New stakes performers for Smart Missile

While Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt power on at the head of the Australian Sires’ premiership, third season sire Smart Missile has also been busy, boosting his record with two new stakes performers this week, one of them on Oaks Day at Flemington.

First Light Racing’s 3YO filly Smart Coupe had impressed with two late-season juvenile wins and stepped up to run third behind Jorda and Snitzel’s daughter I Am Excited in the $150,000 VRC Red Roses S. 1100m G3. 

Smart Coupe, a $22,000 buy from Grenville Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Tasmanian Sale, is the first stakes performer out of Coupe, a Group 2-winning daughter of Spinning World. Her female family has enjoyed great Cup Week success over the years, thanks to VRC Oaks G1 winners Rose Of Kingston & Spirit Of Kingston, Kingston Rule (VRC Melbourne Cup G1) & Portland Player (Victoria Derby G1).

Smart Missile, holding second on the  Australian Third Season Sires’ list with $1.2 million, has also been represented this week by Sacred Missile (2nd, Macau Autumn Trophy LR), and 3YO gelding Luna Missile who broke his maiden at the Gold Coast in very impressive fashion on Cup Day.

Watch Luna Missile win at the Gold Coast.

A $120,000 purchase by Dalziel Racing & Aquis Farm from Arrowfield’s draft at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale, Luna Missile is the third winner out of Lunasong (by Unbridled’s Song). He counts among his relatives Hong Kong Group 1 winner Lucky Bubbles, and Group 2 winners Colorado Claire, Moonovermanhattan, Gunnison & Selenia.

Demand for Smart Missile’s 2YOs in training has been strong this year, with five lots averaging $192,500 at Magic Millions in October. They include three of the five top-priced horses, among them the sale-topping $320,000 colt out of County Mayo. Three Smart Missile 2YOs will be offered at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready To Run Sale later this month. 

First Light charges forward at Flemington

Melbourne-based syndicators Tim Wilson and Sam Kilkenny of First Light Racing celebrated a valuable Flemington victory last Saturday with a large group of very happy owners and trainers Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra.

The horse responsible for the big smiles and a subsequent stream of ecstatic tweets was Charge Forward’s 3YO daughter Face Forward whose fourth win took her prizemoney close to $130,000. Bred and sold by Torryburn Stud, Face Forward, from the Danehill mare Endearment, is a graduate of the 2013 Magic Million Gold Coast Sale.

It’s not the first time the son of Red Ransom has put First Light and their owners in the winner’s circle. In fact, First Light’s very first purchase was a Charge Forward filly from the Arrowfield draft at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Tim picks up the story.

“Mat and Simon had already tasted Group 1 success with Charge Forward’s daughter, the two-time Group 1 winner Response, so it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with a Charge Forward filly at the Magic Millions that was later named Menage A Charge.

“She was a Session 2 filly, a little backward, but she had the traits we’ve grown to identify in the Charge Forward yearlings and that attracts us to them: she was strong, with a good temperament and a fantastic mover, but above all else she had great size to her hindquarter and she immediately drew physical comparisons with Response as a yearling.

“Within six months Menage A Charge was flying around Flemington and like Response she went on to be a great success story for the stable. Obviously, Response won two Group Ones, sold for $840,000 as a broodmare at the end of her career and then her first foal last year cracked the $1 million barrier back at the Magic Millions, so she’s an incredible story.

“While not on the same scale, Menage A Charge did a wonderful job for our stable becoming our first city-winning two-year-old when she won down the straight at Flemington. She was FLR’s inaugural Racehorse Of The Year winner and she put our syndication company on the map. Until a few weeks ago I personally still rated her the most talented racehorse to wear our colours.

“Even though Face Forward and Not A Single Doubt filly Not A Happy Camper were also very talented city winners for the stable, I didn’t think they shared the sheer brilliance of Menage A Charge. I’ve probably got to reconsider that now Face Forward has won four times, including three city wins from her first seven starts. Her city wins have all been emphatic by good margins and on Saturday while she ‘only’ won by a length, her time of 1:09.77 for a filly carrying 58.5kgs was pretty brilliant.

