Clearly Innocent gets the verdict
Clearly Innocent gets the verdict
The category for the Most Progressive Horse by Not A Single Doubt this season is rather crowded.
Leading contenders include the Group 1-winning pair Good Project & Single Gaze, and Fell Swoop, so nearly a Group 1 winner in Melbourne & Sydney, before his Group 2 success in Brisbane.
Then there’s the sensational 2YO colt Extreme Choice, who sailed through Listed & Group 3 company before a dominant Blue Diamond S. G1 victory in February.
And surely Don’t Doubt Mamma deserves several votes. She began the season with one juvenile win and barely $30,000 prizemoney, and has banked another $360,000 from four wins since September, two Listed wins and a Group 3 victory.
But if the award recognises a horse whose potential exceeds even his extraordinary rise this season, then Clearly Innocent gets the nod.
His hometown victory for owner-breeder Bruce Neill in Saturday’s $140,000 Scone RC Luskin Star S. 1300m LR was his 7th win from his nine career starts, all of them this season.
It was a stiff test for the 4YO gelding, caught wide in sixth position as Randwick Group 3 winner Music Magnate hauled the field along in front and showed no sign of weakening in the straight. He was challenged first by Cradle Me, but Samantha Clenton pressed the button on Clearly Innocent soon afterwards and the result was quickly settled, with Music Magnate a gallant second and Cradle Me third.
Clearly Innocent’s career began with two winning appearances at Scone last August, a sixth and a second in Sydney during December, followed by five consecutive wins, most notably his 2.5 length romp in the $500,000 ATC Country Championship Final on 2 April.
That win, despite a stone bruise and the disadvantage of bar plates, crowned a stressful week in Sydney for trainer Greg Bennett. Back at his home track on Saturday, Bennett enjoyed the glow of a very popular local victory, but immediately ruled out a Queensland campaign. Clearly Innocent will now spell and prepare for next season’s Spring & Autumn Carnivals.
Clearly Innocent is the latest star from a family’s that’s full of them. He descends from the fine Chequers Stud broodmare Mary Poppins, whose daughters left multiple Group 1 winners Veloso, (Our) Westminster and dual Oaks winner Domino, dam in her turn of sprinter-miler Hero, whose 15 wins included two at Group 1 level, and Group 2-winning juvenile Super Natural.
Clearly Innocent’s corner of the family has already thrown up Sale of Century (Rosehill Guineas G1), Affleck (Champion Singapore 2YO & 3YO) and Sydney stakeswinner Gimmick. However, he is the first winner out of his city-winning dam No Penalty (by Zabeel), purchased in 2013 by Yarradale Stud in Western Australia.
The combination of Not A Single Doubt with Zabeel mares has a predictably good strike rate: 16 winners from 18 named foals, including Group 2 winner Gypsy Diamond, Listed winner Every Faith and three stakes-placed horses, as well as Clearly Innocent.
Clearly Innocent is the 34th lifetime stakeswinner for Not A Single Doubt whose season earnings in Australia now approach $11 million. The son of Redoute’s Choice is also the year’s leading sire of Australian stakeswinners, with a total of 12, alongside his sire and Street Cry, and is either first or second on the General, 3YO & 2YO Sires’ prizemoney tables.
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