Magnificent Shoals leads home Arrowfield Group 1 quinella

Sensational at Flemington in the Spring, dominant at Randwick in March and now magnificent at Morphettville in May.

That’s the story of Shoals’ season for her owner-breeders Arrowfield & Jonathan Munz after meeting and beating three Group 1 fields of quality fillies and mares. 

The daughter of Fastnet Rock and The Broken Shore has firmly established herself as Australia’s best 3YO filly and one of the most valuable distaff performers of any age in the country.

Saturday’s  victory in the $1 million SAJC Robert Sangster S. 1200m G1 was made even sweeter for Arrowfield by Secret Agenda’s gallant second placing, sealing a graduate Group 1 quinella for the farm. 

Secret Agenda (Not A Single Doubt-Negotiate) was a $120,000 buy from Arrowfield’s 2014 Magic Millions draft by Blueblood Thoroughbreds. Her sterling 4-season, 7-win, $1.5 million career includes the 2017 Robert Sangster Classic G1.

Watch Shoals win the SAJC Robert Sangster S. G1.

Three Group 1 wins in her first 10 starts stamp Shoals as something special and trainer Anthony Freedman and his team can be proud of preparing her for peak performances at 1600, 1400 and 1200 metres in two campaigns this season.

“What next for Shoals?” is the question that Jonathan Munz and John Messara are now considering.  The Freedman stable reported on Monday evening that Royal Ascot, at least for this year, is off the table, in favour of The Everest at Randwick in October, subject to accessing a slot.

In the meantime, Shoals’ excellent recovery after Saturday keeps open the possibility of a start in the $1 million Goodwood G1, also over 1200m at Morphettville on 19 May.

It has been a remarkable few weeks for The Broken Shore (by Hussonet), whose third foal is last month’s  $2.3 million Inglis Easter sale-topper, a full brother to Shoals. 

The eight year-old mare’s work-in-progress also includes 2YO filly Tides, retained by Arrowfield and Pineciff Racing, a weanling colt by Medaglia d’Oro and a fourth Fastnet Rock foal due this coming Spring.

Hussonet mares are compiling an impressive record with Danehill sons. Shoals and another Arrowfield graduate, dual Group 1 winner Majmu (by Redoute’s Choice), head the nine stakeswinners from 87 runners bred that way.

Thank you Stepitup & Ortensia

Leah Gavranich didn’t need to name the horse in her heart-breaking tweet on Monday evening: I will miss you my girl, forever in awe of your achievements 3 G1s, 3 countries, 9 months. Until we meet again.

There’s only one horse that Leah, the highly regarded foreman for trainer Paul Messara, could be describing: the magnificent sprinting mare Ortensia, who was euthanised at the weekend after developing a lung tumour.

Tribute to Champion Sire Hussonet

Champion sire Hussonet, responsible for 30 Group 1 winners among 96 lifetime stakeswinners, died at Cornerstone Stud, South Australia on Monday morning.

The 25-year-old son of Mr. Prospector leaves an imposing stud record in Chile and Australia, and son & daughters creating a wonderful legacy in both countries.

Hussonet was bred by Peter Brant & Julian Schnabel from the 1987 Champion US 3YO Filly Sacahuista, the grand-daughter of a sister to US Hall of Famer Shuvee and later the dam of Group 1 winner & sire Ekraar. 

Trained by Bill Mott for Sheikh Mohammed, Hussonet achieved the modest status of stakes-placed winner on the racetrack, but proved a spectacular success at stud, winning seven premierships in Chile before his purchase by Arrowfield Stud in 2003. He stood seven seasons at Arrowfield before his 2010 sale to Cornerstone.

His ten Australian-bred crops of racing age have produced the winners of more than $53 million, including 36 stakeswinners headed by six Group 1 winners: Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, Eagle Falls (MRC Oakleigh Plate G1), Gold Trail (ARC Railway H. G1), Hong Kong stars Glorious Days & Contentment and MRC Blue Diamond S. G1 winner Reaan, as well as multiple Singapore domestic Group 1 winner Stepitup.

Given that Hussonet’s progeny tend to improve with age, the runners to come from his last few crops, his sire sons Husson, Host & Rios and his excellent broodmare daughters (49 stakeswinners, including 10 Group 1 winners), his record is well short of final. 

