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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.”