Charge Forward 3YO wins again at Kranji

Only three members of Charge Forward’s 2013 crop are racing in Singapore but all of them have won, most recently the promising Mark Walker-trained pair Hatta (on 16 September), and Awatere, successful for the second time on Sunday evening.

Awatere (ex Catbird Kitty by Catbird) scored an impressive two-length win over 1200 metres, taking his earnings from six starts to $94,000 for New Zealand owners Craig & Pip Forsyth. Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis purchased the gelding for $50,000 from Lyndhurst Farm which presented him on behalf of breeder Dan Myers.

Watch Awatere win at Kranji on 9 October.

Awatere is from the same family as the good Hong Kong performer Best Eleven, also by Charge Forward, and descends from the dam of English Two Thousand Guineas winner Mystiko.

Hatta (ex Jujitzel by Snitzel) finished fifth behind Awatere on Sunday after his stylish maiden victory for the Al-Arabiya Stable on the polytrack last month. His breeder Carl Holt has been a strong supporter of both Charge Forward and Snitzel, and this year sold a filly bred on the same cross, out of his stakes-winning mare Zelsnitz, for $85,000 to Moody Racing at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

The third Singapore runner and winner from Charge Forward’s 2013 crop is Macarthur (ex Mozambique by Redoute’s Choice), who impressed as a 2YO last season with two wins before finishing just behind the placegetters in the Golden Horseshore Sgp-2 and Juvenile Championship Sgp-3.

Macarthur was bred by Ron & Deb Gilbert of Highgrove Stud and is trained by Steven Burridge for Adam & Brittany Levinson and Steve & Christine Levar under the Stars & Stripes Stable banner.

It won’t escape pedigree analysts that all three horses are all out of Danehill-line mares, as is Charge Forward’s leading Singapore earner this year, the nine-time winner Good News (ex Rezyana by Redoute’s Choice). 

In all, the fifteen Singapore runners by the son of Red Ransom have earned an average of almost $114,000.

Macarthur heads to Golden Horseshoe

Charge Forward’s 2YO son Macarthur’s second win at Kranji on Friday evening was even more impressive than his maiden victory a month ago.

He jumped smartly from barrier 10 in the 1200-metre IRT Juvenile Stakes and took up the lead with favourite Jupiter Gold in close attendance. Macarthur always looked more comfortable than his rivals during the race and had plenty left in to offer when Vlad Duric asked to him to sprint in the straight.

The filly Athena mounted a strong late challenge and got the better of Jupiter Gold, but Macarthur held her out by a head to score in a time of 1:10.78, cutting out the last 200 metres in 22:74.

Watch Macarthur’s IRT Juvenile Stakes win.

Steve Levar, who races Macarthur with his wife Christine and American couple Adam & Brittany Levinson under the Stars & Stripes Stable banner, was understably delighted with the gelding’s performance.
He says, “It was a great thrill for all of us to see win like he did and now he will more than likely be favourite for the Golden Horseshoe next month. He just keeps on improving and taking the next step each time he races and he has a great will to win.” 

Macarthur (ex Mozambique by Redoute’s Choice) was bred by the Gilberts of Highgrove Stud and offered at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, but he failed to meet his reserve. Sent to Gai Waterhouse, he trialled twice at Randwick before being sold privately to the Levar & Levinson partnership which has also enjoyed success with the Australian-bred Bugatty, bought last year from a partnership that included Deb Gilbert.

Steve Levar reports that Macarthur, who is prepared by Steven Burridge, has pulled up well after Friday’s race. “He will be given a quiet week to freshen up before we prepare him for the big one in July.”

He adds, “It’s a real credit to Ron and Debbie Gilbert who consistently breed top class thoroughbreds every year. We will definitely be taking a closer look at the Highgrove Stud yearlings next season.”

That’s good news not only for Highgrove, but also for Aushorse which sponsors the six-race Golden Horseshoe Series with the support of Inglis, Magic Millions & IRT. 

The final leg, the Golden Horseshoe Sgp-2, will be held on 8 July with prizemoney of $S325,000 plus a $S75,000 bonus for the winner if s/he was offered at an Inglis or Magic Millions Sale.  Macarthur’s cheque from last Friday’s win included a $S20,000 Auhorse bonus.

Recent Golden Horseshoe winners include Singapore Horse of the Year War Affair and Champion 2YOs Super One & Mr Big.

Well-established as a source of quality juveniles like Macarthur, Charge Forward also leaves his share of durable performers and one of them, 6YO Arrowfield graduate Bradman (ex Portrayal by Flying Spur) scored his sixth win at Flemington on Saturday.

Macarthur charges into Singapore 2YO Series

Back in August – it seems so long ago! – Gai Waterhouse was among the trainers interviewed by ANZ Bloodstock News about the stable’s most likely prospects for the new season.

One of the 2YOs Gai mentioned was a “nice colt” by Charge Forward from the Redoute’s Choice mare Mozambique. His name was Tribal and he duly appeared twice at Randwick in September, running second in a three-horse trial and then, at the Official 2YO Trials on 21 September, finishing 5th in his heat with subsequent Group 1 winner Prized Icon behind him.

Shinsoreness then held up his preparation for Queensland breeders Ron & Deb Gilbert of Highgrove Stud, who put him in training after he failed to meet his reserve at last year’s Magic Millions Sale.

