Arrowfield graduate treble at Sha Tin & Kranji

October began with notable wins in Hong Kong & Singapore by Arrowfield & Inglis sale graduates, and it’s ended the same way, with successes by Stepitup, Contentment & Blizzard on Sunday evening. 

Stepitup has book-ended the month with the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown, adding the $500,000 Raffles Cup to his Kranji Mile win on 4 October.

Hope of a Raffles Cup victory seemed forlorn until the very end of the 1800-metre contest when Stepitup and jockey Michael Rodd found clear air and went after the leader Fastnet Dragon. They caught him in the final 20 metres, winning by a half-length with Quechua more than two lengths back in third place. 

Watch Stepitup win the Raffles Cup Sgp-1.

Stepitup’s trainer Laurie Laxon said, “He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but he just has this amazing mindset, he just has to get the win.

“He’s only a small horse and is the quietest in the stable, you wouldn’t notice him, but what a motor he has. He will now go for the Gold Cup and I guess he would get the top weight of 58 or 59kg now, but he will be a big chance.”

The son of Hussonet and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was  has now won 15 races, ten of them at domestic Group level, and well over $S$2 million for his owner the Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup was purchased by Cliff Brown for $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling filly by All American and a filly foal by Dundeel.

At Sha Tin another son of Hussonet, 5YO Contentment, turned in a sub-1.34 time to win the 1600 metres HK$4 million Sha Tin Trophy HK-2, showing he’s right on target for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1. 

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Trophy HK-2 win.

A $65,000 John Foote purchase from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, Contentment has now won eight of his 11 starts and the equivalent of $1.7 million for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing.

Contentment’s trainer John Size said, “He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is from the Commands mare Jemison, also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a 2015 filly by Animal Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year Able Friend scored a brilliant victory in the next race, the Premier Bowl HK-2, and a quinella by Blizzard and Thewizardofoz in the last race, a Class 2 event over 1400 metres, signed off a big night for Australian-breds. 

Thewizardofoz (by Redoute’s Choice) was impressive at his season debut and first try beyond 1200 metres, but Blizzard (by Starcraft) was sensational, carrying a kilogram more than his rival, sitting wide for much of the race and rocketing down the centre of the track to win in 1:21.96. He ran the last 400 metres in 22.26, faster than any other winner on the ten-race program. 

Watch Blizzard & Thewizardofoz quinella the Zenith Excellent H.

A son of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stormy Choice, Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  He’s now won six of his 10 starts and returned HK$5.3 million (~$960,000) to his owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Beneteau's new 2YO stakes performer

Her name doesn’t give any clues to her pedigree, but Dontpokethetiger’s runner-up finish in Saturday’s WRC Wellesley S. 1000m LR at Trentham, New Zealand suggested there would be plenty of quality on the page.

And indeed there is. She’s a daughter of brilliant 2YO Beneteau, second on last season’s Australian First Season Sires’ premiership, and La Lune (by Dehere), an unraced relative of Champion 2YO Miss Finland and her Group 1-winning daughter Stay With Me.  The relationship is made closer by the fact that Beneteau is a son of Miss Finland’s champion sire Redoute’s Choice. 

Dontpokethetiger is raced by her breeder Craig Dawson, who bought La Lune in foal to Beneteau from Arrowfield Stud at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Trained by Peter Rudkin, the filly made her debut on her home track at Riccarton Park on 3 October, finishing third to What Choux Want and Lambada.

The decision to send her north for a black type start, instead of the 2YO race at Riccarton on the same day, hinted at some some confidence about her ability and only the race favourite Tennessee denied her a victory, by three-quarters of a length, with the same distance back to second favourite Fortaleza. (The Riccarton race was won impressively by Smart Missile’s first runner Smart ‘N’ Sassy.)

Watch the WRC Wellesley S. LR.

Dontpokethetiger is Beneteau’s fourth stakes performer this season, following 3YOs Tatoosh and Voilier (both Group-placed in Sydney) and 2YO filly Jeanneau (2nd, ATC Gimcrack S. LR). Along with Group 3 winner Prompt Return and stakeswinner Lady Jivago they are among the 135 live foals from the two crops Beneteau conceived before his death in January 2013.

Beneteau was also represented on Saturday by Bob & Sandra Peters’ 3YO colt Universal Law, a half-brother to Champion 3YO Filly Delicacy. He maintained his unbeaten record with a third win in Perth.

Mr Manhattan scores third city win

Manhattan Rain’s son Mr Manhattan continued his steady progress through the grades with his third city success, at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The 4YO gelding started favourite despite drawing the widest gate, and jumped best of the ten runners in the Benchmark 78, 1000-metre event. Josh Parr eased him back to settle third last, but the pair spent little time in that position, as Mr Manhattan quickly tracked forward around the home turn.

