Arrowfield drives major broodmare sale results

Many studs, stallions, breeders and vendors leave this week’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale with considerable satisfaction and, most importantly, the financial returns they need to drive the next stage of their bloodstock investment strategies.

Arrowfield stallions and graduates featured at the top end of a very buoyant Book One sale that exceeded even Magic Millions’ highest hopes, grossing $105,530,000 at an average price of $148,425.

The top 10 lots included two mares, Comprende and The Party Stand, sold in foal to Snitzel for $1.1 million and $1.05 million respectively, while Arrowfield graduate Scarlet Rain (Manhattan Rain-Double Ranga) was knocked down for $950,000 to James Harron Bloodstock.

Scarlet Rain was originally offered by Arrowfield at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale where she was bought by Darby Racing for $100,000. She quickly returned that price with interest, winning four races, three of them as a juvenile incuding the ATC Sweet Embrace S. G2, and $341,000 prizemoney.

Joe O’Neill’s Prime Thoroughbreds also produced a great result for the owners of Listed winner Hijack Hussy, bought for $62,000 from Arrowfield’s 2013 Magic Millions consignment. She earned $304,000 on the track, and this time through the ring was knocked down for $400,000 to Neil Jenkinson and Glenlogan Park.

Arrowfield itself offered a number of maiden mares on behalf of US owner Jon Kelly, achieving $800,000 each for Group 3 winner Thyme For Roses (Redoute’s Choice-Augusta Proud) and Slumber Party (Snitzel-Hokuspokus), and $450,000 for Group-placed city winner Extra Olives (Redoute’s Choice-Line Honours).

Like Hijack Hussy, Extra Olives and Slumber Party were both bred and sold as yearlings by Arrowfield. Several other past Arrowfield graduates that sold well this week were:

Bubble Below (Hussonet-Lunaliona), dam of Group 1 winner Lucky Bubbles; V: Riversdale/B: E Thoroughbred, $700,000
Primavera (Redoute’s Choice-Flame of Sydney), 3/4 sister to G1 Invader – Bhima/Bruce Perry, $550,000
She’s Got Power (Redoute’s Choice-Flame of Sydney), 3/4 sister to G1 Invader – Yarraman Park/Hilldene, $450,000
Sweet Sister (Snitzel-Flidais), sister to G1 Sweet Idea, in foal to I Am Invincible – Newgate/Hilldene, $550,000
Scrum (Flying Spur-Extremely), half-sister to G1 Extreme Choice, in foal to Written Tycoon – Newgate/China Horse Club, $525,000
Miles of Krishan (Snitzel-Nishaani), Group-placed city winner & half-sister to Ge Il Quello Veloce – Newhaven Park/Vinery, $500,000.

The market’s assessment of Arrowfield’s flagship stallions was evident in these sales:

Fairy Star (more Than Ready-Bourgogne), in foal to Redoute’s Choice – Widden Stud/ Spendthrift Australia, $700,000
Shirley, dam of G1 Dear Demi, in foal to Snitzel – Strawberry Hill Stud/ Tom Magnier, $700,000
Eyes of Love (Tavistock-Lovetrista), in foal to Snitzel – Bhima Thoroughbreds/Peachester Lodge, $450,000
Bourgogne, half-sister to G1 Bulla Borghese, in foal to Sitzel – Widden/Rosemont, $410,000
Lady Oracle, in foal to Not A Single Doubt – Baystone Farm/Phoenix Thoroughbreds, $400,000
Typing, Listed winner, in foal to Snitzel – Newgate Farm/Nick Vass Bloodstock, $400,000
Lot Three Four One, city winner, in foal to Not A Single Doubt – Baystone Farm/China Horse Club, $380,000
Zenon, city-winning half-sister to SW I Have No Fear, in foal to Snitzel – Kitchwin Hills/China Horse Club, $360,000
Sucker Punch (Encosta de Lago-Merlene), in foal to Not A Single Doubt – Strawberry Hill/Andrew Williams Bloodstock, $350,000.

Snitzel topped the list of covering sires with an average price of $599,375 for eight mares in foal to him, while two mares in foal to Redoute’s Choice averaged $495,000, and seven mares with positive tests to Not A Single Doubt averaged $269,286.

