Stepitup named Singapore Horse of the Year

Arrowfield added another Horse of the Year to its graduate roll on Thursday evening when Stepitup won the Singapore Turf Club’s most prestigious award for 2015. He was also voted last season’s Champion Older Horse.

The ultra-competitive 6YO gelding has been among Singapore’s stars since the beginning of his career in 2013, when he was named Champion 3YO after winning eight of his 11 starts that year, including the Singapore Guineas Sgp-1 and three other domestic Group races.

By his standards Stepitup had a quieter season in 2014, winning only one of his 11 runs, and placing in the Singapore Derby, Patrons’ Bowl & Raffles Cup, all carrying Sgp-1 status.

Transferred to the care of champion trainer Laurie Laxon at the end of 2014, he returned in defiant form last year to win six of his 12 starts from March to November. That campaign concluded with possibly his best ever performances, in the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the Kranji Mile Sgp-1 and his second Raffles Cup.

Watch Stepitup’s 2015 Kranji Mile Sgp-1 victory.

His career tally of 15 wins from 1000m-2000m, eight placings and $S2.4 million from 34 starts accurately measures the class and versatility he has consistently displayed for his owner, the Tivic Stable.

The source of those qualities is easy to find. Bred by Arrowfield in partnership with John Leaver’s Planette Thoroughbred, Stepitup is by champion sire Hussonet out of the grand racemare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (Nothin’ Leica Dane-Icecapade by Genghiz). She was a $20,000 Inglis Classic yearling buy for trainer Barbara Joseph who managed her 8-win, $614,000 three-season career including three Listed Race successes, and a third in Mummify’s 2003 MRC Underwood S. G1. 

A $460,000 purchase by Badger’s Bloodstock from the 2005 Inglis Broodmare Sale, Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has given the Arrowfield roster outstanding support, leaving six winners to four stallions, including dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 & Listed winner Bachman (by All American), as well as Stepitup.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’s 3YO son Zolotoi (by Starcraft) has been placed this season from the Adelaide stable of Mark Minervini. She also has a yearling filly by All American and a 2015 filly by Dundeel.

Stepitup is the fourth national Horse of the Year raised at Arrowfield, after Lankan Rupee (Australian Horse of the Year, 2014; bred & raced by Teeley Assets); Weekend Hussler (Australian Horse of the Year, 2008; bred & sold by Arrowfield in partnership with Jungle Pocket Pty Ltd); and Makybe Diva (Australian Horse of the Year, 2005 & 2006; reared for Tony Santic).

Stepitup, bought by Cliff Brown for $90,000, is one of six stakeswinners from Arrowfield’s spectacular 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier consignment which also produced Group 1 winner Snitzerland (bought for $125,000), Group 2 winners Flying Snitzel ($25,000) & Honorine ($80,000) and Listed winners Smoko ($75,000) & Road Trippin’ ($22,500).

This year in Melbourne Arrowfield will offer 21 yearlings including three fillies & three colts from the first crop of international champion racehorse Animal Kingdom.

Arrowfield graduate treble at Sha Tin & Kranji

October began with notable wins in Hong Kong & Singapore by Arrowfield & Inglis sale graduates, and it’s ended the same way, with successes by Stepitup, Contentment & Blizzard on Sunday evening. 

Stepitup has book-ended the month with the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown, adding the $500,000 Raffles Cup to his Kranji Mile win on 4 October.

Hope of a Raffles Cup victory seemed forlorn until the very end of the 1800-metre contest when Stepitup and jockey Michael Rodd found clear air and went after the leader Fastnet Dragon. They caught him in the final 20 metres, winning by a half-length with Quechua more than two lengths back in third place. 

Watch Stepitup win the Raffles Cup Sgp-1.

Stepitup’s trainer Laurie Laxon said, “He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but he just has this amazing mindset, he just has to get the win.

“He’s only a small horse and is the quietest in the stable, you wouldn’t notice him, but what a motor he has. He will now go for the Gold Cup and I guess he would get the top weight of 58 or 59kg now, but he will be a big chance.”

The son of Hussonet and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was  has now won 15 races, ten of them at domestic Group level, and well over $S$2 million for his owner the Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup was purchased by Cliff Brown for $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling filly by All American and a filly foal by Dundeel.

At Sha Tin another son of Hussonet, 5YO Contentment, turned in a sub-1.34 time to win the 1600 metres HK$4 million Sha Tin Trophy HK-2, showing he’s right on target for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1. 

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Trophy HK-2 win.

A $65,000 John Foote purchase from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, Contentment has now won eight of his 11 starts and the equivalent of $1.7 million for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing.