He over-hauled the determined leader Eminent Duke just before the 50-metre mark and drove home strongly enough to stave off Orujo by a quarter-length, with Eminent Duke holding third.

Watch Mr Manhattan win at Randwick.

Mr Manhattan has now won four of his 7 starts for his trainer Joe Pride and a large group of owners including his breeders Paul Whelan’s Luskin Park Stud & Wilf & Rosemary Mula’s Aston Bloodstock.

Mr Manhattan is a half-brother to Listed winner Dublin Lass from Fashion Police (by Elusive Quality), and traces to the significant broodmare Lady Lustre whose other descendants include Champion 2YO Filly Midnight Fever, Group 1 winner Rock Classic and Group winners Astrodame, Carnegie House, Spurtonic, Startling Lass, Leveller & Mahisara.

Fashion Police also has a 2YO colt named Crafty Cop (by Starcraft) and in August foaled a filly by Snitzel.

First runner, first winner for Smart Missile

First season sire Smart Missile posted his first winner when debutante Sassy ‘N’ Smart scored in dashing style on Saturday at the Riccarton Park metropolitan meeting in New Zealand.

The 2YO filly’s performance was all the more impressive because she missed the start by three lengths, then quickly closed the gap on the field, challenged the leader, last-start winner What Choux Want and pressed on to win by three-quarters of a length. Lord Ascot was three lengths away in third place. Sassy ‘N’ Smart winning time for the 800-metre trip was 45.99 on the Good3 track.

Watch Smart ‘N’ Sassy’s debut win.

Sassy “N’ Smart was bred by Matt & Jo Cloros with Arrowfield and purchased for $150,000 by Te Akau Racing from the Arrowfield Stud draft at the Inglis Easter Sale. 

She is the second foal of the US-bred mare Panorama Ridge (by Empire Maker), a daughter of dual French Group 1 winner Nebraska Tornado. Panorama Ridge also has a 3YO son King’s Choice (by Redoute’s Choice) in the Hawkes stable, a yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice, and a colt foal by Snitzel. 

Two Choices for Victoria Derby

New stakeswinner Extra Choice and Spring Champion placegetter Man Of Choice add a thread of sibling sire rivalry to the many stories leading to the $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby G1 on 31 October.

Redoute’s Choice will be represented by Wednesday’s $120,000 Geelong Classic LR winner Extra Choice who found the 2200-metre distance very much to his liking.

Wearing blinkers for the first time, he was ridden by Ben Melham who managed to slide him quickly from gate 10 over to the fence, a little worse than midfield where he enjoyed a clear run. He came wide around the home turn, but had the space to maintain his momentum and attack the leaders, then finish strongly to score by three-quarters of a length from Jadeer and Pay Up Bro.  

Watch Extra Choice win the Geelong Classic LR.

Extra Choice, his champion sire’s 126th stakeswinner, has really found his feet this campaign which began with two wins at Pakenham over 1200 & 1400 metres before two unplaced but excusable runs in stakes company at Caulfield on 26 September, and at Flemington on 4 October.

Co-trainer David Hayes says, “Extra Choice always showed a good amount of class, and a lovely action from the moment that we started working him, he was just a bit immature in his first preparation.

“Now that he is a bit more seasoned I think he is a legitimate VRC Derby contender. I expect he will get even better when he turns four.”

Extra Choice was bred by Rochelle & the late Don McLaren and purchased for $60,000 by Mark Pilkington from the Haunui Farm draft at the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale. His stakes-winning dam Bonaichi (by Fusaichi Pegasus) is a daughter of Group 1 winner Bonanova from a branch of the Eight Carat family that has also left Group winners Sheer Talent and Kittens to Redoute’s Choice.

The gelding is raced by Hayes and Pilkington, with Darren Thomas, Cameron Fisher, Ross McGrath and a syndicate of 40 people whose investment in Extra Choice has been funded by their wonderful veteran campaigner and $1.4 million earner Extra Zero (by Danzero).

Manhattan Rain’s son Man Of Choice will head straight to the Victoria Derby after his excellent second to Vanbrugh in the ATC Spring Champion S. G1 on 10 October.

His trainer Luke Price is well aware of how difficult Flemington’s 2500-metre Classic can be for young horses so early in the season, but believes Man Of Choice can cope with the physical and mental demands of the race.

He says, “He’s such a big, laidback fellow, so willing to work with you, and he’s improved so much from his first preparation. He’s a genuine 3YO stayer.”

Bred by Bob Guth and Nick Curtis, Man Of Choice is out of the Melbourne winner Moonsong, a daughter of Redoute’s Choice from the family of Group 1 winners Ofcourseican & Gimmethegreenlight and Group-winning fillies Gregers & Girl Guide.