Not A Single Doubt's 4th Group 1 winner this season

Bruce Neill’s well-known boutique farm Cressfield has achieved more than its share of success as a vendor of profitable yearlings and good racehorses.

But it’s a son of Not A Single Doubt he couldn’t sell that has given Bruce his most satisfying success as both breeder and owner. 

It was Cressfield’s determination to give Clearly Innocent his chance as a racehorse that has been rewarded with a nine-win, million-dollar racing career, sealed at Eagle Farm on Saturday with an exhilarating three-length win in the $700,000 BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup 1300m G1.

Watch Clearly Innocent win the BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup G1 (Race 7).

Clearly Innocent is Not A Single Doubt’s seventh Group 1 winner overall, and fourth this season, after Extreme Choice, Scales of Justice and Arrowfield graduate Secret Agenda.

As Bruce says, “Correct sales horses are not the only avenue to owning and to racing competitive racehorses.” Thanks to Cressfield’s perseverance, and the skills of his first trainer Greg Bennett, Clearly Innocent finally made it to the track as a 4YO in August 2015.

His talent was immediately obvious and he won seven of his 9 starts that season, culminating with victories in the $500,000 Country Championship Final at Randwick and the Luskin Star S. LR at Scone.

After Bennett’s move to work with Aquis Farm in Queensland, Kris Lees took over the now 5YO gelding whose progress this Autumn has been even more dramatic, stepping straight from his second Luskin Star success on 13 May to a runaway victory at his first try in Group 1 company.

Clearly Innocent’s dam No Penalty (by Zabeel) hails from one of New Zealand’s best families of the past three decades, descended as she is from Mary Poppins, ancestress of Group 1 winners Veloso, Domino, Linky Dink, Sale Of Century & Hero.

No Penalty was bred by Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan from the mare Court whose sire Prince Echo, dam Tupelo Honey and damsire Vice Regal all played major roles in Chequers Stud’s remarkable success during the 1980s and 1990s.  

Sold for $160,000 as a yearling at the 2002 Inglis Easter Sale, No Penalty won three races in Sydney and was then bought as a broodmare by Cressfield. Clearly Innocent and 4YO mare Champagne Kisses (4 wins) are the best of the four named foals Cressfield bred from her before selling her to Yarradale Stud for $16,000 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.

Clearly Innocent’s steep rise to Group 1-winning status has been matched by Not A Single Doubt’s emergence as a major Australian sire. Two years ago the son of Redoute’s Choice had just posted his 23rd stakeswinner, including his second Group 1 winner, and he ended the 2014/15 season inside the top 10 sires with progeny earnings of $7 million. Now, he has 42 career stakeswinners on the board, holds fifth spot on the General Sires’ premiership with $10.3 million and is pressing hard to finish the season even higher.

Ryan adds milestone winner to Snitzel's record

Snitzel has exceeded even the high hopes that owner Damion Flower & trainer Gerald Ryan had of him when they bought the Redoute’s Choice-Snippets’ Lass colt for $260,000 at the 2004 Magic Millions Sale.

And Gerald has been part of Snitzel’s story ever since as the man who prepared him to win the Oakleigh Plate G1 and six other races, then trained his first winner Intertidal, his third stakeswinner Hot Snitzel and his first female Group 1 winner Snitzerland.  Last Saturday, the Ryan stable sent out Snitzel’s 31st 2YO winner for the season, the Vinery Stud-and-partners-owned Pymble successful at Newcastle at his fourth start.

That gave the son of Redoute’s Choice sole ownership of the Australian sire record for 2YO winners in a season. Whakanui Stud’s filly Shadow Dancer made it 32 in New Zealand on Sunday and Prime Thoroughbreds’ filly Zelsignoret became No. 33 with a strong debut at Seymour on Tuesday.

Gerald said after Pymble’s win, “I’m a bit surprised it took him this long to win one, he’s a bit of a colt but he’s certainly got the ability. He should learn a lot from this win and we might look at 1000-metre race at Randwick in two weeks.”

