Wandjina a gallant sixth at Royal Ascot

Almost exactly 12 years after Choisir began the antipodean invasion of Royal Ascot, 3YO colts Brazen Beau & Wandjina carried the Australian flag with distinction in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes, held over six furlongs on the Straight Course.

Brazen Beau, trained by Chris Waller and ridden by Craig Williams for 38 owners managed by Grant Morgan’s Ontrack Thoroughbreds, raced alone on the near side for much of the race and found plenty to withstand every challenge except that of Undrafted who caught him only in the final strides.

Wandjina, trained by Gai Waterhouse and ridden by Damien Oliver for Edmund & Belinda Bateman, sat just behind the leaders and when the pressure came on up up the rise, he responded generously to finish sixth.

Wandjina (Snitzel-La Bamba by Last Tycoon) was a $1 million purchase from Arrowfield for the Batemans by bloodstock agent James Harron at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.

Sent to champion trainer Gai Waterhouse, the bay colt named for spirits of the Aboriginal Dreamtime won the second of his four juvenile starts in Sydney. He has raced only in stakes company ever since, but did not earn black type until last Spring when he was an eye-catching third in the MRC Caulfield Guineas 1600m G1, only 1.3 lengths from Shooting to Win.

Wandjina returned in February to dominate the pace and defy all his rivals in both the VRC CS Hayes S. G3 and the VRC Australian Guineas G1. He signed off on his Australian career with a fighting second in Dissident’s ATC All Aged S. G1 on 18 April, and will stand at Newgate Farm this Spring.

Snitzel joined his sire on the Arrowfield roster in 2006 and is now the sire of 31 stakeswinners, six of them successful at Group 1 level: Shamus Award (Cox Plate & Australian Guineas), Snitzerland (Lightning Stakes), Sweet Idea (The Galaxy), Hot Snitzel (BTC Cup), Sizzling (TJ Smith Stakes) and Wandjina.

In 2013/14 Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel completed an historic 1-2 finish on the Australian General Sires’ Premiership – the first time that has been achieved by a father-son combination.

This year in April Snitzel topped the Inglis Easter Sale for the first time, with not one, but two colts, sold for $2.2 million and $1.8 million.

Redoute’s Choice, Snitzel and his second Arrowfield-based son Not A Single Doubt are all among Australia’s top 10 sires this season, with combined totals of 26 stakeswinners and more than $21 million prizemoney.


Wandjina wonderful in Group 3 victory

Halfway down the big Flemington straight in Saturday’s $150,000 VRC C.S. Hayes S. 1400m G3 a brave placing seemed the most likely outcome for Dr Edmund & Belinda Bateman’s 3YO Snitzel colt Wandjina.

He had jumped smartly from gate 5 to take up the lead, but over-raced in the early stages and was given no peace in front by San Nicasio and Western Australian star Disposition on either side of him. Coming into the straight Wandjina held a narrow advantage until Disposition headed him at the 200-metre mark, while Stratum Star attacked down the outside.

However, Wandjina and his jockey Damien Oliver dug in for the fight and the handsome colt showed deep courage to regain the lead 50 metres from the post and go on to win in 1:22.27 by a short neck from the gallant Disposition. Stratum Star was a length away in third place.

Adrian Bott, representing trainer Gai Waterhouse, said, “Gai has always had a very good opinion of this horse and he has always competed at a high level. It was very good to see him win a race like that.

“He did go a bit strong but to his credit he fought it out all the way to the line.

“Towards the end of the spring he started to get it all together and he stayed in Victoria and has been prepared in the Melbourne stable.”

Also third in the Caulfield Guineas G1, Wandjina has raced exclusively  in Group & Listed company since his maiden win last February. His next target is the $500,000 VRC Australian Guineas G1 on 7 March with a Sydney Autumn campaign likely after that.

Wandjina is the 28th stakeswinner (and the 7th this season) for sensational young sire Snitzel. He was bred and sold by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale where agent James Harron bought him for $1 million on behalf of his owners Dr Edmund & Belinda Bateman.

