Smart Missile keeps firing in the ring & on the track

Australia’s leading second season sire Smart Missile continued to please vendors with his third crop of yearlings at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale averaging $107,419 for 31 lots. That’s better than five times his fee which has remained at $20,000 + GST for five years.

His top price of $300,000 was achieved by a pair of fillies, the daughter of Kitalpha offered by Daandine Stud and purchased by Newgate Thoroughbred Services, and Newgate Farm’s half-sister to Listed winner Russian Revolution, bought by China Horse Club. That figure of $300,000 is the second-highest price paid for a Smart Missile yearling, exceeded only by his first-crop debut 2YO winner Missile Coda, purchased by Woppitt Bloodstock.

Smart Missile’s first offering of yearlings in 2017 attracted strong interest from a wide range of local and international buyers. Three colts were bought at $260,000, $150,000 and $110,000 for the Hong Kong market; John Warren paid $250,000 on behalf of Highclere Australia for Yarraman Park’s Miss Vandal filly; and New Zealand buyers signed for a colt and a filly.

Several Australian stables and syndicators added a Smart Missile to their purchases, among them Clarry Conners, Hawkes Racing, Lindsay Park, Ciaron Maher, Gai Waterhouse, Matt Laurie, Matt Cumani, Dalziel Racing and Prime Thoroughbreds.

Meanwhile, 3YOs Ahndras (in Brisbane), Arleigh (in Adelaide), Stephenstihls (in New Zealand) and Friday’s Canberra winner Like A Shot have taken Smart Missile’s current season list of winners to thirty-four.

Arleigh, an Arrowfield home-bred grand-daughter of champion filly Alinghi, was an impressive maiden winner at Morphettville on Wednesday. Trainer Phillip Stokes expected her to be competitive first-up from a spell and so it proved as she bounced zestily out of the gates, settled second under a hold and sprinted clear to score untested by almost four lengths in 57.13 for the 1000 metres.

Watch Arleigh win at Morphettville.

Across the Tasman, the Mike Breslin-trained Stephenstihls has put himself in the frame for the $1 million New Zealand Derby G1 on 4 March with a stakes placing and two consecutive wins in progressive company, most recently over 1400 metres at Trentham on 7 January.

Watch Stephenstihls win at Trentham.

Smart Missile has 30 lots on offer at next month’s Inglis Classic Sale, including two colts and two fillies in the Arrowfield draft, and 11 yearlings catalogued for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

 

Smart Missile is Australia's Champion First Season Sire

In the end, on the last day of the season, the 2015/16 Australian First Season Sires’ title came down to a $10,000 race at Gawler, at the edge of the famous Barossa Valley in South Australia.

And one brave filly lining up for her first start from the outside gate on a heavy track.

Arleigh, by Smart Missile from Lahana, a Hussonet daughter of the champion filly Alinghi, was sent by Arrowfield to champion South Australian trainer Phillip Stokes almost 12 months ago.

She quickly showed ability, but shin-soreness after her first trial in September and another minor setback in February, after her first trial win, delayed her racetrack debut.

Arleigh returned to the stable in May and this time, everything went smoothly. Trial-placed on 8 July, she won her fourth trial by 5.5 lengths. She was then nominated for her first race start at Gawler on 31 July.

Meanwhile, Smart Missile was deep in battle for Australia’s Freshman Sire honours. By Monday 25 July the brilliant son of Fastnet Rock held the lead, $505 ahead of Love Conquers All, thanks to weekend placings by Hair Trigger in Sydney, Gadfly at Newcastle and Smart Devil on the Sunshine Coast. Less than $25,000 separated the leading pair, Dream Ahead, Pour Moi and Sepoy.

On Friday, just two days before the end of the season, Love Conquers All edged past Smart Missile after The Ambassadore ran third at Ipswich, picking up $2600, including a QTIS bonus.

On Saturday, Fromparis Withlove boosted Smart Missile’s account, while Giroux & Lusitania made ground for Sepoy.