“Like Menage A Charge, Face Forward wasn’t a big yearling, but she was powerful, moved well and like her Dad, you could see she would be a ball of muscle once she matured. Like Menage A Charge, she won a very early two-year-old trial at home, before we had to show patience with her due to a bit of immaturity in her knees.

“She then won her first two starts as a Spring three-year-old including beating a smart field at Moonee Valley and she’s now returned in the Autumn to win twice again at metropolitan level.

“We paid $105,000 for Face Forward in 2013 and she was our first ever six-figure yearling purchase, but she’s already covered that easily in prizemoney and like recent Charge Forward mares retired to stud (Response, Cavalry Rose, Assail) she’s going to give her owners a nice return when her career concludes. We will consider giving her a crack at stakes grade back at Flemington in a fortnight’s time and if she can get a black type result she’s going to be very valuable.”

First Light’s early success with Charge Forward’s stock has encouraged the team to buy two more yearlings by him, as Tim explains.

“We’ve got a really nice two-year-old filly named Seven Love who’s not far away now and our first colt by him this year. That’s a Charge Forward yearling each year for the last four years, all from Magic Millions, and so far we’re two from two with Menage A Charge and Face Forward both Flemington winners.

“We’d love to see lightning strike a third and fourth time as both Seven Love and our unnamed yearling colt have the same depth of hindquarter, and lovely moving attributes of the two star fillies – so fingers crossed the good times keep coming.

“The Chargies are obviously our favourite breed and I’ve got to admit every time a new catalogue arrives at the office, the first thing we do is check out the progeny by Charge Forward. I guarantee they’ll be the first yearlings we inspect in 2016 and hopefully many more years to come.”

Face Forward & Duibio score at Flemington

A pair of promising 3YOs gave Charge Forward and Not A Single Doubt valuable Anzac Day successes at Flemington.

Drawn 12 for a 1000-metre dash at her first appearance on the course, Charge Forward’s daughter Face Forward was kept wide by jockey Dwayne Dunn, a tactic that paid off handsomely when she bolted in by 3 lengths from Puzzle and Capri in the smart time of 58.44 on the Soft6 track. Face Forward also recorded the fastest last 600-metre sectional of the day, 34.01 seconds.

Face Forward’s record now reads three wins from six starts for the syndicate managed by First Light Racing which bought her for $105,000 from Torryburn Stud at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Her dam Endearment (by Danehill) is a grand-daughter of multiple US Grade 1 winner Tappiano, from the family of 2011 US Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, dam of Shackleford.

Charge Forward has now given First Light Racing two winners down the Flemington straight, with Face Forward joining Menage A Charge, successful as a juvenile.

Syndicate manager Tim Wilson says, “We’ve had two gun fillies by Charge Forward so fingers crossed we can keep the momentum going. We have a really nice 2-year-old by the sire called Seven Love that’s only 5-6 weeks from hopefully making her debut, while we added our first Charge Forward colt (ex Joy Ride) to the stable at this year’s Magic Millions.”

Four races after Face Forward’s win, Not A Single Doubt’s son Duibio booked a trip to Queensland with his third consecutive victory. It was achieved in spectacular style from a very long way off the pace, as he jumped from gate 15 and  jockey Nick Hall elected to take the chestnut gelding to the back of the field.

Duibio stayed there until the top of the home straight when Hall took him to the outside rail and turned him loose to score by 1.8 lengths from We’ve Got This and San Amaro.

Duibio is the third named foal and first winner from the Star Way mare Dazzling, whose pedigree page includes three Group 1 winners, Veyron, Boundless & Limitless, as well as multiple stakeswinners Twinkling & Zero Limit.

Dazzling’s subsequent foals include a weanling colt by Manhattan Rain for her current owners Paul & Cushla Smithies of Monovale Farm in New Zealand.

