Zestful wins the Razor Sharp at Randwick

Arrowfield Magic Millions National graduate Zestful has ended 2017 as she began it, with black type success at Randwick and the bonus of a shot at the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies & Mares on 13 January.  

“Zest” is exactly what the 6YO mare displayed in the $125,000 ATC Razor Sharp H. 1200m LR. She settled midfield for Christian Reith and powered up quickly at the top of the straight to claim the lead 200 metres out. Her determination shone through when I Thought So challenged hard in the final 100 metres, but Zestful prevailed, taking her record to six wins and prizemoney of just over $400,000.

Watch Zestful win the ATC Razor Sharp H. LR.

Zestful is the fifth Australian stakeswinner this season for her champion sire Redoute’s Choice, and the best of nine winners left by Zest, by Marauding from Newhaven Park’s celebrated matron Summoned. 

She’s also one of nine stakeswinners from the 92 foals in Redoute’s Choice’s 2011 crop, a group headed by Group 1 winners Majmu, Peeping and Hampton Court.

Originally purchased for $90,000 by Frampton Racing from Arrowfield’s 2013 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale draft, Zestful is now owned by Paul Frampton and Widden Stud.

Arrowfield and John Leaver are breeding from her siblings Zing and Swing (by Not A Single Doubt), in foal to Maurice, and Tang (by Redoute’s Choice), in foal to Dundeel after delivering a colt by the six-time Group 1 winner this Spring.

A good week for Smart Missile

It’s been a good week for Smart Missile, with three new first-crop winners since 4 September.

First up on that day was Jonathan Munz’s home-bred filly Exocet, who showed plenty of grit to score over 1300 metres at Geelong.

Watch Exocet’s win at Geelong.

Trained by Lee & Anthony Freedman, Exocet is a half-sister to Caulfield Guineas-placed stakeswinner Ready For Victory, out of the Zabeel mare Crillon, herself a half-sister to Munz’s Champion 2YO Meurice. The third dam is  Ruby, dam of the multiple Group 1 winner and excellent sire Rubiton and his Group 1-winning brother Euclase.

Exocet is nominated for her first run in town at Caulfield on 17 September, with the Thousand Guineas G1 and the 2000-metre Caulfield Classic G3 as her October options.

Three days later, on Wednesday 7 September, Te Akau Racing sent Corporate Missile, one of their four Smart Missiles, to Matamata where she overcame a wide draw and a tardy start to drive past Saignon and Good Show close to home.

Watch Corporate Missile win at Matamata.

Corporate Missile’s dam is the unraced Mt Livermore mare Corporate, from the Best In Show family most famous in Australia for producing champion sire Redoute’s Choice.

Te Akau Racing, which turned out Smart Missile’s first stakeswinner Sassy ‘N’ Smart in New Zealand last season, bought Corporate Missile for $150,000 from the Jamieson Park draft at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Sale.  Both fillies are nominated for the New Zealand One Thousand Guineas G1 on 12 November.

Finally, on Sunday a third Smart Missile filly, Snip Missile showed the benefit of race experience when she scored over 1200 metres in fine style at Kembla Grange.

Watch Snip Missile win at Kembla Grange.

A member of the Snowden stable, Snip Missile is raced by Ron Finemore and John Leaver who bred her from the Snippets mare Snip Snip. That makes her a half-sister to four winners, including juvenile Group 3 winner Husson Lightning.

Smart Missile leads the current Australian Second Season Sires’ list by winners with eight and hold second on the earnings table with almost $225,000.

Detective undercover no more

Snitzel’s high-powered start to the season continued on Saturday when 3YO colt Detective proved too strong in the $120,000 VRC Exford Plate 1400m LR.

Despite drawing eleven of 12 runners, Detective jumped brilliantly for Chris Parnham who slid him across to settle second behind the early leader Zunbaqa, with Tessra in third.

That order didn’t change until the 300-metre mark when Detective pounced on Zunbaqa and drove clear, holding off the dogged finish of Tessera by three-quarters of a length, with Throssell third and Zunbaqa boxing on well for fourth.

Watch Detective win the VRC Exford Plate LR.

Detective is a good example of a colt that has benefited from careful development as a juvenile, when he finished second in four of his five starts, including runner-up finishes to Capitalist in the ATC Breeders’ Plate LR and to Seaburge in the VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2.

