all that human beings admire in sport: speed, power, class and courage. Their impact on attendances is obvious, but most valuable is their ability to excite a new generation of racing enthusiasts – and remind the rest of us why we still love horseracing.

No doubts about this Group 1 victory

At his seventh start in a Singapore Group 1 race, 5YO gelding Always Certain finally broke through this evening at Kranji to win the $S500,000 Raffles Cup Sing-1 over 1800 metres. In the process, he also became the first Group 1 winner for Arrowfield’s leading young sire Not A Single Doubt .

Pictured: Always Certain claims the Raffles Cup Sing-1 at Kranji this evening. (PHOTO: Singapore Turf Club)

Jockey Vlad Duric waited patiently near the back of the field on a slow pace before sending Always Certain wide on the turn. The gelding responded with generosity and pulled away to win by a length from Clear For Action with Speed Baby third, and Flying Fulton (by Flying Spur ) in fourth position.

It was Always Certain’s 7th career victory, and third Group win, from 25 starts, and took his earnings for Bernard Lee’s Horizon Stable past the million-dollar mark. Bred by Dr Paul Cradock from the Akaaber mare Akarana, Always Certain was purchased for $60,000 by Badgers Bloodstock from the Swettenham Stud draft at the 2008 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Akarana won at Listed Race level in Melbourne and is a full sister to Tasmanian Derby G3 winner Suavity, from the family of Victoria Derby G1 winner Omnicorp.

Always Certain was one of four winners on the card for trainer Michael Freedman who said of him, “This horse has been deserving of a Group 1 win and he’s finally achieved it.

“During his three-year-old year and early four-year-old days he kept being denied by Better Than Ever.

“I just hope he is not too harshly treated by the handicapper. The way he finishes his races off I’ve got no doubt that he’ll run the distance of the [2200-metre Singapore] Gold Cup.”

Not A Single Doubt is the sire of six stakeswinners among 17 stakes performers, and has enjoyed a fine weekend thanks to Always Certain, Karuta Queen (1st, MVRC Red Anchor S. G3) and Doubtful Jack (2nd, MVRC A.J. Moir S. G2).

80th stakeswinner for Redoute's Choice

Burgundy became the 80th stakeswinner for champion sire Redoute’s Choice when he led all the way in the CJC Canterbury S. 1600m LR at Riccarton in New Zealand this afternoon.

It was the third win from as many starts for the strapping 3YO son of Group 1 winner Grand Echezeaux (by Zabeel), also the dam of multiple Group 1 winner and promising young New Zealand sire Darci Brahma (by Danehill).

Bred by Peter & Philip Vela, Burgundy was purchased for $1.3 million by David Ellis at the 2010 NZ Premier Sale, and is trained by Jason Bridgman for the Te Akau 2010 Breeding Syndicate. He will now attempt to emulate Darci Brahma’s success in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas 1600m G1 on 5 November.

Burgundy is one of 7 stakeswinners this season for Redoute’s Choice, and the second member of his 2008 crop to earn that status, following last weekend’s impressive MRC Gothic S. LR win by Sheikh Mohammed’s colt Galah.

Rekindled Interest’s excellent, though unlucky, third in yesterday’s MVRC W.S. Cox Plate G1 has taken Redoute’s Choice’s 2011/12 Australian prizemoney beyond $3 million, almost $400,000 ahead of Reset, the sire of Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker.

Rekindling rosy Cox Plate dreams

The 1999 MVRC W.S. Cox Plate was the only time that Redoute’s Choice finished further back than fourth in his stellar ten-start racing career.

He ran a game fifth, with four outstanding horses in front of him: his fine racing rival Testa Rossa (4th), multiple Group 1 winner Sky Heights (3rd), champion stayer Tie The Knot (2nd) and the champion Sunline.

Pictured: Rekindled Interest and Dwayne Dunn winning the MVRC Dato’ Tan Chin Nam S. G2 at Moonee Valley on 10 September. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Since then, Redoute’s Choice has built a superlative record as a two-time champion sire of Australia, responsible for 79 stakeswinners, including 20 at Group 1 level, a sale-ring powerhouse and leading sire of sires.

His progeny have won many of Australia’s greatest races, including the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond, Caulfield Guineas, VRC & AJC Oaks, but the Cox Plate has remained elusive. That’s despite the valiant attempts of his splendid daughters Lotteria (2nd), Samantha Miss (3rd) & Miss Finland (4th & 6th), and his son God’s Own (8th).

It’s a gap that Redoute’s Choice may be about to fill with two runners, Rekindled Interest & King’s Rose (NZ), who are particularly well-suited to the unique test presented by 2040 metres at Moonee Valley.

The Bellerive Stud-reared 4YO gelding Rekindled Interest, bred and raced by Jonathan Munz, has had three starts at Moonee Valley for impressive wins in last year’s Moonee Valley Vase G2 over the Cox Plate distance, and last month’s 1600-metre Dato’ Tan Chin Nam S. G2

Bellerive Stud manager Brian Gorman is justifiably proud of Rekindled Interest and pays tribute to the skills of Jo Monehan and farrier Jeremy Metcalf who cared for his dam Rekindled Affair through three pregnancies.

Brian explains, “Rekindled Affair had serious foot problems and required a high level of constant care during her time at Bellerive. Jo and Jeremy did a magnificent job with her and the mare herself was very brave, especially during her final pregnancy.”

Rekindled Affair’s matings with Redoute’s Choice produced Rekindled Interest, this season’s Group-placed winner Rekindled Alliance (owned by the partnership of Jonanthan Munz, Arrowfield & Blue Sky Thoroughbreds), and a now-2YO filly named Rekindled Glory. She was retained by her breeder after Rekindled Affair was euthanased in late 2009, and is now in training with David Payne.

