Owner-breeder celebrates Havana’s Group success

It’s typical of co-breeder and part-owner Paul Favretto that he should acknowledge everyone’s achievement except his own after Havana’s success in the $125,000 BRC Fred Best Classic 1350m G3 at Doomben on Saturday.

It was, in fact, his first stakes win as a breeder, but Paul’s first response was, “Great for the mare, stallion, stud and trainer most of all.”

Havana’s story begins with the filly Top Cuban, who was raced by Paul and good friend Paul Rowe with limited success – to be precise, one win from 13 starts. However, her pedigree (by Anabaa and descended from the US Grade 1-winning mare & producer Weber City Miss) offered hope of redemption as a broodmare.

So the two Pauls sent Top Cuban to Starcraft in 2009 and got a handsome bay colt with abundant athleticism and charisma. The decision was made to sell him at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale where he was knocked down for $290,000 to Blue Sky Thoroughbreds for their 2012 Stallion Fund.

Both Arrowfield and Paul Favretto took shares in Havana’s ownership, and added a third Paul to the story by sending him to the Scone stable of Paul Messara.

Havana’s ability was seen early in a couple of trial wins and a third placing in Criterion’s ATC Todman S. G2 in March 2013, followed by a frustrating string of unplaced efforts in black type company. The benefits of a gelding operation last Spring were evident immediately upon Havana’s return to racing in March when he broke his maiden by 4 lengths at Canterbury.

At Doomben on Saturday Havana enjoyed a good passage behind the leaders and let down powerfully in the straight to win by a length from In The Red (by Not A Single Doubt) and Dothraki.

Winning jockey Luke Nolen told Sky Racing, “I rode him once before when he was a real juvenile. I rode a placing on him when he was still a colt. I liked him then, they cut him, and I think that’s been the making of him. He’s a smart horse.”

The $350,000 Queensland Guineas G2 at Eagle Farm on 31 May is Havana’s likely next target.

In the meantime Paul Favretto & Paul Rowe can celebrate a very rewarding couple of months with Top Cuban. Havana’s yearling full brother was bought for $360,000 by the Hong Kong Jockey Club from Arrowfield’s Inglis Easter draft, and Top Cuban is in foal to Redoute’s Choice.

Havana is the 15th stakeswinner, and one of 3 stakes performers in eight days for Starcraft, who stands the 2014 season at a fee of $11,000 inc. GST.

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