Third Group 1 placing for Sweet Idea

On the first Group One day of the new Australian season, Sweet Idea was the undoubted star for Arrowfield.

The 4YO daughter of Snitzel and Flidais lined up in a quality field for Saturday’s $400,000 MRC Memsie S. 1400m G1 – the first Group 1 race of the Australian season – and was quickly seen driving forward to set the pace, with three-time Group 1 winner Moment Of Change in close attendance.

Sweet Idea engaged top gear round the home turn and set sail for home, leaving Moment Of Change behind, but Dissident quickly emerged to challenge and then slip past her. However, Sweet Idea kept fighting right to the line and held off Puissance De Lune to secure her third Group 1 placing.

Sweet Idea’s jockey Craig Newitt said, “She tried her heart out. She got a nice soft breather midrace and the big horse (Moment Of Change) smoked up outside her coming to the corner. She let rip but the winner was too good.”

Bred by Arrowfield & Jungle Pocket Pty Ltd, Sweet Idea was purchased for $240,000 from Arrowfield’s 20102 Magic Millions Gold Coast draft by trainer Gai Waterhouse & agent James Harron.

Raced by a group that includes brothers David & Luke Henderson, and former AFL player Campbell Brown, Sweet Idea has been out of the money only twice in her 15-start career, and has earned prizemoney of $1.9 million. Her record now includes Group 2 victories and Group 1 placings at two, three and four.

Gai Waterhouse’s pre-Memsie Stakes comments could apply to Sweet Idea’s entire career: “…she is fit, she is tough and she will be right there at the finish.”

Flidais, a winning daughter of Timber Country and dual Group 1 winner Electronic, is also dam of Malaysian stakeswinner Rush and Australian winner Phantom Queen (both by Charge Forward), the unraced 3YO filly Surf Poet (by Charge Forward) and 2YO filly Sweet Sister & a yearling filly (both by Snitzel). Flidais is due to foal again to Snitzel next month.

Snitzel was also represented on Saturday by another Arrowfield graduate, 3YO filly Ygritte (ex Deputy Lil by French Deputy), third in the ATC Run To The Rose 1200m G3, her fourth Group placing in six starts for owner Carl Holt and trainer Gerald Ryan.

Those two performances have boosted Snitzel’s early-season Australian prizemoney beyond $700,000 – enough to maintain his lead on the General Sires’ list.

Fast Cash charges into black type at Moonee Valley

Rich Enuff, the winner of Saturday’s $130,000 MVRC Mitchell McKenzie S. LR, was mightily impressive but so was the runner-up, Charge Forward’s son Fast Cash.

The two performances could hardly have been more different. Rich Enuff, whose major Spring target is the Caulfield Guineas, jumped quickly and powered to the front, while Fast Cash drifted back and settled at the rear of the field.

Jockey Daniel Moor took Fast Cash wide around the turn and the pair began to haul in the field, but it was too late to catch Rich Enuff who had sprinted clear and won by 2.25 lengths in the fastest 1200-metre time of the day, 1:10.17.

Moor said Fast Cash is a horse of promise and would be suited over more ground. “I think he’s a potential topliner.”

It was the second city placing by Fast Cash after his four-length debut win at Swan Hill on 28 July for owner Ken King & partners, and trainer Wendy Kelly.

Fast Cash is from an Irish-bred daughter of Choisir, The Loan Express, who won at two in Ireland and was third in the Royal Ascot Queen Mary S. G2. The mare also has a 2YO colt Shahqa (by Snitzel), a yearling filly by Master of Design and is due to foal again next month to Snitzel for her owners Limerick Lane Thoroughbreds.

Seventeen (65%) of Charge Forward’s 26 stakes performers are out of mares by Danehill and his sons – hardly surprising, given that Charge Forward is free not only of Danehill, but also of Northern Dancer.

Majmu named Champion South African 2YO Filly

Unbeaten Redoute’s Choice filly Majmu was named Champion 2YO Filly at South Africa’s 2014 Equus Awards on Wednesday evening.

Majmu was unbeaten in three starts last season, winning at Listed and Group 3 level before victory in the Turffontein South African Fillies Nursery G2. A virus forced her withdrawal from the Allan Robertson Championship G1 at the end of May and she has been rested since.

The grey daughter of Chilean Group 1 winner Spontaneous (by Hussonet) was purchased for $300,000 by Shadwell Australia from the draft of her breeder Arrowfield Stud at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale. Champion South African trainer Mike de Kock prepares her for Sheikh Hamdan.

