Doomben Group double for Redoute's Choice

Big race doubles are a feature of the Redoute’s Choice story, but Arrowfield’s champion sire has outdone himself this month with two same-track, same-day Group doubles in a fortnight.

Abbey Marie (Australasian Oaks G1) & Into The Mist (Queen of the South S. G2) obliged at Morphettville on 7 May, and on Saturday 3YOs Kebede & Counterattack added the first Doomben Group race double to Redoute’s Choice’s record.

Kebede completed the first part of a long-term plan for trainer Matthew Dunn and his fellow owners when she strode to victory in the $175,000 BRC The Roses 2000m G2, defeating Sebring Sally and the favourite Imposing Lass.

Dunn said, “She’s done an amazing job and we’ve earmarked this race and the Oaks from the time we bought her. I thought any races she won on the way through to the Oaks would be a bonus.”

Kebede came into the race with solid form, including two Gold Coast wins and a Listed third over increasing distances, but was neglected by punters who let her start at $19. She is now listed as a $12 chance for the $500,000 Queensland Oaks G1 on 4 June.

The 3YO filly is the 133rd stakeswinner by Redoute’s Choice and the 15th stakeswinner to represent him worldwide this season.

Bred by Brent & Judy Hudson and bought by Neil Jenkinson for $80,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale, Kebede is out of Champion Chilean 2YO Filly Desert Fight (by Hussonet), making her a full sister of Arrowfield’s freshman sire Panzer Division. Now part of the Arrowfield broodmare band, Desert Fight has a weanling filly by Redoute’s Choice and is in foal to Snitzel.

The Redoute’s Choice/Hussonet cross is proving sensational, throwing four Group winners (dual Group 1 winner Majmu, Kebede, Panzer Division & Honesty Prevails) and Group-placed Regatta Rebel from only eight named foals.

Like Kebede, Counterattack has an accomplished sibling and a Group 1 target at Eagle Farm in June. The half-brother of dual Goup 1 winner Red Tracer booked a berth in the $1.5 million Stradbroke H. G1 on 11 June when he overcame a wide trip to win the $125,000 BRC Fred Best Classic 1350m G3.

Jockey James MacDonald likes his chances. “He was strong through the line at the end of 1350 metres today and he’s right on track for the Stradbroke.

“You need a horse with plenty of strength to win that race and he’s exactly the right type especially with the big weight drop in his favour.”

Counterattack’s super-consistent record this season for owner-breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish and trainer Chris Waller also includes two Listed wins in Sydney and a third in the Coolmore Stud S. G1 last Spring.

Father-and-son stakes quinella at Randwick

Three Arrowfield-sired winners at Randwick on Saturday were headed by a father-and-son quinella in the $150,000 ATC Brian Crowley S. 1200m LR. 

Counterattack (by Redoute’s Choice) put up a resolute run from off the pace to overhaul the front-running Spill The Beans (by Snitzel) 100 metres from the post.

It was Counterattack’s second black type victory this Spring, following his Heritage Stakes LR win last month, and he is now likely to head to Flemington for the $1 million Coolmore Stud S. G1 on Derby Day.

Liam Prior, Racing Manager for Counterattack’s trainer Chris Waller, said, “He’s always been a horse that’s shown well above average ability.”

“As Chris explained earlier in the week, the siblings Red Tracer and Shellscrape were always horses that performed best with blinkers so they went on today and it certainly sharpened him up.”

Raced by his breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish, Counterattack is from the splendid producer Kisma (by Snippets) who is due to foal again to Redoute’s Choice any day now.

The Gerald Ryan-trained Spill The Beans is an Arrowfield homebred from the Falbrav mare Miss Dodwell. His family, responsible 30 years ago for Horse of the Year Bounding Away, has also thrown up Speak Fondly, winner of the Flight S. G1 this Spring.  Miss Dodwell is due to foal later this month to Smart Missile.

Counterattack’s stablemate Good Project (Not A Single Doubt-Euchre by Final Card) and the Neville Layt-trained Grand Proposal (Snitzel-Proposing by Pentire) also added Randwick wins to their records.

