Group race target for Charge Forward mare

The Group 3 Angst Stakes at Randwick on 10 October is the target for Charge Forward’s daughter Something Secret who scored a tough win over 1500 metres at Rosehill on Saturday.

Watch Something Secret’s win at Rosehill.

It was the 4YO mare’s third win from six starts and her first beyond 1400 metres for the Esplin family which bred her from two-time juvenile stakeswinner Secret Land (by Secret Savings). The distaff family is American, but has produced top horses in several countries, including Theseo, Australia’s Champion Middle Distance Horse of 2009.

Something Secret is the last of her dam’s three foals, and the third winner after a pair of Redoute’s Choice colts, Privately (a winner in Sydney & Melbourne) and Blind Alley.

The Esplins have already enjoyed Group success with another daughter of Charge Forward, Slightly Sweet (ex Semitone by Dubai Destination) who won four of her eight starts last season, including two at Group 3 level. She made an excellent season debut in Saturday’s ATC Sheraco S. 1200m G3, finishing strongly from the back of the field to run fourth.

Like Something Secret, she is trained by Jason Coyle and her likely Spring agenda includes the ATC Golden Pendant G2 on 26 September and possibly the VRC Emirates S. G1 on 7 November. 

The late Phillip Esplin bred Charge Forward and both he, and now his family have supported him from the start of his stud career. As the sire of 27 stakes performers, including nine Group winners, Charge Forward has a strong following among yearling buyers who have paid at least five times his current fee for 15 colts & ten fillies by him in the past two sales seasons.

Buyers of current 2YOs & 3YOs by the brilliant son of Red Ransom include Mick Price, Anthony Cummings, Robbie Laing, David Payne, Tony Gollan & John Foote, Aquanita Racing, Ellerton Zahra Racing, Steve Brem, John Chalmers and syndicators Darby Racing, First Light Racing, Slade Bloodstock, Te Akau Racing, Topline Thoroughbreds & Triple Crown Syndications.

Second Group win for Charge Forward filly

Charge Forward’s splendid daughter Slightly Sweet and jockey Kathy O’Hara completed a quarter-million dollar Autumn campaign with a commanding win in Saturday’s $150,000 ATC J.H.B. Carr S. 1400m G3.

The Esplin family’s homebred 3YO filly settled back off a strong pace and pounced late to score by almost a length from Anyaas and Sebrina in 1:24.36 – slightly faster than Dissident posted in the All Aged S. G1 three races later.

Trainer Jason Coyle said, “She hasn’t put a foot wrong this preparation. Full credit to the horse. We pushed her out to the 2000 metres and she wasn’t disgraced but this is her niche, 1400 to 1600 metres.

“She’ll go for a break now, done her job, and we’ll look towards the spring with her. I think she’ll come back a stronger horse off the break and we’re looking forward to the future.”

Slightly Sweet (ex Semitone by Dubai Destination) is by Charge Forward who was bred by the late Phillip Esplin, a founding director of Arrowfield and highly successful breeder in his own right. Slightly Sweet and Coolmore Classic G1 winner Plucky Belle are among several horses bred at Twin Palms Stud and raced by Phillip’s wife Michele, sons Hamish & Patrick and daughter Elise.

That adds an extra layer of significance to Slightly Sweet’s wonderful season, neatly described by Hamish Esplin after the filly’s first Group 3 win in the 1600-metre Keith F. Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange on 13 March.

“It was an especially memorable day for the family as 45 years ago and also on a Friday the 13th Mum and Dad got married.

“But what tickles us pedigree nerds the most is that Slightly Sweet is the culmination of a long history of breeding for Dad and Mum and the family, as we bred her sire Charge Forward as well as her dam Semitone – so a real breeding trifecta!”

Hamish added, “All of the plaudits must go to Jason and Kathy. Both of them have treated the filly with patience and kind hands and allowed her to do the work without being under any more pressure than needed.

“We’ve always been big fans of Jason as well as Kathy and maybe it’s because they’re both such understated people they tend to fly under the radar, but they certainly shouldn’t here.”

The unraced Semitone is descended from US Classic-winning filly How who, along with her equally talented full sisters Cherokee Rose and Sequoia, proved highly influential as the source of leading sires Tom Rolfe, Chieftain & Alzao, Horse of the Year Ack Ack and Grade 1 winner Sham.

Slightly Sweet is one of 15 stakeswinners (and nine Group winners) by Charge Forward whose 22 yearlings sold this season have averaged almost $80,000 – around 5 times his 2015 fee of $16,500 inc. GST.


Salsa spices it up for owner-breeders

All Salsa’s super win at Canterbury last week was noteworthy for more than obvious reasons.

It was certainly notable for jockey Sam Clipperton who out-rode his apprentice claim in the race, always a special achievement for a young rider. That he did it on a horse trained by his master, former champion jockey and now successful Randwick trainer Ron Quinton was icing on the cake.

The cherry on top was provided by All Salsa’s owner-breeders, the family of the late Phillip Esplin who bred the 3YO filly’s sire Charge Forward.

All Salsa is very much a legacy of Phillip’s enthusiasm for breeding and racing, as his son Hamish explains. “Dad loved the Tattersall’s Broodmare Sale, he always picked a few out of the catalogue and in 2007 he picked out Ashmal, a Shadwell filly off the track.

“She was by Machiavellian from a daughter of Salsabil, and Dad bought her for 28,000 guineas. Noel Mayfield-Smith trained her to win a race in Australia and she then had two Charge Forward fillies and a Duporth colt, but she died from complications after foaling in 2011.”

All Salsa is the mare’s second Charge Forward filly and Hamish sees a strong resemblance to her sire. “She’s very neat, very athletic, well put together and very like Charge Forward when he was racing.”

Last week’s win was All Salsa’s second success in two starts this campaign, after two placings and two fourths from the John O’Shea stable in the early summer before John’s move to Darley.

Hamish says, “We’ll take her to Saturday grade, then see whether she’s up to the next step. She should cope with 1400 metres and we’re hopeful she’ll get a mile.

“We’re very happy with what Ron has done with All Salsa, he’s a very uncomplicated trainer. He doesn’t have set ideas, he looks at a horse and treats it the way the horse wants to be treated.”

All Salsa is one of two horses that Hamish, his mother Michele, his brother Patrick and sister Elise have placed in the Quinton stable. The other is Loulinda, a winning 3YO War Pass half-sister to Group 3 winner Fast ‘N’ Famous.

Among the other dozen or so Esplin horses in training are last Spring’s Flemington Group winner Plucky Belle, and recent Melbourne stakeswinner Office Bearer, both with Peter Moody; 2YO filly Something Secret (Charge Forward-Secret Land) with Gai Waterhouse; and 2YO colt Aglet (Redoute’s Choice-Astinella), also joining the Moody stable.

The Esplins are busy developing a a 210-acre farm near Kulnura, little more than an hour north of Sydney, which will be home to their 30 or so broodmares and young stock.

Among those mares are Sydney’s Quest, a half-sister to Charge Forward (in foal to Smart Missile); Office Bearer’s dam Street ‘Em Sheila (in foal to Not A Single Doubt); and Pay My Bail, dam of stakeswinner White Sage (in foal to Animal Kingdom).

Hamish explains, “We all love to breed and race horses, and it was always Dad’s goal to produce the best progeny by the stallions we’ve bred. We haven’t done it yet with Charge Forward but maybe All Salsa can do it for us!”

Charge Forward, whose three new stakeswinners this season are headed by his 5th Group-winning 2YO London Lolly, will be available for inspection at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House, 21-24 August – click here for more information.