Arrowfield Chairman John Messara says, “Hussonet was probably the most left-field stallion purchase Arrowfield has ever made – even I took some persuasion to consider a Champion Sire from Chile! However, when I analysed South American racing, his performance and his pedigree more closely, I realised he was something special.

“His very significant contribution to Australian breeding and racing remains evident this season, when he’s been represented by Hong Kong Group 1 winner Contentment & Singapore Horse of the Year Stepitup, and as a damsire by 2YO Group winner Honesty Prevails, Listed winner Selenia and, of course, the Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice.  He’s also the damsire of our exciting new stallion Panzer Division.

 “From all of us at Arrowfield, thank you Hussonet for a great job well & truly done.”

31st stakeswinner for Not A Single Doubt

The Not A Single Doubt train kept rolling at Flemington on Saturday when 2YO filly Selenia scored a stylish victory in the $120,000 VRC Festival of Racing S. 1000m LR.

The placegetters completed a happy result for Arowfield which owns Response (dam of Alter Call, 2nd) and Comearoundsundown (half-sister to Creativity, 3rd).

Watch Selenia win the Festival of Racing S. LR.

Selenia is the 31st stakeswinner for the outstanding son of Redoute’s Choice, his 12th 2YO stakeswinners and one of eight stakeswinners that have rocketed him to the top of three Australian Sires’ lists this season.

Her solid fourth placings in both the Blue Diamond Preview & Prelude weren’t enough for a start in the Blue Diamond itself, but as trainer Robbie Griffiths said, it was probably a blessing in disguise.

It worked out well for Not A Single Doubt too, as his son Extreme Choice won the Group 1 feature and Griffiths lined up Selenia a week later, to add  $73,200 to her sire’s account.

There’s an even closer link between Extreme Choice and Selenia: they are both out of mares by Hussonet who now has 49 stakeswinners as a broodmare sire. 

The combination of Redoute’s Choice and his sons with Hussonet mares is fulfilling hopes for its effectiveness, with 7 stakeswinners – five of them Group winners – from 33 runners.

Selenia was bred by Jacob Park Thoroughbreds from Lunar Lady, an unraced sibling to Group 2 winners Colorado Claire (also by Hussonet) and Moonovermanhattan (by Manhattan Rain). The second dam is the Arrowfield mare Lunaspur, who has a yearling colt by Charge Forward and a weanling colt by Dundeel. 

Selenia has a close relative in the Arrowfield draft at next month’s Inglis Easter Sale. That’s Lot 240, the Not A Single Doubt colt from Colorado Claire.

Stepitup named Singapore Horse of the Year

Arrowfield added another Horse of the Year to its graduate roll on Thursday evening when Stepitup won the Singapore Turf Club’s most prestigious award for 2015. He was also voted last season’s Champion Older Horse.

The ultra-competitive 6YO gelding has been among Singapore’s stars since the beginning of his career in 2013, when he was named Champion 3YO after winning eight of his 11 starts that year, including the Singapore Guineas Sgp-1 and three other domestic Group races.

By his standards Stepitup had a quieter season in 2014, winning only one of his 11 runs, and placing in the Singapore Derby, Patrons’ Bowl & Raffles Cup, all carrying Sgp-1 status.

Transferred to the care of champion trainer Laurie Laxon at the end of 2014, he returned in defiant form last year to win six of his 12 starts from March to November. That campaign concluded with possibly his best ever performances, in the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the Kranji Mile Sgp-1 and his second Raffles Cup.

Watch Stepitup’s 2015 Kranji Mile Sgp-1 victory.

His career tally of 15 wins from 1000m-2000m, eight placings and $S2.4 million from 34 starts accurately measures the class and versatility he has consistently displayed for his owner, the Tivic Stable.

The source of those qualities is easy to find. Bred by Arrowfield in partnership with John Leaver’s Planette Thoroughbred, Stepitup is by champion sire Hussonet out of the grand racemare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (Nothin’ Leica Dane-Icecapade by Genghiz). She was a $20,000 Inglis Classic yearling buy for trainer Barbara Joseph who managed her 8-win, $614,000 three-season career including three Listed Race successes, and a third in Mummify’s 2003 MRC Underwood S. G1. 