Pymble takes Gerald’s record with the Snitzel tribe to 53 winners of 121 races, twelve of them stakeswinners with 28 Group & Listed Race victories on the board.

Arrowfield’s staunch early support for Snitzel is evident in the Stud’s 7 graduates among those stakeswinners, but the most recent additions to Gerald’s list, Diddums, Trapeze Artist and Samantha, are homebreds for Torryburn Stud, the Vieira family and Corumbene Stud.

Gerald nominates Arrowfield graduate Snitzerland as the filly most like Snitzel, “in stature, her attitude, with a little bit of aggression, and her speed.”

Dual Group 2-winning juvenile Time For War, also sold by Arrowfield, was the colt most like Dad. “To look at, he was very much like Snitzel, and his mannerisms too. He was hotter than Snitzel, but he settled down.”

All of Gerald’s current 2YOs by Snitzel have now raced, with 7 of them contributing to their sire’s record and he’s particularly excited about the Spring 3YO prospects of two colts already back in the stable.

“Menari and Trapeze Artist both returned to work last Friday and I’m happy with both of them. Trapeze Artist has done really well and all going well he’ll aim at the Golden Rose, he’s already proven at the 1400 metres.

“Menari was unlucky to strike heavy tracks but he still finished third, relegated to fourth in the Golden Slipper. The Coolmore is likely for him, I think he’ll run a great straight six.”

Arrowfield’s filly Dame Pattie, out of champion mare Alinghi, is a yet-to-race rising 3YO daughter of Snitzel to watch out for in the Ryan stable next season. “I’m looking forward to having her back, she has really good ability and a great nature.”

Snitzel sets new 2YO winners record

May has been a terrific month for Snitzel.

He’s increased his Australian prizemoney by more than $1.3 million, slipping past Street Cry to claim the No. 1 spot, and an all-time earnings record, on the Australian General Sires’ premiership. And within a few hours on 13 May, he added a new Group 1 winner and three new stakeswinners to his season statistics.

But one thing he hadn’t done, since Risen and General Mu on Anzac Day, was put up any new 2YO winners. Instead, he sat on 30 alongside Without Fear, who achieved that number in 1975/76 from a crop of fewer than 50 foals, and his own tally in 2015/16.

Snitzel has taken care of that this weekend, marching straight on to 32 juvenile winners, after trans-Tasman wins by Pymble at Newcastle on Saturday, and Shadow Dancer at Rotorua in New Zealand on Sunday. 

The cosmos must have been paying attention, because Pymble is prepared by the man who has had more success with Snitzel’s progeny than anyone else, and trained Snitzel himself, Gerald Ryan.

He’s sent out 58 winners by his former stable star, including Snitzel’s first winner Intertidal and 12 stakeswinners headed by the wonderful Group 1-winning filly Snitzerland and Group 2 winners Flying Snitzel, Hot Snitzel, Perignon, Spill The Beans & Time For War – all Arrowfield graduates.

Bred by Hobartville Stud, Pymble is the last foal of Ravenswood (by Woodman), and a half-brother to Hurtle Myrtle (VRC Myer Classic G1). He was bought for $360,000 by Damon Gabbedy’s Belmont Bloodstock from the Kitchwin Hills draft at last year’s Magic Millions Sale.

Watch Pymble win over 900m at Newcastle.

Shadow Dancer offered a very professional effort in her first raceday appearance for owner-breeder Whakanui Stud at Rotorua and it was enough to achieve a 1.25 length victory. The early Spring 3YO fillies races in New Zealand look realistic targets for the daughter of Dubai Express (by Zabeel).

Watch Shadow Dancer win over 1050m at Rotorua.

Shadow Dancer is Snitzel’s third winner from only four juvenile runners in New Zealand this season, after Aquilo (also stakes-placed) and exciting colt Summer Passage, winner of the Ellerslie Sires’ Produce S. G1 and runner-up to Invader in the Sydney equivalent.

Not A Single Doubt's girls double up at Doomben

Not A Single Doubt notched up his fifth Australian stakes double this season when his daughters Bidii Babe and Kenedna scored in consecutive races on Doomben Cup day in Brisbane.

