Easy debut win by Snitzel 2YO colt

A few hours before Shamus Award broke his maiden in spectacular fashion at Moonee Valley, Snitzel’s fifth crop son Headwater Country made a brilliant debut over 900 metres at the Gold Coast.

The 2YO colt jumped well and joined Lovelife to put three lengths on the rest of the field. When jockey Mitch Speers asked for a final effort effort from Headwater Country bounded away in the straight to win by 6.8 lengths, cutting out the final 600 metres in a tick over 34 seconds.

Speers said, “Headwater Country was a real little professional and all I had to do was point him in the right direction.”

Headwater Country is trained by Liam Birchley for owner-breeder Peter Marshall of Marshall Thoroughbreds. His dam Perkipsey (by Falbrav) is an unraced relative of Group 1 winners Rebel Raider, Able One and A Little Kiss.

Snitzel also added a new Group performer to his record today when Checkpoint (ex Kelcheck by Keltrice) was third in the $125,000 WATC Prince of Wales S. G3, beaten less than a length by Barakey. Checkpoint is trained by Neville Parnham who paid $70,000 for him at the 2010 Magic Millions Perth Sale.

Breeder celebrates historic Cox Plate victory by Snitzel colt

“Over the moon!” was breeder Bob Hannon’s first reaction to Shamus Award’s history-making victory in today’s $3 million MVRC Cox Plate 2040m G1.

The 3YO son of Snitzel is the first maiden to win Australia’s weight-for-age championship race, and joins a stellar group of 3YOs that have won the race in the past 30 years: So You Think (2009), Savabeel (2004), Octagonal (1995) & Red Anchor (1984).

The Cox Plate winner’s prizemoney has shot Snitzel to the head of the Australian General Sires’ list with season earnings of $3,075,922, ahead of Fastnet Rock and Exceed and Excel.

Shamus Award is the 16th stakeswinner and second Group 1 winner from Snitzel’s first four crops. Snitzel’s achievements last season included an Easter Yearling Sale average of $335,000, his first $1 million yearling and 11 Australian stakeswinners.

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara says, “This is a milestone success for Snitzel, and confirms what his statistics have been telling us for the last two seasons: that he is a major Australian sire in the making.”

Bob Hannon’s relationship with Arrowfield goes back three decades to the 1980s when he was a shareholder in foundation Arrowfield sire Rancher. He was also co-breeder of the sensational filly Amelia’s Dream (by Redoute’s Choice).

Shamus Award is from the Success Express mare Sunset Express, a city-winning half-sister to three winners including Singapore stakeswinner Ghozi.

Bob purchased Shamus Award’s third dam, the Irish-bred mare From The Wood through bloodstock agent Kieran Moore in 1989, and has worked with the family ever since.

Offered by Vinery Stud, Shamus Award made $230,000 at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Sale and is trained by Danny O’Brien for Sean Buckley (who also raced 2007 Australian Horse of the Year Miss Andretti) and Viv Oldfield.

Shamus Award went into the Cox Plate on the back of an outstanding run for third in the Caulfield Guineas G1, and six other black type placings from nine starts.

As O’Brien said after the race, “He certainly didn’t deserve to be a maiden.

“It has not gone to plan because we would have loved to have come here after winning the Stutt (Stakes) and winning the Guineas, but a couple of things went against him in those races.

“Today we got our chance to get out there, make our own luck and show what a good colt he is because he could have easily been a Guineas winner and a Cox Plate winner.”

Sunset Express has what Bob describes as a “beautiful” 2YO filly by Not A Single Doubt who has been broken in and will join Kris Lees’ stable in January. Sunset Express is visiting Snitzel again this spring.

Shamus Award’s second dam Finito Fling has a Not Single Doubt daughter, Fimatino in the Lees stable, and a 2YO Snitzel filly, named Lady Snitzel, sold for $170,000 at this year’s Easter Sale.

Bob works with 11 mares and has owned and managed a New Guinea coffee export business since 1965. He says, “This is one of the beautiful days in life, this is what it’s all about.