A $460,000 purchase by Badger’s Bloodstock from the 2005 Inglis Broodmare Sale, Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has given the Arrowfield roster outstanding support, leaving six winners to four stallions, including dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 & Listed winner Bachman (by All American), as well as Stepitup.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’s 3YO son Zolotoi (by Starcraft) has been placed this season from the Adelaide stable of Mark Minervini. She also has a yearling filly by All American and a 2015 filly by Dundeel.

Stepitup is the fourth national Horse of the Year raised at Arrowfield, after Lankan Rupee (Australian Horse of the Year, 2014; bred & raced by Teeley Assets); Weekend Hussler (Australian Horse of the Year, 2008; bred & sold by Arrowfield in partnership with Jungle Pocket Pty Ltd); and Makybe Diva (Australian Horse of the Year, 2005 & 2006; reared for Tony Santic).

Stepitup, bought by Cliff Brown for $90,000, is one of six stakeswinners from Arrowfield’s spectacular 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier consignment which also produced Group 1 winner Snitzerland (bought for $125,000), Group 2 winners Flying Snitzel ($25,000) & Honorine ($80,000) and Listed winners Smoko ($75,000) & Road Trippin’ ($22,500).

This year in Melbourne Arrowfield will offer 21 yearlings including three fillies & three colts from the first crop of international champion racehorse Animal Kingdom.

Arrowfield graduate treble at Sha Tin & Kranji

October began with notable wins in Hong Kong & Singapore by Arrowfield & Inglis sale graduates, and it’s ended the same way, with successes by Stepitup, Contentment & Blizzard on Sunday evening. 

Stepitup has book-ended the month with the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown, adding the $500,000 Raffles Cup to his Kranji Mile win on 4 October.

Hope of a Raffles Cup victory seemed forlorn until the very end of the 1800-metre contest when Stepitup and jockey Michael Rodd found clear air and went after the leader Fastnet Dragon. They caught him in the final 20 metres, winning by a half-length with Quechua more than two lengths back in third place. 

Watch Stepitup win the Raffles Cup Sgp-1.

Stepitup’s trainer Laurie Laxon said, “He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but he just has this amazing mindset, he just has to get the win.

“He’s only a small horse and is the quietest in the stable, you wouldn’t notice him, but what a motor he has. He will now go for the Gold Cup and I guess he would get the top weight of 58 or 59kg now, but he will be a big chance.”

The son of Hussonet and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was  has now won 15 races, ten of them at domestic Group level, and well over $S$2 million for his owner the Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup was purchased by Cliff Brown for $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling filly by All American and a filly foal by Dundeel.

At Sha Tin another son of Hussonet, 5YO Contentment, turned in a sub-1.34 time to win the 1600 metres HK$4 million Sha Tin Trophy HK-2, showing he’s right on target for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1. 

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Trophy HK-2 win.

A $65,000 John Foote purchase from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, Contentment has now won eight of his 11 starts and the equivalent of $1.7 million for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing.

Contentment’s trainer John Size said, “He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is from the Commands mare Jemison, also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a 2015 filly by Animal Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year Able Friend scored a brilliant victory in the next race, the Premier Bowl HK-2, and a quinella by Blizzard and Thewizardofoz in the last race, a Class 2 event over 1400 metres, signed off a big night for Australian-breds. 

Thewizardofoz (by Redoute’s Choice) was impressive at his season debut and first try beyond 1200 metres, but Blizzard (by Starcraft) was sensational, carrying a kilogram more than his rival, sitting wide for much of the race and rocketing down the centre of the track to win in 1:21.96. He ran the last 400 metres in 22.26, faster than any other winner on the ten-race program. 

Watch Blizzard & Thewizardofoz quinella the Zenith Excellent H.

A son of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stormy Choice, Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  He’s now won six of his 10 starts and returned HK$5.3 million (~$960,000) to his owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Stepitup dazzles in Kranji Mile

Sunday’s $S500,000 Kranji Mile Sgp-1 was expected to be another easy win for Spalato, unbeaten in all eight of his Singapore starts.

But Arrowfield graduate Stepitup, who started third favourite behind Spalato & Quechua, had other ideas about how the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown would work out.

When Pachelbel’s Canon set the pace in front, with Spalato ready to pounce behind him and Stepitup bustling along as usual at the rear, the race seemed to be unfolding as anticipated. It changed in a few seconds when Stepitup and Michael Rodd finally found a way through the wall of horses facing them at the top of the straight.