Bidii Babe sealed her rise to stakes-winning status with a perfectly timed finish in the $100,000 BRC Bright Shadow H. 1200m LR, catching Arrowfield graduate Untamed Diamond (by Snitzel) just before the post, with Dee Nine Elle a half-length away, third.

Watch Bidii Babe win the BRC Bright Shadow H. LR – Race 5.

Bidii Babe was bred by the same partnership, Andrew & Georgie Ferguson’s Bell River Thoroughbreds with Lloyd Walker & Bob Hogno, that bred Not A Single Doubt’s dual Group 1 winner Extreme Choice. Bidii Babe is the best of five winners out of a favourite Bell River mare, the six-time winner Arthur’s Lass (by Nodouble’s son Unduplicated), and was bought for $150,000 by Paul Willetts at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale.

The 4YO mare, Not A Single Doubt’s 42nd lifetime stakeswinner, has now won five races and almost $300,000 for owners Neil and Ange Duncan and trainer Robert Heathcote.

3YO filly Kenedna has barely missed a beat this season and put trainer Darren Weir’s doubts about her stamina to rest when she bull-dogged her way to victory in the $175,000 BRC The Roses 2000m G2. A protest was lodged by James Doyle on runner-up Oklahoma Girl, but it was dismissed by the stewards.

Watch Kenedna win the BRC The Roses G2 – Race 6.

Kenedna has now won three Group races and a Listed event in three states since 18 February, boosting her prizemoney beyond $500,000 and earning a crack at The Roses-Queensland Oaks double, previously won by Ethereal (2001) and Scarlett Lady (2011).

Darren Weir says of Kenedna, “There’s not much of her but she’s a very relaxed filly and very honest. Ideally you’d like to see her settle a bit closer in the run but she’s got a really good will to win.”

An $80,000 Weir purchase from Arrowfield’s 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier draft, Kenedna is a three-quarter sister to crack sprinter Spill The Beans (by Snitzel), out of Miss Dodwell (by Japan Cup winner Falbrav, clearly the source of Kenedna’s stamina).

Miss Dodwell has 2YO & yearling fillies by Smart Missile and a weanling sister to Spill The Beans who stands at Aquis Farm in Queensland.

Not A Single Doubt has already matched the key statistics of his milestone 2015/16 season with 14 winners of 21 Group & Listed Races this term, including Group 1 winners Extreme Choice, Scales of Justice and Secret Agenda (also fourth in Saturday’s SAJC Goodwood S. G1).

The son of Redoute’s Choice is less than $200,000 from becoming the fifth stallion to break the $10 million mark on the 2016/17 Australian General Sires’ premiership.

Smart Missile strikes with a stakes double

Last season’s Champion First Season Sire Smart Missile struck in Adelaide on Saturday with his first stakes double and suddenly, the race for the 2016/17 Second Season Sires’ title has intensified.

The John McArdle-trained I’ll Have A Bit has progressed steadily from a debut fourth at Flemington on New Year’s Day, a second to stakeswinner Jukebox at Geelong and a third at Flemington a fortnight ago. She left no excuses for her rivals in the $200,000 SAJC National S. 1200m G3, driving along the rail from the rear of the field and momentarily held up before sprinting past hot favourite Booker to win by 1.3 lengths in 1:10.48.

Watch I’ll Have A Bit win the SAJC National S. G3.

Bred by Ken Breese, I’ll Have A Bit was a $48,000 buy for Redgum Racing from Basinghall Farm at the 2016 Inglis VOBIS Gold Sale. She’s the best of three foals out of Take All Of Me (by Jeune), a city-winning daughter of the very good multiple Group winner Tickle My.

Three races later, I’ll Have A Bit’s champion jockey Craig Williams joined Pinecliff Racing’s Freedman-trained home-bred filly Exocet to fight out the finish of the $125,000 SAJC Centaurea S. 2019m LR with Sort After and Have Another Glass. 

Watch Exocet win the SAJC Centaurea S. LR.

Exocet’s ability was seen early, when she won twice, at Geelong & Caulfield, in her first three starts last Spring. She wasn’t quite ready for black type Melbourne company then but has improved this time in and relished her first try beyond 1800 metres.

