Not A Single Doubt strikes at Randwick & Flemington

Saturday’s new Group winners Not A Single Cent at Flemington and Sugar Bella at Randwick gave Not A Single Doubt his eighth same-day stakes double and consolidated his position among Australia’s top half-dozen sires this season.

2YO colt Not A Single Cent showed the benefit of his debut fifth at Caulfield last month with a determined victory in the $200,000 VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2. 

Watch Not A Single Cent win the VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2.

That was the start of an amazing day for Canberra-based Michael Thomas, as owner-breeder of Not A Single Cent and his older half-brother Happy Clapper, who won the Canterbury Stakes G1 about 90 minutes later.

Not A Single Cent was sold to Ciaron Maher Racing for $280,000 from the Willow Park Stud draft at the Magic Millions Sale, with Thomas retaining a share of him, and Aaron Purcell training the colt while Maher completes his six-month suspension.

Sadly, the dam of both horses, Busking (by Encosta de Lago) died in January 2017, leaving a now-yearling full brother to Not A Single Cent. 

At Randwick the Kris Lees-trained Sugar Bella maintained her near-perfect record when she snatched a last-stride victory in the $150,000 Wenona Girl Quality 1200m G3. 

Watch Sugar Bella win the Wenona Girl Quality G3.

The 4YO mare has now won six of her 7 starts and returned almost twice the $135,000 Fesen Pty Ltd paid for her at Magic Millions, where she was offered by breeder Corumbene Stud. Like Not A Single Cent, Sugar Bella may step up to Group 1 company at The Championships. 

Sugar Bella is the last foal of dual Group winner Hula Wonder (by Hula Chief), and is related to Group 2 winner Fell Swoop, also by Not A Single Doubt.

Not A Single Doubt has added almost $400,000 to his Australian earnings in the past week and, with $7.9 million is comfortably ahead of sixth-placed Street Cry –  at least until Winx lines up in the George Ryder S. G1 on 24 March!

The son of Redoute’s Choice has taken his lifetime record to 53 stakeswinners, 18 of them juveniles. He has 19 lots catalogued in next month’s Inglis Easter Sale, including two colts in the Arrowfield draft

Snitzel's busy 24 hours raises the bar – again

Four winners on Friday evening, then valuable Saturday victories by a 2YO filly at Flemington and a 4YO mare at Wyong have taken Snitzel past yet another milestone.

That’s the $18 million season prizemoney mark – never seen before in Australia and achieved only a week after Snitzel punched through $17 million.

3YO colt Leningrad at Canterbury in Sydney, Arrowfield Magic Millions graduate Bowerman & 4YO mare Sprightly Lass at Moonee Valley in Melbourne, and Shinnecock at the Sunshine Coast got the Snitzel train rolling on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Shadwell Stud’s smart 2YO filly Nomothaj gave Snitzel his 29th Australian stakes win of 2017/18 when she claimed the $120,000 VRC Festival of Racing S. 1000m LR from a determined Irukandji (by Dundeel) and Nomothaj’s Lindsay Park stablemates, Virtual Insanity and Absaroka (by Redoute’s Choice).

Watch Nomothaj win the VRC Festival of Racing S. LR.

Nomothaj defeated the Magic Millions winner and current Golden Slipper favourite Sunlight in last October’s Maribyrnong Trial S. LR, but a Slipper re-match is by no means certain for the Love Racing-bred, Shadwell-owned daughter of Real Stolle (by Elusive Quality).

Head trainer David Hayes said, “We’ll have a bit of a think about it. She’s very good up the straight (at Flemington). I wish the Slipper was up the straight.

“I put Nomothaj in the race mad fresh so she’ll be really improved and I thought the two stablemates who finished behind her are coming winners as well.”

The $175,000 Magic Night S. G3 on 17 March and the $600,000 Percy Sykes S. G2 on 14 April are also possible targets for Nomothaj.

Snitzel’s final push to a new Australian season earnings total of $18,033,494 was completed by Just Dreaming whose class prevailed in the $150,000 Wyong Provincial Championship Qualifier. The 4YO mare, trained by Kris Lees for breeder Judy Wanless, is now the favourite for the $500,000 Final at Randwick on 14 April.

Snitzel has eight colts on offer at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale which begins tomorrow, while April’s Inglis Easter catalogue features 64 yearlings by Snitzel, including 8 fillies and two colts in Arrowfield’s draft.

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.

Clearly Innocent ready for The Everest

Not A Single Doubt has the distinction of putting up two contenders for The Everest from the same 2011 crop, Group 1 winner Clearly Innocent and Fell Swoop, a Group 2 winner and five times Group 1-placed.  

