Fell Swoop set to descend on Everest

“Very, very excited!” That’s how Paul Armstrong, co-breeder and part-owner of Not A Single Doubt’s son Fell Swoop, describes his emotional state in the final countdown towards The Everest at Randwick on Saturday. 

The Canberra-based builder-turned-demolition specialist says, “I was lucky enough to be at the barrier draw on Tuesday, rubbing shoulders with Peter Snowden, Max Whitby and Damion Flower, wondering ‘How did we get here?’

“It’s good that little guys like us get a chance at these big races. It’s quite surreal, we feel very privileged and very grateful.” 

Back in 2003, Paul, Graham Singh and Mark Richards, friends since their schooldays at De La Salle Bankstown, all took shares in the Fasliyev-Crimson Flight yearling filly bought by Lee Curtis at the Magic Millions Sale, and named Touched In Flight. 

Remembers Paul, “She won her debut at Wyong, and we thought ‘How easy is this?’ She was very quick but wasn’t temperamentally sound so she was retired. We stayed in her ownership with Lee and a couple of other people and after we bred Fell Swoop, Mark, Graham and I bought her outright.

“Then Matt Dale bought Fell Swoop at Inglis Classic for $45,000 and we stayed in for 60%, with all of us bringing in other people to race him, so he now has 17 owners in all.”

The 6YO gelding has already given his owners a wonderful ride, winning nine races, including the BRC Victory S. G2, two Listed Races, and more than $1.6 million.  Five Group 1 placings – two of them in successive TJ Smith Stakes, in company with Chautauqua and English – have earned Fell Swoop serious respect, though that’s not reflected in his long odds for The Everest.

Says Paul, “I know the bookies don’t rate his chances highly, but he deserves his place in the field, and it’s a horse race so, as The Everest ads say, expect the unexpected!”

Paul highlights a few specifics in Fell Swoop’s favour. “Matt has had one aim for the last six months, to have him 100% for his Grand Final on Saturday.

“His coat’s come through, he’s thrived on bush walking and beach work at Moruya and Tye [Angland] is very confident and happy with him. And his best runs are usually third up.”

Fell Swoop’s prospects also improve with easing in the ground at Randwick. Untried on Firm conditions, he’s won seven times on Good ground and twice on Soft tracks. 

Paul nominates Fell Swoop’s unflinching will to win, and Matt Dale’s skill and dedication as key factors in their quest for the Everest. 

“Matt has been the most patient of trainers, he thinks about his horses all the time and his focus and attention to detail are second to none. It’s a privilege to share this experience with him and his family.”

It was Matt who negotiated with slot-holder Inglis, confirming Fell Swoop as the fourth Everest contender in June. 

Says Paul, “Our relationship with Inglis is wonderful, I can’t speak highly enough of Mark Webster and Jonathan D’arcy, and the whole Inglis team has been wonderful to deal with.”

Touched In Flight is playing her part too. She produced a “beautiful” full brother to Fell Swoop at Willow Park on 9 September, and visits Not A Single Doubt again this Spring.

And what if Fell Swoop wins The Everest? “I’ll cry like a baby,” says Paul, “then I’ll compose myself and make the speech!”

A Singularly Successful Year

One weekend in June 2010, Arrowfield’s Communications Manager Susan Archer went to Sunday Stables at Tulloch Lodge.

Susan recalls, “Of course, I was keen to see the young Arrowfield-sired talent in Gai’s stable, and we inspected several horses including a Not A Single Doubt colt for Star Thoroughbreds that the stable really liked.

“That was music to my ears because back in the winter of 2010 Not A Single Doubt was struggling to attract bookings, despite leaving lots of winners and receiving lots of praise from trainers who loved the straightforward ‘eat-sleep-train-race’ attitude of his progeny.”

The son of Redoute’s Choice had produced the respectable tally of 52 winners from his first two crops, seven stakes performers and several good city winners among them, but he needed stakeswinners, preferably out of major Sydney or Melbourne stables.

The tide finally turned for Not A Single Doubt when that 2YO colt Squamosa, bought for $140,000 from Arrowfield’s 2009 Magic Millions draft by Star Thoroughbreds’ Denise Martin, won his July debut, then progressed rapidly to Group 3 success and a narrow second in the ATC Golden Rose G1.