Perhaps it’s a happy genetic co-incidence, or perhaps it’s the deliberate 5 x 4 double-up of Stolen Hour, which also appears in the pedigree of another Cox Plate runner, Sincero. Whatever it is, the combination is working.

Brian recalls Rekindled Interest as “a seriously lovely yearling, a European type, while Rekindled Alliance is bigger and more robust.” Jonathan Munz also owns Rekindled Applause (Royal Applause-Rekindled Affair) who recently foaled what Brian describes as “a very, very nice Redoute’s Choice colt.”

King’s Rose came to Australia as the 2011 New Zealand Filly of the Year and winner of four Group races, including the CJC NZ 1000 Guineas G1, from eight starts at three when trained by Jason Bridgman.

Now trained by Peter Moody, the 4YO mare has rapidly enhanced that record with a pair of Moonee Valley Group 2 wins at 1400m and 1600m and a fighting second in the MRC Toorak H. 1600m G1.

From the same crop as Rekindled Interest, King’s Rose is also raced by her breeder, Hong Kong-based Dr Gene Tsoi, well-known for his success with the outstanding mare Elegant Fashion. She and King’s Rose’s dam Nureyev’s Girl (by Nureyev) are among a dozen mares Dr Tsoi’s dozen broodmares – six based at Brooklyn Lodge in Australia, and six at New Zealand’s Cambridge Stud.

Purchased privately as a weanling for $500,000, Nureyev’s Girl was trained by David Hayes to achieve the status of stakes-placed city winner. It’s a family firing up in Australasia: Nureyev’s Girl’s full sister Great Notice has left last season’s Champion New Zealand 2YO Anabandana, and dual Sydney stakeswinner Gybe.

Sale graduates head super Saturday results

At the halfway mark of Australia’s spectacular spring racing carnivals, Arrowfield & Bellerive Studs staged their own “Super Saturday” at Caulfield and Randwick.

The day’s results from both venues featured Arrowfield stallions Redoute’s Choice, Charge Forward, Flying Spur & Snitzel as the sires of four 3YO stakeswinners – all now heading to major races at Flemington during Cup Week. Two other winners by Snitzel and Flying Spur and three black type placegetters by Charge Forward & Redoute’s Choice completed Arrowfield’s dual-city card.

Pictured: Sabrage & Damien Oliver get the better of Sangster & James McDonald in Saturday’s MRC Norman Robinson S. G3. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

All but one of these performers are Australian yearling sale graduates, and three of them were sold by Arrowfield & Bellerive Studs in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Redoute’s Choice is now the sire of 79 lifetime stakeswinners and heads the current Australian General Sires’ list with 55 winners and almost $2.6 million prizemoney. Flying Spur is the sire of 84 lifetime stakeswinners; Charge Forward has six; and Snitzel is on four.

3YO colt Sabrage ( Charge Forward -Galroof by Maroof) gives trainer Michael Moroney the chance to win a third Victoria Derby after his strong win in the $125,000 MRC Norman Robinson S. 2000m G3.

Bred by Arrowfield and Belford Productions Ltd, Sabrage was purchased by Paul Moroney for $200,000 from the Arrowfield draft at the 2010 Inglis Australian Easter Sale. He is raced by Ballymore Stables, Rupert & Cheryl Legh, Lorne Bloodstock, Michael & Jennifer Krauser and Peter, Julienne & Stephen Kay.

Flying Spur ‘s 3YO daughter Gliding (ex Marrego by Marscay) is bound for the Wakeful Stakes G2 and VRC Oaks G1 after scoring her maiden victory in the $100,000 MRC Ethereal S. 2000m LR for her celebrated owner, trainer & buyer Bart Cummings AM. Gliding was bred and sold by Steve Young’s Orange Grove Thoroughbreds for $280,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

A Group 2 winner last season, Hot Snitzel ( Snitzel -Flames of Paris by Blushing Groom) opened his 3YO campaign with a fitting win in the Arrowfield-sponsored $100,000 ATC Brian Crowley S. 1200m LR. A $60,000 purchase by trainer Gerald Ryan for Chris & Michael Ward’s Triple Crown Syndications, Hot Snitzel was bred by the Arrowfield/Jungle Pocket partnership, and sold from the Bellerive Stud draft at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. He will start in either the Ascot Vale S. G1 or the Linlithgow S. G2 on Derby Day, 29 October.

The only homebred stakeswinnner in this group was the Redoute’s Choice colt Galah (ex Rinky Dink by Distorted Humor), who took out the $100,000 MRC Gothic S. LR for Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Peter Snowden. The 1600-metre Carbine Club Stakes G3 on Victoria Derby Day will be Galah’s next start, but jockey Kerrin McEvoy believes he will be at his best over the Derby distance in the autumn.

Also at Caulfield, Sister Madly (Redoute’s Choice) and Response (by Charge Forward) chased home the outstanding mare More Joyous in the $180,000 MRC Tristarc S. 1400m G2, and Satin Shoes (Flying Spur) returned to winning form over 1100 metres in the final event.

Back at Randwick, Snitzel posted his first 2YO winner of the season when the Arrowfield/Jungle Pocket-bred Amorino (ex Steal My Love by Marauding) won his debut by 2.5 lengths. Amorino was a $70,000 purchase by his trainer Gerald Ryan from the Arrowfield draft in Session 5 of this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

The day’s final Sydney result for Arrowfield stallions was delivered by 4YO mare Pontiana (Redoute’s Choice) who gained her third black type placing when second in the $100,000 ATC Nivison S. 1200m LR.