Highgrove is a shareholder in Charge Forward and, as Ron says, “I’ve bred to Charge Forward every year since he went to stud, I know what a good Charge Forward looks like and Tribal was one. He was very athletic, an absolute tradesman, and I loved him.”

However, racing horses is a secondary activity for Ron. “Breeding is my passion, we’re busy and we live too far from major racetracks to get to the races very often, so most horses we race are for sale.”

That’s how a phone call from Steve Levar, the Australian-born, Singapore-based owner & CEO of iRaceMedia, led to Tribal’s sale in December 2015 to the Stars & Stripes Stable, established by the partnership of Levar & his wife Christine with US businessman Adam Levinson and his wife Brittany.

Levar, who draws on 30 years’ industry experience to manage the Stable’s six horses, had also bought Group-placed Melbourne winner Bugatty from a partnerhip including Deb Gilbert earlier in 2015. Re-named Vanderbilt in Singapore, he won his Kranji debut in September, a month after the partnership’s first runner, Risky Rockefeller, saluted the judge.

Tribal, now named Macarthur in keeping with the Stable’s American icon theme, extended this terrific run of success with an eye-catching maiden win at Kranji on Sunday.

The handsome, dark brown gelding had already begun his career on a promising note, with a third to Jupiter Gold in the Kranji Nursery Stakes on 10 April and trainer Steven Burridge was tempted to look at a leg of the 2YO Series for his next  start.

Levar suggested the 1200-metre War Affair Stakes, a restricted maiden, as a better option for the still immature Macarthur, and so it proved. Allotted 49 kg against his 3YO rivals, Macarthur shot out of gate 6, quickly crossed the field and settled comfortably in front with the other favoured runner Lim’s Dashing in close attendance.

At the top of the straight Lim’s Dashing kicked strongly, but once Macarthur balanced up, he responded with verve to hold him off by almost a length, with 4.3 lengths back to third-placed Nova Legend.

Watch Macarthur’s maiden win at Kranji.

Macarthur’s jockey A’Isisuhairi Kasim said, “I rode him in trackwork and he gave me a good feel. He’s got ability and is a real racehorse, but he’s still very green and still doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“In the straight, I didn’t pull the whip and waited for the other horse [Lim’s Dashing] to come up. That was when he responded and gave a very nice turn of foot in the last 200 metres.”

The Singapore Golden Horseshoe Series is now firmly on Macarthur’s radar, and he will be seen in the next leg on turf, the IRT Juvenile Stakes on 10 June. The Gilberts will naturally follow his progress with keen interest, but unfortunately without any further foals from Mozambique, who suffered laminitis and died two years ago.

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.

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.

Manhattan Rain's first Singapore winner

After three placings in his first four starts, Manhattan Rain’s 3YO son Marine Treasure broke through in determined style for his maiden win in Singapore on Friday evening.

Trainer Steven Burridge elected to bring the gelding back to 1200 metres after two thirds at 1400 metres and Marine Treasure responded with a steely performance to score by 1.5 lengths from What Iff and D’Buffalo Man in 1:10.32.

Watch Marine Treasure’s win at Kranji.

Marine Treasure was bred by Melbourne Polytechnic’s Northern Lodge Stud and sold initially as a yearling, then re-sold for $50,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Horses in Training Sale to Singapore syndicator Premier Racing.

Like Manhattan Rain’s Group 2-winning son Moonovermanhattan (who was a good third over 1400 metres at Caulfield on Saturday), Marine Treasure is out of a Flying Spur mare, the Group-placed city winner Okaylah. This is the family of Melbourne stakeswinner The Big Chill, also placed in Group 1 company.

Marine Treasure is the first Singapore winner for Manhattan Rain, the sire of 10 stakes performers from his first two crops and fourth on last season’s Australian Second Season Sires’ list.

Spirited new stakeswinner for Snitzel

Snitzel became the first Arrowfield stallion to put a new stakeswinner on the board this season when Snitzel Spirit won the S$150,000 Causeway Classic 1800m Sgp-3 at Kranji on Friday evening.

He is the 32nd individual stakeswinner by the outstanding son of Redoute’s Choice who will parade alongside his nine barnmates at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House later this week.

Snitzel Spirit has been a very consistent performer for the Threekingstwowin Stable and trainer Michael Freedman, earning almost S$350,000 from six wins and six placings in his 13 starts since his June 2014 debut.

Assistant trainer James Peters said, “He’s just so tough this horse. He always tries so hard and keeps improving all the time.

“We thought the race would be a bit tricky as we weren’t really sure about the speed. Corey [Brown] gave him a good tactical ride in the end and he was really genuine to the line.

“After this race, it is pretty obvious he can really stay. There is no real plan for him, we just wanted to see if he can run out the trip tonight and he’s done it.”

Snitzel Spirit was bred by the Middleton family at Redbank North and sold for $45,000 at the Winter edition of the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale. He is out of the fine producer Gifted Spirit (by Thunder Gulch), an unraced half-sister to Group winners Light Up The World & World Peace, and also the dam of Group 2 winner Rain Drum. This is the family of multiple Group 1 winner Bentley Biscuit and champion New Zealand sire Thorn Park.

The Middletons achieved earlier breeding success with another son of Snitzel, the 2YO stakeswinner Le Val. Now five, he has opened a fresh campaign in Brisbane with two wins, most recently at Doomben on 8 August. 

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.