New stakes performers for Smart Missile

While Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt power on at the head of the Australian Sires’ premiership, third season sire Smart Missile has also been busy, boosting his record with two new stakes performers this week, one of them on Oaks Day at Flemington.

First Light Racing’s 3YO filly Smart Coupe had impressed with two late-season juvenile wins and stepped up to run third behind Jorda and Snitzel’s daughter I Am Excited in the $150,000 VRC Red Roses S. 1100m G3. 

Smart Coupe, a $22,000 buy from Grenville Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Tasmanian Sale, is the first stakes performer out of Coupe, a Group 2-winning daughter of Spinning World. Her female family has enjoyed great Cup Week success over the years, thanks to VRC Oaks G1 winners Rose Of Kingston & Spirit Of Kingston, Kingston Rule (VRC Melbourne Cup G1) & Portland Player (Victoria Derby G1).

Smart Missile, holding second on the  Australian Third Season Sires’ list with $1.2 million, has also been represented this week by Sacred Missile (2nd, Macau Autumn Trophy LR), and 3YO gelding Luna Missile who broke his maiden at the Gold Coast in very impressive fashion on Cup Day.

Watch Luna Missile win at the Gold Coast.

A $120,000 purchase by Dalziel Racing & Aquis Farm from Arrowfield’s draft at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale, Luna Missile is the third winner out of Lunasong (by Unbridled’s Song). He counts among his relatives Hong Kong Group 1 winner Lucky Bubbles, and Group 2 winners Colorado Claire, Moonovermanhattan, Gunnison & Selenia.

Demand for Smart Missile’s 2YOs in training has been strong this year, with five lots averaging $192,500 at Magic Millions in October. They include three of the five top-priced horses, among them the sale-topping $320,000 colt out of County Mayo. Three Smart Missile 2YOs will be offered at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready To Run Sale later this month. 

Smart Missile takes aim at the new season

A stream of late-season results highlights the firepower Smart Missile has assembled to continue his excellent progress into 2017/18.

The brilliant son of Fastnet Rock has ended the 2016/17 season with a series of eye-catching performances by 3YOs Damaging, Special Missile, Launch Code and Brahmos, and 2YO Smart Coupe in Australia and 3YO Encore Boy in Hong Kong.

Sixty-six winners  have sealed Smart Missile’s status as Australia’s leading Second Season Sire by that measure. Exciting Group 3-winning juveniles Debellatio and I’ll Have A Bit, and stakes-winning 3YO Exocet are the main contributers to his $3.1 million prizemoney which has secured third position on the earnings Premiership, behind Foxwedge and So You Think.

Another notable feature of Smart Missile’s season is that his 57 second-crop winners place him fourth among all Australian 3YO sires, with plenty of heavy hitters behind him.  

His newest 3YO winner is the Gerald Ryan-trained Damaging (ex Sequinella by Catbird), who broke through at his fourth start for a comfortable, ears-pricked maiden win at Newcastle on Thursday. 

Stable representative Blake Ryan says, “He was a big, backward type early on, but now he’s a strong, straightforward horse that’s a pleasure to do anything with.

“This prep we’ll probably just try and pick off his grades for prizemoney for the owners, and then see where he sits next time around, but he is improving all the time.”

After two unplaced runs in his first campaign during the summer, Damaging has clearly benefited from development time. He returned to finish third at Hawkesbury eleven days before his Newcastle victory, which completed a sequence of three wins in three days for Smart Missile.

Watch Damaging win at Newcastle on 27 July.

Smart Missile’s latest Sydney metro winner of the season is Special Missile (ex Quiet Meadow by El Prado), who took his record to three wins from 3 starts with a stylish effort, carrying second topweight of 60.5 kg, over 1550 metres at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Special Missile’s trainer John Thompson says, “He’s going well, he’s come through the race well and he’ll line up again at Rosehill in two weeks’ time. We’ll take him through the grades and if he measures up in town, we’ll look at stakes options for him.”

John’s 2017 yearling purchases include a Smart Missile filly out of Danahere (by Dehere) bought for $70,000 in partnership with Proven Thoroughbreds.  He says, “We like a bit of scope in our horses and she’s a nice, well put-together filly.”

Watch Special Missile win at Canterbury on 26 July.

Gooree Stud’s Launch Code (ex Dearness by Snippets) was even more impressive on Tuesday at Wyong where he took charge of the 1000-metre Class 2 event round the home turn and raced away to score by 3.2 lengths in 56.96, cutting out the last 600 metres in 32.96.

Watch Launch Code win at Wyong on 25 July.

Transferred to Kris Lees after winning at Warwick Farm on 31 May for James Cummings (now with Godolphin), Launch Code obviously impressed jockey Glyn Schofield who said after Tuesday’s win, “There was plenty in the tank and it was simply lovely.” 

At Sandown on 19 July Brahmos (ex Jannah by Carnegie) produced a debut victory to match his good looks when he rocketed home over 1300 metres for a group of owners that paid $420,000 for him at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.

Watch Brahmos win at Sandown on 19 July.

Brahmos’ trainer John Sadler said, “I was very impressed with the way he handled himself. He always looked like he was going to be a winning chance.”

Melbourne filly Smart Coupe (ex Coupe by Spinning World) confirmed the promise of her 2.75 length debut win at Wangaratta with a slick win at Sandown on 5 July. Prepared by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra for a First Light Racing syndicate, she will be set for the VRC Red Roses S. G3 down the Flemington straight on Oaks Day in November.

Watch Smart Coupe win at Sandown on 5 July.

