The Official 2YO Trials attract what might be Randwick’s most high-powered crowd of the season, as studs, breeders, agents & media join owners & trainers to watch the first of each year’s babies run.
They come to check the progress of horses that in many cases represent substantial investments in genetics, environment, selection and horsemanship, and ardent hopes for a favourable turn of fortune’s wheel.
At the end of this year’s program of 12 trials, all held over 850 metres on Monday on a Soft7 track, Redoute’s Choice, Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt claimed four winners and six placegetters from 14 runners.
There’s always a 2YO who stands out with the fastest time or the biggest winning margin and this year both prizes went to the Not A Single Doubt colt Condor Heroes who blitzed his rivals in Trial 11 by more than 9 lengths in 50.52.
The third foal of the Sydney 2YO winner Gosetgo (by More Than Ready), he was a $190,000 buy for Sun Bloodstock from the Riversdale draft at Magic Millions and is prepared by Gerald Ryan. The Not A Single Doubt/More Than Ready cross has produced juvenile brilliance before, in the distinctive form of Blue Diamond G1 winner Miracles Of Life, as well as Adelaide Group 3 winner The Grey Flash.
The remaining winners included a trio of Arrowfield-bred-and-sold colts, Bowerman, Misty Lad & Invader.
Bowerman (Snitzel-Sabanci by Encosta de Lago) turned in a very professional effort to win the opening trial on the program, bouncing out to take up the lead, roll along comfortably in front and win by almost a length from Thy Kingdom Come & Sulaymanee in 51.84 seconds.
Bowerman is trained by Michael Freedman for the China Horse Club & Winstar Farm partnership which paid $525,000 for him at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. From the family of Group 1 winners Casino Prince, Onemorenomore & Green Birdie, Bowerman is the first foal of his dam who has a yearling colt by Snitzel and was served again by him earlier this month.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott produced the winner of Trial 3, Misty Lad (Redoute’s Choice-Anadan by Anabaa), who also took up the lead and travelled easily throughout to win by almost a length in 51.38.
The grandson of Group 1 winner Demerger was a $150,000 buy for owner Mount Hallowell Stud, co-trainer Gai Waterhouse and agent Julian Blaxland at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.
Anadan’s subsequent matings pursue the Redoute’s Choice theme: she has a yearling filly by Snitzel, is foaling to Not A Single Doubt this Spring and visits Panzer Division.
Trial 10 belonged to a pair of Snitzel colts with Invader (ex Flame of Sydney by Encosta de Lago) just edging just the $1.6 million Magic Millions sale-topper Chauffeur (ex Mirror Mirror by Dehere) in 51.21.
Invader was a $475,000 Magic Millions purchase by the China Horse Club and is trained by Peter & Paul Snowden; Chauffeur was bought by Gerald Ryan and lead owner Damion Flower of Jadeskye Racing. Flame of Sydney has a yearling filly and a foal-to-come by Snitzel.
It’s fascinating to review the past six years’ results which show the trials consistently unveil some of each crop’s very best performers at two, and beyond.
For instance, the last two Golden Slipper winners, Capitalist and Vancouver both won at the Randwick trials, and Pierro was second in 2011.
Sensational 2YO and now leading young sire Smart Missile posted the second-fastest time of the day when winning his trial by 3.5 lengths in 2010.
Australian Guineas G1 winner Wandjina and recent Group winner Sooboog – both million-dollar Snitzel colts bred & sold by Arrowfield – won their respective trials in 2013 and 2014.
Other subsequent Group winners to win their Randwick trials in recent years are Calliope & Defcon (2015), Alpha Miss & Ghibellines (2013), Havana, Va Pensiero & War (2012) and Wild and Proud (2010).
However, owners and trainers of those 2YOs who didn’t win their trials this year can also take encouragement from history. That’s because there are always star performers that don’t win or even place in their first trials.
Champagne S. G1 winner Prized Icon was 7th at his trial debut last Spring; amazon queen Sweet Idea (by Snitzel) was third to subsequent Champion 3YO Filly Guelph and Gimcrack S. LR winner Brilliant Bisc in 2012; and, like Pierro, VRC Oaks G1 winner Dear Demi was a trial runner-up in 2012.
Trial 8 in 2013 produced Not A Single Doubt’s Provincial Championship winner Sure And Fast (2nd), $1.9 million earner Unencumbered (6th) and Snitzel’s dual Group 2 winner Time For War (7th). Fourth placegetter in Trial 12 the same year was dual Group 3 winner Scissor Kick (by Redoute’s Choice), now serving his first book of mares at Arrowfield.
In 2010 trial placegetters included subsequent Group 2 winners Elite Falls & Hallowell Belle (by Starcraft), while Flying Spur’s daughter Satin Shoes (Silver Slipper S. G2) and multiple Group 1 winner Helmet were both unplaced.
Placegetters that caught the eye this year include Sweet Idea’s $1.1 million full brother Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais), a close 2nd to Khan in Trial 5, and Red Zephyr (Snitzel-Red Typhoon), who completed a Waterhouse/Bott quinella with Conservation in Trial 9.