Along with first-crop gelding Doubtful Jack in Melbourne, he helped to fill Not A Single Doubt’s 2010 book with 192 mares and ignite the spectacular stud career that now includes three top 10 finishes on the Australian General Sires’ Premiership.

Not A Single Doubt has ended the 2016/17 season in fifth spot with $11.7 million prizemoney, slightly less than the $12.5 million that secured him the runner-up position behind Street Cry last year.  However, in terms of top-level racetrack performance and sale-ring results, 2016/17 has been Not A Single Doubt’s best ever season – so far.

Fourteen winners of 25 Australian stakes races (17 Group races) include four Group 1 winners in four states, at distances from 1000 to 1600 metres: 3YO Extreme Choice (MVRC Moir S. G1), 4YOs Scales Of Justice (WATC Railway S. G1) & Secret Agenda (SAJC Robert Sangster S. G1) and 5YO Clearly Innocent (BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup G1).

Over the past seven years, Not A Single Doubt has become a permanent fixture among Australia’s top ten 2YO sires and he closed out the 2016/17 season in 7th position. His 2014 crop produced a career-high four juvenile stakeswinners: Group winners Gunnison & Single Bullet, Moonee Valley Listed winner Doubt I’m Dreaming (sadly since deceased) and New Zealand stakeswinner Qiji Phoenix.

Gunnison was the star of Not A Single Doubt’s remarkable week at the Inglis Sales when he was knocked down for $1.4 million at the inaugural Chairman’s Sale of Racing Prospects on 30 March. He’s now in the stable of Champion Hong Kong trainer John Size.

At Inglis Easter, Arrowfield’s Quiet Maggy yearling colt made $1.25 million, helping Not A Single Doubt top the Sale’s sire averages for the first time. Finally, on 7 April, his grand Group-winning daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma was bought for $1.1 million by Arrowfield for its joint venture with Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm.  

In all, Not A Single Doubt’s 57 yearlings sold in 2017 averaged almost $250,000 off the $33,000 fee asked for him in 2014.

Now with 43 stakeswinners (7 at Group 1 level) on his CV and a full book of mares at his new fee of $88,000, Not A Single Doubt has come a very long way from the winter of 2010.

As Arrowfield’s Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer says, “Not A Single Doubt is a wonderful Arrowfield home-bred success story and we’re very grateful to all the breeders who have supported him, the buyers who’ve turned that support into profitable sales, and the  owners, trainers and jockeys who have given his sons and daughters their racing opportunities.

“He’s also a great reminder that we need to be very careful not to judge young stallions prematurely. Despite being an outstanding sire of juveniles, it took him 708 days to leave his first stakeswinner!

“Best of all, though, Not A Single Doubt has already shown how much he benefits from quality mares and his latest books are just superb. We’ve very excited about his future.”

That future might get off to a sensational start if his top-class son Fell Swoop, selected for the slot purchased by William Inglis & Son, can take out the inaugural $10 million The Everest at Randwick on 14 October.
  

Stakes double for Not A Single Doubt

Fell Swoop and Into The Red delivered Not A Single Doubt’s second same-day, same-track stakes double this season with strong wins at Doomben on Saturday.

Few horses this season have deserved a Group success more than Fell Swoop who went into Saturday’s $200,000 BRC Victory S. 1200m G2 as a clear favourite after three tremendous Group 1 performances in the Oakleigh Plate, the Galaxy and Chautauqua’s T.J. Smith Stakes

Things didn’t go exactly to plan at Doomben, but Fell Swoop unwound in characteristically determined fashion to overhaul Didntcostalot with Artlee third.

A Group 2 win, and two Listed wins in Melbourne last September are the highights of his nine-win, 14-start, $1million-plus career, but success at the highest level is obviously within his capabilities. He is the horse to watch in next month’s Group 1 features, the BTC Cup on 14 May and the Doomben 10,000 a fortnight later.

