Bruce Neill’s well-known boutique farm Cressfield has achieved more than its share of success as a vendor of profitable yearlings and good racehorses.
But it’s a son of Not A Single Doubt he couldn’t sell that has given Bruce his most satisfying success as both breeder and owner.
It was Cressfield’s determination to give Clearly Innocent his chance as a racehorse that has been rewarded with a nine-win, million-dollar racing career, sealed at Eagle Farm on Saturday with an exhilarating three-length win in the $700,000 BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup 1300m G1.
Clearly Innocent is Not A Single Doubt’s seventh Group 1 winner overall, and fourth this season, after Extreme Choice, Scales of Justice and Arrowfield graduate Secret Agenda.
As Bruce says, “Correct sales horses are not the only avenue to owning and to racing competitive racehorses.” Thanks to Cressfield’s perseverance, and the skills of his first trainer Greg Bennett, Clearly Innocent finally made it to the track as a 4YO in August 2015.
His talent was immediately obvious and he won seven of his 9 starts that season, culminating with victories in the $500,000 Country Championship Final at Randwick and the Luskin Star S. LR at Scone.
After Bennett’s move to work with Aquis Farm in Queensland, Kris Lees took over the now 5YO gelding whose progress this Autumn has been even more dramatic, stepping straight from his second Luskin Star success on 13 May to a runaway victory at his first try in Group 1 company.
Clearly Innocent’s dam No Penalty (by Zabeel) hails from one of New Zealand’s best families of the past three decades, descended as she is from Mary Poppins, ancestress of Group 1 winners Veloso, Domino, Linky Dink, Sale Of Century & Hero.
No Penalty was bred by Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan from the mare Court whose sire Prince Echo, dam Tupelo Honey and damsire Vice Regal all played major roles in Chequers Stud’s remarkable success during the 1980s and 1990s.
Sold for $160,000 as a yearling at the 2002 Inglis Easter Sale, No Penalty won three races in Sydney and was then bought as a broodmare by Cressfield. Clearly Innocent and 4YO mare Champagne Kisses (4 wins) are the best of the four named foals Cressfield bred from her before selling her to Yarradale Stud for $16,000 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.
Clearly Innocent’s steep rise to Group 1-winning status has been matched by Not A Single Doubt’s emergence as a major Australian sire. Two years ago the son of Redoute’s Choice had just posted his 23rd stakeswinner, including his second Group 1 winner, and he ended the 2014/15 season inside the top 10 sires with progeny earnings of $7 million. Now, he has 42 career stakeswinners on the board, holds fifth spot on the General Sires’ premiership with $10.3 million and is pressing hard to finish the season even higher.