Smart Missile strikes with a stakes double

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.

Watch I’ll Have A Bit win the SAJC National S. G3.

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. 

Watch Exocet win the SAJC Centaurea S. LR.

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. 

Unstoppable Snitzel dominates stallion premierships

Snitzel’s grip on stallion premiership honours has tightened after the weekend’s racing, with 2YO Jukebox supplying the highlight at Caulfield on Saturday.

The strongly built Ciaron Maher-trained colt backed up his debut win at Geelong last month with a polished performance to win the $250,000 MRC Inglis Premier 1200m (R) LR by two lengths from Coppergate, with Perast (also by Snitzel) third.

Watch Jukebox win the MRC Inglis Premier (R) LR.

Jukebox is the 49th stakeswinner and the 21st juvenile stakeswinner for Snitzel, and he is the latest of 14 runners by the sensational son of Redoute’s Choice to succeed in black type company this season. (That total includes Young Man Power, a dual Group 3 winner in Japan).

Bred by Oakland Park Stud from the Perth 2YO Listed winner Jestatune (by Rory’s Jester), Jukebox was offered by Blue Gum Farm at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where Ciaron Maher bought him for $200,000.

He is Snitzel’s second winner of the Inglis Premier after Arrowfield graduate and subsequent Group 1 winner Snitzerland, who romped away with the 2012 race. Snitzel’s progeny have won all four Inglis sale-related 2YO races that carry Restricted Listed status:
Inglis Premier, Caulfield – Jukebox (2017) & Snitzerland (2012)
Inglis Classic, Randwick – Chance Bye (2010)
Inglis Banner, Moonee Valley – Azazel (2016)
Inglis Nursery, Randwick – Odyssey Moon (2014) & Chance Bye (2009).

Snitzel now leads not only the Australian General, but also the 3YO and 2YO Sires’ premierships by prizemoney and winners, and his 13 domestic stakeswinners give him the overall top spot in that category too.

Beating his own jointly held Australian record of 30 2YO winners in a season becomes ever more likely, after the colt Trapeze Artist scored on debut at Newcastle. That gives Snitzel the remarkable tally of 18 juvenile winners this term, and takes trainer Gerald Ryan’s record of winners by Snitzel to a milestone fifty, with cumulative earnings exceeding $9 million.

Snitzel’s success has rippled out to many breeders, vendors, owners and trainers, with Arrowfield figuring as breeder and/or vendor of 22 of his 49 stakeswinners to date. Among them are Group 1 winners Hot Snitzel, Snitzerland, Sweet Idea and Wandjina; Group 2 winners Flying Snitzel, Perignon, Spill The Beans and Time For War; and current juveniles Azazel and Teaspoon.

Teaspoon heads the current Order of Entry for the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper G1 on 18 March, with her paternal siblings Menari, Exceeds, Chauffeur, Spoils and Azazel joining her inside the top 25 qualifiers.

Snitzel’s ten lots at the upcoming Inglis Classic Sale include Arrowfield’s strapping filly out of Miss Victoria, while his 44 entries for April’s Inglis Easter Sale feature eight fillies and 6 colts by him in the Arrowfield consignment.

View Arrowfield’s 2017 Inglis Classic Sale draft.

A Redoute's Choice kind of day

It was a Redoute’s Choice kind of day at Flemington on Saturday.

The champion sire opened the card with the fourth consecutive win by his daughter, Debbie Kepitis’ lovely mare All Cerise, and then his sire sons took centre stage.

Watching Sumaya Stables’ 2YO colt Weatherly win the $120,000 VRC Talindert S. LR revived memories of both his charismatic sire Beneteau and the juvenile Redoute’s Choice. Especially when he romped home without jockey Craig Williams needing to engage more than a couple of what he believes are the colt’s several gears.

That assessment is backed up by Weatherly’s sectionals. Despite a tardy start and ending up on the slower grandstand side with only two other horses, he produced a 33.47 last 600 metres to score by 1.5 lengths, easing down.