Wandjina is the fourth stakeswinner from Arrowfield’s marvellous broodmare La Bamba (by Last Tycoon), also the dam of Inspiration (Hong Kong Sprint G1) and Listed stakeswinners Lucky Unicorn and Provence. Arrowfield’s 2015 Inglis Easter draft includes Wandjina’s half-brother by Manhattan Rain colt and La Bamba has since produced a filly by Snitzel.

Arrowfield’s 2013 Inglis Easter consignment has produced Group 1 winner Majmu (Redoute’s Choice), Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan (Manhattan Rain) and Group-placed Listed stakeswinner Crafty (Manhattan Rain), as well as Wandjina.
View Arrowfield’s 35 yearlings for the   2013 Easter Sale here.

Snitzel colt wins $250,000 Inglis Nursery on debut

Owners Edmund & Belinda Bateman, their racing manager James Harron and Scone trainer Rod Northam celebrated a notable success at Royal Randwick on Saturday when Odyssey Moon won the $250,000 ATC Inglis Nursery 1000m (R) LR at his first start.

It was a fine effort by the 2YO colt who overcame a wide draw to head off Kimberley Star with Let’s Make It Rain (by Not A Single Doubt) 1.3 lengths away in third place.

Odyssey Moon is the 26th stakeswinner and 14th stakes-winning 2YO for Snitzel, and was bred by the Arrowfield-Jungle Pocket partnership from the US-bred mare Run To The Moon (by Arch), a half-sister to dual Grade 1-winning filly Jostle.

Purchased from Arrowfield by A. Cook for $25,000 at the 2014 Inglis Classic Sale, Odyssey Moon was offered for sale again in October at the Inglis Ready2Race Sale where James Harron bought him on behalf of the Batemans for $120,000. (Harron also purchased Kimberley Star, for $40,000 from Middlebrook Valley Lodge at the Inglis Easter Sale.)

Rod Northam said after today’s win, “It was great, absolutely super, he’s a nice little horse. We’ll count the money and we’ll go back and have a think about what we are going to do.

“He’s more a 1200-metre horse I think, so it was really good to get away with that one over 1000 metres.”

Less than an hour later, Flamenco Girl (ex Dance Girl Dance by Made of Gold) very nearly gave Snitzel a 2YO stakes double for the day when she finished second, beaten a half-head by her near-namesake Flamenco, in the $100,000 BRC Calaway Gal S. LR.

A winner on debut in early November, Flamenco Girl is trained by Danny Bougoure for Louise Gillard, a combination that achieved Group & Listed stakes success last season with another Snitzel filly, the Arrowfield Magic Millions graduate Oakleigh Girl.

Arrowfield stallions now dominate the current Australian 2YO Sires’ list which is headed by Beneteau, who posted a new stakes performer, It’s Vegas Baby at Doomben on Saturday, with Snitzel third and Not A Single Doubt in fourth spot.

Arrowfield will offer two fillies and colt by Snitzel at next month’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, and then a colt and a filly by the sensational young sire at the Inglis Classic Sale in February.  Click here to view the Arrowfield drafts for those sales.

Royal Descent, Wandjina & Cox Plate history

As if to echo their historic Australian Sires’ Premiership quinella, Redoute’s Choice and his son Snitzel each has a runner in Saturday’s $3 million MVRC W.S. Cox Plate G1.

Redoute’s Choice is represented by Gerry Harvey’s magnificent home-bred mare, Royal Descent (ex Mulan Princess by Kaapstad), four times Group 1-placed over 1600 metres in Sydney since her 2013 Australian Oaks G1 victory.  She has ventured to Melbourne for only two previous starts, both of them last Spring when she was unplaced in Happy Trails’ Turnbull S. G1, and a gallant fifth in Fawkner’s Caulfield Cup G1.

Trained by Chris Waller, her form this season could hardly be better, or more frustrating: four runner-up finishes at Randwick, mostly recently beaten a very skinny nose by her stablemate He’s Your Man in the Epsom H. G1.

That performance earned Royal Descent a Timeform figure of 125, though with a ?, indicating some doubt about its accuracy. Only Sacred Falls (127) goes into this year’s Cox Plate with a higher figure.

