Alabama Express triumphs in the Orr Stakes

Alabama Express (gold cap) leads the field home in the C.F. Orr S. G1, the 7th Group 1 race won by an Arrowfield graduate in the past 12 months. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

Almost exactly 20 years after a glorious colt named Redoute’s Choice won the C.F. Orr Stakes, his lookalike son Alabama Express has triumphed in the same race, becoming his Champion Sire’s 37th individual Group 1 winner.

The 3YO colt displayed the heart and acceleration to match his arresting good looks when he held off Fierce Impact & Kings Will Dream to win the $500,000 1400-metre weight-for-age contest in 1:22.07.

It was a striking performance, after Alabama Express raced three wide without cover for much of the race and then maintained a solid sprint down the home straight.

It was a particularly sweet victory for Michael Moroney, who celebrated his 50th Group 1 win as a trainer and made the decision to pitch the colt into weight-for-age company at his 7th start.

He said, “I’ve never doubted his class. He had the toughest run and still won and this was a legitimate Group One race.”

Jockey Michael Dee added, “He tries hard. He came off the bridle early, sat wide and he still kept on fighting to win.”

Bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock, Alabama Express is the fourth and, sadly, final foal of Lago Ovation (by Encosta de Lago), whose dam Rekindled Applause and grand-dam Rekindled Affair both visited Redoute’s Choice  several times, producing dual Group winner & Group 1-placed Rekindled Interest and Group-placed Rekindled Alliance, Rekindled Power & Shuffle Up. The family traces to Stolen Hour, also the fifth dam of Redoute’s Choice. 

Alabama Express, pictured as a yearling, is the 13th Group 1-winning Arrowfield graduate of the Inglis Easter Sale since 2013. (PHOTO: Georgie Lomax)

Alabama Express was bought for $280,000 from Arrowfield’s 2018 Inglis Easter draft by noted judge Paul Moroney and is raced by Arrowfield with Ballymore Stables,  Rupert & Cheryl Legh, Lib Petagna, David Morison, Bryan Dorman’s B & C Thoroughbreds and Karen Glindemann.

The colt’s record comprises four wins, including his debut 2YO success and  last October’s MRC Gothic S. LR, and more than $530,000 prizemoney.

Arrowfield has now sold three of the 7 Group 1 winners purchased from the new Inglis Riverside Stables: Group 1 2Yo winner & Cox Plate runner-up Castelvecchio, Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth and Alabama Express.

Any thoughts that Redoute’s Choice’s stellar stud career would slowly wind down after his death in March 2019 have been banished by the 19 Group & Listed wins his progeny have compiled since then. They include Group 1 winners Danceteria (in Europe) & Loire (in New Zealand), as well as Alabama Express, and a highly progressive pair of 2YO colts, King’s Legacy and Prague. 

The three-time Champion Sire has 10 lots catalogued for the Inglis Easter Sale, including three fillies and a colt in the Arrowfield draft.  

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