Charging up with girl power

Arrowfield’s impressive young sire Charge Forward has already left a pair Group 1-winning daughters and last weekend’s racing featured two 3YO fillies bidding to extend his record at the highest level.

Arrowfield Magic Millions graduate Urban Groove (ex Morton by Flying Spur) ran 34.56 seconds, the fastest last 600 metres of the day at Rosehill on Saturday when taking out the ATC Reginald Allen Quality 1200m LR for the Gai Waterhouse stable.

Pictured: 3YO Charge Forward filly Balaclava Lady motors home for a powerful maiden win at Caulfield on Sunday. (PHOTO: courtesy of Darryl Sherer)

She’s now second favourite for tomorrow’s $400,000 ATC Flight S. 1600m G1 and although it will be only her third start, she is set to give it a big shake.

The next day over 1400 metres at Caulfield, Balaclava Lady (ex Deep in the Woods by Danewin) burst through on the rails for her maiden win, defeating a strong field of fillies, again posting a quick time of 34.69 for the final 600 metres, the second fastest of the day.

It was a performance that put the 1000 Guineas G1 on her horizon, and confirmed trainer Nigel Blackiston‘s good opinion of her, as he explained to Racenet afterwards.

“This filly has always shown a lot of ability. We have been patient and she just wanted to over-race a little bit in her early races.

“Today, she had a nice barrier, barrier one, they went hard early and she settled in behind them. When she learns to settle she can breathe easier and she learns to find the line strong.”

Balaclava Lady’s Victorian owner-breeders Ross Wilkinson & Sandra Lawrence have supported Blackiston from the start of his training career in 1999. They began racing & breeding horses about 20 years ago, with Sentaway’s runner-up effort in the 1993 South Australian Derby G1 the highlight so far.

In 1991 they bought into Balaclava Lady’s grand-dam Out of the Woods, by Roberto’s dual St Leger winner Touching Wood from an old New Zealand family that had produced the top-class 1970s sprinter Blue Blood.

Ross recalls, “Mick Kent thought Out of the Woods had ability, but she watched the stars when she raced and he couldn’t get her out of it, so we bought out our racing partners and began breeding from her.”

Out of the Woods proved to be a good broodmare, leaving seven winners from seven named foals before her death last year after foaling a Magnus colt. Her best daughter was Deep in the Woods whose record featured two wins in Melbourne, and a second in the MRC Angus Armanasco S. G2 where she split Special Harmony and Demerger.

Described by Ross as “a big, strong girl with a stoic temperament”, Deep in the Woods has been sent twice to Charge Forward, a match that brings into play a a 3 x 4 cross of Epsom Derby winner & leading international sire Roberto. The first filly, Pas de Retraite won as a 2YO but her career was limited by a paddock injury and she is now at stud.

Balaclava Lady also suffered a paddock injury as a weanling, but displayed early racing ability and ran second in her only 2YO start at Sandown. Her rapid progress in three starts this season is a welcome encouragement for Ross & Sandra after a two-decade commitment to the family. As Ross says, “Breeders are the biggest punters of all!”

Charge Forward has only 28 named fillies from his 2009 crop and has already produced six winners including Urban Groove, Balaclava Lady and Group 2-placed Cavalry Rose from the 17 that have raced so far. It’s worth noting that all three are from mares by sons of Danehill, respectively Flying Spur , Danewin & Danske.

Given that Charge Forward’s Group 1 winners, Headway and Response, are also fillies, girl power is sure to keep fuelling his success.

Latest news

Willinga Beast salutes for Snitzel Willinga Beast salutes for Snitzel

Arrowfield's 4YO home-bred mare Willinga Beast gave her champion sire Snitzel his 145th stakeswinner in Saturday's Hinkler H. LR at Eagle Farm...


Hitotsu’s talent meets abundant opportunity Hitotsu’s talent meets abundant opportunity

Talent & opportunity are the twin drivers of great stallion careers and Hitotsu has an abundance of both...


Tannhauser delivers at Doomben Tannhauser delivers at Doomben

It's a case of "Queensland Derby here I come" for Dundeel's 29th SW Tannhauser after his resolute victory in Saturday's Rough Habit Plate G3 at Doomben...