Last season’s Champion First Season Sire Smart Missile struck in Adelaide on Saturday with his first stakes double and suddenly, the race for the 2016/17 Second Season Sires’ title has intensified.
The John McArdle-trained I’ll Have A Bit has progressed steadily from a debut fourth at Flemington on New Year’s Day, a second to stakeswinner Jukebox at Geelong and a third at Flemington a fortnight ago. She left no excuses for her rivals in the $200,000 SAJC National S. 1200m G3, driving along the rail from the rear of the field and momentarily held up before sprinting past hot favourite Booker to win by 1.3 lengths in 1:10.48.
Bred by Ken Breese, I’ll Have A Bit was a $48,000 buy for Redgum Racing from Basinghall Farm at the 2016 Inglis VOBIS Gold Sale. She’s the best of three foals out of Take All Of Me (by Jeune), a city-winning daughter of the very good multiple Group winner Tickle My.
Three races later, I’ll Have A Bit’s champion jockey Craig Williams joined Pinecliff Racing’s Freedman-trained home-bred filly Exocet to fight out the finish of the $125,000 SAJC Centaurea S. 2019m LR with Sort After and Have Another Glass.
Exocet’s ability was seen early, when she won twice, at Geelong & Caulfield, in her first three starts last Spring. She wasn’t quite ready for black type Melbourne company then but has improved this time in and relished her first try beyond 1800 metres.
Exocet is the second stakeswinner, after talented colt Ready For Victory, out of the Zabeel mare Crillon, a half-sister to Champion 2YO Meurice. This is the family of Group 1-winning brothers, leading sire Rubiton and Euclase. It’s also interesting to note that Exocet is in-bred 3 x 3 to Danehill.
In all, Smart Missile has added seven wins to his Australian record this week, consolidating his lead on the Second Season Sires’ list by winners (55) & wins (75). With little more than $400,000 covering Foxwedge, So You Think & Smart Missile at the top of the table, the battle for the Second Season Sires’ premiership is set to light up the final 10 weeks of 2016/17.