Maurice colt triumphs in Victoria Derby

Arrowfield graduate Hitotsu (Maurice x Love Is Fickle by Redoute's Choice) was one of the undoubted stars of the Australian 2021/22 season. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

There were five Arrowfield-sired runners in Saturday’s $2 million Victoria Derby G1, and two of them brought John Messara and his team to their feet at the end of the great Flemington classic on the opening day of Cup Week.

As soon as Maurice’s first-crop son Hitotsu found clear running 350 metres from home, the race was all over as he romped to an exuberant victory,  with the Godolphin colt Alegron and Dundeel’s son Teewaters filling the placings.  

Co-trainer Ciaron Maher said, “He’s a lovely stayer and he’s very natural. I was very confident he would run the 2500 and I suppose a lot of people were because he was backed very well.

“We didn’t want to over-race him because he is immature. He’s an exciting horse and he’s going to be even bigger and stronger next time in.”

Jockey John Allen added, “He was travelling that well, I just needed a gap, but once he got out, the rest is history. He is a pretty talented horse. I have no doubt he is good enough to win a Group 1 over a mile.”

Hitotsu’s triumph gave Arrowfield several reasons to celebrate.

He is Maurice’s first Australian Group 1 winner and second winner at that level in the  past month, after Pixie Knight’s brilliant Nakayama Sprinters S. G1 win over 1200 metres on 3 October. 

Maurice now leads the Australian Second Season Sires’ Premiership with $1.9 million prizemoney, and continues to hold the No. 1 spot on the Japanese equivalent.

Hitotsu is the third Group 1-winning graduate in 21 days from Arrowfield’s yearling Class of 2020, after Profondo (Spring Champion S. on 9 October) and Yearning (Thousand Guineas on 13 October).

He is also the 24th Group 1 winner out of a Redoute’s Choice mare, and the third this Spring, following Profondo and Caulfield Guineas winner & Cox Plate runner-up Anamoe. 

Hitotsu was offered in the same Magic Millions draft as Spring Champion S. G1 winner Profondo and Group-placed Invinsible Tears & Flying Evelyn. (PHOTO: Georgie Lomax)

Bred by the Stud with Alan Jones & Haydn Chambers, Hitotsu was offered at the Magic Millions Sale and purchased for $100,000 by Cranbourne trainer Wendy Kelly, on behalf of owner Kevin Payne and his wife.

He subsequently attracted the attention of the Maher & Eustace stable, a deal was done, and the Paynes were joined in the ownership by a group including John O’Neill and Ozzie Kheir whose silks he now carries. His two-win, six-start career has garnered more than 12 times his original purchase price. 

Hitotsu is the third foal out of the unraced mare Love Is Fickle, herself a $250,000 Arrowfield purchase from Glenlogan Park at the 2013 Magic Millions Sale. She is a half-sister of multiple Group winner Love Conquers All and 2YO stakeswinner She’s Meaner, out of New Zealand Group 1 winner She’s A Meanie.

Love Is Fickle has 2YO and yearling fillies by Shalaa, is due to foal to Castelvecchio and returns to Maurice this Spring. 

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