The pair hit the lead 400 metres out and put the outcome beyond doubt with a dazzling turn of foot that gave Stepitup a four-length victory – easily the biggest winning margin of the nine Singapore Group wins on his CV.

Quechua was second, with Wild Geese third and Spalato, possibly hampered by throwing a shoe during the race, more than five lengths from the winner.

Watch Stepitup’s Kranji Mile Sgp-1 win.

Stepitup has now won 14 of his 32 starts and taken his earnings to more than $S2.2 million – many times more than the $90,000 paid for him by Cliff Brown at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

The 6YO gelding is one of six stakeswinners sold by Arrowfield at that Sale. (The others are Group 1 winner Snitzerland, Group 2 winner Flying Snitzel, South African Group 2 winner Honorine and Listed winners Smoko & Road Trippin’).

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is by Hussonet from the multiple stakes-winning racemare and marvellous broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), also the dam of dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling sister to Bachman and last week she delivered a filly by Dundeel.

Stepitup is trained for the Tivic Stable by Laurie Laxon whose assistant Shane Ellis said, “That was probably his best run ever. It’s the first time I’ve seen him sprint like that.

“We still gave him a good chance as Spalato was third-up while he was rock-hard fit, so you never know what can happen. I told Michael to look at his races and how he must get him on the bit the whole way through.

“He’s a real champion and now he will definitely go to the Raffles Cup. He will run the journey and then we’ll see about the Gold Cup.”

The second Leg of the Triple Crown, the Raffles Cup 1800m Sgp-1, is run on 25 October, and the 2200-metre Singapore Gold Cup Sgp-1 follows on 15 November. No horse has yet won the Triple Crown.

Hong Kong Group double for Arrowfield & Inglis

Not Listenin’tome and Contentment have more in common than being highly impressive Australian-bred Group winners at Sha Tin on Thursday evening. 

Both are also Arrowfield graduates of Inglis yearling sales.

The Hong Kong International Sprint G1 is the obvious target for Not Listenin’tome after proving way too strong for his rivals in the National Day Cup HK-3.

The 5YO gelding jumped smartly and initially settled in a group behind the early leader Amber Sky, but when jockey Neil Callan pushed the button 400 metres out, the race was all over as Not Listenin’tome instantly sprinted clear to win by two lengths from Super Jockey in 55.90.

Watch Not Listenin’tome’s National Day Cup HK-3 win.

It was the second Hong Kong stakes win for Not Listenin’tome, also successful in last season’s Sha Tin Vase HK-3 after an excellent 3YO year for the Hawkes stable in Australia where he won the MRC Zeditave S. G3 and was twice Group 1-placed, behind Zoustar and Appearance.  With five wins & 5 placings from 15 starts, his earnings now exceed $A1 million.

John Moore, who prepares Not Listenin’tome for Matthew Wong Leung Pak, could not have been happier with the gelding’s performance.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked – he’s finally done what I wanted him to do. This should take him on his way to become Hong Kong’s top sprinter.”

Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas-Flame Of Sydney by Encosta de Lago) was bred by Michael Pitt & Mark Read and bought by George Moore for $270,000 from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale. Flame Of Sydney, herself a Flemington stakeswinner, has an unraced filly named She’s Got Power and a 2YO filly, both by Redoute’s Choice, a yearling colt by Snitzel and is foaling again to Snitzel this Spring.

Just over an hour later it was the turn of Contentment, Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse last season and a $65,000 John Foote purchase from Arrowfield Stud at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale.

He lined up in the Celebration Cup 1400m HK-3 where he settled comfortably in fourth spot for Joao Moreira while Beauty Flame and Divine Calling rolled along in front. Set alight round the turn, Contentment picked up strongly to hit the lead 200 metres out and win by a half-length from Giant Treasure in 1:21.17.

Watch Contentment’s Celebration Cup HK-3 win.

Moreira said, “He is a much more mature horse than he was last season and he showed us what we were expecting.

“I don’t think he is at his best at the moment and he still won, so we are very excited about what he will bring to his next races. Wherever he goes he will be competitive – he has heart.”

It’s the chestnut gelding’s first stakes victory among seven wins in Hong Kong, and takes his career prizemoney for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing to more than $A1.3 million.