“I love the stallion, I chose the mating on type, and to get that result for Arrowfield and for me, that’s fantastic. What a wonderful day!”

It's A Dundeel makes Cox Plate history

Future Arrowfield stallion It’s A Dundeel made history this afternoon at Moonee Valley with a magnificent victory in the $3 million MVRC Cox Plate 2040m G1.

It’s A Dundeel has made Australian racing history on several counts.

He joins an elite group of champions that have won the Australian Derby and Cox Plate in successive seasons. The other five horses to achieve that double are Phar Lap (1930),  Kingston Town (1980) and Strawberry Road (1983) Dulcify (1979) & Bonecrusher (1986).   

He is the first horse ever to win the race from barrier 12.

His 35-day break before the race is the longest of any Cox Plate winner since at least 1979.

He and Fields of Omagh (2003) are the only Cox Plate winners since 1979 to win the race at their third season start.

He has now won six Group 1 races at 1600, 1800, 2000, 2040 and 2400 metres. 

It’s A Dundeel is raced by the 18-strong Transtasman Syndicate, including his Hawke’s Bay breeders Murray and Jo Andersen who are true small-scale breeders, and have never mated more than two mares in a season.   

Murray says, “I’ve always wanted to win the Melbourne Cup, like many people, but the Cox Plate is the ultimate dream because that’s real class.   

“What’s most exciting for us is that we’re now involved with Arrowfield. That’s magic and we’re very much looking forward to It’s A Dundeel’s stud career.”

The other members of the Syndicate are the Andersens’ daughter Tracy, her husband Gavin Chaplow, Murray’s sister Sharyn & her husband Mike Craig, Mike’s brother Tony and his wife Wendy, Jenny & David Morrison, Max & Jo Brown, Tony & Jenny Joyce and two Australian-based couples Tony & Gina Muollo and Demetrius & Angela Frocas.

Murray Andersen has raced horses for about 35 years and enjoyed previous Group 1 success with It’s A Dundeel’s high-class grand-dam Staring (Fiesta Star-Sweet Violet by In the Purple), descended from the great taproot mare Eulogy. 

Staring, the ??? NZ Filly of the Year, won eight races, including the New Zealand Oaks and a 2000-metre weight-for-age race at four. Like her grandson she was trained by Murray Baker, who has been a friend of the Andersens for three decades.     

Murray says, “After her race career she went to stud and I bred her in partnership with Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan. We put her to Zabeel a number of times and we were going to race a filly but even before she was broken in she spread herself in the paddock and couldn’t race. About that time Sir Patrick decided to cull some of his bloodstock and he offered me his half share in her, and that’s how I ended up with Stareel.”

Stareel’s last two foals are also by that sire and there is little surprise to find tha,t given Andersen’s obvious love affair with Sadler’s Wells, she is visiting the Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi(IRE) (Montjeu- Gwynn) this year.

“He is a lovely horse and physically he will suit the mare, and it’s a fantastic sire line. I liked High Chaparral when I first saw him and loved his bloodlines, which is why I sent both Staring and Stareel there.

Long-term plan rewarded with Group 2 success

A breeding partnership’s determination to pursue the Redoute’s Choice/Zabeel cross was rewarded on Friday evening when Gypsy Diamond won the $220,000 MVRC Fillies Classic 1600m G2.

The 3YO filly is the 19th stakeswinner for Not A Single Doubt, and his second this season after the success of 2YO colt Risen From Doubt at Flemington earlier this month.

The win was Gypsy Diamond’s second success from seven starts and took her earnings beyond $180,000. Trainer John O’Shea and jockey James McDonald have their eyes on an even bigger prize for her: the $1 million VRC Oaks G1 on 7 November.

Gypsy Diamond’s link with her sire is more than genetic. Her owner-breeders Ron Finemore & John Leaver also raced Not A Single Doubt, who was bred by Arrowfield with John Leaver, and the filly was foaled and reared at Arrowfield.

