Second Group win for Charge Forward filly

Charge Forward’s splendid daughter Slightly Sweet and jockey Kathy O’Hara completed a quarter-million dollar Autumn campaign with a commanding win in Saturday’s $150,000 ATC J.H.B. Carr S. 1400m G3.

The Esplin family’s homebred 3YO filly settled back off a strong pace and pounced late to score by almost a length from Anyaas and Sebrina in 1:24.36 – slightly faster than Dissident posted in the All Aged S. G1 three races later.

Trainer Jason Coyle said, “She hasn’t put a foot wrong this preparation. Full credit to the horse. We pushed her out to the 2000 metres and she wasn’t disgraced but this is her niche, 1400 to 1600 metres.

“She’ll go for a break now, done her job, and we’ll look towards the spring with her. I think she’ll come back a stronger horse off the break and we’re looking forward to the future.”

Slightly Sweet (ex Semitone by Dubai Destination) is by Charge Forward who was bred by the late Phillip Esplin, a founding director of Arrowfield and highly successful breeder in his own right. Slightly Sweet and Coolmore Classic G1 winner Plucky Belle are among several horses bred at Twin Palms Stud and raced by Phillip’s wife Michele, sons Hamish & Patrick and daughter Elise.

That adds an extra layer of significance to Slightly Sweet’s wonderful season, neatly described by Hamish Esplin after the filly’s first Group 3 win in the 1600-metre Keith F. Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange on 13 March.

“It was an especially memorable day for the family as 45 years ago and also on a Friday the 13th Mum and Dad got married.

“But what tickles us pedigree nerds the most is that Slightly Sweet is the culmination of a long history of breeding for Dad and Mum and the family, as we bred her sire Charge Forward as well as her dam Semitone – so a real breeding trifecta!”

Hamish added, “All of the plaudits must go to Jason and Kathy. Both of them have treated the filly with patience and kind hands and allowed her to do the work without being under any more pressure than needed.

“We’ve always been big fans of Jason as well as Kathy and maybe it’s because they’re both such understated people they tend to fly under the radar, but they certainly shouldn’t here.”

The unraced Semitone is descended from US Classic-winning filly How who, along with her equally talented full sisters Cherokee Rose and Sequoia, proved highly influential as the source of leading sires Tom Rolfe, Chieftain & Alzao, Horse of the Year Ack Ack and Grade 1 winner Sham.

Slightly Sweet is one of 15 stakeswinners (and nine Group winners) by Charge Forward whose 22 yearlings sold this season have averaged almost $80,000 – around 5 times his 2015 fee of $16,500 inc. GST.


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