The 2×3 inbreeding to Shantha’s Choice achieved by sending a Redoute’s Choice mare to Manhattan Rain has so far produced 11 named foals and four of the current 7 runners have won. Manhattan Rain’s first-crop son Light Up Manhattan was fourth in last year’s Victoria Derby.

Man Of Choice was offered under the Newhaven Park banner at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and bought for $60,000 by Andrew Rose who races the gelding with his fiancee Korinne Gouriou, Ken Smith, Tazzy & Patricia Pirina, Hinnerk Hueppe & Fabian Welk.

Redoute's Choice warmly received at Tattersalls

Five lots from the first European crop of Redoute’s Choice sold for an average of 321,000 guineas (~$715,000) at the Book 1 session of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, which concluded on Thursday UK time.

That placed him among the Sale’s top 10 sires by average, and the 725,000 guineas paid by M.V. Magnier for his daughter out of Yummy Mummy was the 7th-highest price achieved by a filly.

Charlie Gordon-Watson signed for two Redoute’s Choice yearlings. His first purchase was Watership Down’s My Branch filly, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Tante Rose, at 400,000 guineas (~$890,000) and seven lots later he joined Al Shaqab Racing to buy Tally-Ho Stud’s colt from Nitya for 240,000 guineas (~$534,000).

Jamie McCalmont paid 135,000 guineas for the daughter of champion German 2YO filly Monami consigned by Gestut Etzean, and Stroud Coleman Bloodstock bought the colt from So Squally, a sister to Group 1 winner Shirocco, for 105,000 guineas.

Three-time Champion Sire of Australia, Redoute’s Choice stood the 2013 & 2014 northern hemisphere seasons at HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in France.  His first European-conceived 2YOs will race in 2016.

Father-and-son stakes quinella at Randwick

Three Arrowfield-sired winners at Randwick on Saturday were headed by a father-and-son quinella in the $150,000 ATC Brian Crowley S. 1200m LR. 

Counterattack (by Redoute’s Choice) put up a resolute run from off the pace to overhaul the front-running Spill The Beans (by Snitzel) 100 metres from the post.

It was Counterattack’s second black type victory this Spring, following his Heritage Stakes LR win last month, and he is now likely to head to Flemington for the $1 million Coolmore Stud S. G1 on Derby Day.

Liam Prior, Racing Manager for Counterattack’s trainer Chris Waller, said, “He’s always been a horse that’s shown well above average ability.”

“As Chris explained earlier in the week, the siblings Red Tracer and Shellscrape were always horses that performed best with blinkers so they went on today and it certainly sharpened him up.”

Raced by his breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish, Counterattack is from the splendid producer Kisma (by Snippets) who is due to foal again to Redoute’s Choice any day now.

The Gerald Ryan-trained Spill The Beans is an Arrowfield homebred from the Falbrav mare Miss Dodwell. His family, responsible 30 years ago for Horse of the Year Bounding Away, has also thrown up Speak Fondly, winner of the Flight S. G1 this Spring.  Miss Dodwell is due to foal later this month to Smart Missile.

Counterattack’s stablemate Good Project (Not A Single Doubt-Euchre by Final Card) and the Neville Layt-trained Grand Proposal (Snitzel-Proposing by Pentire) also added Randwick wins to their records.

98th stakeswinner for Flying Spur

The Darren Weir-trained Mahuta has become the 98th stakeswinner for champion sire Flying Spur with a strong all-the-way win in Saturday’s $120,000 MRC Gothic S. 1400m LR.

The 3YO colt came into the race off a six-length maiden victory at Kyneton on 8 October and defied his double-figure odds by taking early control of the pace and kicking hard after the turn to hold off Holler, with Flying Light 3.5 lengths back in third.

Jockey Mark Zahra said, “He won well. He was a bit aggressive going to the gates so I wanted to have him where he was happy. He got to the front, relaxed and gave a good kick.”

A member of Flying Spur’s final crop, Mahuta was bred by John Johnstone and purchased for $35,000 from the Redbank North draft at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. He is a half-brother to stakeswinner Anlon, from the unraced Vahine (by Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to top-class 2YO filly Isolda who has left Group 3 winner Bid Spotter to Redoute’s Choice.

Flying Spur, now living out a well-earned retirement at Arrowfield, has enjoyed notable success with mares by sons of Sir Tristram. Mahuta is the 12th stakeswinner from 93 runners bred that way, a group that includes Sleek Chassis (Blue Diamond Stakes), dual Group 1-winning juvenile Juanmo, and Rosehill Guineas winner Dealer Principal.

Mahuta has bolstered Zabeel’s position on the Australian Broodmare Sires’ list, but not quite enough to overtake Flying Spur, represented as a damsire on Saturday by two stakeswinners, Dothraki at Randwick and Vezalay at Caulfield.

The champion son of Danehill remains Australia’s leading sire of broodmares this season with $3,190,484 prizemoney and six stakeswinners, just ahead of Zabeel with the same number of stakeswinners and earnings of $3,112,523.