Contentment’s trainer John Size said, “He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is from the Commands mare Jemison, also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a 2015 filly by Animal Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year Able Friend scored a brilliant victory in the next race, the Premier Bowl HK-2, and a quinella by Blizzard and Thewizardofoz in the last race, a Class 2 event over 1400 metres, signed off a big night for Australian-breds. 

Thewizardofoz (by Redoute’s Choice) was impressive at his season debut and first try beyond 1200 metres, but Blizzard (by Starcraft) was sensational, carrying a kilogram more than his rival, sitting wide for much of the race and rocketing down the centre of the track to win in 1:21.96. He ran the last 400 metres in 22.26, faster than any other winner on the ten-race program. 

Watch Blizzard & Thewizardofoz quinella the Zenith Excellent H.

A son of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stormy Choice, Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  He’s now won six of his 10 starts and returned HK$5.3 million (~$960,000) to his owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Stepitup dazzles in Kranji Mile

Sunday’s $S500,000 Kranji Mile Sgp-1 was expected to be another easy win for Spalato, unbeaten in all eight of his Singapore starts.

But Arrowfield graduate Stepitup, who started third favourite behind Spalato & Quechua, had other ideas about how the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown would work out.

When Pachelbel’s Canon set the pace in front, with Spalato ready to pounce behind him and Stepitup bustling along as usual at the rear, the race seemed to be unfolding as anticipated. It changed in a few seconds when Stepitup and Michael Rodd finally found a way through the wall of horses facing them at the top of the straight.

The pair hit the lead 400 metres out and put the outcome beyond doubt with a dazzling turn of foot that gave Stepitup a four-length victory – easily the biggest winning margin of the nine Singapore Group wins on his CV.

Quechua was second, with Wild Geese third and Spalato, possibly hampered by throwing a shoe during the race, more than five lengths from the winner.

Watch Stepitup’s Kranji Mile Sgp-1 win.

Stepitup has now won 14 of his 32 starts and taken his earnings to more than $S2.2 million – many times more than the $90,000 paid for him by Cliff Brown at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

The 6YO gelding is one of six stakeswinners sold by Arrowfield at that Sale. (The others are Group 1 winner Snitzerland, Group 2 winner Flying Snitzel, South African Group 2 winner Honorine and Listed winners Smoko & Road Trippin’).

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is by Hussonet from the multiple stakes-winning racemare and marvellous broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), also the dam of dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling sister to Bachman and last week she delivered a filly by Dundeel.

Stepitup is trained for the Tivic Stable by Laurie Laxon whose assistant Shane Ellis said, “That was probably his best run ever. It’s the first time I’ve seen him sprint like that.

“We still gave him a good chance as Spalato was third-up while he was rock-hard fit, so you never know what can happen. I told Michael to look at his races and how he must get him on the bit the whole way through.

“He’s a real champion and now he will definitely go to the Raffles Cup. He will run the journey and then we’ll see about the Gold Cup.”

The second Leg of the Triple Crown, the Raffles Cup 1800m Sgp-1, is run on 25 October, and the 2200-metre Singapore Gold Cup Sgp-1 follows on 15 November. No horse has yet won the Triple Crown.

Ain't Seen Nothin' yet!

Stepitup’s outstanding success in Singapore shines a light on his dam, multiple stakeswinner and marvellous broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ whose foal by Dundeel is eagerly awaited at Arrowfield this Spring.

All of Ain’t Seen Nothin’s first six foals have won and three of them, Stepitup (by Hussonet), Group 3-winning 2YO Bachman (by All American) and dual Listed winner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft), are stakeswinners.

That perfect record and Ain’t Seen Nothin’s affinity with a range of stallions are good omens for her unraced progeny, a 3YO Starcraft gelding with Mark Minervini, and a yearling sister to Bachman, as well as her foal from the first crop of six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel.

Barbara Joseph is well-qualified to explain what made Ain’t Seen Nothin’ special as a racehorse, and what she brings to the breeding barn. Barbara bought the yearling daughter of Nothin’ Leica Dane for $20,000 at the 2001 Inglis Classic Sale, trained her in Canberra and raced her in partnership with Dennis Higgs & Ron Ball.

Barbara says, “I bought her because I loved the way she walked and she was related to Patou, a filly I initially trained.”  Patou won eight races, but is best-known as the dam of Polar Success, winner of the 2003 Golden Slipper.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was tough to educate as a 2YO and patience was needed to overcome her tendency to run to the outside rail, but her racing career began in spectacular fashion.

Barbara says, “She ran third in her first race as a Spring 3YO and then won six in a row. She had a great will to win, there wasn’t a race where she didn’t try her best, and she could run on all sorts of tracks.”

Ain’t Seen Nothin’s winning streak culminated with a record-setting victory in the Illawarra TC Keith F. Nolan Classic LR. Her 3YO campaign ended with a trip to Sydney where she finished second in the AJC Adrian Knox S. G3 and fourth in Tuesday Joy’s Australian Oaks G1.