Come Sunday morning and the title was still up in the air, with three runners capable of deciding it.

Dream Ahead’s chance ended when his son Lord Zidane was scratched at Gawler. Henriques needed to win on debut at Pakenham to collect enough prizemoney and VOBIS bonuses to push Sepoy into the lead, but he was unplaced.

At that point, Love Conquers All, who stands at Sun Stud and is Queensland’s Leading Freshman Sire, still held the lead, by $870. Arleigh, named for the celebrated World War II American naval commander, Admiral Arleigh Burke, had to finish in the first three in the set weight 2YO Maiden to claim the premiership for Smart Missile. 

Ridden by Kei Chiong, Hong Kong’s Most Popular Jockey of 2015/16, Arleigh bounced out well from her wide draw and pressed forward to settle in the lead alongside From Fifth. Chiong steered her towards the centre of the track as the field rounded the turn, while Vieira sprinted through on the rail to claim the lead, and Artful Jack challenged out wide.

The effort was clearly beginning to tell on Arleigh, but perhaps she could hear Team Arrowfield cheering her on from Sydney & the Hunter Valley. She stuck gamely to her task to secure third placing and the vital $900 prizemoney that took Smart Missile’s season earnings to $454,705 – thirty dollars ahead of Love Conquers All.

Phillip Stokes said, “Arleigh did a great job, going first-up over 1200 metres. She had to do a lot of work to get on the speed, it was a really good effort.” All going well, the filly’s next start will be in three weeks’ time.

Smart Missile ends his Australian season with seven individual winners: Cadogan, Jericho & Mediterranean (all in Sydney), Blazing Steel, Hair Trigger, Missile Coda & Savvy Belle. In addition the fillies Smart Amelia and Smart Manoeuvre were both Group-placed, and Jericho & Fromparis Withlove were placed in Listed company.

Across the Tasman is Smart Missile’s best first-crop 2YO performer, Te Akau Racing’s Sassy ‘N’ Smart, who was successful on debut, a Listed winner at her second appearance and Group 2-placed third time out. 

Bred and raced by Gooree Park, and fully booked at Arrowfield every season since 2012, Smart Missile has generated extraordinary sale-ring business in the past three years: 238 yearlings & weanlings sold at an average of more than five times his unchanged $20,000 fee.

Demand for his progeny from trainers, syndicators and agents has remained strong in 2016, with a top price of $500,000 paid by Little Hung & Bahen Bloodstock for Arrowfield’s colt out of Pyrography at Magic Millions 1 – where Smart Missile had 26 lots sell for an average price of $147,308.

Smart Missile’s future looks even better. Eight of the top 10 sires on the 2015/16 Australian General list began their careers with a top-three finish on the First Season Sires’ premiership.  And every Champion Freshman since at least 2001 has become a Group 1 sire.

Smart Missile isn’t letting the grass grow under his hooves. Two days into the new season, his 3YO daughters Corporate Missile and Saronissi won trials at Te Teko in New Zealand, while his 3YO sons Missile Strike and Revolver did likewise at the Rosehill trials in Sydney.

Four stakes performers for Smart Missile

Thanks to a pair of South Australian farms, Smart Missile now boasts four stakes performers from his first crop of juveniles – more than Not A Single Doubt & Snitzel managed between them at the same stage of their careers.

The Phillip Stokes-trained filly Smart Manoeuvre can be counted unlucky not to be a Group winner after putting up a valiant effort in Saturday’s  $120,000 SAJC Sires’ Produce S. 1400m G3 at Morphettville. 

Despite getting back early and coming wide around the turn, she was still able to launch a big finish that brought her within centimetres of the victory claimed by a resolute Flying Jess, with 1.4 lengths back to third-placed Morvada. Smart Manoeuvre’s sectional times, 34.45, 22.27 and 11.25 were the best of the race.

Watch Smart Manoeuvre’s 2nd in the SAJC Sires’ Produce S. G3.