Gary Crispe at Racing & Sports, who compiles the Timeform ratings, explains, “In the case of Royal Descent she has a well-defined Timeform ratings profile of 121 established over several runs. This campaign her form has been faultless and her ratings have gone 112, 118, 119 and 125.

“We seldom see a jump like this at this level in older horses but having said that, being a quality mare, it is possible she has improved beyond her previous 121 master figure. We have cautioned the run because at WFA it makes her the one to beat with the 2kg allowance mares receive.”

Royal Descent and Lankan Rupee, favourite for the Manikato Stakes on Friday evening, give Redoute’s Choice a chance to achieve an unprecedented double, by siring the winners of both races with two different horses in the same year. Sunline (2000), Rubiton (1987) and Strawberry Road (1983) have won both races in the same year, a feat no longer possible because they are now held on consecutive days.

Snitzel, the sire of last year’s sensational winner Shamus Award, has the Gai Waterhouse-trained Arrowfield graduate Wandjina (ex La Bamba by Last Tycoon) in the field after his owners Edmund & Belinda Bateman paid the $130,000 late entry fee and he received the nod from the MVRC committee.

Wandjina’s last-start third in the Caulfield Guineas G1 earned him a Timeform figure of 121, again with a modifying ?. The other two Australian 3YO colts in the field, Almalad and Sweynesse, are rated 119 and 116 respectively.

Gary Crispe says, “In the case of Wandjina his established Timeform ratings profile is around 105. He has five ratings around that mark, so when he suddenly jumps to 121 at 100/1, alarm bells ring for us. Hence the ? as we are not at all sure about him being at that level just yet.”

In the TAB Fixed Odds betting for the Cox Plate Fawkner is now a clear favourite ahead of Northern Hemisphere 3YO Adelaide (considered a 4YO in Australia), Sacred Falls and Criterion, with the rest of the field at double-figure odds, including Royal Descent ($11) and Wandjina ($41).

A review of Cox Plate results achieved by 3YO colts and fillies & mares over the past decade casts light on their chances in this year’s race.

Eleven 3YO colts have started in the Cox Plate from 2004 to 2013 and three have won: Shamus Award (2014), So You Think (2009) and Savabeel (2004).  Another three colts have placed in the Cox Plate: Manhattan Rain (2nd in 2009) and All Too Hard & Pierro who filled the placings behind Ocean Park in 2012. 

Of those six 3YO male Cox Plate winners and placegetters, four brought a top three Caulfield Guineas finish into the Cox Plate. All Too Hard won the Guineas, while Pierro was second and, like Wandjina, Shamus Award & Manhattan Rain were third.

So You Think was fifth in the 2009 Guineas behind Starspangledbanner, Carrara, Manhattan Rain and Extra Zero. Savabeel had not started in Melbourne before the Cox Plate and came into the race off a Spring Champion S. G1 win.

A total of three wins and three placings from 11 starters gives an excellent 2004-13 Cox Plate top-three strike rate of 54.5% for 3YO colts.

Incidentally, the only two 3YO fillies that have run in the Cox Plate over the last ten years are both by Redoute’s Choice: Samantha Miss (3rd, 2008) and Miss Finland (6th, 2006) – she also ran as a 4YO in El Segundo’s 2007 Cox Plate, finishing fourth.

In all, twenty-one fillies and mares have started a total of 24 times in the Cox Plate since 2004. (Avienus, Miss Finland & More Joyous each started twice.)

Makybe Diva (2005) and Pinker Pinker (2011) have won the race during that period, while Samantha Miss and a third daughter of Redoute’s Choice, Lotteria (2nd, 2005) have both placed. One other Redoute’s Choice mare, King’s Rose, finished 7th as a 4YO in the 2011 Cox Plate.

A total of two wins and two placings from 24 starts gives a strike rate of 16.7% for fillies and mares in the Cox Plate.

What can be concluded from this examination of recent Cox Plate history?  With rose-coloured spectacles firmly in place, and one eye slightly closed, the obvious bets are surely the 3YO colt with Caulfield Guineas form, and the mare by Redoute’s Choice!