His progress was evident in his 3YO debut win at Wyong on 28 August and with a Flemington stakes win behind him, the path to the Caulfield Guineas G1 on 8 October looks rather more certain.

Detective was bred by the partnership responsible for last year’s Thousand Guineas G1 winner Stay With Me: Arrowfield, Alan Jones & John Leaver, and was offered under the Arrowfield banner at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale where James Harron bought him for $220,000.

Snitzel’s 42nd stakeswinner, Detective is trained by Peter & Paul Snowden for his owners Belinda Bateman, Newgate Farm, Matthew Sandblom, Fergus & Delia Doyle, John & Fran Ingham, Donna & Rob Love, Gary Diamond, Danny & Pauline Saab and APB International.

Detective is the third winner, after Bourne Supremacy and Secret Doubt, out of Covertly (by Metal Storm), winner of the WATC Railway S. G1 and third in the AJC Flight S. G1. She has since delivered two full brothers to Detective, the first a $170,000 buy for Paul Perry at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale, and the second a just-turned yearling. Covertly is due to foal this month to Champion European sprinter-miler Olympic Glory.

Snitzel has quickly notched up five Australian stakeswinners since 1 August: 3YO colts Detective, Russian Revolution & Thronum, and 4YOs Redzel & Arrowfield graduate Sooboog. The son of Redoute’s Choice retains his early lead on the Australian General Sires’ table with $1.2 million, around $200,000 ahead of Medaglia D’Oro, and also heads the list by winners (31) and stakeswinners.

Smart Missile is Australia's Champion First Season Sire

In the end, on the last day of the season, the 2015/16 Australian First Season Sires’ title came down to a $10,000 race at Gawler, at the edge of the famous Barossa Valley in South Australia.

And one brave filly lining up for her first start from the outside gate on a heavy track.

Arleigh, by Smart Missile from Lahana, a Hussonet daughter of the champion filly Alinghi, was sent by Arrowfield to champion South Australian trainer Phillip Stokes almost 12 months ago.

She quickly showed ability, but shin-soreness after her first trial in September and another minor setback in February, after her first trial win, delayed her racetrack debut.

Arleigh returned to the stable in May and this time, everything went smoothly. Trial-placed on 8 July, she won her fourth trial by 5.5 lengths. She was then nominated for her first race start at Gawler on 31 July.

Meanwhile, Smart Missile was deep in battle for Australia’s Freshman Sire honours. By Monday 25 July the brilliant son of Fastnet Rock held the lead, $505 ahead of Love Conquers All, thanks to weekend placings by Hair Trigger in Sydney, Gadfly at Newcastle and Smart Devil on the Sunshine Coast. Less than $25,000 separated the leading pair, Dream Ahead, Pour Moi and Sepoy.

On Friday, just two days before the end of the season, Love Conquers All edged past Smart Missile after The Ambassadore ran third at Ipswich, picking up $2600, including a QTIS bonus.

On Saturday, Fromparis Withlove boosted Smart Missile’s account, while Giroux & Lusitania made ground for Sepoy.

Come Sunday morning and the title was still up in the air, with three runners capable of deciding it.

Dream Ahead’s chance ended when his son Lord Zidane was scratched at Gawler. Henriques needed to win on debut at Pakenham to collect enough prizemoney and VOBIS bonuses to push Sepoy into the lead, but he was unplaced.

At that point, Love Conquers All, who stands at Sun Stud and is Queensland’s Leading Freshman Sire, still held the lead, by $870. Arleigh, named for the celebrated World War II American naval commander, Admiral Arleigh Burke, had to finish in the first three in the set weight 2YO Maiden to claim the premiership for Smart Missile. 

Ridden by Kei Chiong, Hong Kong’s Most Popular Jockey of 2015/16, Arleigh bounced out well from her wide draw and pressed forward to settle in the lead alongside From Fifth. Chiong steered her towards the centre of the track as the field rounded the turn, while Vieira sprinted through on the rail to claim the lead, and Artful Jack challenged out wide.

