Brothers charging forward for Theodore

When Cranbourne trainer Stephen Theodore arrived with a group of owners in the Bellerive Stud marquee at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale this year, the cause of their very evident excitement was not immediately clear.

A few cold beverages later, Theodore explained how delighted they were to buy the colt by Charge Forward from the Flying Spur mare Road To Damascus for $40,000.

Pictured: Road Trippin’ as a yearling, bred by Arrowfield Stud, John Leaver & Alan Jones, and prepared for sale by Bellerive Stud. (PHOTO: Katrina Partridge)

A year earlier, he had purchased the colt’s full brother at the same sale for $22,000. Named Road Trippin’, he had been placed twice at Mornington, firstly behind Armed for Action, and then behind the brilliant filly Snitzerland, also purchased from the Bellerive draft at the 2011 Melbourne Premier Sale.

Owners and trainer all expressed great confidence in Road Trippin’s ability, and less then a fortnight after buying his brother, their confidence grew when Road Trippin’ ran third to All Too Hard & Pronto Pronto in the VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2.

This week the now-3YO Road Trippin’ and his 2YO brother, named Crack A Roadie, have given the stable fresh cause for excitement.

On Sunday, after four placings from 7 starts, Road Trippin’ won at Bendigo, and less than 24 hours later Crack A Roadie won an 800-metre trial at Cranbourne by more than two lengths.

Back in February, Theodore talked about Road Trippin’ as a Victoria Derby prospect and that race is now the gelding’s main spring goal.

After Sunday’s win, Theodore said on his website that Road Trippin’s unflappable attitude to his work would stand him in good stead in a campaign aimed at Flemington on 3 November.

“He’s just bombproof. Fair dinkum, he’s just a kid’s pony,” he said. “I don’t want to upset him, I want to keep him that way because come Derby day, he’s just got to relax out the back and have one sprint and we’ll see how far we can go.

“Touch wood, he has been the soundest horse all the way through so as long as we can keep the smile on the horse’s face and the owners can have a photo on the wall, we can take it a bit easy.”

At first glance, Road Trippin’s pedigree doesn’t look like that of a Derby winner, with both his sire and damsire much better known as sources of high-class, early maturing speed.

The Charge Forward/Flying Spur cross has already produced a pair of precocious Group 1 performers at 1200 metres, Headway and Fort Lincoln, from only 15 runners bred this way.

However, Charge Forward has also been effective with stamina-oriented mares and families – last season’s Victoria & South Australian Derby placegetter Sabrage, from Queensland Derby runner-up Galroof, is a good example.

Like Galroof, Road To Damascus is a good-sized, strong-bodied mare, and two of the best performers in her immediate family, New Zealand Group 1 winner Bluebird the Word and Monterosso (Dubai World Cup G1), were successful in top company over ground.

Road to Damascus has a yearling colt by Manhattan Rain and visits All American this spring.

Charge Forward is the sire of 16 stakes performers from fewer than 190 runners, including five Group 1 performers. He stands at a 2012 fee of $24,750 inc. GST.

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