It was Smart Manoeuvre’s second black type performance following another late-burst third in the SAJC Breeders’ S. G3 on 16 April, and her fourth weigh-in appearance in four starts.

Raced by a partnership including her breeders Mill Park Stud, Mills Breeding & Wayne Raven, Smart Manoeuvre is the first foal of stakes-placed city winner Furline (by Tale of the Cat), a daughter of two-time Group 2 winner Umaline, from the family of Group 1 winner Captain Sonador.

Mill Park also bred last Saturday’s impressive debut 2YO stakeswinner Modern Wonder (by Snitzel) whose stablemate, another daughter of Smart Missile, Fromparis Withlove finished third in the $120,000 MRC Redoute’s Choice S. 1200m LR at Caulfield.

After settling a little worse than midfield, Fromparis Withlove showed plenty of verve at the business end of the race, finishing just under two lengths from the winner Oregon’s Day.

Watch Fromparis Withlove’s 3rd in the MRC Redoute’s Choice S. LR.

Noting on Twitter that a scope had revealed a clod of dirt the filly had swallowed during the race, co-trainer Troy Corstens added, “Look forward to the Spring!”

Fromparis Withlove was bred by Kambula Stud, from the stakes-winning mare Umaquest, a daughter of Umatilla, who also features as the second dam-sire of Smart Manoeuvre.

Purchased by Malua Racing and Bahen Bloodstock for $140,000 from the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, Fromparis Withlove is her dam’s second stakes performer in the past fortnight. Her half-sister Yattarna won the ATC James H.B. Carr S. G3 on 16 April. Umaquest has a weanling filly by Written Tycoon catalogued for the Magic Millions National Sale, and is in foal to Not A Single Doubt.

Smart Manoeuvre and Fromparis Withlove join Sassy ‘N’ Smart (CJC Welcome S. LR and 2nd, Matamata Breeders’ S. G2) & Smart Amelia (2nd, ATC Widden S. G3) to give Smart Missile a quartet of first-crop 2YO stakes performers – so far.  (At the same stage of their careers Not A Single Doubt and Snitzel each had one stakes performer, Regal Flame & Chance Bye.)

Zac Spirit takes his second Lion City Cup

For six months now, Flying Spur has been on the brink of his 100th stakeswinner, while Traveston Girl (no. 99), Mahuta (no. 98) and Sacred Star (no. 93) have added further Group 2 & Group 3 successes and a pair of Listed wins to his record.

No. 92, Zac Spirit chimed in on Sunday evening with an exhilarating victory, in near-course record time of 1:08.45, in the $S800,000 Lion City Cup 1200m Sgp-1, the third leg of the Singapore  Sprint Series.

Watch Zac Spirit’s second Lion City Cup Sgp-1 victory.

The result was greeted with considerable emotion by trainer Cliff Brown who sent Zac Spirit back to Australia to recover after surgery for a knee chip found after his unplaced run in last year’s Krisflyer Sprint G1.

Brown said, “There was a lot of work to bring him back and that goes across the board…it’s a huge team effort.

“I thought he was too far back in the race, but when I saw him improve before the home turn, I was like ‘Crikey! He really is travelling!’

“It’s amazing what he’s done. He’s won the Lion City Cup two years ago and he’s won it again, after injury.”

It’s the 6YO gelding’s fifth Singapore black type win and came after only one lead-up run, on 3 April, when he dead-heated for second with Wimbledon (by Snitzel) in the Kranji Sprint Sgp-3, the first leg of the Sprint Series.

Zac Spirit was bred by Newhaven Park Stud & the late Colin Tidy and is raced by Andy & Genni Wong’s Zac Stable which also enjoyed success with his stakes-winning half-brother Zac Influence.

Named Singapore’s Champion Sprinter of 2014, Zac Spirit has now won or placed in 20 of his 22 starts for prizemoney of more than $S1.7 million. That’s more than ten times the $140,000 Brown paid for him at the 2011 Inglis Easter Sale.