The effort was clearly beginning to tell on Arleigh, but perhaps she could hear Team Arrowfield cheering her on from Sydney & the Hunter Valley. She stuck gamely to her task to secure third placing and the vital $900 prizemoney that took Smart Missile’s season earnings to $454,705 – thirty dollars ahead of Love Conquers All.

Phillip Stokes said, “Arleigh did a great job, going first-up over 1200 metres. She had to do a lot of work to get on the speed, it was a really good effort.” All going well, the filly’s next start will be in three weeks’ time.

Smart Missile ends his Australian season with seven individual winners: Cadogan, Jericho & Mediterranean (all in Sydney), Blazing Steel, Hair Trigger, Missile Coda & Savvy Belle. In addition the fillies Smart Amelia and Smart Manoeuvre were both Group-placed, and Jericho & Fromparis Withlove were placed in Listed company.

Across the Tasman is Smart Missile’s best first-crop 2YO performer, Te Akau Racing’s Sassy ‘N’ Smart, who was successful on debut, a Listed winner at her second appearance and Group 2-placed third time out. 

Bred and raced by Gooree Park, and fully booked at Arrowfield every season since 2012, Smart Missile has generated extraordinary sale-ring business in the past three years: 238 yearlings & weanlings sold at an average of more than five times his unchanged $20,000 fee.

Demand for his progeny from trainers, syndicators and agents has remained strong in 2016, with a top price of $500,000 paid by Little Hung & Bahen Bloodstock for Arrowfield’s colt out of Pyrography at Magic Millions 1 – where Smart Missile had 26 lots sell for an average price of $147,308.

Smart Missile’s future looks even better. Eight of the top 10 sires on the 2015/16 Australian General list began their careers with a top-three finish on the First Season Sires’ premiership.  And every Champion Freshman since at least 2001 has become a Group 1 sire.

Smart Missile isn’t letting the grass grow under his hooves. Two days into the new season, his 3YO daughters Corporate Missile and Saronissi won trials at Te Teko in New Zealand, while his 3YO sons Missile Strike and Revolver did likewise at the Rosehill trials in Sydney.

First Group win for Wild Rain

Manhattan Rain’s smart daughter Wild Rain has obviously benefited from the good break Mark Kavanagh elected to give her after her five-start summer campaign. She resumed at Caulfield on Saturday to win the $150,000 MRC Sir John Monash S. 1100m G3 and did it without turning a hair.

Wild Rain jumped well from barrier 10 but was still left wide as Lord Of The Sky sped forward and the field began to sort out. Damien Oliver, back on board Wild Rain for the first time since he won on her at Morphettville in May 2015, elected to press on and settle her just behind Lord Of The Sky.

There she stayed until the top of the straight when she unwound the sprint that took her past the stubborn Lord Of The Sky 150 metres from home. Trevinder and Atmospherical came through late to nab the placings, but they didn’t threaten Wild Rain whose winning margin was 1.75 lengths. 

Watch Wild Rain win the MRC Sir John Monash S. G3.

The race was an easy watch for part-owner and stable representative Levi Kavanagh. He said, “We’ll space her runs this prep and keep her to the minimum distances. She’ll keep to these sort of races and definitely we will head towards the Magic Millions again.” Wild Rain was a valiant second in this year’s $1 million Magic Millions Sprint.

Her ability and professionalism is evident in her record of seven wins (three black type), five placings and $630,067 prizemoney from 18 starts for her owners Isobel & Levi Kavanagh, Brett Griffith & Tim Storey of Collins St Partners, Wade McKibben, Anna Stenswick’s DTTM Syndicate, Stan & Anna Hunt and Gary & Rhonda Ma.

A $150,000 buy from the Arrowfield draft at the 2013 Magic Millions Sale, Wild Rain was bred by the Stud’s long-standing partnership with John Leaver’s Planette Thoroughbred, also responsible for Miss Finland’s Group 1-winning daughter Stay With Me, Champion 2YO Filly Fashions Afield and Singapore Horse of the Year Stepitup among many others. 

Wild Rain is the sixth foal of juvenile winner North Flower (by Rory’s Jester) who has proven a valuable addition to Arrowfield/Planette broodmare band.

Stud Manager Paul Messara says, “North Flower is a good type of mare, she’s a half-sister to the dam of Northerly and she’s done a good job for Arrowfield and John Leaver since we bought her seven years ago.