Despite their double-figure odds, both these 6YO geldings boast excellent past performances in the best sprint company. In their best form, both are capable of collecting the Everest winner’s $5.8 million prizemoney and putting Not A Single Doubt on top of the General Sires’ premiership. (He’s currently 7th with $1.6 million). 

Slot-holder Damion Flower of Jadeskye Racing was happy to wait until a fortnight before the race to finalise an agreement with owner-breeder Bruce Neill of Cressfield for Clearly Innocent to contest the $10 million race. 

Damion explains how he approached the business of finding the right horse. “I knew I did not personally have a horse for the race in this first year, but I was looking beyond that to the second and third years when I could provide the race with a Jadeskye-owned horse.

“The process of securing a runner I found enjoyable, as I like following all horses, so searching through the form of our top sprinters and their performances within the form races was second nature for me.

“The business side of it was exactly that, business, and from the outset I had it in my mind that I was going to wait till the very end. Even though I had a few horses in my sights, I still felt my best option was to secure the horse that was in form and Clearly Innocent was that horse.”

Damion believes several factors give Clearly Innocent (ex No Penalty by Zabeel) a strong winning chance in one of the best fields of sprinters ever assembled in Sydney.

“Firstly, he has a better than 50% winning percentage, he’s a Group 1 winner and he’s by a stallion whose statistics show that his progeny perform in high-rating races.

“I think his pattern and his race manners will set him up for a high pressure weight-for-age race. Over the years it’s been proven that you need a tough, strong 1300-1400 metre horse for 1200 metres at Randwick, and that’s what he is.

“He also has the advantages of Hugh Bowman to steer him for the race and Kris Lees, an outstanding trainer and horseman – for me that’s a winning combination.”

For Damion, the decision to run Clearly Innocent in Cressfield’s Silver and Black Diamonds, Yellow Sleeves and Cap was easy. 

“I would not have had it any other way, he has always raced in those prestigious Cressfield silks and that’s the horse’s and Bruce Neill’s identity and I would like that to continue.

“The partnership with Bruce was quite easy as we’ve raced a horse together before, and I always look at every yearling draft Cressfield puts together – they have a great broodmare band and Wayne Bedggood at the helm.

“My dealings with Bruce were simple, we spoke numerous times with ease and it was a professional process that ended with happy mutual agreement.

“I’ve also known Kris Lees for a long time, and the look in his eye when we talked about this horse made the decision quite easy for me.” 

 

Damion hadn’t previously considered what he might do if Clearly Innocent wins The Everest.

“I’m superstitious and don’t like to count my eggs before they hatch, but now that you ask, I think it may take a while to set in, especially being the inaugural Everest, but you can bet on one thing. You will see me at the sales buying a horse for Jadeskye Racing that I think can take me to the race in the next couple of years!”

Clearly Innocent’s Group 1 victory came in the BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup G1 on 27 May, and his last start was an eye-catching third behind In Her Time and Everest rival English in the ATC Premier S. G2 on 30 September.

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. 

Not A Single Doubt's 4th Group 1 winner this season

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.

Watch Clearly Innocent win the BRC Kingsford-Smith Cup G1 (Race 7).

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.

Clearly superior at Scone

“The only thing he’s guilty of – he loves Scone!” was race-caller Darren Flindell’s flourish as local hero Clearly Innocent romped away to his second consecutive victory in the $150,000 Scone RC Luskin Star S. 1300m LR.

Watch Clearly Innocent win the Scone RC Luskin Star S. LR.

The Cressfield home-bred couldn’t have been more impressive as he set out after Sweet Serendipity at the 400-metre mark and sprinted clear to score by more than two lengths from Snoopy and Gold Symphony.

The win extended Clearly Innocent’s unbeaten record at his former home track to six-from-six and delighted his new trainer Kris Lees who added the 6YO gelding to his stable after Greg Bennett’s retirement from training.

Lees said, “That was a great thrill, He’s got a great affinity with this track and he really let fly.

“He’s a lovely horse and that’s very pleasing to be able to produce him and for him to win like that today.”

The winner of last year’s Country Championship Final at Randwick has now won eight of his 14 starts and more than $600,000, and will now head to Queensland for a pair of Group 1 tests, the $700,000 Kingsford-Smith Cup on 27 May and the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap on 10 June.

Clearly Innocent is the best performer out of No Penalty, a city-winning daughter of Zabeel from the excellent New Zealand family of Group 1 winners Domino, Hero, Sale Of Century, Linky Dink and, further back, the classy 1980s 3YO Veloso.

Not A Single Doubt has 13 stakeswinners this season, including Group 1 winners Extreme Choice, Scales Of Justice & Secret Agenda, and his Australian prizemoney of more than $9.5 million is enough to keep him in the top five sires.

Zestful takes the Triscay Stakes G3

Arrowfield graduate Zestful lived up to her name and then some when she overcame a difficult run in a dramatic race to win her first stakes race, the $150,000 ATC Triscay S. 1200m G3, at Randwick on Monday.