The Finemore-Leaver partnership purchased the Zabeel-Silk Ending filly from the Trelawney Stud draft at the 2006 Inglis Australian Easter Sale for $550,000 with a long-term intention to send her to sons of Redoute’s Choice when she finished racing.

Named Gypsy Tucker, she descends from a half-sister to the great foundation mare Fanfreluche, also the ancestress of champion Australian sires Flying Spur and Encosta de Lago.

She showed abundant ability and won her second start, but went amiss and was retired to stud as a 4YO. Gypsy Diamond is followed by 2YO filly Veloce Forte (by High Chaparral), also in training with John O’Shea, and a yearling colt by Not A Single Doubt entered for the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Silk Ending, now owned by Cressfield, has a 2YO filly named Lustrous in training with Paul Messara, and foaled a Snitzel colt earlier this month. 

The effectiveness of the Not A Single Doubt/Zabeel cross was highlighted again on Saturday at Moonee Valley, when 2YO filly Donelle ran second on debut in the $250,000 MVRC Inglis Banner (R) LR for Greg & Donna Kolivos and trainer Gai Waterhouse.

Bred by Oliver Wong, Donelle is the first foal of the Zabeel mare Avarice, from the family of Group 1-winning mares Riverina Charm and Neroli. Avarice foaled a Redoute’s Choice filly earlier this month and returns to Not A Single Doubt this season.

Donelle was purchased by Star Thoroughbreds for $130,000 from the Bellerive Stud draft at this year’s Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Arrowfield's triple interest in the Cox Plate

Australian and New Zealand breeders have supplied six of the 14 runners in Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate G1.

Two of them are by Arrowfield stallions and one will join the Arrowfield roster at the end of his career. They bring three quite different stories to the race where legends are made.

The future Arrowfield resident is, of course, It’s A Dundeel, favourite for the race.

It’s A Dundeel has much in his favour: an imposing record of Group 1 Guineas, Derby and weight-for-age success from 1600 to 2400 metres, blink-of-an-eye acceleration, a splendid competitive temperament, a master trainer and the genetic backing of High Chaparral & Zabeel. The two champion sires have appeared individually in the pedigrees of the last five Cox Plate winners: Maldivian (2008) So You Think (2009 & 2010), Pinker Pinker (2011) & Ocean Park (2012).

More telling is the fact that, while only five horses have won the Australian Derby at three and returned the following spring to claim the Cox Plate at four, all five would appear on most lists of the best thoroughbreds ever to race in Australia: Phar Lap (1930), Dulcify (1979), Kingston Town (1980), Strawberry Road (1983) and Bonecrusher (1986). It’s A Dundeel’s Derby win was reminiscent of the emphatic victories of Phar Lap, Kingston Town and Strawberry Road.

Interestingly, Strawberry Road is the only entire in the group. He proved a resounding success at stud in the US where  he sired three Breeders’ Cup winners in Fraise, Ajina and Escena among 37 Stakeswinners from just 370 foals in nine crops. He also excelled as a broodmare sire: his daughters produced no fewer than 68 Stakeswinners, including Arrowfield’s young sire All American.

It’s A Dundeel will jump from barrier 12 which has not yet supplied a Cox Plate winner, although wide barriers don’t make success impossible. One suspects Phar Lap, Kingston Town, Dulcify, Bonecrusher or Strawberry Road would have overcome barrier 12 for victory if required.

The two Arrowfield-sired Cox Plate runners will start at considerably longer odds than It’s A Dundeel, yet both their camps have good reasons for the confidence they express in their chances.

Trainer Danny O’Brien reports that 3YO colt Shamus Award (by Snitzel), who made the field only after Atlantic Jewel’s scratching, is “super” after his excellent third in the Caulfield Guineas G1 – his seventh black type placing in a career that doesn’t yet include a win.

“We always intended to have him ready for this weekend and our preference was always the Cox Plate.

“He gives us every indication that he will be a very good racehorse when he gets to 2000 metres. He’s very relaxed, really genuine and competes every time.”