Fell Swoop was bred by Lee Curtis and partners Mark Richards, Graham Singh & Paul Armstrong (who remain in his ownership), and sold to his trainer Matthew Dale for $45,000 at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale.  The gelding’s dam is Touched In Flight (by Fasliyev), a descendant of  the wonderful New Zealand broodmare Simper, through her daughter Luminare.

Luminare won several races in Victoria in the 1930s for enterprising New Zealand owner-breeder Bill Hazlett, who regularly took teams of horses from his Southland base to compete in Australia. Luminare remained on this side of the Tasman and is also the ancestress of Group winners Radiant Blue, Crimson Cloud, Hula Wonder, Lemarque & Crimson Flight.

Into The Red’s third stakes win, in the $100,000 BRC Bribie H. 1050m LR, comes almost a year after his second black type success, in last May’s Ascot Handicap but there’s a good reason for the gap. The 5YO gelding was injured in a track gallop and has returned to racing after a seven-month paddock break and plenty of water-walking, with only a jumpout to tune him up.

Bred by Todd McKeon & partners, Into The Red was a $100,000 purchase by John Foote from Goodwood Farm’s draft at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.  He’s the best of the eight winners left by the unraced mare Red Sequin, a half-sister to the dam and grand-dam of a couple of top-liners, Champion New Zealand 2YO Maroofity and Champion Hong Kong Miler Beauty Flash.

Into The Red has now earned more than three times his purchase price with four wins and five placings for his trainer Kelso Wood and owners, Queensland property developer David Devine & his wife Diane, Mick Power, Neville Morgan & AFL legend Leigh Matthews. The same group raced another Kelso Wood star, Snitzel’s Group 1-winning son Sizzling.

Not A Single Doubt’s first same-day, same-track double came up at Ascot in Western Australia on 21 November, when Good Project won the Railway S. G1 and Let It Slip took out the Placid Ark S. LR. He had previously achieved a stakes treble, on 2 March 2013 when Petty Cury, My Ex Mate & Isabella Snowflake won at Ellerslie, Morphettville & Flemington.

It can be said with some confidence that Not A Single Doubt’s  $10.4 million prizemoney, earned principally by his 11 winners of 19 Group & Listed Races, has secured his second position on the 2015/16 Australian General Sires’ Premiership. The possibility that he may challenge the deceased Street Cry, in top spot with $12 million, will add plenty of interest to the final two months of the season.

Not A Single Doubt leads Sires' premiership

“It’s surreal,” was how breeder Andrew Ferguson described his experience of watching Extreme Choice win the $1.5 million MRC Blue Diamond S. 1200m G1 on Saturday.

The number 11 gate and being forced to race wide without cover weren’t enough to stop the colt from scoring an outstanding victory in 1:08.95, almost two lengths in front of his stablemate Flying Artie, with the Redoute’s Choice filly Zamzam six lengths away in third place.

Watch Extreme Choice win the MRC Blue Diamond S. G1.

The $900,000 winner’s cheque has swept Extreme Choice’s sire Not A Single Doubt past Street Cry to the head of the Australian General Sires’ premiership with a new figure of $7,244,601. Not A Single Doubt also tops the table by winners (102) and wins (155), and has claimed the No. 1 spot on both the 2YO & 3YO Sires’ lists.

The result was a career highlight for Mick Price who trained the quinella and, with his Bloodstock Manager Luke Wilkinson, bought Extreme Choice for $100,000 from the Bell River Thoroughbreds draft at the 2015 Inglis Classic Sale. 

Bell River, near Wellington in central NSW, is owned & managed by Andrew Ferguson and his wife Georgie who bred Extreme Choice in partnership with good friends Lloyd Walker & Bob Hogno.

The colt’s dam Extremely (by Hussonet) is an unraced daughter of Canadian Group winner Going To Extremes, and has left three other winners, including multiple Singapore winner Raise No Doubt (also by Not A Single Doubt). She has a yearling filly by Duporth, a weanling colt by Smart Missile and is back in foal to Not A Single Doubt.

