Dundeel dominates the Doncaster Mile

Dundeel's grey son Celestial Legend becomes the 33rd 3YO winner of the Doncaster Mile G1, defeating Pericles (royal blue) and Militarize (red & white cap). (PHOTO: Darren Tindale)

3YO colts Celestial Legend and Militarize gave Dundeel an unforgettable 1-3 finish in one of Australia’s greatest races, the $4 million ATC Doncaster Mile 1600m G1 on Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.

Just as he did in last month’s Randwick Guineas G1, Celestial Legend left everyone asking, “Where on earth did he come from?” He jumped from barrier 4 but ended up near the back of the field with horses shifting rapidly as the pressure came on in the final 600 metres.

Two hundred metres later the grey colt was still only 10th, but hitting top gear as he finally found enough racing room to finish over the top of Pericles and Militarize, clocking the race’s quickest final 200m in 11.83.

Jockey Tyler Schiller, who worked hard to get down to Celestial Legend’s allocated 49 kg, explained the run, “I probably took a gap that I wouldn’t take usually but once he found that clear air, he knows where the line is, he’s very competitive and he wasn’t going to let them beat him today.”

Celestial Legend’s Hall of Fame trainer Les Bridge said, “I thought at the 200 he was gone, but he is something special this horse. What is he worth now? I wouldn’t know but he is going to win a lot more races.”

In ratings terms, Militarize’s effort to carry 54 kg into third, beaten only 0.7 lengths, was even better: he ran a new peak Timeform rating of 124.

His rider Zac Purton concurred with that assessment. “Really good run. He came through like he was going to win. Just at the weights it was a little bit tough for him. Very, very good run.”

Bred and sold by Arrowfield, Celestial Legend is the first foal of Sarraqa (by Snitzel) an unraced three-quarter sister to Group 1 winners Rafeef (now a leading sire) & Mustaaqeem, from Klawervlei Stud’s South African Horse of the Year National Colour. 

Owner Bon Ho – who also enjoyed great success with Not A Single Doubt’s sons Classique Legend & Southern Legend – and Mark McStay’s Avenue Bloodstock outlaid $220,000 for purchase Celestial Legend from Arrowfield’s 2022 Inglis Classic draft. After 4 wins from his first 8 starts, the colt has now returned $3.3 million on that investment.

Sarraqa has a 2YO daughter National Code (by Written Tycoon) in the Griffiths de Kock stable and a yearling colt by Maurice bought for $200,000 by Matthew Dunn & Neil Jenkinson at this week’s Inglis Easter Sale. She is once again in foal to Dundeel whose 10 yearlings at Riverside averaged $408,500, with a top price of $1.5 million paid for Arrowfield’s colt out of Tides. 

Almost a third of Dundeel’s 26 stakeswinners are Group 1 winners and Celestial Legend joins Militarize (Sires’ Produce S., Champagne S. & Golden Rose), Castelvecchio (Champagne S. & Rosehill Guineas) and Champion New Zealand 2YO Yourdeel as a multiple winner at the elite level. 

Dundeel has moved up into 7th spot on the Australian General Sires’ Premiership with $11.6 million prizemoney and 103 winners including 4 stakeswinners. 

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