Shamus Award is Snitzel’s first Cox Plate starter and the first maiden to line up in the race since Oxberry Way, unplaced in 1984. Four 3YOs have won the Cox Plate in the past thirty years: Red Anchor (1984), Octagonal (1995), Savabeel (2004) and So You Think (2009). In the past five years four 3YOs have filled placings: All Too Hard & Pierro (2012), Manhattan Rain (2009) and Samantha Miss (2008).

Jonathan Munz, owner-breeder of Rekindled Interest (by Redoute’s Choice) succinctly reviews the 6YO gelding’s preparation for his third Cox Plate appearance. 

“He was injured in the 2012 Cox Plate, and had surgery after that. He was fabulous first-up, running second at Moonee Valley in a 1200-metre Listed Race carrying 61 kg in what ended up as a hot form race.


Rekindled Interest has the best form on the track of any 2013 Cox Plate starter, as Jonanthan Munz confirms. “He flies at Moonee Valley where he won the Vase over 2040 metres as a 3YO, and he’s been trained to peak on Cox Plate Day.”

Exciting Job Opportunity at Arrowfield Stud

Arrowfield Stud is offering an exciting opportunity for an experienced, passionate thoroughbred industry person to join its team as Operations Manager of the Arrowfield Client Broodmare Farm, known as Bellerive.

 The Arrowfield Group is a leading Australian-owned thoroughbred breeding operation located near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley.

 Applicants must have extensive knowledge and experience in the management of broodmares, foals and yearlings. Key responsibilities will include foaling and reproductive management of mares, client communication and hosting, record keeping, communicating with the office and reporting to the overall Arrowfield Operations Manager.

 The applicant must be able to work well in a team environment and have experience in managing staff.

 Other desirable skills & experience include:

  • High-level communication skills
  • Enthusiasm and motivation
  • Pasture, farm, and horse infrastructure skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • Capacity for administrative tasks such as budgeting, reporting, planning and management of physical resources
  • Implementing and overseeing OH&S procedures
  • Conformation evaluation and commercial appraisal of bloodstock

The remuneration package is negotiable and will reflect the experience of the successful applicant. On farm housing and a motor vehicle is supplied.

 Start date will be decided upon discussion with the successful applicant.

 Please email applications to arrowfield@arrowfield.com.au

Snitzel son is smoking hot at Ascot

He has been labelled an excitement machine in Perth and Snitzel’s son Smoko certainly lived up to that billing at his season debut at Ascot today. He extended his unbeaten record with his fourth win when defeating a talented field over 1000 metres.

The 4YO gelding jumped well from a wide gate and, after jockey William Pike eased him across to the rail, he cruised along in front. Pike waited until the challenges became serious, then asked Smoko for a final sprint which was instantly decisive. The pair crossed the line more than two lengths ahead of the field in a time of 57.98 seconds.

Bred by Arrowfield in partnership with Planette Thoroughbred, Smoko is the last foal of the Bletchingly mare London Lights, a city-winning daughter of Travel Light (Queensland Oaks G1), from the dazzling New Zealand speed family of Tudor Light and Elabama.

London Lights did a fine job at stud, leaving 7 winners from nine to race, notably Only A Lady (AJC Flight S. G1) and Adelaide stakeswinner Lisson Grove.

Smoko was a $75,000 buy for Perth owner Frank Fiore from the Bellerive Stud draft at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, and he is trained by Ross & Clint Price.

Three races after Smoko’s win, another son of Snitzel, 3YO Petrol Power was a long-head second in the $100,000 WATC Belgravia S. 1200m LR. He is already among Snitzel’s 15 stakeswinners after winning last season’s WATC Supremacy S. LR.

Earlier in the day at Randwick, 2YO Scratch Me Lucky (Snitzel-Radiant Star by Success Express) stormed home from the back of the field to snatch second in the 1000-metre Victory Vein Plate. 

90th stakeswinner for Flying Spur

Arrowfield’s now-retired champion sire Flying Spur notched up his 90th stakeswinner today at Caulfield when 4YO Spurtonic led all the way to take out the $150,000 MRC Coongy H. G3.