Unbeaten in three starts, Extreme Choice has now earned almost $1.3 million for his owners Anthony Bongiorno, Matthew Davidson, Anthony Davis, Dennis Foley, Louie Gonzy, Karen & Ross Greer, Paul Horton, Gary Jones, George MacDonald, Paul Marsh, Arch Staver, Jim Turner, Dennis Turner, Shane Walter, Matthew Ward, Brad & Lisa Wheeler, Luke Wilkinson & the Newgate Farm Extreme Choice Syndicate.

Extreme Choice is Not A Single Doubt’s third Group 1 winner after Miracles Of Life and Good Project, and Fell Swoop did his very best to become the fourth, in the race after the Blue Diamond, the $500,000 MRC Oakleigh Plate 1400m G1. He went down by the narrowest of margins to a very determined and deserving winner Flamberge.

Between the two Caulfield features, Good Project was third in the $150,000 ATC Liverpool City Cup 1300m G3 and, earlier in the day, 3YO filly Single Gaze split Ghisoni and Stay With Me in the $175,000 ATC Surround S. 1400m G2.

On Friday evening Secret Agenda, another member of Not A Single Doubt’s 2012 crop, was beaten only by the Beneteau filly Almighty Girl in the $150,000 Typhoon Tracy S. 1200m G3.

In total, the Blue Diamond win and four Group placings have added $1,082,000 to Not A Single Doubt’s earnings in just over 20 hours – that’s around $54,000 per hour.

The son of Redoute’s Choice has four colts and three fillies on offer at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale which starts on Sunday. They include a powerfully built colt from Time To Move in the Arrowfield draft, Lot 396.

Not A Single Doubt cracks the century

It’s been a slightly below average week for Not A Single Doubt.

Only five wins, including Don’t Doubt Mamma’s Group 3 at Flemington, Clearly Innocent’s Country Championships Qualifier, a double at Goulburn, plus his 100th Australian winner for the season, the Robbie Griffiths-trained Song One at Sale last Tuesday. And another 2YO stakes placing, thanks to Jackson in Melbourne. 

It’s a tongue-in-cheek quibble, of course, because Not A Single Doubt is enjoying a spectacular 2015/16 season. The first 29 weeks have so far produced 167 wins in six countries – almost six wins a week – and he’s a more-or-less permanent fixture on the weekly Top Sires by Wins & Winners tables.

He heads the Australian General Sires’ table on both counts, with 101 winners and 151 wins, healthily in front of Written Tycoon, Fastnet Rock and Lonhro.

Not A Single Doubt has plenty of quality to match the volume and is giving the earnings list a good shake too. His tribe’s weekend work has nudged his prizemoney over $6 million, less than $240,000 behind table leader Street Cry, and almost $800,000 ahead of Fastnet Rock.

Both those rival stallions have major performers running for them over the coming weeks, but so does Not A Single Doubt. His 2YO son Extreme Choice is favourite for next Saturday’s $1.5 million MRC Blue Diamond S. G1, and second favourite for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper G1 on 19 March.

He has already helped Not A Single Doubt into third spot on the 2YO Sires’ list, where he splits his barnmates and fellow Redoute’s Choice sons Snitzel & the much-missed Beneteau. Together they’ve already notched up 15 juvenile winners this season, four of them stakeswinners.

Also in the mix for major Autumn prizes are Not A Single Doubt’s Group 1 winner Good Project, talented 3YO fillies Don’t Doubt Mamma & Secret Agenda, and Oakleigh Plate contender Fell Swoop. 

And there’s no doubt at all that Cressfield’s home-bred Clearly Innocent will be aiming to add the $400,000 Country Championship Final to the Provincial Final won last year by Not A Single Doubt’s son Sure And Fast.

Small wonder that demand for yearlings from Not A Single Doubt’s 2014 crop is so strong. The next opportunities to buy them come up at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where he has four colts & three fillies catalogued, including Arrowfield’s colt from Time To Move. 

Not A Single Doubt's Caulfield double

Two weeks after winning his first stakes race at his Melbourne debut, Not A Single Doubt’s son Fell Swoop did it again, only this time he had to overcome a pre-race hold-up and a difficult run.

The 4YO gelding had to be re-plated before the $120,000 MRC Testa Rossa S. 1200m LR and the procedure unsettled him enough that he pulled his way forward to share the lead three wide heading into the turn.