Arrowfield sold the year-younger Not A Single Doubt-Spontaneous colt for $380,000 to the Hong Kong Jockey Club at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, but unfortunately the mare died last year.

Also among the Equus Award winners was Klawervlei Stud, named Champion Breeder for a season that featured three Group 1 winners in South Africa, outstanding international performers Vercingetorix and Shea Shea, as well as leading 2YO Time For War in Australia. Time For War (Snitzel-Lady Zabelia by Zabeel) was bred by Klawervlei in partnership with Arrowfield and won three of his 6 starts last season, including the ATC Pago Pago S. G2 and BRC Sires’ Produce S. G2.

Guineas prospect for Qatar Bloodstock

A 3YO filly defeating older horses on debut in the Spring is usually noteworthy and that was the case on Thursday when Qatar Bloodstock’s Betsy won by 4 lengths at Cranbourne.

The daughter of Redoute’s Choice started favourite and jumped well to settle second, on the outside of Talaawa, where she strode along sweetly for jockey Luke Nolen.  Betsy responded strongly when urged forward around the home bend, extended at the 200-metre mark and sprinted clear for an easy win.

Nolen said,  “I think she is a really nice filly going places. Hopefully, that ride will secure me a ride on her in the future. I really think she has a bright future.

“She has a wonderful attitude, and more importantly she has a nice motor and a real presence about her.”

Betsy’s TAB odds for the $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas G1 on 11 October fell from $51 before the win, to $21 afterwards.

However, trainer Peter Moody is keeping his options open with her. “I’m just not sure just how deep she will go in her first preparation. I’ll just be guided by her.”

Bred by John & Deborah Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds, Betsy is out of the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes winner Quays (by Royal Academy).  David Redvers bid $250,000 for the Coolmore-offered filly at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale but was quick to credit Moody with selecting her for Qatar Bloodstock.

Betsy is one of several exciting members of Redoute’s Choice’s 2011 crop, a group headed by Scissor Kick (ATC Up and Coming S. G3, Rosebud LR) and Majmu (last season’s Champion South African 2YO filly, unbeaten in 3 starts).

Smart 3YO winners at Sandown & Ipswich

3YO gelding Berlutti continued a good run of results for BlueBlood Thoroughbreds with a sparkling, all-the-way win over 1200 metres at Sandown in Melbourne on Wednesday.

It was the second win by the Mick Price-trained son of Not A Single Doubt, who also impressed when third to stablemate & subsequent Group 3 placegetter Royal Snitzel at Caulfield last month.

Bred by Mark Christie from the Success Express mare Blahniks, Berlutti was purchased by BlueBlood Thoroughbreds for $85,000 from the Robyn Wise draft at the 2013 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale. Blahniks is a non-winning half-sister to Perth Group 2 winner Never Blue, dam of Group 2 winner Colour Correct and stakeswinner Royal Devotion.

Success Express mares have done exceptionally well with sons & grandsons of Danehill, leaving dual Group 1 winner Shamus Award to Snitzel, Group 3 winner Squamosa to Not A Single Doubt, dual Group 2 winner Tickets to Redoute’s Choice, three-time Group 1 winner Seas Siren to Fastnet Rock, dual Group 1 winner Gold Edition to Lion Hunter and Group 1 winner Excites to Danewin.

Snitzel also posted an eye-catching mid-week winner when Liam Birchley produced 3YO Headwater Country to score over 1000 metres at Ipswich. Headwater Country looked likely to finish last at the 600-metre mark and was only a place chance 100 metres from home, but powered up in the final strides to win by a half-neck from the smart Celestial Dragon & favourite Choc Mountain.

It was the gelding’s third win from 7 starts for owner Peter Marshall who bred him from Perkipsey (by Falbrav), an unraced relative of Group 1 winners Rebel Raider, Able One and A Little Kiss. Arrowfield graduate Gold Force (by Flying Spur), winner of the last season’s rich MRC Inglis 2YO Premier S. (R) LR is also out of a mare by Falbrav.

Birchley thought enough of Headwater Country last season to send him last November to Sydney where he ran third, although beaten 8.3 lengths, to subsequent Blue Diamond G1 winner Earthquake.

After Wednesday’s win Birchley said, “He had no luck in those races as a two-year-old and we gave him a spell. He seems to have come back well. But I must admit I still don’t know what to make of today’s run. You would have torn up your ticket halfway down the straight.”

Headwater Country’s next start in a 1200-metre 3YO race at Doomben on 13 September will determine if he makes another trip south this Spring.

