Hitotsu makes history in Guineas triumph

Hitotsu's Australian Guineas victory is the fifth Group 1 success by an Arrowfield graduate this season. (PHOTO: Darren Tindale)

The strength of a 20-year Japan-Australia relationship, the enduring legacy of a great Australian stallion, and multiple shrewd decisions including a gut-instinct purchase by John Messara produced a stirring piece of history in Saturday’s $1 million VRC Australian Guineas 1600m G1.

Arrowfield-bred-&-sold Hitotsu became the first horse since Mahogany to complete the Victoria Derby-Australian Guineas double with a display of pure class under pressure, holding off the resolute Lightsaber to score by 0.4 length.

Hitotsu also completed a stakes double on the day for his sensational sire, Japan’s champion Maurice, following Mazu’s success for Triple Crown Syndications and Snowden Racing in the Fireball S. LR at Randwick. 

Arrowfield can now claim six graduate winners of the Australian Guineas, following the victories of Wandjina (2015), Miss Finland (2007), Flying Spur (1996) and the half-brothers Baryshnikov (1995) and Zabeel (1990). 

Three other Arrowfield graduates have notched Group 1 successes so far this season: Yearning (Thousand Guineas), Profondo (Spring Champion S.) and Stronger (Hong Kong Centenary Sprint Cup).

Hitotsu is the third foal of Love Is Fickle (by Redoute’s Choice from New Zealand Group 1 winner She’s A Meanie), a $250,000 purchase by John Messara from Glenlogan Park at the 2013 Magic Millions Sale. 

John explains that decision very simply, “At the time, I was recommending to anyone who asked me what mares to buy, that they should buy as many Redoute’s Choice fillies and mares as they could afford. So all I did with Love Is Fickle was take my own advice!”

John maintained his faith in Love Is Fickle through three preparations that produced only a Muswellbrook trial second, and her first two foals, one unraced, the other a two-time winner. 

Hitotsu was offered in the same Arrowfield Magic Millions draft as Spring Champion S. G1 winner Profondo, Group winner Flying Evelyn and Listed winner Bend The Knee.(PHOTO: Georgie Lomax)

Hitotsu, from Maurice’s first crop, caught the eye of trainer Wendy Kelly and her husband Kevin, buying for owner Kevin Payne at the 2020 Magic Millions Sale. While the $100,000 they paid was pleasing enough, it was less than the average price paid for Maurice’s first-crop yearlings and much less than the price negotiated privately for Hitotsu’s sale after his first three starts to Ozzie Kheir, John O’Neill and partners.

Fortunately, Kevin and his wife retained a share in the colt whose three wins from the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace stable have garnered $1.8 million and a big price-tag as a prospective stallion.

Love Is Fickle has a 2YO filly Twelfth Night in training with Matthew Smith for Francis & Christine Cook, and the Paynes bought Arrowfield’s Shalaa-Love Is Fickle filly for $250,000 at the recent Inglis Premier Sale. The mare delivered a lovely Castelvecchio filly last Spring. 

Maurice, who shuttles to Arrowfield from Japan’s famous Shadai Stallion Station, is a clear second among a stellar group of Australian 2nd Season Sires with $3.5 million earnings and 26 winners from 54 runners. His Australian record includes five other stakes performers and promising city winners Silent Impact, Moridan and Sharp Response; while his four Japanese stakeswinners are headed by Group 1-winning sprinter Pixie Knight.  

As for Redoute’s Choice, he is already a two-time Champion Broodmare Sire and with 12 stakeswinners (including Shalaa’s new stakeswinner Seven Veils) among 210 winners, he has just passed the $20 million mark on the current season premiership, $4 million ahead of his old rival Encosta de Lago.

Maurice has 12 Inglis Easter yearlings, all but two of them offered by Arrowfield. The fillies out of Defender & Only Roses are also bred on the same Maurice/Redoute’s Choice cross as Hitotsu. 

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