Exocet is the second stakeswinner, after talented colt Ready For Victory, out of the Zabeel mare Crillon, a half-sister to Champion 2YO Meurice.  This is the family of Group 1-winning brothers, leading sire Rubiton and Euclase. It’s also interesting to note that Exocet is in-bred 3 x 3 to Danehill.

In all, Smart Missile has added seven wins to his Australian record this week, consolidating his lead on the Second Season Sires’ list by winners (55) & wins (75). With little more than $400,000 covering Foxwedge, So You Think & Smart Missile at the top of the table, the battle for the Second Season Sires’ premiership is set to light up the final 10 weeks of 2016/17. 

Guest Blog: Photographer Bronwen Healy

  

The striking imagery in Arrowfield’s stallion advertising is created by Victorian-based photographer Bronwen Healy who has worked with the Stud for the past decade. Bronwen’s technical skills are complemented by an artistic eye that simply can’t be taught and a deep, lifelong love of horses, all of which drives her to capture arresting images that are admired throughout the bloodstock world. Here Bronwen explains her work with Arrowfield, what she aims to achieve and her relationship with that very special boy, Dundeel.  

Stallion photography used to be quite conservative and consisted of only a handful of images, mostly the standard conformation and head shots.  Often the only image ever published of a horse was its conformation shot and this same image was trotted out year in and year out.  If you go back through old industry magazines and books, there are not many images of stallions once they retired and finding pictures of them is difficult. Yet a champion stallion, or broodmare, is the key to the success of the breed so to me it it didn’t make sense that so few images were taken of them.

Tony Leonard was one of the great equine photographers in America, and he created the conformation image as a tool for making meaningful comparisons between different horses.  As a stand-alone image it remains very important.  However, it doesn’t tell you much about the other qualities that can be equally important, such as a stallion’s athleticism, balance and personality.

One of Arrowfield’s strengths is their ability to recognise and nurture raw talent in people as well as horses. It could have been argued when I started working for Arrowfield in 2008 that I lacked the necessary experience to be entrusted with such a valuable stallion roster.  Although I’d been photographing racing at the top level since 1995, shooting for the commercial breeding industry was new for me, and the farm was riding the crest of a wave.  Their stallions had sired consecutive winners of the prestigious Group 1 Golden Slipper between 2004 and 2007, and their flagship stallion was 2006 Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice, standing at the time for a cool $330,000.   

Fortunately for me, Arrowfield was willing both to give me a go and to embrace a new way of photographing and marketing stallions, including photographing the stallions free in their paddocks. Although the 2008 shoot wasn’t much more than a “get to know you” exercise, over the next decade together we helped to shape the way stallions are now photographed and marketed.

My work for Arrowfield includes farm work and the racetrack. They appreciate good imagery and really want to use it. The creative team at Arrowfield is the benchmark for marketing horses and I’m happy to be a part of that team. 

The primary reason I’ve haven’t walked away from racetrack photography (physically draining and often not financially rewarding) is because I love documenting the thoroughbred life cycle. I was there when Redoute’s Choice won his first race and again a week later when he won the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes, plus that famous victory over fellow champion Testa Rossa in the Caulfield Guineas and many of his subsequent Group 1- winning progeny.  Becoming his stallion photographer, after being there right from the very beginning, was a gift – in particular, there are two shoots from 2012 when he glittered and sparkled in the sun.  I’m proud of the library we’ve created of this legendary stallion.

 Another stallion at Arrowfield who is very special is Dundeel. I spent time with him behind the scenes during his racing career after Vicky Leonard, Marketing Manager at Arrowfield, suggested that we follow him throughout the remainder of his career.  She used some of this imagery in her marketing campaign “The Real Deel”.  Although Dundeel’s Cox Plate aspirations were derailed by a foot abscess, the silver lining for me was the many images I took of the horse at Altona Beach while his foot was healing.