He finished more than two lengths ahead of runner-up Bass Strait and recorded a time of 2:03.11 for the 2000-metre journey.   

The Gai Waterhouse-trained gelding is proof that later-blooming talent can richly reward owners’ investment of time and money. Unplaced in two juvenile starts, he showed improvement last season, breaking his maiden first-up and then placing twice at Gosford and once over 1900 metres at Rosehill.

Spurtonic returned in August to win his first three starts, and two weeks ago he ran a slashing fourth in the ATC Epsom H. G1, only a half-length from the winner Boban. Today he ran out the extra 400 metres in commanding style, aided by the superb judgement of Glen Boss who described the win as “easy.”

Boss said, “He’s got a very good future. He was pretty impressive there. It wasn’t the strongest race but he played with them.

“He has good stamina and the way he pulled up you would not know he has been around. He is a 2000-2400m galloper for sure.”

Spurtonic was a $150,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale purchase by Gai Waterhouse from Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud. He is raced by a group of owners including Les & Lynette Polglase who also raced Group 1 winner Herculian Prince.

Flying Spur is primarily known as a wonderful sire of high-class, early-maturing speed horses, but his record includes 17 stakeswinners beyond 1600 metres, among them Group 1 winner Dealer Principal and Group 2 winners Spuruson & Vintedge.

The more obvious source of Spurtonic’s liking for middle-distance trips is his dam Platonic, a QTC St Leger-winning daughter of noted staying sire Nassipour and already responsible for Group winner Carnegie House.

Beyond Platonic, there is plenty of juvenile speed in this family. Spurtonic’s grand-dam is brilliant Group-winning 2YO Startling Lass, dam of Golden Slipper runner-up Shovhog (by Danehill) and sister to Blue Diamond G1 winner Midnight Fever. Other Group winners in the pedigree are Rock Classic, Astrodame (also by Flying Spur), Mahisara aand Woppitt (by Danzero).

Flying Spur is enjoying an excellent season in Australia where he is currently 12th on the General Sires’ list, while his highly prized daughters have put him on fourth position on the Broodmare Sires’ list, just ahead of his former barnmate Redoute’s Choice.  

Flying Spur’s final crop of yearlings will be offered at the 2014 sales.

Garcia gives Tycoon Lil's record a final flourish

A smart debut winner at Scone today has given a final flourish to the remarkable career of champion mare Tycoon Lil, and further embellishment seems likely.

Her 3YO son Garcia (by Hussonet) started favourite in the 1000-metre maiden and matched expectations with a comfortable 2.5 length win for owner-breeders Arrowfield & Northern Farm. He also helped trainer Paul Messara to maintain his excellent 26% winning strike rate at Scone.

Tycoon Lil (Last Tycoon-Imposing Bloom II, by Imposing) won eight of her 20 starts, most notably the STC Canterbury Guineas G1, CJC New Zealand One Thousand Guineas G1 & WRC New Zealand Oaks G1 during a superlative 3YO season. She was subsequently named 1998 New Zealand Horse of the Year.

However, her finest performance was probably a courageous third placing behind champion Might and Power in his track record-setting 1998 Cox Plate. Tycoon Lil is one of only six mares among 28 female runners in the past 15 years to finish among the first three in the Cox Plate. (The others are winners Sunline, Makybe Diva & Pinker Pinker, and placegetters Lotteria & Samantha Miss.)

Tycoon Lil was purchased in 2002 in foal to Zabeel from her New Zealand owner Peter Walker by Katsumi Yoshida and spent the rest of her life at Arrowfield, where she left Group 1-placed stakeswinner Estee (by Redoute’s Choice) and Group 1-placed Empress Lily (Zabeel) among her eight foals. 

Arrowfield & Northern Farm retained three of Tycoon Lil’s four daughters, Empress Lily, Deputy Lil (French Deputy) who died earlier this year, and Rose Scent (Redoute’s Choice), now in Japan. Empress Lily has left two city winners and last month foaled a Redoute’s Choice filly. That filly is a three-quarter sister to Estee, who is owned by Darley and was sent to Great Britain in January 2013.