His dam Kidman (by Quest for Fame) is a great-grand-daughter of Mr Tidy’s marvellous broodmare Summoned, dam of five-time Group 1 winner & sire Zeditave and four other Group winners. Kidman’s other descendants include Group 1 winners Melito, Greys Inn and Norzita, and Group 2 winner Jet Spur, also by Flying Spur.

Zac Spirit’s 3YO half-sister Always (by Manhattan Rain) won on debut in January for Newhaven Park & Helen Tidy, and his 2YO three-quarter brother Preferred (by Redoute’s Choice)  is yet to race for James Harron Bloodstock & partners. Kidman has a weanling filly by Redoute’s Choice and is in foal to Exceed And Excel.

Flying Spur, happily retired at Arrowfield since 2012, still has plenty of runners competing for him, but it’s most likely that his 100th stakeswinner will emerge from the 129 foals in his final two crops (current 3YOs & 4YOs) that have already raced.

A Phillip Stokes-trained 4YO mare down to contest Saturday’s SAJC City of Adelaide H. LR is Flying Spur’s best immediate chance to complete his century and it would be fitting if she did. Like her sire, Rationality carries the Arrowfield silks and she is a full sister to one of his very best performers, the three-time Group 1 winner Mentality.

New Group performer for Smart Missile

The Phillip Stokes-trained filly Smart Manoeuvre has joined Sassy ‘N’ Smart and Smart Amelia to give Smart Missile three Group performers from his first crop – more than Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt at the same stage of their careers.

Smart Manoeuvre’s effort impressed because she had to circle the field round the home turn to put herself in contention and, although Tris had already pinched the winning break on the rail, Smart Manoeuvre found enough to challenge Ariaz (by Charge Forward) for second, missing by a head.

Watch Smart Manoeuvre’s 3rd in the SAJC Breeders’ S. G3.

Raced by a partnership including Mill Park Stud and her breeders Ray Bradmore and Wayne Raven, Smart Manoeuvre is the first foal of the stakes-placed city winner Furline (by Tale of the Cat), herself a daughter of dual Group 2 winner Umaline.

Smart Missile’s out-of-the-box ability on the track has been matched by his unprecedented popularity with breeders and buyers since he began stud duties at Arrowfield in 2012.

The son of Fastnet Rock has been one of Australia’s busiest stallions over the past four breeding seasons and tellingly, several leading buyers returned to buy his yearlings this year after snapping up members of his first crop in 2015.

New Zealand syndicator David Ellis at Te Akau Racing is one of them. He purchased Arrowfield’s Smart Missile-Panorama Ridge filly for $150,000 at Inglis Easter last year, named her Sassy ‘N’ Smart and watched her compile a debut win, a Listed success and a Group 2 second in her first three starts.

Ellis got to work early in the 2016 sales season, buying Smart Missile’s second-crop son out of Ocelot (by Take of the Cat) for $140,000 from Arrowfield at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Similarly, Debbie Keptis’ Woppitt Bloodstock paid $400,000 for Amarina Farm’s Smart Missile-Rain Melody filly at last year’s Magic Millions Sale. Named Missile Coda, that filly also won on debut at Kembla Grange on 2 April, three months after Woppitt Bloodstock paid $220,000 for Coolmore’s Smart Missile-Rubinacci colt on the Gold Coast.

Other repeat purchasers of Smart Missile’s yearlings include trainers Mick Price & Aquanita Racing, agents Paul Moroney, Duncan Ramage & Paul Willetts and syndicators Darby Racing, Prime Thoroughbreds, Star Thoroughbreds & Triple Crown Syndications.

Overall, at the first sessions of the Magic Millions, Inglis Easter, Melbourne Premier & Classic Sales, 66 lots by Smart Missile have sold for up to $500,000, averaging $129,772, more than six times his fee, which remains at $22,000 inc. GST.