The following Spring Barbara took Ain’t Seen Nothin’ to Melbourne for a campaign that produced a second stakes win, in the VRC Let’s Elope S. LR, and a sequence of gallant Group 1 runs: third to Mummify and Grey Song in the MRC Underwood S. G1, fifth in Mummify’s Caulfield Cup G1 and fourth in the MacKinnon S. G1 won by Casual Pass.

They were all significant performances for Barbara, who also trained the 1989 Doncaster Handicap winner Merimbula Bay.  “It was a new experience for me to race a top horse in Melbourne, and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ is right up there with Merimbula Bay. She was a million-dollar horse for us and she helped me immensely.”

Ain’t Seen Nothin’ added a third Listed success and three Group placings to her record before she retired, with earnings of more than $600,000, in November 2004. Subsequently purchased for $460,000 at the 2005 Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale, she has been part of the Arrowfield/Planette Thoroughbred broodmare band ever since. 

Barbara Joseph has kept an eye on Ain’t Seen Nothin’s progeny and was the underbidder on Stepitup at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.  “He was small, but I really liked him, he was very athletic.” 

The team Barbara now prepares in partnership with her son Paul Jones includes Secret Slave, a 2YO Equiano filly from Ain’t Seen Nothin’s first foal Hidden Charges (by Charge Forward).

“She has a mind of her own, just like Ain’t Seen Nothin’, and she goes all right too.”

Chairman's Trophy goes to Stepitup

Arrowfield graduate Stepitup’s star has been high in Singapore’s sky for three seasons and there is no sign of it setting.

The 5YO son of Hussonet and Arrowfield gem Ain’t Seen Nothin’ won his eighth stakes race on Sunday, the Chairman’s Trophy 1800m Sgp-2, and did it in the unflinching, ultra-competitive manner that has earned almost $S2 million for his owner the Tivic stable.

Watch Stepitup’s Chairman’s Trophy Sgp-2 victory here.

Stepitup settled on the rails in the second half of the field before his jockey Manoel Nunes decided to take closer order before the turn.

Their chances of being in the finish didn’t look good at the top of the straight where Stepitup was momentarily blocked for a run as his stablemate Ideal Guide tried to steal the race. A gap opened just in time, Stepitup won the battle for it and set sail for the post, which he reached a quarter-length ahead of Wild Geese, with One Rar third by the same margin.

Laxon, celebrating his fifth Chairman’s Trophy victory, said, “He’s a lovely horse, only small, but all heart and an amazing will to win.

“He will have a bit of a break now and I will bring him back for the Kranji Mile and Raffles Cup later in the year.”

Stepitup was purchased for $90,000 by Cliff Brown at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and is one of six stakeswinners sold by Arrowfield at that Sale. (The others are Group 1 winner Snitzerland, Group 2 winner Flying Snitzel, South African Group 2 winner Honorine and Listed winners Smoko & Road Trippin’).

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is from the multiple stakes-winning racemare and even better broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), also the dam of dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a rising 3YO colt by Starcraft, a weanling sister to Bachman and is foaling this Spring to Dundeel.

Stepitup's seventh Singapore Group win

“Never-say-die warrior spirit” is the description Singapore Turf Club journalist Michael Lee applies to Stepitup and Sunday’s $S150,000 Yew Tee Classic Sgp-3 confirmed its accuracy.

The 5YO son of Hussonet made light of his 59kg topweight with a typically resolute performance, settling towards the rear before swinging wide on the turn and driving hard to hold off Emperor Banquet and Mr Spielberg in the 1800m feature.

Stepitup’s champion jockey Manoel Nunes said, “He’s the class horse in the race but I was a bit worried about the weight. He’s a small horse with a big heart and always puts in 100% in his races and today was no different.”

It was Stepitup’s second win for trainer Laurie Laxon this season, after the Queen Elizabeth II Cup Sgp-2 in April, and his seventh domestic Group success among 11 victories since his debut almost three years ago.

Stepitup was purchased for $90,000 by Cliff Brown from the Arrowfield draft at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and has now earned more than $S1.6 million for owner Thomas Loke’s Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is by Hussonet from the fine racemare and even better broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), winner of eight races, three at Listed Stakes level, and third in Mummify’s 2003 MRC Underwood S. G1.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’ is also the dam of five other winners includng dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a rising 3YO colt by Starcraft, a weanling sister to Bachman and is foaling this Spring to Dundeel.

Stepitup is one of six 2014/15 stakeswinners by former Arrowfield sire Hussonet, now standing at Cornerstone Stud in South Australia. The evergreen son of Mr. Prospector has had a remarkable career, as a multiple champion sire in Chile, sire of Australian Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler and, more recently, a valuable source of talent for Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Malaysia.