Tycoon Lil died soon after foaling Garcia in 2010 and is buried at Arrowfield.

Royal Descent ready for Caulfield Cup test


Four Group 1-winning daughters of Redoute’s Choice have already tried to win the Caulfield Cup, but none has lined up with as much pre-post confidence as Royal Descent.

Gerry Harvey’s home-bred 4YO mare is a firm second-favourite behind her stablemate Hawkspur for tomorrow’s $2.5 million feature and goes into the race with plenty in her favour: excellent lead-up form, champion trainer Chris Waller, Nash Rawiller’s 54kg on her back, a perfect Dead4 track, Barrier 3 and a 10-length Australian Oaks win at the distance on her record.

All these factors give Royal Descent a fine chance of bettering the efforts of Anamato (2007), Allez Wonder (2009), Dariana (2010) and Absolutely (2011) and giving her champion sire his first Caulfield Cup winner.

Royal Descent, from Group 2 winner Mulan Princess (by Kaapstad) is one of a remarkable 10 Redoute’s Choice stakeswinners bred by Gerry Harvey, and at this stage ranks just behind the best of them, dual Group 1 winner and Cox Plate runner-up Lotteria. The list is completed by Group 3 winners Aussies Love Sport, Sheer Talent & Bid Spotter, and Listed stakeswinners Cantonese, Kittens, Metallurgical, Milestone and Presenting.

As it happens Sheer Talent, and another daughter of Redoute’s Choice, the Group-placed Rose Pattern will also carry the familiar blue-and-white Harvey colours in Group company at Caulfield tomorrow..

It is meaningful that both Royal Descent and Lotteria are bred on variations of the Redoute’s Choice/Sir Tristram cross. The combination of Danehill’s best sire son with Sir Tristram as damsire or granddam-sire has produced 16 stakeswinners, five of them Group 1 winners.

New Zealand breeders Alan Burnet and Windsor Park Stud bred Mulan Princess and most of the family’s best performers over the past 30 years.

Alan’s son Rob, the Sydney-based owner of Thoroughbred News says, “When I look at Royal Descent I see Kaapstad first because of her colour, then the athleticism and scope of Redoute’s Choice, and then the refinement of several other fillies in the family.”

Royal Descent’s third dam is Lovenvain, a speedy daughter of Vain purchased at the 1982 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale by the Burnet-Windsor Park partnership. A stakes-placed three-time winner in New Zealand, Lovenvain proved to be an outstanding broodmare, leaving four stakeswinners, most notably Golden Sword, winner of the 1993 Epsom & Toorak Handicaps.

Lovenvain’s daughter Madam Valeta won nine races including a Group 3 sprint in New Zealand and a Listed Race in Brisbane, and then, like her mother, did even better as a broodmare. Her eleven winning progeny included multiple Group winner and sire Falkirk, stakeswinner Luscilla and Golden Sword’s three-quarter sister Mulan Princess, whose six wins for Gerry Harvey featured the 2001 STC Hill S. G2.

The Burnets no longer own any members of this powerful clan, but Rob Burnet says, “We’re delighted to see the family come to the fore again and do so well for Gerry Harvey, who deserves every bit of success he has.”

Mulan Princess has produced three talented fillies by Redoute’s Choice, each of them quite different, as Gerry Harvey’s Racing Manager Claire Bird explains.

“Royal Descent has more quality than The Warrior Woman but does lighten off quickly. She is a very tractable, kind mare which helps her a lot in her racing.

“Chateau Lafaite is a better type again than Royal Descent – she is bigger and stronger than her now, but does a lot of things wrong. When she learns how do it all properly she will be a very serious racehorse.”

The last word on Royal Descent’s Cup preparation goes to trainer Chris Waller who says in his video preview, “All four runs [this season] have been first-class including a Group 1 second over a mile, so she’s done everything right. She’s got a perfect gate, Nash aboard…gee, there’s a lot to like about her.”