Rain reigns in McEwen Stakes

Manhattan Rain’s brilliant daughter Wild Rain confirmed a Group 1 campaign when she took early control of Saturday’s $200,000 MVRC McEwen S. 1000m G2 and never let go, kicking clear in the straight to win by a length from Furnaces and the favourite Heatherly.

Watch Wild Rain win the MVRC McEwen S. G2.

The keys to Wild Rain’s eight-win career are her consistent professionalism and serious pace – the kind of pace that puts early pressure on her rivals, finds a gear-change when challenged and keeps going until the job is done.  Or, as trainer Mark Kavanagh explains, “When you are able to run quick sectionals like her, it makes it hard for those chasing her.”

Given that ability and Wild Rain’s five-start, three-win record at Moonee Valley, the $500,000 Moir S. G1 on 30 September is a reasonable goal for her and that is where she is now headed.

The McEwen Stakes, which honours Moonee Valley’s visionary administrator Ian McEwen, is Wilid Rain’s fourth stakes victory and her second at Group level, after her MRC Sir John Monash S. G3 win in July.  The 5YO mare has returned five times the $150,000 Kavanagh bid for her at the 2013 Magic Millions Sale, where she was offered by Arrowfield on behalf the Stud’s long-standing partnership with John Leaver.

Wild Rain is the best of three winners left so far by North Flower (by Rory’s Jester), a 2YO-winning half-sister to the dam of champion and Horse of the Year Northerly, and a three-quarter sister of Group winners North Boy and Northern Song.  North Flower has a a 2YO daughter, Desert Flower (by Animal Kingdom), in training with Paul Messara for the Arrowfield/Leaver partnership.

The Teeley Assets-bred colt Manhattan Street almost gave Manhattan Rain a trans-Tasman double on Saturday when he was narrowly beaten after a tremendous battle with possible Victoria Derby contender Highlad in the Wanganui Guineas LR. A 3YO son of Lankan Rupee’s sister Charming Estelle, Manhattan Street lost nothing in defeat, after three consecutive 2YO wins.

Watch Manhattan Street’s 2nd, Wanganui Guineas LR.

Wild Rain, Manhattan Street and a second 3YO colt, Tango Rain (2nd, ATC San Domenico S. G2), all give Manhattan Rain a great chance of making his mark on the Spring’s major prizes in Sydney and Melbourne.

Not A Single Doubt's 24th stakeswinner

Four years after Karuta Queen burst out of Canberra to take interstate racing by storm, another Not A Single Doubt from Australia’s capital has emerged to make his mark on the national racing scene.

His name is Fell Swoop and on Saturday the 4YO gelding became Not A Single’s Doubt’s 24th stakeswinner with a decisive victory in the $120,000 MVRC The Cup Club S. 1200m LR.

The 4YO gelding, piloted by Damian Oliver, settled fourth after jumping well and capitalised on an untroubled run to bounce clear in the straight and win by 1.5 lengths from Beach Front and Griante. 

Watch Fell Swoop’s win in the The Cup Club S. LR.

It was Fell Swoop’s 7th win in nine starts from the stable of Matthew Dale who paid $45,000 for him at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale. Bred by Lee Curtis and partners Mark Richards, Graham Singh & Paul Armstrong (who remain in his ownership), Fell Swoop is from the 2YO winner Touched In Flight (by Fasliyev), a descendant of the 1970s dual Group winner Crimson Cloud.

Fell Swoop was one of three Saturday winners for Not A Single Doubt. The others were 5YO gelding Lauterbrunnan, who scored his second win at Doomben this season for the Robert Heathcote stable, and 3YO colt Cheltenham, who won easily on debut at Newcastle for trainer Kris Lees and owner-breeders Arrowfield and Alan Jones.

These collective efforts have boosted Not A Single Doubt’s season-start, and he is already holding fourth on the Australian General Sires’ list, with 21 winners of 27 races and a touch over $750,000 prizemoney.

Stay With Me sensational in Listed win

Champion filly Miss Finland was simply exceptional on the racetrack, winning five Group 1 races during a stellar 11-win, $4.6 million career, including the Golden Slippper and the VRC Oaks.

Now she has a daughter in something close to her own mould. 3YO filly Stay With Me (by Street Cry) didn’t just win Saturday’s MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. LR: she put it away with the authority of a filly on her way to stardom.

Stay With Me jumped well enough from gate 13, then settled back and wide with only a couple of runners behind her.  She held her place with cover and made ground mid-race, then quickened up before the turn which she rounded with alacrity, before powering clear to win by 1.5 lengths in 1:11.37.

Her performance was franked by the good efforts of the runner-up, juvenile Group 1 winner Pasadena Girl and Jameka, a further 1.5 lengths away in third place.  Not A Single Doubt’s daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma was an eye-catching fourth.

Watch Stay With Me’s Atlantic Jewel S. LR win.

Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said, “She’s a high-class filly and I thought there was a lot of merit to her win.

“She drew a wide gate today and she had to sit back, she was caught deep, and she showed an excellent turn of foot. She’s got a lot of improvement in her. Her coat is a bit of a patchwork quilt and she’ll improve.”

Dabernig’s uncle and training partner David Hayes also prepared Miss Finland and, like her dam, Stay With Me is owned by the long-standing breeding & racing partnership of Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones.

Stay With Me is the 90th stakeswinner by Street Cry, and the 36th stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire. Her principal Spring target is the $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas G1 – won by her mother nine years ago – on 10 October.

Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice) retired to stud at Arrowfield in 2008 and adapted beautifully to her new life as a broodmare.

Her first foal to race, Woodbine (by Hussonet), has compiled a respectable record in Sydney from the Gai Waterhouse stable, winning three city races and earning black type in the ATC South Pacific Classic LR at three. He will do his future racing from the Chris Gangemi stable in Perth. 

Stay With Me is the first of Miss Finland’s fillies to race. Woodbine’s sister Miss Helsinki has a yearling filly by Smart Missile and last month delivered a filly by Dundeel, while Stay With Me’s year-older sister Tuusula foaled a colt by All American on 22 August.

Katsumi Yoshida purchased the More Than Ready-Miss Finland colt for $500,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and last year Miss Finland produced a filly to Animal Kingdom that will be retained by her breeders. The champion mare and stakes producer is due to foal to Dundeel later this month.

Not A Single Doubt gets a Moonee Valley double

He’s well-established as a consistent source of smart juveniles and short-course sprinters, but Not A Single Doubt is versatile too, and more than a few of his progeny train on and get over 1600 metres or more.

Two of them were successful at Moonee Valley on Saturday, the mare Every Faith and the gelding Word Of Mouth, both foaled in 2010 and both sold at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Every Faith produced a strong finish to land the $80,000 Benchmark 90 opening event on the card, her fourth win in a $247,000 career that includes a Listed stakes win.

Second-up from a spell, Every Faith was was patiently ridden by Dwayne Dunn and improved steadily from the rear to make the lead 100 metres out and hold on to win by a neck from First Bloom and Coronation Shallan.

Bred by Dr Gene Tsoi, Every Faith is the first foal of the winning Zabeel mare Zephyria, also the dam of Group 2 winner Alpine Eagle (by High Chaparral), a 2YO colt by Starcraft and a yearling filly by Snitzel.

Another Zabeel mare who visited Not A Single Doubt in 2009 is Gypsy Tucker. whose resulting filly turned out to be Gypsy Diamond, a dual Group winner & Group 1-placed at 1600 metres, and winner of this season’s 2000-metre ATC Japan Racing Association Plate G3.

Every Faith was bought for $130,000 by Barbara, Barry & Rebecca Saunders from Three Bridges Thoroughbreds at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and is trained for them by Robert Smerdon.

After winning her maiden race at Seymour as a Spring 3YO, she was fifth in Kirramosa’s VRC Oaks and returned in the Autumn to win the SAJC Laelia S. LR and finish 7th in the Queensland Oaks G1.  Every Faith’s liking for 1600 metres has become more obvious this season with two wins and a second at that distance, all in Melbourne.

Word Of Mouth’s career has followed a similar pattern, except that his four wins have all been achieved around 2000 metres and he has not yet tackled black type company.

That may change after his 4.8 length romp over 2040 metres at Monee Valley on Saturday for trainers Leon & Troy Corstens and a large group of owners managed by Brad Spicer.

Spicer Thoroughbreds bought Word Of Mouth as a yearling for $150,000 from the draft of Swettenham Stud which offered him on behalf of breeder Peter Arvanitis of Hillside Thoroughbreds. From the unraced Hennessy mare Exo, Word Of Mouth is a half-brother to stakeswinner Diamond To Pegasus, from the family of Group 3 winner Permaiscuous (by Danzero).

Word Of Mouth came to notice this time last year when he progressed quickly from maiden company at Tatura to a Flemington win and three placings at Caulfield. His earnings now exceed $300,000 with bonuses, among them a juicy $20,000 VOBIS Gold Owners’ bonus attached to Saturday’s race.

Not A Single Doubt’s winners at 1600 metres and beyond also include Singapore Group 1 winner Always Certain, Group 3 winner My Ex Mate, whose nine wins all fell in that distance range, and the good Queensland mare Bang On (10 wins up to 2100 metres.

However, the son of Redoute’s Choice hasn’t lost any of his ability to sire early-running 2YOs. Not A Single Doubt has been among Australia’s top 10 sires of juveniles every year since 2011 and he’s there again this season with $1.1 million prizemoney and 14 winners in fifth spot on the current table.

Right as Rain at Gold Coast & Moonee Valley

A new stakes performer and an easy city winner gave progressive young sire Manhattan Rain a mid-winter boost on Saturday.

At Moonee Valley in Melbourne 3YO filly Wild Rain scored an easy win over 1000 metres after settling in the trail behind the early leaders. Taken wide around the turn by jockey Glen Boss, she sped home to score by 2.5 lengths from Pilly’s Wish and It’s Poets Day.

It was the chestnut filly’s third city success and fourth win from 10 starts for trainer Mark Kavanagh who said she would be aimed at the popular series of 955-metre sprints held at Moonee Valley during the summer. “She’s a great little horse and we’ll just keep her going.”

Bred by the partnership of Arrowfield & Planette Thoroughbred, Wild Rain is from North Flower (by Rory’s Jester), herself a 2YO winner at Morphettville and a half-sister to Group winners North Boy and Northern Song, and 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 filly by Starcraft named Tahlia Star 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, Stan & Anna Hunt and Gary & Rhonda Ma.

A little earlier in the day Manhattan Rain’s 3YO son Right or Wrong continued his progress in good company with a hard-fought second in the $125,000 Qld Tatt’s RC Daybreak Lover S. 1800m LR.

It was the gelding’s first try beyond the 1600 metres of his second win at Ipswich last month, and only New Zealand filly No Tricks denied him a stakes victory, by a long neck. 

Bred by Steve Tregea’s Windemere Stud in Queensland, Right or Wrong is the third winner out of the Flying Spur mare Impulsive Lass, herself a city-winning half-sister to Blue Diamond G1 winner Reward For Effort, multiple stakeswinner Consular and Bahia, the dam of Overreach (Golden Slipper G1). 

Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan (also from a Flying Spur mare) heads Manhattan Rain’s record of four stakeswinners and four other stakes performers among 33 worldwide first-crop winners.

Third by winners on the Australian 2nd Season Sires’ list, the half-brother to Redoute’s Choice has amassed 2014/15 earnings of more than $1.7 million. He has also achieved career-high yearling prices of $700,000 for the La Bamba colt and $360,000 for the Gibraltar Campion filly, both purchased from April’s Inglis Easter Sale.

Stakes company next for zippy Zeletto

“We thought he was the best horse in the race, backed him as if he was the best and he won like the best.”

That was the delighted response of Zeletto’s owners to his stylish victory over 1000 metres at Moonee Valley on Friday evening.

It was the third win from 5 starts for the 3YO son of Snitzel and firmed up plans to line up next in the VRC Moomba Plate LR on Super Saturday, 14 March.

Zeletto is trained by Luke Oliver for a group of owners including old friends Trevor Allsop, Michael Antill, Bill Asani, Jamie Bartling, Matthew Fraser & Bill Vasilopoulos.

Zeletto was bred by William Choy’s Best Western Group from the Anabaa mare Zimaretto, already the dam of 2YO stakeswinner Cruden Bay (by Not A Single Doubt). Now owned by Harry Mitchell of Yarraman Park Stud, Zimaretto has a weanling full sister to Cruden Bay.

Snitzel is already among Australia’s top 10 sires of stakeswinners this season (with seven, including Sweet Idea, Fireworks & Wandjina). He has 24 lots catalogued for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, 1-4 March, including two colts in the Arrowfield draft.