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is a new stakeswinner for champion sire Hussonet, from the Commands mare Jemison, a relative of champion 2YO colt Align. Jemison is also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a recently foaled filly by Animal Kingdom.

Completing a tremendous night at Sha Tin for Inglis & Arrowfield was Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice by Redoute’s Choice) who sustained a big run to catch Go Baby Go close to the finish of the Class 2 Beijing Handicap over 1200 metres. 

Watch Blizzard’s win at Sha Tin.

Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  Five wins from 9 starts have now returned almost $A680,000 to Blizzard’s owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Chairman's Trophy goes to Stepitup

Arrowfield graduate Stepitup’s star has been high in Singapore’s sky for three seasons and there is no sign of it setting.

The 5YO son of Hussonet and Arrowfield gem Ain’t Seen Nothin’ won his eighth stakes race on Sunday, the Chairman’s Trophy 1800m Sgp-2, and did it in the unflinching, ultra-competitive manner that has earned almost $S2 million for his owner the Tivic stable.

Watch Stepitup’s Chairman’s Trophy Sgp-2 victory here.

Stepitup settled on the rails in the second half of the field before his jockey Manoel Nunes decided to take closer order before the turn.

Their chances of being in the finish didn’t look good at the top of the straight where Stepitup was momentarily blocked for a run as his stablemate Ideal Guide tried to steal the race. A gap opened just in time, Stepitup won the battle for it and set sail for the post, which he reached a quarter-length ahead of Wild Geese, with One Rar third by the same margin.

Laxon, celebrating his fifth Chairman’s Trophy victory, said, “He’s a lovely horse, only small, but all heart and an amazing will to win.

“He will have a bit of a break now and I will bring him back for the Kranji Mile and Raffles Cup later in the year.”

Stepitup was purchased for $90,000 by Cliff Brown at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and is one of six stakeswinners sold by Arrowfield at that Sale. (The others are Group 1 winner Snitzerland, Group 2 winner Flying Snitzel, South African Group 2 winner Honorine and Listed winners Smoko & Road Trippin’).

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is from the multiple stakes-winning racemare and even better broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), also the dam of dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a rising 3YO colt by Starcraft, a weanling sister to Bachman and is foaling this Spring to Dundeel.

Stepitup's seventh Singapore Group win

“Never-say-die warrior spirit” is the description Singapore Turf Club journalist Michael Lee applies to Stepitup and Sunday’s $S150,000 Yew Tee Classic Sgp-3 confirmed its accuracy.

The 5YO son of Hussonet made light of his 59kg topweight with a typically resolute performance, settling towards the rear before swinging wide on the turn and driving hard to hold off Emperor Banquet and Mr Spielberg in the 1800m feature.

Stepitup’s champion jockey Manoel Nunes said, “He’s the class horse in the race but I was a bit worried about the weight. He’s a small horse with a big heart and always puts in 100% in his races and today was no different.”

It was Stepitup’s second win for trainer Laurie Laxon this season, after the Queen Elizabeth II Cup Sgp-2 in April, and his seventh domestic Group success among 11 victories since his debut almost three years ago.

Stepitup was purchased for $90,000 by Cliff Brown from the Arrowfield draft at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and has now earned more than $S1.6 million for owner Thomas Loke’s Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup is by Hussonet from the fine racemare and even better broodmare Ain’t Seen Nothin’ (by Nothin’ Leica Dane), winner of eight races, three at Listed Stakes level, and third in Mummify’s 2003 MRC Underwood S. G1.

Ain’t Seen Nothin’ is also the dam of five other winners includng dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar (by Starcraft) and Group 3 2YO winner Bachman (by All American). Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a rising 3YO colt by Starcraft, a weanling sister to Bachman and is foaling this Spring to Dundeel.

Stepitup is one of six 2014/15 stakeswinners by former Arrowfield sire Hussonet, now standing at Cornerstone Stud in South Australia. The evergreen son of Mr. Prospector has had a remarkable career, as a multiple champion sire in Chile, sire of Australian Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler and, more recently, a valuable source of talent for Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Malaysia.

Contentment, another Arrowfield-bred son of Hussonet, was last week named Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse this season, and then franked that award with a brave win at Sha Tin on Sunday.