First Light’s Tim Wilson says, “She’s a lightly framed filly who surprised us a bit, she really furnished in the last six weeks of her campaign. She can sprint off a hot speed, her times stack up and her wins have been franked by the form out of Wangaratta and Sandown.

“She’s now in the fourth week of a six-week break, so will start at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate eve and then head to Flemington 13 days later.”

First Light, whose owners have celebrated 34 wins in 2016/17, also has a rising 3YO son of Smart Missile in the Ellerton/Zahra stable, Fallen Empire (ex Annlea by Canny Lad).

Tim Wilson says, “He’s a lovely horse with the best temperament, the most relaxed horse in the stable. He’s an Autumn three-year-old type, and is about two weeks away from a jumpout.”

Arrowfield graduate Encore Boy (ex Miss Bellezza by Flying Spur) capped his first season in Hong Kong with success at his fifth start, over 1000 metres at Sha Tin on 9 July.

Watch Encore Boy win at Sha Tin on 9 July.

Trainer Ricky Yiu, who bought Encore Boy for $210,000 from the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, said, “I think he’s still not ready to go around the turn but after giving him a couple of runs down the straight next season, I think naturally he’ll be ready for it. He’s very honest and he deserved that win.”

Smart Missile has also been represented in Hong Kong by 2018 Derby prospect Rocketeer (ex Some Girls Do by More Than Ready), successful over 2000 metres in June for the John Moore stable, and Sam’s Love (ex Dashie Diva by Dash for Cash), whose three starts this season included a win and a second. 

To this abundant talent, and the leading stables managing it, Smart Missile can add another significant advantage: numbers. With more than 450  foals in his first three crops, now rising four, three and two, he is perfectly primed to add major prizes to his stud record in 2017/18. 

First Light charges forward at Flemington

Melbourne-based syndicators Tim Wilson and Sam Kilkenny of First Light Racing celebrated a valuable Flemington victory last Saturday with a large group of very happy owners and trainers Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra.

The horse responsible for the big smiles and a subsequent stream of ecstatic tweets was Charge Forward’s 3YO daughter Face Forward whose fourth win took her prizemoney close to $130,000. Bred and sold by Torryburn Stud, Face Forward, from the Danehill mare Endearment, is a graduate of the 2013 Magic Million Gold Coast Sale.

It’s not the first time the son of Red Ransom has put First Light and their owners in the winner’s circle. In fact, First Light’s very first purchase was a Charge Forward filly from the Arrowfield draft at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Tim picks up the story.

“Mat and Simon had already tasted Group 1 success with Charge Forward’s daughter, the two-time Group 1 winner Response, so it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with a Charge Forward filly at the Magic Millions that was later named Menage A Charge.

“She was a Session 2 filly, a little backward, but she had the traits we’ve grown to identify in the Charge Forward yearlings and that attracts us to them: she was strong, with a good temperament and a fantastic mover, but above all else she had great size to her hindquarter and she immediately drew physical comparisons with Response as a yearling.

“Within six months Menage A Charge was flying around Flemington and like Response she went on to be a great success story for the stable. Obviously, Response won two Group Ones, sold for $840,000 as a broodmare at the end of her career and then her first foal last year cracked the $1 million barrier back at the Magic Millions, so she’s an incredible story.

“While not on the same scale, Menage A Charge did a wonderful job for our stable becoming our first city-winning two-year-old when she won down the straight at Flemington. She was FLR’s inaugural Racehorse Of The Year winner and she put our syndication company on the map. Until a few weeks ago I personally still rated her the most talented racehorse to wear our colours.

“Even though Face Forward and Not A Single Doubt filly Not A Happy Camper were also very talented city winners for the stable, I didn’t think they shared the sheer brilliance of Menage A Charge. I’ve probably got to reconsider that now Face Forward has won four times, including three city wins from her first seven starts. Her city wins have all been emphatic by good margins and on Saturday while she ‘only’ won by a length, her time of 1:09.77 for a filly carrying 58.5kgs was pretty brilliant.

“Like Menage A Charge, Face Forward wasn’t a big yearling, but she was powerful, moved well and like her Dad, you could see she would be a ball of muscle once she matured. Like Menage A Charge, she won a very early two-year-old trial at home, before we had to show patience with her due to a bit of immaturity in her knees.

“She then won her first two starts as a Spring three-year-old including beating a smart field at Moonee Valley and she’s now returned in the Autumn to win twice again at metropolitan level.

“We paid $105,000 for Face Forward in 2013 and she was our first ever six-figure yearling purchase, but she’s already covered that easily in prizemoney and like recent Charge Forward mares retired to stud (Response, Cavalry Rose, Assail) she’s going to give her owners a nice return when her career concludes. We will consider giving her a crack at stakes grade back at Flemington in a fortnight’s time and if she can get a black type result she’s going to be very valuable.”

First Light’s early success with Charge Forward’s stock has encouraged the team to buy two more yearlings by him, as Tim explains.

“We’ve got a really nice two-year-old filly named Seven Love who’s not far away now and our first colt by him this year. That’s a Charge Forward yearling each year for the last four years, all from Magic Millions, and so far we’re two from two with Menage A Charge and Face Forward both Flemington winners.

“We’d love to see lightning strike a third and fourth time as both Seven Love and our unnamed yearling colt have the same depth of hindquarter, and lovely moving attributes of the two star fillies – so fingers crossed the good times keep coming.

“The Chargies are obviously our favourite breed and I’ve got to admit every time a new catalogue arrives at the office, the first thing we do is check out the progeny by Charge Forward. I guarantee they’ll be the first yearlings we inspect in 2016 and hopefully many more years to come.”