Both Not A Single Doubt & Snitzel have picked up where they left off at the end of their outstanding 2013/14 season and have already notched up 28 winners and $870,000 prizemoney between them in the first month of the new season.

Redoute's Choice receives Champion Sire award

Redoute’s Choice won the 2013/14 Australian Champion Sire award at the combined National & NSW Breeding Awards Dinner held at Scone Racecourse last Saturday evening.

Australian-bred stallions have now won the award for nine consecutive years, a sequence initiated by Redoute’s Choice in 2005/06. He claimed the title again in 2009/10.

The 2014 award was made special by his son Snitzel filling the runner-up position – the first father-and-son quinella in the 130-year history of the Australian Sires’ Championship.

Basil Nolan, President of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, presented the trophy to Arrowfield Stud Chairman John Messara.

Mr Messara gave special thanks to vet Dr Wendy Perriam and groom Jarryd Stennett who accompanied Redoute’s Choice this year to France, where he served his second book of mares at HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval.

Mr Messara also expressed pleasure at seeing the fulfilment of his vision of sending the best Australian-bred stallions to stand in Europe – a reversal of the traditional flow of stallion traffic. 

Five other breeding awards were presented during the evening, including the Australian Broodmare of the Year award, won by Estelle Collection, dam of this year’s world champion sprinter Lankan Rupee (by Redoute’s Choice).  Estelle Collection was owned by Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets and based at Arrowfield until her sale to Coolmore in May. 

Redoute's Choice colts quinella Up and Coming Stakes

While their champion sire received accolades in the Hunter Valley, a pair of smashing Arrowfield colts showed Randwick racegoers exactly why Redoute’s Choice is the king of Australian sires.

Scissor Kick and Panzer Division both went into Saturday’s $125,000 ATC Up and Coming S. 1300m G3 as last-start winners, but the more experienced Scissor Kick, successful in the The Rosebud LR on 9 August, was preferred by punters who let Panzer Division start at $17 in the nine-horse field.

Kathy O’Hara made good use of the ace draw to position Panzer Division on the rail behind Liberation and Valentia, while Tye Angland and Scissor Kick settled behind them, one off the rail.

Soon after the field rounded the bend Panzer Division launched his challenge for the lead as Liberation ran out, badly hampering Valentia, Better Land and Meursault. Panzer Division’s resoluteness began to pay off in the final 200 metres as Liberation continued to run erratically, while Scissor Kick drove through on the inside of the recovering Valentia.

Panzer Division hit the front fifty metres from home with Scissor Kick a half-length behind him and chasing hard. The two colts crossed the line together and Scissor Kick was announced the winner after lengthy consideration of the photo by the judge and confirmation by the stewards. The official winning margin was a nose, with Valentia third and Better Land fourth after Liberation was relegated to fifth. 

Trainer Paul Messara said, “A great result for the team obviously. They are two outstanding colts that both have unlimited ability.

“They both have stallion potential. Panzer Division was headed to the Spring Champion Stakes while Scissor Kick is definitely going to the Golden Rose, but they may both head there now.”

Previous winners of the Up and Coming Stakes include champion & leading sires Snitzel (2005), Fastnet Rock (2004), Exceed and Excel (2003), Testa Rossa (1999) and General Nediym (1997).

Tye Angland said, “I thought my bloke was going to run fourth or fifth at one stage, he didn’t handle the track very well but he really knuckled down late.”

Kathy O’Hara believed the wayward Liberation cost Panzer Division victory, despite not actually interfering with him.

“My horse has plenty to learn and he just lost concentration a bit when Liberation ran off the track. It’s a bit disappointing to lose, but it was a very good effort and it’s a good result for Paul.”

A few hours later in Scone on Saturday evening, at the 2014 National & NSW Breeding Awards Dinner, Arrowfield Chairman John Messara accepted the third Australian Champion Sire trophy won by Redoute’s Choice, following his premiership successes in 2006 and 2010.

Scissor Kick (ex Back Pass by Quest for Fame) was a $200,000 purchase from the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale and is raced by his breeder Jonathan Munz’s Pinecliff Racing in partnership with Arrowfield.

Scissor Kick and his stakes-winning brother Sharkbite are grandsons of a half-sister to the great broodmare Hasili (dam of four Group 1 winners by Danehill), Arrive (dam of Danehill’s champion daughter Promising Lead) and Dissemble (dam of Animal Kingdom’s sire Leroidesanimaux).

