Stakes double for Redoute's Choice

Strawberry Boy and La Amistad put up equally dominant performances over very different distances on Saturday to give their champion sire Redoute’s Choice his fifth same-day stakes double this season.

Strawberry Boy claimed his first Group win in the $125,000 BRC Lord Mayor’s Cup 1600m G3 at Doomben with a strong front-running performance piloted by Zac Purton.

The 6YO gelding took an early lead, settled into a lovely rhythm and repelled the challenge of Estonian Princess before drawing away in the straight for a stylish 2.5 length victory. Lucky Lago and I’m Imposing filled the placings.

Trained by Chris Waller for owner and breeder John Singleton, Strawberry Boy earned black capital status in the Ladies Day Cup LR at Hawkesbury last November. He has now won eight of his 23 starts for prizemoney of more than $550,000. 

Strawberry Boy is from the fine broodmare Strawberry Girl (by Strawberry Road) whose eight earlier winners include Group 2 winner Danroad and stakeswinners Newtown Jet & Tippitaka. Sadly, their dam died last year, soon after foaling a colt by Not A Single Doubt.

A couple of hours later at Flemington La Amistad brought back memories of her famous big sister, three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, with a decisive victory in Flemington’s “other 3200-metre race”, the Andrew Ramsden S. LR.

Damien Oliver was happy to settle La Amistad at the back of the field and found that the further they went, the stronger she felt. By the home turn, she was ready to chase down the leader Lucciola and then hold off the fast-finishing Sonntag and Zabeelionaire to score by two lengths in 3:22.79.

The 5YO mare’s evident progress since her McKell Cup LR win at Randwick a year ago makes a 2015 Melbourne Cup campaign a realistic possibility for trainers Hawkes Racing and her owners Tony & Deslee Santic, Greg Ingham and Michael Sullivan.

La Amistad is from another first-class broodmare Tugela (by Riverman), who also died last Spring after delivered her 11th foal, a filly by All Too Hard. Makybe Diva, La Amistad’s Group 2-winning brother Musket and Group 3 winner Valkyrie Diva established Tugela’s worth some time ago.

It’s been a bountiful season for Redoute’s Choice, with 15 winners of 23 Group & Listed races in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, including five winners of 7 Group 1 races: Lankan Rupee, Majmu, Bonaria, Hampton Court & Wylie Hall. 

His four other stakes doubles since 1 August were achieved by Panzer Division (Sydney) & Rock Magic (Perth) on 6 September; Bonaria (Melbourne) & Majmu (South Africa) on 1 November; Scissor Kick (Sydney) & Vavasour (New Zealand) on 7 February; and Wylie Hall (South Africa) & Abidewithme (New Zealand) on 25 April. 

Vale Tugela, dam of Makybe Diva

The history-making racemare Makybe Diva is a big enough reason for the Australian racing industry to mourn the death of her mother Tugela on Friday morning.

However, Arrowfield has a few extra reasons to remember her, not least the fact that it was Tugela’s first home in Australia, after she arrived  in September 1999, six months before her Desert King yearling filly also came to Arrowfield.  That filly was, of course, Makybe Diva, winner of 15 races, seven at Group 1 level including three Melbourne Cups and more than $14 million.

Tugela returned to Arrowfield several times during her Australian breeding career, conceiving four times to champion sire Redoute’s Choice in 2O02, 2005, 2006 and 2008. The results of those matings, two colts and two fillies, significantly boosted her record and made it clear that Tugela was no “one-hit wonder.”

Her four yearlings offered at the Inglis Easter Sale all made well over $1 million, and three of them were by Redoute’s Choice: the colts Musket (sold by Arrowfield for $2.5 million, 2005) and Shadowofexcellence ($1.2 million, 2009), and the filly Bakarje Diva ($1.2 million, 2008). Tugela’s fourth million-dollar yearling was the Street Cry colt Rodway, sold for $1.2 million in 2012 and a two-time winner still in training with Peter Moody.

Musket won four races including the STC Shannon S. G2 for the Inghams; Shadowofexcellence is a multiple winner and was stakes-placed in Melbourne as a 3YO; and Bakarje Diva did not win but is now breeding for Baramul Stud.

The last result of Tugela’s visits to Arrowfield is La Amistad who became her sire’s 115th stakeswinner last May. Although she doesn’t possess Makybe Diva’s rare talent, the 5YO mare has won five races up to 2400 metres and goes to next Saturday’s VRC Lexus S. G3 in the hope of securing her own Melbourne Cup start. Given her pedigree and the early success of Redoute’s Choice as a damsire, she also has great prospects as a broodmare.

Tugela leaves her owners with the consolation of two valuable fillies, a 2YO full sister to Makybe Diva and her final foal, an All Too Hard filly she delivered this Spring.

Stakeswinner 115 for Redoute's Choice

The outstanding 2009 crop of Redoute’s Choice produced its 20th stakeswinner on Saturday when talented mare La Amistad strode to a four-length victory in the $100,000 ATC W.J. McKell Cup 2400m LR.

The three-quarter sister to three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva is also the champion sire’s 115th career stakeswinner and his tenth Australian stakeswinner this season.

La Amistad (ex Tugela by Riverman) is raced by her breeder Tony Santic with Greg Ingham and Michael Sullivan and trained by the Hawkes Racing team which immediately fielded questions about the 4YO’s Melbourne Cup prospects.

John Hawkes said, “She could be a Melbourne Cup horse, but that’s a dream. She is not Makybe Diva but she is going to make her own way and we’ll see how far that is. It is a good win for these owners because they have been patient, and that takes you a long way.”

Jockey James McDonald said, “She is still a baby, but she just towed me into the race and, as you would expect, she is a stayer. She has time on her side and the breeding is there. She is something to look forward to.”

La Amistad now goes to the spelling paddock with prizemoney of more than $140,000 after winning five of her ten starts this season.

La Amistad’s family has made several visits to Arrowfield Stud since Makybe Diva arrived there as a weanling in March 2000. Tugela has also left Group 2 winner Musket and stakes-placed Shadowofexcellence to Redoute’s Choice, and her Group-winning daughter Valkyrie Diva is the dam of Wales, another stakes-winning member of Redoute’s Choice’s 2009 crop. Makybe Diva’s only daughter, La Dolce Diva (by Fusaichi Pegasus) is in foal to Not A Single Doubt.

Redoute’s Choice remains on top of the Australian General Sires’ table with $9.6 million prizemoney, about $460,000 ahead of his son Snitzel with earnings of just over $9.1 million.