Fifth stakeswinner for Manhattan Rain

Arrowfield graduate Wild Rain ended the season on a top note for her sire Manhattan Rain with a strong victory in Saturday’s $100,000 SAJC Lightning S. 1050m LR.

Wild Rain is the fifth stakeswinner for Manhattan Rain and his fourth this season, after Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan, and Listed winners Manapine & Ondina.

That means the son of Encosta de Lago will end 2014/15 as Australia’s joint leading 2nd Season Sire by stakeswinners, alongside Medaglia d’Oro.  Wild Rain’s latest contribution has also pushed Manhattan Rain into fourth on the earnings list, with more than $1.9 million prizemoney.

The 3YO Mark Kavanagh-trained filly started favourite at Morphettville after her dead-heat second in the MRC Sir John Monash S. G3 on 4 July.

Wild Rain coped admirably with the 7-minute race delay caused by Stoker spreading a hind plate and the fractious behaviour of Bay Road and Burst Away in the gates on either side of her.  She jumped well and travelled sweetly just off the lead, took control of the race in the straight and sprinted home resolutely to score by a long neck from Cashed, with Trupt more than three lengths back in third place.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Wild Rain is from North Flower (by Rory’s Jester), a 2YO city-winning half-sister to the dam of 2003 Horse of the Year Northerly.

North Flower has also left the stakes-placed city winner Flowerchild to Redoute’s Choice, and has an unraced 2YO daughter Tahlia Star (by Starcraft) with Luke Oliver, and a weanling filly by Animal Kingdom.

Wild Rain was a $150,000 Kavanagh buy from Arrowfield at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and is raced by 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. The filly has already rewarded them handsomely with five wins this season, career prizemoney of more than $220,000 and her new stakes-winning status. 

Fifth Group 1 victory for Lankan Rupee

The most eloquent verdicts on Lankan Rupee’s magnificent VRC Lightning S. G1 victory at Flemington on Saturday were delivered by the jockeys who rode his nearest challengers, Coolmore Stud S. G1 winner Brazen Beau and the previously unbeaten Deep Field.

Craig Williams, who rode Brazen Beau into second place, said, “Excellent. That level of performance would see him winning at Royal Ascot – provided the winner isn’t there!”

Third-placed Deep Field’s jockey James Winks said, “I was very happy in the run, he worked with me and quickened when I asked him, but the next thing Lankan Rupee went past me as if I was standing still.”

While the final time of 56.29 for the 1000 metres was 0.87 shy of Black Caviar’s 2013 race and course record, Lankan Rupee’s performance was no less dominant than the great mare’s win two years ago. His winning margin was almost 3 lengths and he posted a sub-32 second sectional for the last 600 metres.

Jockey Craig Newitt’s summary was succinct. “Outstanding. That was as good as he’s gone for me, when I went for him he was electric.”

Trainer Mick Price and his team have added a new dimension to Lankan Rupee’s racing style after his Spring campaign by encouraging him to relax behind the speed and produce his top speed only in the final stages of the race. The result was the 5YO gelding’s fifth Group 1 victory in 21 starts for owner-breeder Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets, and the first Lightning Stakes winner for his sire Redoute’s Choice. 

Lankan Rupee was born and raised at Arrowfield where his dam Estelle Collection (by Stravinsky) was based until her $1.4 million sale to Coolmore at last year’s Teeley Dispersal. She has since foaled a full brother to the champion sprinter.

The $300,000 winner’s cheque boosted Lankan Rupee’s career prizemoney to $3.9 million and takes Redoute’s Choice’s season earnings in Australia to $5.5 million. That puts the three-time champion sire well within striking distance of the top spot on the current General Sires’ table. 

Lankan Rupee’s next opportunity to contribute to that particular battle will come in the $1 million VRC Newmarket Handicap G1 on 14 March.

How Special she was

Outstanding sprinter Special has died this week at Arrowfield Stud at the grand age of thirty.

The daughter of Habituate and Sal II resided for most of the past two decades at Arrowfield, where she delivered the last of her 14 foals, three-time winner Dashing Dunlop (by Not A Single Doubt).

During a stellar racing career for champion trainer Colin Hayes, Special won ten races, including the three Group 1 sprints at Flemington, the Lightning, the Newmarket and the Gadsden, now known as the Sprint Classic.

It was in the 1988 Lightning Stakes, where she defeated outstanding sprinters Snippets and Redelva, that Special set the Flemington course record of 55.50 for 1000 metres. That record stood for a remarkable 25 years, until world champion sprinter Black Caviar won the 2013 Lightning Stakes in a time of 55.42 seconds.

Racing in an era of many superlative performers, Special subsequently ran third in the 1989 MVRC William Reid S. G1 behind Zeditave and Vo Rogue (11 Group 1 wins between them), and split Zeditave and Oakleigh Plate G1 winner Clay Hero in her third Lightning Stakes.

Special’s transition to motherhood was almost seamless. She was in foal during her last two campaigns and delivered a colt by Bluebird in August 1989.

Named Strong, he was the first of Special’s nine winners, which included the stakeswinners Specialize (also by Bluebird) & Stavka (by Xaar), as well as Lady Special (dam of G1 winner Bomber Bill and two other stakeswinners). Another daughter, Special Sal left the G3 winner Demographic.

Arrowfield owns Special’s last daughter Distinctive (by Falbrav) dam of the winner Distinctive Flyer (by Flying Spur). She has a weanling colt by Smart Missile and is again in foal to him.

In 18 years at stud, twelve of them in Arrowfield’s ownership, Special missed only three times, and after her final foaling six seasons ago, she began a third career as a cherished nanny mare for Arrowfield weanlings. 

Special by name, performance and nature, she has been buried in the Arrowfield graveyard.