Back Pass died earlier this year but has a 2YO daughter by Redoute’s Choice and a yearling colt by High Chaparral.

Also an Inglis Easter graduate, Panzer Division (ex Desert Fight by Hussonet) was bred by Brent & Judy Hudson of Lustre Lodge and purchased for $120,000 by Paul Messara Racing. Desert Fight, a dual Group 1 winner and Champion 2YO Filly in Chile, has a 2YO filly by Redoute’s Choice and visits Animal Kingdom this Spring.

Scissor Kick and Panzer Division have quickly pushed Redoute’s Choice past the $500,000 mark on the 2014/15 General Sires’ table which is currently headed by another Redoute’s Choice son, Snitzel.

Season's highest rated races won by Dundeel

Hard on the heels of Dundeel’s New Zealand Horse of the Year title comes the news that he also won both of last season’s highest rated races in Australia and New Zealand.

The 2013/14 ANZ Classifications and race ratings released on Friday by the Australian Racing Board show that both the 2013 MRC Underwood S. G1 and the 2014 ATC Queen Elizabth S. G1 achieved a figure of 120.8, ahead of the ATC Rawson S. G1 (120), ATC Tancred S. G1 (119.5), ATC Canterbury S. G1 (119) and MRC Memsie S. G1 (118.8).

Race ratings are determined by the average peak rating throughout the year of the first four horses to finish in each race.

Dundeel achieved a career-best figure of 122 in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, enough to earn him joint Champion status, alongside Atlantic Jewel, in the Intermediate Category.

Dundeel’s defeat of Atlantic Jewel in the Underwood Stakes was assessed at 120 which makes him joint Champion, alongside Sacred Falls, in the Mile Category. 

The ANZ Classifications are headed by the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee (by Redoute’s Choice), awarded 123 for his victories in the VRC Newmarket H. G1 and the ATC T.J. Smith S. G1.

Dundeel will parade for the first time since his retirement  at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House, 21-24 August – click here for more information.

Dundeel crowned NZ Horse of the Year

Dundeel added the final diamond to his champion’s crown when he was named the 2013/14 New Zealand Horse of the Year at the NZ Thoroughbred Racing Awards dinner in Hamilton on Thursday evening.

Dundeel, also named Champion Middle Distance Horse, was the world’s highest-rated New Zealand-bred horse last season, with an international figure of 122 and a Timeform rating of 129, both figures surpassed in Australia only by world champion sprinter Lankan Rupee. 

The voting panel’s verdict was decisive in Dundeel’s favour, with 28 votes cast for him and 18 votes for the outstanding mare Silent Achiever, who was recognised as New Zealand’s Champion Stayer.

Dundeel’s dam Stareel (Zabeel-Staring by Fiesta Star) was named Broodmare of the Year and that award was accepted by Murray and Jo Andersen who bred the sensational son of High Chaparral and raced him as part of the TransTasman Syndicate. Stareel visits champion sire Redoute’s Choice this Spring.

Murray described the award as a “dream come true. He has been a sensational horse, great for New Zealand and this is the pinnacle,”

Dundeel delivered two of Australia’s very best performances last season, beating the previously unbeaten champion mare Atlantic Jewel in the MRC Underwood S. G1 in the Spring, and returning in the Autumn to defeat Sacred Falls, Carlton House and Silent Achiever in the ATC Queen Elizabeth S. G1.

He retired to Arrowfield Stud with a record of 10 wins (six at Group 1 level), five placings (four in Group 1 company) & $5.3 million from 19 starts at two, three and four.

Dundeel will parade for the first time since his retirement at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House, 21-24 August – click here for more information.

New winner for Manhattan Rain

Tony McEvoy produced 3YO Manhattan Rain filly Rainbow Room first-up over 1580 metres at Strathalbyn on Wednesday, and she delivered for the stable and the punters who backed her into $1.20 favouritism.

Her 3.5 length victory takes Manhattan Rain’s tally of winners to four, a group headed by juvenile winners Moonovermanhattan (SAJC National S. G3) and Crafty (VRC Taj Rossi Series Final H. LR).

Rainbow Room is the first foal of Marlena Rose (by Al Samer), a half-sister to stakes-placed city winner Royal Esprit, from the family of Stormy Regent (STC Premiere S. G3).

Offered by Arrowfield on behalf of breeder Matt Cloros, Rainbow Room was bought by McEvoy Mitchell Racing for $50,000 from Session 2 of the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.

Marlena Rose also has a 2YO filly and a yearling colt by Manhattan Rain, and is foaling this Spring to All American.