  

Dundeel’s first photoshoot at Arrowfield was September 2014 during a pretty ordinary Spring for me after I was diagnosed with cancer at the very end of August.  I remember sitting in my doctor’s office talking about surgery and radiation and being absolutely appalled at the thought of another photographer doing my precious Dundeel while I was getting treatment.  I kept saying “but I have to be up in the Hunter Valley, I have Dundeel’s first shoot to do and I CANNOT miss it”.  My doctor looked at me in amusement before seriousness came back over his face and he leaned in and said, “But we need to make sure you are still alive to go back next spring, don’t we?”   It was hard to argue with that.  Determination won and we did manage to squeeze Dundeel’s first shoot in.

Dundeel is one of the most naturally beautiful and athletic horses I’ve ever photographed.  His coat glitters with dapples, he has beautiful balance and is so well put together that it makes you forget that he’s not 16.3hh.  He’s curvaceous, he shimmers in the sun and he’s so light on his feet that at times he appears to be dancing as he moves.

    

Every horse is different and what works for one horse might not work as well for the next one.  Like most horses, Dundeel has angles that flatter and others that don’t.  In the paddock though, there’s no wrong angle for him.

Among my favourite things about the racing industry are the friendships that you make along the way.  We’ve become good friends with the owners who stayed in Dundeel and the affection they have for their horse is infectious. My daughter Jessica (pictured with him a couple of times at different ages) calls him ‘her boy’ after helping me with a photoshoot in 2014 when she was only nine (he was so gentle with her) and she always asks how he is.

  

I’ve photographed Dundeel at stud for three years, including his first two crops of foals, photographing these babies at every stage of their development, from teeny tiny foals, then more developed foals, through to weanlings, yearlings and in the sale-ring.  His progeny have been well received and that’s pleasing.  

   

The next stage for me will be pouring through race fields as they make their racing debuts.  I tend to do a fair bit of research and I try not to miss much.  Dundeel’s progeny are attractive and athletic and seem to have inherited his explosive speed.  Often I walk into a paddock and say “I like this one” and frequently it’s a Dundeel.  And they are friendly (although foals that are too friendly aren’t easy to photograph because they want to spend all their time investigating my camera) and on the whole they’re a lot of fun.

  

Vicky will sometimes shake her head when she looks through the pictures I’ve selected and say “there’s too many”.  I will shrug and say “can you blame me?” Dundeel lends himself to beautiful imagery.

Horse photography can be all about very subtle angles.  I’m sure handlers think at times I’m being finicky, but when you get it just right the image ‘sings’.  It’s about light and backgrounds and getting the horse (and the camera!) in the right place at the right time.  An image will resonate with me when I can see athleticism and beauty and when little nuances in the horse’s personality shows.  I get fiercely disappointed when the light isn’t perfect and I always worry about whether we’ll get the right conditions for each shoot.  For me there’s no such thing “enough pictures” because I always believe that next time I’ll take one just a bit better!  

Vicky took a special sequence of Dundeel and me in the paddock last November. I’m very grateful to her, and I treasure those pictures.

Smart Missile story

It’s not easy being a Second Season Sire.

The sparkle of being the new boy on the block is gone – there’s a whole new bunch of young stallions for everyone to get excited about – but two crops of racing age is usually not enough to foot it with the big boys.

Yes, it’s true, two crops was all Redoute’s Choice needed to finish third on the 2004/05 General Sires’ list, behind Danehill & Zabeel no less, but he’s the exception, not the rule. The average General list finish for Australia’s leading Second Season Sire over the past dozen years is 25th, but the spread is wide, from Redoute’s Choice’s third & Fastnet Rock’s ninth to Artie Schiller’s 78th, with runner-up Written Tycoon 86th in 2011/12.

Making an impact against Australia’s current line-up of champion and well-and-truly proven sires looks especially difficult. Snitzel, Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock, I Am Invincible, Not A Single Doubt, Exceed and Excel, Sebring, Written Tycoon, Choisir, More Than Ready & Lonhro are all inside the top 20 with a collective 108 stakeswinners and close to $90 million earnings this season. All of them, except Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel, have 200 runners or more, and prizemoney of at least $5 million – twice the runners and at least $2 million more than the leading sophomore sires.