Counterattack impresses in Heritage Stakes

Marvellous broodmare Kisma added a third stakeswinner to her outstanding record when Counterattack, her 3YO son by Redoute’s Choice, pounced late to win the $100,000 ATC Heritage S. 1100m LR at Randwick on Saturday.

Watch Counterattack win the Heritage S. LR.

Counterattack showed good ability last season, placing three times at Randwick & Rosehill, before his maiden win at Warwick Farm in April. That encouraged Chris Waller and owner-breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish to send him to Queensland where he ran fourth in two Group 2 races, and seventh in Press Statement’s J.J. Atkins S. G1.

His development since then was evident at Randwick, as he launched a powerful sprint to run down the favourite Haptic and Takedown, both successful in stakes company last season.

Chris Waller confirmed the progress Counterattack made through the winter.

“He’s come back looking like an adult horse now and I guess that trip away and a bit of warmth in winter certainly helps. He’s got the makings of a good horse and he’s heading that way.”

He’ll return to Randwick for the Roman Consul S. G2 on 3 October, with a trip to Melbourne possible after that.

Counterattack is the 124th stakeswinner for his champion sire, and the third stakeswinner, after Group 1 winners Shellscrape & Red Tracer, for Kisma (by Snippets), who is due to foal again to Redoute’s Choice this Spring. All eight of Kisma’s foals have won, with 35 wins to their collective credit.

Seven weeks into the new season, Redoute’s Choice is on track to match or exceed his 2014/15 tally of 15 stakeswinners, with Group winners Royal Descent (also a gallant second in the George Main S. G1) & She’s Clean as well as Counterattack already on the board.

Beneteau still leads Freshman Sires' list

Beneteau’s hold on the 2014/15 Australian First Season Sires’ title has not been seriously challenged since he claimed the top spot last November, but the race is not over yet.

The son of Redoute’s Choice, who died in January 2013, added a ninth winner to his record when David Hayes and Tom Dabernig produced Del Grappa for a half-head debut victory at Pakenham on Thursday.

Del Grappa is raced by his breeders Ken Boyd and David Trevethan who purchased his dam, the stakes-winning Kaapstad mare Full Noise, for $102,500 at the 2008 New Zealand Broodmare Sale.

Beneteau’s season earnings now stand at $699,485, with his nearest rival Hinchinbrook (a half-brother to Snitzel by Fastnet Rock) on $531,470, and Star Witness (by Starcraft) third with $511,320.

After Saturday’s $600,000 BRC J.J. Atkins S. G1 there are only three Listed 2YO races left this season, at the Gold Coast on 20 June, Flemington on 11 July and Morphettville on 25 July, as well as the $100,000 Inglis VOBIS Gold Plate at Cranbourne on 21 June.

Hinchinbrook’s son Press Statement is the Atkins favourite, but four other horses at single-figure odds will make it an interesting contest and, as it happens, one of them is by Beneteau’s sire Redoute’s Choice.

That’s Counterattack, also trained by Chris Waller and raced by his breeders Geoff & Mary Grimish, who enjoyed so much success with his marvellous half-sister Red Tracer.

Counterattack has won or placed in four of his six starts this season and goes into Saturday’s race after running fourth in the Group 2 lead-up events won by Blueberry Hill and Look To The Stars, also favoured by punters tomorrow.

The fifth horse in the mix is Qatar Bloodstock’s gelding Bassett, produced by Peter Moody to win first-up at Caulfield on 16 May.

Whatever the result at Doomben, Beneteau has done exceptionally well to turn out nine winners, including stakeswinners Prompt Return and Lady Jivago, from 22 runners and head the Freshman Sires’ list by winners and prizemoney for more than half the season.

The fact that his first season strike rate is better than was achieved by Redoute’s Choice (in 2003/04), Snitzel (2009/10) or Not A Single Doubt (2008/09) only increases the dynasty’s loss of what would surely have become its next bright star.