World Champion Black Caviar to visit Snitzel

The owners of Black Caviar have announced that the unbeaten World Champion & three-time Australian Horse of the Year will visit Arrowfield’s sensational young sire Snitzel in 2015.

Black Caviar (Bel Esprit-Helsinge by Desert Sun) has a yearling filly by Exceed and Excel and a colt foal by Sebring born on 23 September.

The mare’s part-owner Gary Wilkie said all was progressing well with Black Caviar, ahead of her date with Snitzel.

“Black Caviar’s first two foals are a real credit to this champion racemare…she has given us a lot to look forward to with both foals to date.”

Black Caviar, bred in Victoria by Ric Jamieson and trained by Peter Moody, captivated Australia during her unbeaten, 25- start, four-year career in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane & England. 

Her superlative record includes 15 Group 1 victories headed by the Royal Ascot Golden Jubilee Stakes, VRC Lightning S.-three times, ATC T.J. Smith S.-twice, VRC Victoria Racing Club S.-twice, MVRC William Reid S.- twice & the VRC Newmarket Handicap.

Black Caviar achieved a peak rating of 132 on the 2011 World Thoroughbred Rankings, and two years later joined the great French filly Treve to head the rankings with a figure of 130. Her peak Timeform rating of 136 ranks her alongside Todman, Vain & Manikato, and is the highest figure ever earned by a mare racing in Australia.

Black Caviar was inducted to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2013, and is one of only ten mares to receive that honour.

No slouch himself, Snitzel won the 2006 MRC Oakleigh Plate 1100m G1, a race that Black Caviar never contested, and three other Group races in a brilliant two-season career.

At stud, thirty-two stakeswinners, including Group 1 winners Shamus Award, Sweet Idea, Wandjina, Snitzerland, Hot Snitzel & Sizzling, and four million-dollar yearlings have consolidated Snitzel’s status as Australia’s hottest young sire.

Black Caviar’s dam and grand-dam have already visited Arrowfield with spectacular racetrack and sale-ring results.

Her dam Helsinge left a filly and a colt by three-time champion sire Redoute’s Choice that sold for a total of $7.6 million at the 2012 & 2013 Inglis Easter Yearling Sales. Black Caviar’s second dam Scandinavia (by Snippets) left Group 1-winning sprinter & sire Magnus, and Group-placed stakeswinner Arctic Flight to now-retired champion sire Flying Spur.

Like mother, like daughter in Guineas triumph

“She’s a beauty!” was John Messara’s reply to one of many messages of congratulation after Stay With Me’s outstanding victory in Saturday’s $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas 1600m G1.

It was an especially meaningful success for Messara, fellow owner-breeders Alan Jones & John Leaver, and the Arrowfield Stud team because Stay With Me is a home-bred daughter of Street Cry and champion filly Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice), and the 41st Group 1 winner bred by Arrowfield since 1985.

Miss Finland, bred & raced by the same three-way partnership, won the 2006 Thousand Guineas en route to Australia’s Champion 3YO Filly title and was trained by David Hayes, who now prepares Stay With Me with his nephew Tom Dabernig.

The race didn’t start well for Stay With Me who missed the jump, forcing jockey Dwayne Dunn to settle her near the rear of the field and ride for luck. However, that may have worked in the filly’s favour because she switched off while Take Pride set a solid pace up front.

Dunn began to push Stay With Me forward at the 600-metre mark and 300 metres later, just after the turn, the filly was in clear air with room to run. And run she did, hitting the lead 100 metres out to win by 1.75 lengths from Jameka, with Badawiya third. Stay With Me’s winning time was 1:35.89, a half-second faster than Press Statement ran to win the Caulfield Guineas thirty-five minutes later.

Watch Stay With Me’s Thousand Guineas win.

David Hayes said, “Top marks to Dwayne, he obviously had a lot of horse under him, but he rode her perfectly after the start she had.”

Criterion, winner of the Caulfield Stakes, and Stay With Me gave the stable a memorable Group 1 double.

Stay With Me has now won three of her six starts and taken her earnings to almost $420,000. A decision on the filly’s next start has yet to be made, but Hayes indicated that the VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes & Myer Classic are all options under consideration.

Miss Finland, whose five Group 1 victories included the 2006 Golden Slipper, is also the dam of stakes-placed city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet) and a 2YO colt by More Than Ready, purchased for $500,000 by Katsumi Yoshida at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.  Arrowfield’s queen has since produced a 2014 filly by Animal Kingdom and she recently foaled a colt by Dundeel. 

Stay With Me is the 18th Group 1 winner for her sire Street Cry, who died just over a year ago, and the fourth Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire, after Sacred Falls, Zoustar & Pasadena Girl, who finished a game fourth in the Thousand Guineas.