A fall by the Godolphin filly Pearls marred the early stages of the race and ended the chances of Shillelagh. Pearls suffered a suspected seasmoid injury and was taken to Randwick Equine Centre for treatment, while her jockey James Doyle thankfully escaped serious injury.

Watch Zestful win the ATC Triscay S. G3

“I thought a cracking second or third was as good as it was going to get,” he said. “We were behind a wall of them.

“I dragged her back to the inside, I wasn’t balanced so she couldn’t have been balanced but as soon as she saw clear running she really dug in.

“As I said I didn’t think I’d get them but then the last 50 metres I thought we’re a chance.

“That was impressive.”

Smart Missile's month of metro winners

First season sire Smart Missile is on a mission in May and it’s all about winning – so far he’s added three new city-class winners to his CV in a fortnight.

The latest landed at Randwick on Wednesday when Bob & Fiona Guth’s home-bred colt Cadogan sprinted brilliantly in the straight to down the favourite Flow by 1.8 lengths over 1400 metres.

Watch 2YO colt Cadogan win at Randwick.

The good-looking colt first attracted attention with a trial win last October. He was fifth on debut in April and then third to another Smart Missile colt, Jericho, at Warwick Farm on 4 May.

Between Jericho and Cadogan, first-starter Blazing Steel contributed a smart debut win to Smart Missile’s May mission when he defeated older rivals at Scone’s Cup meeting last Friday. Bearing the same name as a very good 1990s sprinter, and prepared by Kris Lees for Ron & Judy Wanless, Blazing Steel is out of Beebop (by Success Express), a half-sister to Sydney stakeswinner More Than Great.

Watch 2YO gelding Blazing Steel win on debut at Scone.

Cadogan and Jericho may meet again in Queensland where the Sires’ Produce S. G2 on 28 May and the J.J. Atkins G1 on 11 June are live targets for both colts.

Trainer Bjorn Baker said after Cadogan’s win, “Winning Rupert and this fellow are the two clear leaders of my two-year-olds.

“It’s nice to see him [Cadogan] put his hand up. Winning Rupert is off for a spell and this one will go up to Queensland for the Sires’ Produce on Saturday week.

“The way he handled the 1400 metres today shows he should be suited in the Sires’.”

Cadogan is the result of an exercise that began for the Guths when bloodstock agent Vin Cox bought the Malibu Moon filly Cadazzle for $US115,000 at the 2010 Keeneland November Sale. Imported to Australia the following year, she was trained by Grahame Begg to win at Wyong, but was retired to her new home at Newhaven Park in August 2012 and served the following month by Smart Missile.

Bob & Fiona decided to race Cadogan themselves after his sale as a yearling fell through, but have continued to give Cadazzle good opportunities, resulting in a 2013 Pierro colt and 2014 Smart Missile filly. The mare is currently in foal to Snitzel.

Smart Missile has now had five winners, including Listed winner Sassy ‘N’ Smart, and the stakes performers Smart Amelia (Sydney), Smart Manoeuvre (Adelaide) & Fromparis With Love (Melbourne).

Beneteau quinella at Sydney 2YO Trials

A Newcastle-trained pair of fillies have given notice that Beneteau’s second and final crop is set to match the impact made by his first runners last season.

Twist Tops made it look easy  in Trial 5 at the Randwick 2YO Trials, taking control of proceedings after 300 metres and railing up smoothly to race away by 2.8 lengths from Arrowfield graduate Jeanneau (ex North Sea by Hussonet), with another 5 lengths back to Bella Vino. The time of 49.09 was third-fastest of the morning’s 12 juvenile trials, all held over 838 metres.

Watch the Beneteau trial quinella.

Twist Tops was bred by Bob Hannon, also the breeder of dual Group 1 winner Shamus Award, and is trained by Kris Lees for a partnership including Bob’s son David.

The filly is out of the smart city winner Imtops (by High Rolling), a half-sister to the dam of Group 1 winner Irish Darling, herself the dam of 2YO stakeswinner and young sire Fighting Sun. All are descended from one of New Zealand’s best racemares of the 1970s, Battle Eve (25 wins).

Jeanneau was bred and offered by Arrowfield at the Inglis Classic Sale where trainer Paul Perry bought her for $170,000, the second highest price paid for a filly at the sale. Her dam, from the family of champion sire Storm Bird and his sister, champion Canadian filly Northernette, has a 3YO filly, American At Sea (by All American), and a yearling colt by Smart Missile.

Beneteau (by Redoute’s Choice) was second on last season’s Australian First Season Sires’ premiership by earnings, winners & wins, but died in January 2013, leaving only 135 live foals, 49 of them in his second crop.