Voilier wins on debut at Rosehill

Leading first season sire Beneteau unveiled another smart 2YO at Rosehill on Saturday when Steve Vardy’s home-bred Voilier scored a strong debut win.

The good-looking gelding was most impressive when winning an 808-metre trial at Warwick Farm by 5 lengths on 20 November, but started third favourite on raceday, behind Zoutenant & Invincible Dame. 

Voilier was driven hard out of the gates by Tye Angland, but soon settled comfortably in third position, reserving his challenge for the top of the straight.

By the 250-metre mark, Voilier had control of the race and extended stylishly to score by 3.5 lengths in 1:05.28 for the 1100 metres. Zoutenant (Zizou) and Skyclad (Snitzel), both also having their first raceday outings, filled the placings.

Steve Vardy bred Voilier from Ivyrose (by Strategic), a non-winning half-sister to dual Group 2 winner Miss Zoe, and offered him at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale under the Holbrook Thoroughbreds banner. When the subsequent sale fell through, Steve decided to keep the colt and sent him to Warwick Farm trainer Gary Nickson, who also prepares talented filly Alpha Miss.

Gary said of Voilier, “He is a pretty good horse. He is the best horse I’ve had for a long time.

“I was worried about the soft track, I was worried about the 1100m, I kept trying to find excuses but in the end he did the job.

“He is a beautiful horse to train, very natural and athletic. He relaxes beautifully and is fantastic natured. We will put him away now and wait for the Autumn Carnival, we feel we’ve got something.”

Voilier, named for the French word for sailing boat, is not entered for the Golden Slipper but his trainer indicated that the late payment fee of $150,000 would be made if Voilier can qualify for the $3.5 million race on 21 March.

Voilier’s success consolidates Beneteau’s position at the head of the Australian First Season Sires’ list with three debut winners, Flemington Group 3 winner Prompt Return among them, and prizemoney approaching $300,000.

It also enlarges the gap left by Beneteau’s death in January 2013. However, buyers have one more sales season to buy his yearlings, beginning with the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale where three colts & four fillies from his final crop will be offered. They include a colt and a filly in the Arrowfield draft.

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