Duibio is trained by Ciaron Maher for Garry & Marianne Towzell and is nominated for the Queensland Derby G1 on 6 June.


Face Forward goes forward at Moonee Valley

Charge Forward’s 3YO daughter Face Forward made it two wins from two starts with an emphatic all-the-way win at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

She did it in the simplest possible manner, jumping straight to the front and staying there to win by 2 lengths from Sea Spray and Devon Princess in 1:11.31 for the 1200 metres.

Co-trainer Mathew Ellerton later said he had thought about scratching Face Forward when she drew the widest gate among the nine runners.

“I thought about it (scratching) but she crossed them easily,” he said.

Ellerton said Face Forward, a $105,000 yearling purchase for from the Torryburn Stud draft at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, had always shown ability.

“She has always shown us something but she’s has been growing into herself and she has now.”

Winning rider Katelyn Mallyon said the filly flew the barriers. “She got a flyer at the start and she crossed them easily. She is definitely still learning and I think she’s going places.”

Face Forward (ex Endearment by Danehill) is raced by a large group of owners managed by First Light Racing.

Charge Forward's debut winners worth following

Debut winners always turn heads just a little more sharply than horses that win at subsequent starts.

That suggests three recent 3YO winners by Charge Forward (himself a stakeswinner at both his 2YO and 3YO debuts) deserve more than usual attention when they step out in metropolitan company.

First Light Racing and trainers Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra are looking forward to that next step after Face Forward (ex Endearment by Danehill) posted a 1.8 length debut victory at Echuca on Saturday.

“Smart filly – better races ahead for her” was First Light’s tweet after the win by their $105,000 purchase, with Ellerton, Zahra & bloodstock agent Paul Willetts, from the Torryburn Stud draft at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. The same stable also prepared Charge Forward’s outstanding dual Group 1-winning daughter Response.

Zahra says, “She has a very exciting future. You give yourself every chance to win plenty of races when you’re a tractable filly like she is. She jumps, travels on speed and has a good turn of foot – that’s a great recipe for success.”

Charge Forward’s breeder the late Philip Esplin was always among his staunchest supporters and his family also enjoyed first-up success on Saturday with their homebred filly Slightly Sweet. She stormed home from the back of the field to win by 1.3 lengths on debut at Kembla Grange for Michele, Hamish, Patrick & Elise Esplin, and trainer Jason Coyle.

Slightly Sweet, passed in at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, is out of the Dubai Destination mare Semitone, a half-sister to stakeswinner Stay Tuned, from the family of Tom Rolfe, Chieftain & Alzao. Semitone also has a 2YO filly by Charge Forward bought by Bryce Heys for $130,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale.

Jockey Peter Wells was certainly impressed with Slightly Sweet’s effort. “I think she could take the next step. I know it is hard to say after her first start, but she did do a good job drawing wide and getting out of her ground, then was really strong late.

“She beat the winner by a length and a quarter and they beat the rest by four and a bit. For her to be able to do that on debut from where she was on a shifty sort of track, I think she could be a serious animal.”

However, Hamish Esplin says the filly won’t be rushed. “At the moment we are considering just where to place her next, but likely in town. The temptation is to push her into stakes company, but we are patient people as you have to be, and Jason has always felt she will be better in the Autumn.”

The Gai Waterhouse stable has an exciting 3YO by Charge Forward, the gelding Confederate (ex Expect To Win by Encosta de Lago) who won his first start at Hawkesbury on a heavy track a fortnight ago after two good trial wins.

Gai’s Blog made these comments about that win: “He handled the track and won on pure class whilst giving the impression that he might be better on top of the ground. Since the first day he came in, this boy has shown plenty of tenacity; he has won all his trials, all his jumpouts, most of his track gallops and now his first start. He certainly has a huge will to win and this is a very important trait in any horse.”

Charge Forward’s record already includes seven 3YO stakeswinners, six of them Group winners. It’s a tally set to increase, and soon.