“We’re now working with Wild Rain’s half-sister by Animal Kingdom – she’s probably the most forward of our rising two-year-olds, so I’m hopeful she’ll progress to the early trials.” 

A trio of recent juvenile winners (Tango Rain in Sydney, Inspired Estelle in Melbourne & Manhattan Street in New Zealand) also promise to give Manhattan Rain a strong start to the 2016/17 season, and build on his three-crop record of six stakeswinners and ten other stakes performers from 135 runners.

Like mother, like daughter in Guineas triumph

“She’s a beauty!” was John Messara’s reply to one of many messages of congratulation after Stay With Me’s outstanding victory in Saturday’s $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas 1600m G1.

It was an especially meaningful success for Messara, fellow owner-breeders Alan Jones & John Leaver, and the Arrowfield Stud team because Stay With Me is a home-bred daughter of Street Cry and champion filly Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice), and the 41st Group 1 winner bred by Arrowfield since 1985.

Miss Finland, bred & raced by the same three-way partnership, won the 2006 Thousand Guineas en route to Australia’s Champion 3YO Filly title and was trained by David Hayes, who now prepares Stay With Me with his nephew Tom Dabernig.

The race didn’t start well for Stay With Me who missed the jump, forcing jockey Dwayne Dunn to settle her near the rear of the field and ride for luck. However, that may have worked in the filly’s favour because she switched off while Take Pride set a solid pace up front.

Dunn began to push Stay With Me forward at the 600-metre mark and 300 metres later, just after the turn, the filly was in clear air with room to run. And run she did, hitting the lead 100 metres out to win by 1.75 lengths from Jameka, with Badawiya third. Stay With Me’s winning time was 1:35.89, a half-second faster than Press Statement ran to win the Caulfield Guineas thirty-five minutes later.

Watch Stay With Me’s Thousand Guineas win.

David Hayes said, “Top marks to Dwayne, he obviously had a lot of horse under him, but he rode her perfectly after the start she had.”

Criterion, winner of the Caulfield Stakes, and Stay With Me gave the stable a memorable Group 1 double.

Stay With Me has now won three of her six starts and taken her earnings to almost $420,000. A decision on the filly’s next start has yet to be made, but Hayes indicated that the VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes & Myer Classic are all options under consideration.

Miss Finland, whose five Group 1 victories included the 2006 Golden Slipper, is also the dam of stakes-placed city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet) and a 2YO colt by More Than Ready, purchased for $500,000 by Katsumi Yoshida at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.  Arrowfield’s queen has since produced a 2014 filly by Animal Kingdom and she recently foaled a colt by Dundeel. 

Stay With Me is the 18th Group 1 winner for her sire Street Cry, who died just over a year ago, and the fourth Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire, after Sacred Falls, Zoustar & Pasadena Girl, who finished a game fourth in the Thousand Guineas.

Stay With Me sensational in Listed win

Champion filly Miss Finland was simply exceptional on the racetrack, winning five Group 1 races during a stellar 11-win, $4.6 million career, including the Golden Slippper and the VRC Oaks.

Now she has a daughter in something close to her own mould. 3YO filly Stay With Me (by Street Cry) didn’t just win Saturday’s MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. LR: she put it away with the authority of a filly on her way to stardom.

Stay With Me jumped well enough from gate 13, then settled back and wide with only a couple of runners behind her.  She held her place with cover and made ground mid-race, then quickened up before the turn which she rounded with alacrity, before powering clear to win by 1.5 lengths in 1:11.37.

Her performance was franked by the good efforts of the runner-up, juvenile Group 1 winner Pasadena Girl and Jameka, a further 1.5 lengths away in third place.  Not A Single Doubt’s daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma was an eye-catching fourth.

Watch Stay With Me’s Atlantic Jewel S. LR win.

Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said, “She’s a high-class filly and I thought there was a lot of merit to her win.

“She drew a wide gate today and she had to sit back, she was caught deep, and she showed an excellent turn of foot. She’s got a lot of improvement in her. Her coat is a bit of a patchwork quilt and she’ll improve.”

Dabernig’s uncle and training partner David Hayes also prepared Miss Finland and, like her dam, Stay With Me is owned by the long-standing breeding & racing partnership of Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones.

