Smart Missile strikes with a stakes double

Last season’s Champion First Season Sire Smart Missile struck in Adelaide on Saturday with his first stakes double and suddenly, the race for the 2016/17 Second Season Sires’ title has intensified.

The John McArdle-trained I’ll Have A Bit has progressed steadily from a debut fourth at Flemington on New Year’s Day, a second to stakeswinner Jukebox at Geelong and a third at Flemington a fortnight ago. She left no excuses for her rivals in the $200,000 SAJC National S. 1200m G3, driving along the rail from the rear of the field and momentarily held up before sprinting past hot favourite Booker to win by 1.3 lengths in 1:10.48.

Watch I’ll Have A Bit win the SAJC National S. G3.

Bred by Ken Breese, I’ll Have A Bit was a $48,000 buy for Redgum Racing from Basinghall Farm at the 2016 Inglis VOBIS Gold Sale. She’s the best of three foals out of Take All Of Me (by Jeune), a city-winning daughter of the very good multiple Group winner Tickle My.

Three races later, I’ll Have A Bit’s champion jockey Craig Williams joined Pinecliff Racing’s Freedman-trained home-bred filly Exocet to fight out the finish of the $125,000 SAJC Centaurea S. 2019m LR with Sort After and Have Another Glass. 

Watch Exocet win the SAJC Centaurea S. LR.

Exocet’s ability was seen early, when she won twice, at Geelong & Caulfield, in her first three starts last Spring. She wasn’t quite ready for black type Melbourne company then but has improved this time in and relished her first try beyond 1800 metres.

Exocet is the second stakeswinner, after talented colt Ready For Victory, out of the Zabeel mare Crillon, a half-sister to Champion 2YO Meurice.  This is the family of Group 1-winning brothers, leading sire Rubiton and Euclase. It’s also interesting to note that Exocet is in-bred 3 x 3 to Danehill.

In all, Smart Missile has added seven wins to his Australian record this week, consolidating his lead on the Second Season Sires’ list by winners (55) & wins (75). With little more than $400,000 covering Foxwedge, So You Think & Smart Missile at the top of the table, the battle for the Second Season Sires’ premiership is set to light up the final 10 weeks of 2016/17. 

Smart Missile's three-state success

Second season sire Smart Missile enjoyed success in three states on Saturday, including two city winners, a new stakes performer and an eye-catching runner-up at Caulfield.  All four horses have big Spring prizes in their sights.

The day began with Jonathan Munz’s home-bred 3YO filly Exocet (ex Crillon by Zabeel), who progressed in style from her maiden win at Geelong earlier this month to a 2.3 length win over 1400 metres at Caulfield.

Watch Exocet win at Caulfield.

Co-trainer Lee Freedman confirmed that the filly’s main Spring target is the VRC Oaks G1, with her lead-up race still undecided.  He said, “One way or another we’ll try and get her there. She’s improving all the time and has got a sharp turn of foot.”

Twenty minutes later Arrowfield’s own runner Hair Trigger (ex Touch of Greatness by Don Eduardo) was a close third to Guard of Honour and Flash Fibian in the $100,000 ATC Heritage S. 1100m LR. Bred by Gooree Park Stud and trained by James Cummings, he’s Smart Missile’s 7th stakes performer.

Back at Caulfield, Rocketeer (ex Some Girls Do by More Than Ready) split the favourite Harlow Gold and Kaching in the 1600-metre National Jockey Trust Plate. He has stepped up with confidence into city company since his maiden win last month and, like Hair Trigger, is nominated for the $500,000 Caulfield Classic G3 on 15 October.

Rocketeer is trained by Mick Price for by a group of owners including Segenhoe Thoroughbreds.

Smart Missile’s fruitful day ended at Belmont in Perth where Simon Miller sent out Royal Missile (ex Spirit of Grace by Dr Grace) to down the hot favourite Bonny Be Good in a 3YO maiden plate over 1300 metres.

Watch Royal Missile win at Belmont.

Perth Racing presenter Adam McGrath reported on Twitter that Miller has a big opinion of Royal Missile and will aim her at the $200,000 WA Champion Fillies S. 1600m G3 on 12 November.

Smart Missile leads the Australian Second Season Sires’ table by winners with 11, and is second on the earnings list with $375,323 – less than $40,000 behind Foxwedge.

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.

Snitzel's 26th 2YO winner this season

Snitzel’s 26th juvenile winner for the season came up on Tuesday when the Freedman-trained colt Curvature proved too strong over 1300 metres on Geelong’s synthetic surface. 

The cleverly named Curvature (ex Orbiting Belle by Spinning World) had been placed three times in his first four starts, including a second in February’s MRC Inglis Premier S. (R) LR. He qualified for that race when the China Horse Club bought him for $300,000 from the Three Bridges draft at the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. 

Snitzel’s 25 Australian 2YO winners in 2015/16 are headed by Group winner El Divino and debut stakeswinner Modern Wonder. Heavenly Blue, his only juvenile runner in South Africa this season, won first-up from the Mike de Kock stable last month.

Snitzel has already equalled Not A Single Doubt’s 16-year record of 25 Australian juvenile winners, set during the 2013/14 season, and he now has more than six weeks to build an even more significant tally.

As for Not A Single Doubt, he has a comfortable lead on the General Sires’ list by winners with 140, and heads the 3YO Sires’ table by winners (52) and earnings ($4.2 million).

Not A Single Doubt (2nd), Redoute’s Choice (7th) and Snitzel (9th) all sit inside the top ten on the main Australian Sires’ Premiership with collective season earnings of almost $27 million.