Fell Swoop seemed to be under serious pressure at the 200-metre mark when Charlie Boy headed him, but he fought back grittily to win by a quarter-length from the game Charlie Boy, who was giving Fell Swoop 5.5 kg, with Java third. 

Watch Fell Swoop’s MRC Testa Rossa S. LR win.

Trainer Matthew Dale said, “Once he didn’t get cover and switch off, he was there to be beaten today. That was a massive run… to come back off the canvas like that and win, it was a sign of a really good one. It just shows a real will to win that you don’t find in too many horses.”

Fell Swoop was bred by Lee Curtis and partners Mark Richards, Graham Singh & Paul Armstrong (who remain in his ownership), and sold to his trainer for $45,000 at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale.  The gelding’s dam is Touched In Flight (by Fasliyev), a descendant of Simper, the wonderful foundation broodmare for New Zealand’s Chelandry Stud.

Not A Single Doubt struck again at Caulfield when his daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma took out the $80,000 MRC Foundation Plate over 1400 metres for trainer Tony McEvoy. It was the 3YO filly’s second win from six starts and followed an eye-catching fourth in Stay With Me’s MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. LR two weeks ago.

Don’t Doubt Mamma settled midfield for jockey Luke Currie who got her into the clear at the 300-metre mark, balanced her up and then just had to hang on as she sprinted past Sacred Eye and Thames Court to win by a half-length.

Watch Don’t Doubt Mamma’s win at Caulfield.

McEvoy, who also trains the filly’s stakes-winning older brother Risen From Doubt, said, “She’s a highly talented filly, that was impressive.

“Once she was balanced she went from being some chance to the dominant winner and not many horses have that quality.”

Don’t Doubt Mamma (ex Coconut Mamma, by Fantastic Light from the celebrated Denise’s Joy family) will now head to the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 on 4 October and, all going well, on to the MRC  Thousand Guineas G1 six days later. Quoted at $201 by the TAB before the Atlantic Jewel Stakes, she is now $8 on the third line of betting behind Stay With Me ($4.20) and Pasadena Girl ($6.00) for the Guineas.

Don’t Doubt Mamma was purchased privately from Tyreel Stud by Blue Sky Bloodstock for Peter Katelanis and partners, most of whom also race Risen From Doubt.

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

Saturday’s victories have taken Not A Single Doubt’s Australian earnings in the first seven weeks of the season to $1,079,630, which places him fifth on the General Sires’ table. He has averaged almost a winner a day for the past month, so it’s no surprise to see him also holding second on the list by winners (30) and wins (37).

Not A Single Doubt's 24th stakeswinner

Four years after Karuta Queen burst out of Canberra to take interstate racing by storm, another Not A Single Doubt from Australia’s capital has emerged to make his mark on the national racing scene.

His name is Fell Swoop and on Saturday the 4YO gelding became Not A Single’s Doubt’s 24th stakeswinner with a decisive victory in the $120,000 MVRC The Cup Club S. 1200m LR.

The 4YO gelding, piloted by Damian Oliver, settled fourth after jumping well and capitalised on an untroubled run to bounce clear in the straight and win by 1.5 lengths from Beach Front and Griante. 

Watch Fell Swoop’s win in the The Cup Club S. LR.

It was Fell Swoop’s 7th win in nine starts from the stable of Matthew Dale who paid $45,000 for him at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale. Bred by Lee Curtis and partners Mark Richards, Graham Singh & Paul Armstrong (who remain in his ownership), Fell Swoop is from the 2YO winner Touched In Flight (by Fasliyev), a descendant of the 1970s dual Group winner Crimson Cloud.

Fell Swoop was one of three Saturday winners for Not A Single Doubt. The others were 5YO gelding Lauterbrunnan, who scored his second win at Doomben this season for the Robert Heathcote stable, and 3YO colt Cheltenham, who won easily on debut at Newcastle for trainer Kris Lees and owner-breeders Arrowfield and Alan Jones.

These collective efforts have boosted Not A Single Doubt’s season-start, and he is already holding fourth on the Australian General Sires’ list, with 21 winners of 27 races and a touch over $750,000 prizemoney.