Stay With Me is the 90th stakeswinner by Street Cry, and the 36th stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire. Her principal Spring target is the $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas G1 – won by her mother nine years ago – on 10 October.

Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice) retired to stud at Arrowfield in 2008 and adapted beautifully to her new life as a broodmare.

Her first foal to race, Woodbine (by Hussonet), has compiled a respectable record in Sydney from the Gai Waterhouse stable, winning three city races and earning black type in the ATC South Pacific Classic LR at three. He will do his future racing from the Chris Gangemi stable in Perth. 

Stay With Me is the first of Miss Finland’s fillies to race. Woodbine’s sister Miss Helsinki has a yearling filly by Smart Missile and last month delivered a filly by Dundeel, while Stay With Me’s year-older sister Tuusula foaled a colt by All American on 22 August.

Katsumi Yoshida purchased the More Than Ready-Miss Finland colt for $500,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and last year Miss Finland produced a filly to Animal Kingdom that will be retained by her breeders. The champion mare and stakes producer is due to foal to Dundeel later this month.

Third Group win for Not A Single Doubt mare

Gypsy Diamond made the most of her first opportunity at 2000 metres since her Spring 3YO campaign with a sparkling success in Saturday’s $150,000 ATC Japan Racing Association Plate G3.

The 4YO daughter of Not A Single Doubt missed the start but settled easily on the rail, near the back of the field. Faced with a wall of horses coming round the home bend and plenty of firepower beneath him, jockey Sam Clipperton waited patiently for space to open up in front of the mare.

The pair drove through on the inside of Index Linked and went after Leebaz who fought bravely but could not withstand the powerful finish of Gypsy Diamond who won by a half-length in 2:05.61.

Former AJC Chairman and “Wagga boy” Ron Finemore, who bred and races Gypsy Diamond with John Leaver, was delighted with the mare’s fourth success which takes her earnings close to $750,000 and seals a start in next month’s $150,000 Wagga Wagga Gold Cup LR, also over 2000 metres. 

Gypsy Diamond, Miracles of Life & The Grey Flash are all Group winners for Not A Single Doubt this season and their performances illustrate the impressive versatility of his progeny.

Like Gypsy Diamond, the 2013 Blue Diamond winner Miracles of Life is trained by Peter & Paul Snowden, but her forte is short-course sprinting. She has won two Group 2 races over 1000 and 1100 metres this season, and stormed home for third in Sweet Idea’s ATC The Galaxy G1 on 21 March.

The Grey Flash became Not A Single Doubt’s 9th juvenile stakeswinner when she won the 1400-metre SAJC Sires’ Produce S. G3 on 11 April. Interestingly, she and Miracles of Life are both from mares by More Than Ready.

Gypsy Diamond’s stamina can be credited to her dam, Gypsy Tucker, a daughter of champion sire Zabeel, from the female family of champion sire Flying Spur and Encosta de Lago.

Gypsy Diamond has two younger half-sisters by High Chaparral and a 2YO brother by Not A Single Doubt, named Not A Gyspy and also in training with the Snowdens.

Not A Single Doubt is among Australia’s top 5 sires of 2YOs this season, 11th on the General list with almost $5 million prizemoney and his 2015 yearlings have sold up to $280,000.


Stay With Me earns black type on debut

It’s a tough gig being the daughter of a champion filly, but Stay With Me took the first step out of Miss Finland’s shadow when she flew home for second in Saturday’s $120,000 VRC Talindert S. 1100m LR.

The race was won by the Peter Moody-trained filly Pasadena Girl, also having her first start and, like Stay With Me, from a Redoute’s Choice mare.  She is the 34th stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire.

Miss Finland won the 2006 Talindert Stakes before finishing second in Nadeem’s Blue Diamond S. G1 and, two starts later, carrying the Arrowfield silks to a memorable Golden Slipper victory.

Stay With Me (by Street Cry) is raced by her breeders Arrowfield Stud, John Leaver & Alan Jones and trained by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig. Hayes also directed Miss Finland’s 11-win, $4.6 million career.

Miss Finland, also the dam of stakes-placed multiple city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet), has a More Than Ready colt in Arrowfield’s draft for the Inglis Easter Sale, a weanling filly by Animal Kingdom and is in foal to Dundeel.