First start filly Conscious was an impressive runner-up with stakeswinner Jackson (by Not A Single Doubt) best of the railside runners, almost five lengths further back.

Watch Weatherly win the VRC Talindert S. LR.

Weatherly, named after the victorious 1962 America’s Cup defender, is trained by Paul Messara for his breeder, Chilean businessman Oussama Aboughazale, whose Australian thoroughbred interests are managed by his good friend, Arrowfield Chairman John Messara.

John Messara explains, “I met Oussama because he was an original shareholder in Hussonet, and he subsequently  invested in several fillies here, and then bred and raced Beneteau with us.” 

Beneteau’s bright star shone all too briefly, in a brilliant Blue Diamond Prelude G3 victory and a Blue Diamond G1 third, followed by early retirement and a much too early death in January 2013, leaving only 135 foals to build his stud record.

What a record it’s turning out to be. Thirty-one winners, including eleven stakes performers, five of them stakeswinners – enough to indicate that Beneteau would have stepped up alongside Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt to complete a formidable triumvirate of sensational Redoute’s Choice sons at Arrowfield.

Weatherly, whose dam Luna Bella (a sister to Group 2 winner Hips Don’t Lie, by Stravinsky) died last Spring after foaling a Redoute’s Choice filly, has given his owner and trainer a very desirable dilemma. Blue Diamond next week, or Golden Slipper next month?

Paul Messara says, “The horse’s welfare is number one and we’ll see how the horse is. It was only his second start in a race and we’ll take it from there.”

Around two hours after Weatherly’s win, Not A Single Doubt’s 3YO daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma defeated Egypt and Perfect Reflection in The Vanity 1400m G3, her second black type success and fourth win from 10 starts.

Watch Don’t Doubt Mamma win the VRC The Vanity G3.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said, “She surprised me a bit today, to come out and beat those other top line fillies and first-up today, fresh as she is, means there is a lot to look forward to.

“The Australian Guineas is a tempting offer for sure, but she’ll tell us where she is best suited. We’ll see how she comes through it – she’s a pretty uncomplicated filly.

“There’s a mares race (the Frances Tressady Stakes) back here and the Australian Guineas or we can go three weeks into the Coolmore Classic in Sydney. There are a few options to work out but it’s a nice problem to have.”

Don’t Doubt Mamma (ex Coconut Mamma, by Fantastic Light from the celebrated Denise’s Joy family) was purchased privately from Tyreel Stud by Blue Sky Bloodstock for Peter Katelanis and partners, most of whom also raced her year-older stakes-winning brother Risen From Doubt.

Arrowfield is breeding from Miss St Tropez (Magnus-Coconut Mamma), who has an All American weanling filly and is in foal to Animal Kingdom.

Five fillies and four colts by Redoute’s Choice will be offered by five vendors at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale which begins on Sunday 28 February.

Sixth stakes victory for Amorino

Snitzel’s state-trotting son Amorino scored his third stakes win this season when his trademark strong finish took him past the favourite Under the Louvre in Saturday’s $120,000 MRC Anniversary Vase 1400m LR.

Craig Williams, who has ridden Amorino in all three of his wins this year, said, “He is best when you can let him build into a race and he was able to do that today. It was a big effort under top weight.”

Amorino’s sixth black type success took his career record to 10 wins and $763,350 prizemoney, racing from three stables in three states over four seasons.

However, his ownership has been constant since Gerald Ryan bought him as the Snitzel-Steal My Love colt from Arrowfield for $70,000 on behalf of the Galante family at the 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Amorino’s current home is with promising young Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander who said after Saturday’s win, “I’m lucky the owners sent him to me to train. He was my first Group winner and he’s been very good to me.”

“He’s telling me he is probably at the end of this preparation, but he has done a super job to win a Group race and a Listed race from his past four starts.”

Amorino is among Snitzel’s 30 stakeswinners, ten of them successful this season, including two Group 1 winners Sweet Idea and Wandjina, also a brave runner-up to Dissident in Saturday’s thrilling ATC All Aged S. G1.