Contentment, another Arrowfield-bred son of Hussonet, was last week named Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse this season, and then franked that award with a brave win at Sha Tin on Sunday.

First stakeswinner for All American

Arrowfield graduate Bachman delivered an important result for his sire All American by winning the opening event at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day, the $150,000 The Schweppervescence 1400m G3.

The Arrowfield roster is responsible for three of the past four winners of this race, registered as the T.L. Baillieu Handicap: Bachman, Flying Snitzel (Snitzel) in 2012, and Do You Think (Starcraft) in 2011.

Bachman, from Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), is All American’s first stakeswinner, and one of four first-crop winners to date by the Group 1 miler, now third on the Australian First Season Sires’ list.

He is also the 6th stakeswinner and fourth Group winner purchased from Arrowfield’s 2013 yearling consignments. The others are Time For War (Snitzel), Majmu (Redoute’s Choice), Oakleigh Girl (Snitzel), Gold Force (Flying Spur) & Moonlight Hussler (Hussonet).

Bachman was purchased for $180,000 from Arrowfield at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale by Damien Flower’s Jadeskye Racing and is trained by Gerald Ryan. 

Ain’t Seen Nothin’, a multiple stakeswinner and Group 1-placed in Melbourne, is doing a splendid job at stud for her owners Arrowfield & Planette Thoroughbred. Her first six foals are all winners and they include dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) & Singapore Group winner Stepitup (by Hussonet), as well as Bachman.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’s yearling colt by Starcraft will be offered by Arrowfield at the Inglis Easter Sale on Wednesday, and the mare is back in foal to All American.

Broadwater Thoroughbreds will offer an Easter Sale filly by Redoute’s Choice from Ain’tnofallenstar, who has a weanling filly by Smart Missile and is back in foal to him.

Today jockey Nash Rawiller settled Bachman near the back of the field, then began a well-timed run that took him from the inside to the outside of the field, where the pair had room to chase the leaders.

Bachman found plenty on the testing track to take the lead and pull away to win by 2.3 lengths from Scratch Me Lucky (by Snitzel) and Veuvelicious.

As reported by Thoroughbred News, Gerald Ryan said, “I think he’s a really nice horse. Whatever he does as a two-year-old, I think he’s going to be a lot better as a three-year-old.

“When he came in early in the season he was struggling a little bit, but I had a good rap on him the first couple of times I galloped him and I said to Damien Flower then that if ever I’ve had a Caulfield Guineas horse, then I reckon this is it, so how about looking after him and aiming towards the Guineas in the spring with him.

“We will just poke along quietly with him. He might have one more or go to the paddock now, but I think he’s got the makings of a really nice horse.”

Bachman was fourth on debut in the Canonbury S. LR in February, then ran third at Canterbury on 5 March before breaking his maiden at Warwick Farm 15 days later.

All American’s other winners are Invisible (debut winner at Canterbury in December), American Time (debut winner at Canbera in January) & Lady Trickster (winner of her second start, in Melbourne on Wednesday).

Seven yearlings by All American will go through the Newmarket ring at the Inglis Easter Sale, which starts on Tuesday 8 April. They include Arrowfield’s colt from Group 1 winner Miss Kournikova, already the dam of Group 3 winner Oakleigh Girl. View the Arrowfield Easter draft  here.

Stepitup named Singapore's Champion 3YO

Arrowfield Stud graduate Stepitup has won the 2013 Singapore Champion 3YO Award presented at a gala event on Thursday evening.

Stepitup was purchased for $90,000 by Cliff Brown from the Arrowfield draft at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. He won five of his 8 starts in 2013 including all three legs of the Singapore 3YO Challenge (Singapore Guineas Sgp-1, Singapore 3YO Classic Sgp-2 & Singapore 3YO Sprint Sgp-3), as well as the Colonial Chief S. Sgp-3.

He opened his 2014 season with victory in the Fortune Bowl Sgp-3 earlier this month, taking his career record to nine wins from 1000 to 2000 metres and prizemoney of almost $S1 million for the Tivic Stable and trainer Sonny Yeoh.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is by Hussonet from the fine racemare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), winner of eight races, three at Listed Stakes level, and several Group placings, including a third in Mummify’s 2003 MRC Underwood S. G1.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’ is also the dam of dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft), her 3YO sister Star Pupil (placed this season for Paul Messara), multiple winner Hidden Charges (by Charge Forward) and Bachman (2YO colt by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ is again in foal to All American, while Ain’tnofallenstar has a yearling filly by Redoute’s Choice and a 2013 filly by Smart Missile.

Arrowfield will offer Stepitup’s yearling half-brother by Starcraft at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale.