29th Group 1 winner for Redoute's Choice…

Almost a dozen years after his first Group 1 winner, Redoute’s Choice continues to unfurl talent of the first order.

Over the past three weeks he’s compiled the racing equivalent of a royal flush at Morphettville, beginning with Listed and Group 3 victories by 3YO colt Howard Be Thy Name on 16 and 30 April.

The pair of Group wins needed to perfect the sequence came last Saturday courtesy of superb performances by 4YO mare Into The Mist and unbeaten 3YO filly Abbey Marie.

Arrowfield graduate Abbey Marie became the 29th Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice when she overcame a rocky run to sweep past the favourite Silent Sedition & C’Est Beau la Vie in the $400,000 SAJC Australasian Oaks 2000m G1.

Watch Abbey Marie’s SAJC Australasian Oaks G1 win.

It was a remarkable performance from a filly that made her debut less than two months ago and was stepping up to Group 1 company at only her third start. 

In fact, she’s the first filly and the first 3YO by Redoute’s Choice to win a Group 1 race at her third start. The same feat was achieved by 2YO colts Undoubtedly (MRC Blue Diamond S. G1) & Musir (Greyville Golden Horseshoe S. G1). Redoute’s Choice himself famously won the Blue Diamond at only his second appearance, a week after his stakes-winning debut.

It was also the 36th Group 1 success for Abbey Marie’s jockey Luke Nolen who suffered serious injuries in the next race, the Robert Sangster Classic G1, when he fell from his mount Miss Promiscuity and was hit by another horse.  Nolen’s wife Alicia later reported that, thankfully, he is faring well and has suffered no head or spinal injuries, but he faces a long recovery for which he has the best wishes of everyone in the industry.

Trainer Mick Kent, who prepares Abbey Marie for his fellow owners Peter Anastasiou, Ken Biddick, Greg Fagan & Craig Williams (not the jockey), was confident before the race despite the filly’s inexperience.

“She’d had a good grounding going into it, even though it was only her third start….I wasn’t worried about the distance it was just if she was savvy enough.”

“She’s straight to the paddock and we will bring her back for the spring, the Myer Classic will be the race for her.”

Kent also trained Abbey Marie’s Australian Oaks-winning full sister Absolutely, but believes that Abbey Marie’s aptitude is closer to that of Redoute’s Choice, whose four Group 1 wins were achieved from 1200 to 1600 metres.

“She’s a bit more brilliant than Absolutely, genetically they are set to run these trips and no amount of training can change that.”

Like her sister, Abbey Marie was bred by Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets from Catshaan (by Catrail), a winning half-sister to Champion Japanese Sprinter-Miler Kinshasa No Kiseki.

Offered by Arrowfield at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale, Abbey Marie was purchased for $300,000 by agent Dermot Farrington, who signed for Absolutely at the same sale five years earlier. He also bought Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan from Arrowfield’s 2013 Easter draft for the Anastasiou/Biddick partnership – read more here.

Catshaan herself was a $160,000 buy for Rosemont Stud from the 2014 Teeley Dispersal under the Arrowfield banner at Magic Millions and it was Rosemont that sold the Manhattan Rain colt she was carrying for $150,000 at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.  Catshaan now has a weanling colt by Redoute’s Choice and is in foal to Zoustar.

Less than 90 minutes after Abbey Marie’s Oaks win, Into The Mist sealed the day for Redoute’s Choice with her first stakes victory in the Queen of the South S. G2 – read the story here.

Owners over the moon with Manhattan

A property transaction almost a decade ago established a partnership that’s looking forward to a big week at Flemington with Moonee Valley Vase winner and Victoria Derby contender Moonovermanhattan, and a possible Melbourne Cup runner, Unchain My Heart.

Ken Biddick bought a building from Peter Anastasiou about eight years ago and, in the process, the pair discovered they shared an interest in horse-racing. Soon they were doing equine, rather than real estate business and they now own around 20 horses together.

Ken explains how it works, “When we buy or breed we often do it together, usually fifty-fifty, then we sell down after that. Peter is right into genetics and the sales and he bought Moonovermanhattan because he liked him on type and conformation.”

The Manhattan Rain colt was knocked down to agent Dermot Farrington for $100,000 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale where he was offered by Arrowfield Stud which bred him with John Leaver and Alan Jones.

Ken and Peter’s racing team also includes Group-placed city winner Decircles, multiple city winner Jessy Belle and Geelong winner Last Sight, but for Ken there’s no doubt about his biggest thrill in racing so far.

“I’ve had lots of winners, including an Adelaide Group win with Toast of the Coast, but the Moonee Valley Vase is my biggest win. I’m just hoping now for a Group One!

“The Vase was a great win, Moonovermanhattan was very strong at the end of it. He’s sensible, and a really nice horse with no quirks and a nice bit of acceleration.”

Ken has owned and managed a sporting goods company since 1982, selling Converse footwear and apparel throughout Australia and New Zealand, but racing was part of his life long before that.

“I’ve always been around racing, I used to have a penny each way when I was 12 and later I worked at the races as a tic-tac man, backing the shorteners.”

Ken’s thoroughbred interests have progressed a long way from those beginnings. The first horse he ever bred, an Encosta de Lago filly, made $510,000 at the 2005 Inglis Easter Sale, and Ken has recently returned from England where he and Peter sold a Sea The Stars colt for 400,000 guineas at the Tattersalls October Sale.

Peter, who operates as Grandlodge Racing, and Ken work with several trainers. “I started with Tony Vasil, and our horses are now with Peter Moody, Mathew Ellerton, David Hayes, Stephen Brown and Chris Wood in New Zealand as well as Mick Price. They all have different strengths and suit different horses.

“Mick is a great trainer, he’s very knowledgeable and very communicative.”

Ken hasn’t missed a Derby Day at Flemington in the past 30 years, and this one is set to be special, whatever happens in the big race. Ken and his wife Catherine will be hosting around fifty friends and family members in a marquee in The Birdcage.

As Ken says, “It could be a hell of a party!”