Add the progeny of dead stallions like last season’s champion Street Cry, High Chaparral – still among Australia’s top 10 sires – plus honourably retired two-time champion Encosta de Lago, and the competition for the stallions who began their stud careers in 2012 is very tough indeed.

This puts some context around the performance of the present cohort of Second Season Sires, led by Foxwedge, So You Think and Arrowfield’s Smart Missile who have pinched something of a prizemoney break on their rivals and are settling in for a winter battle….

Clearly superior at Scone

“The only thing he’s guilty of – he loves Scone!” was race-caller Darren Flindell’s flourish as local hero Clearly Innocent romped away to his second consecutive victory in the $150,000 Scone RC Luskin Star S. 1300m LR.

Watch Clearly Innocent win the Scone RC Luskin Star S. LR.

The Cressfield home-bred couldn’t have been more impressive as he set out after Sweet Serendipity at the 400-metre mark and sprinted clear to score by more than two lengths from Snoopy and Gold Symphony.

The win extended Clearly Innocent’s unbeaten record at his former home track to six-from-six and delighted his new trainer Kris Lees who added the 6YO gelding to his stable after Greg Bennett’s retirement from training.

Lees said, “That was a great thrill, He’s got a great affinity with this track and he really let fly.

“He’s a lovely horse and that’s very pleasing to be able to produce him and for him to win like that today.”

The winner of last year’s Country Championship Final at Randwick has now won eight of his 14 starts and more than $600,000, and will now head to Queensland for a pair of Group 1 tests, the $700,000 Kingsford-Smith Cup on 27 May and the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap on 10 June.

Clearly Innocent is the best performer out of No Penalty, a city-winning daughter of Zabeel from the excellent New Zealand family of Group 1 winners Domino, Hero, Sale Of Century, Linky Dink and, further back, the classy 1980s 3YO Veloso.

Not A Single Doubt has 13 stakeswinners this season, including Group 1 winners Extreme Choice, Scales Of Justice & Secret Agenda, and his Australian prizemoney of more than $9.5 million is enough to keep him in the top five sires.

Vive la France in Inglis Guineas

Just as the first French-conceived 3YOs by Redoute’s Choice start to appear in French Group 1 fields, his 147th stakeswinner turns up close to home, and his name happens to be…France.

If it’s an omen, it is surely a very good one because France’s performance to win the $400,000 Scone RC Inglis Guineas 1400m (R) LR was outstanding, after jumping from barrier 13 and settling well back off the pace.

Sent wide around the turn, France began to sprint home and was then pushed even wider by Calanda at the 200-metre mark. Tye Angland quickly re-balanced the colt who picked himself up in time to nab dual Group 1 winner Prized Icon on the line, with Spright third.

Watch France win the Scone RC Inglis Guineas (R) LR.

France will now be sent to Queensland for the Winter Carnival, according to part-owner Henry Field of Newgate Farm.

“There’s an abundance of options for him up there. He’s come from the back and run past a Victoria Derby winner today, so there’s no doubting he’s a very talented colt.”

France, a full brother to Group 1 winner Peeping, from two-time Group winner Miss Marielle (by Encosta de Lago), was bred by John Kelly and bought from the Newhaven Park draft for $475,000 by China Horse Club and Michael Wallace Bloodstock at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. He is the 7th stakeswinner from 49 foals bred on the Redoute’s Choice/Encosta de Lago cross.

Trained by Peter & Paul Snowden, who also prepared Redzel to win the Doomben 10,000 G1 90 minutes later, France has now earned almost $300,000 in his two-win, six-start career.

France and Doomben 10,000 runner-up Counterattack were the major contributors to a very rewarding day for Redoute’s Choice, who moved back into the top 10 on the General Sires’ premiership dominated by his sons Snitzel (1st), Not A Single Doubt (5th) and Stratum (8th).

France is the sixth member of his champion sire’s 2013 Australian crop to score in stakes company this season, after Group winners Hardham, Royal Star, Swear & Table Bay and Listed winner Very Tempting. Redoute’s Choice has also registered the first stakeswinner from his 2014 French crop, Gold Luck, winner of the Prix Vanteaux G3 at Chantilly last month.