The Autumn Sun answers the call to greatness

The Autumn Sun delivered an astonishing performance to secure his fourth Group 1 victory in Saturday’s $1 million ATC Randwick Guineas…

With three Group 1 victories, a Group 2 success and only one defeat in his first 7 starts, The Autumn Sun had already established himself as the season’s best 3YO colt. 
 
Saturday’s $1 million ATC Randwick Guineas 1600m G1 appeared to be at his mercy, but racing is never that predictable. 

When Miss Fabulass shot forward to take up the lead and  ran a mid-race 600 metres in a breath over 33 seconds, The Autumn Sun was suddenly faced with a near-impossible task.

Rounding the turn, Miss Fabulass was pressured by Not A Single Doubt’s classy daughter Fundamentalist and Vegadaze, as Kerrin McEvoy peeled out four-wide and many lengths back on The Autumn Sun to launch what looked like a forlorn challenge. 

Fundamentalist took the lead 350 metres out, attended by Vegadaze, with Surround Stakes G1 winner Nakeeta Jane 3 lengths away and The Autumn Sun 3 lengths behind her. 

At the 200-metre mark Fundamentalist, a 4-time Group 1 bridesmaid, was taking no prisoners and, although The Autumn Sun was about to hit top speed of 66 km/hour, his chance of victory remained slim.

It was perhaps only 70 metres from the post that the colt’s raking stride and exceptional finishing speed finally made success certain, although it took another 60 metres to best the filly by a long head and stop the clock at 1:33.72.

The Autumn Sun ran his last 600 metres in 33:94 seconds – marginally faster than Winx’s 34:09 last 600m in the Chipping Norton S. G1, also on a Good4 track over the same distance at Randwick on 2 March.

World Horse Racing @WHR on Twitter summarised the statistical highlights of The Autumn Sun’s performance:

33m behind the lead
10m behind 150m out
22.52s last 400m
11.01s fastest 200m
THE AUTUMN SUN is special

Arrowfield’s John Messara  concurred, describing The Autumn Sun’s performance as “the best thing I’ve ever seen on a racecourse” and, for the first time, declared him a champion. 

The Autumn Sun represents everything that Arrowfield has worked to achieve and create over the past 35 years. Bred by Arrowfield’s joint venture with HH The Aga Khan, he is the best racing son of supersire Redoute’s Choice, while his dam Azmiyna is a Galileo half-sister to  European Champion Azamour.

The Autumn Sun is a member of Arrowfield’s outstanding Yearling Class of 2017 and was purchased from the Inglis Easter Sale for $700,000 by Chris Waller Racing, Hermitage Thoroughbreds & Mulcaster Bloodstock. Arrowfield acquired a 50 per cent interest in the colt last October, before his 4.5 length Caulfield Guineas G1 win.

Arrowfield also co-bred and sold the only other horse to complete the Caulfield & Randwick Guineas double – Australian Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, in 2007/08.

The Stud, which has sent 9 Group 1 winners to Inglis Easter since 2014, will offer The Autumn Sun’s three-quarter brother by Not A Single Doubt from Azmiyna as Lot 369 at next month’s Inglis Easter auction. 

Diplomatico is Snitzel’s 84th stakeswinner

And like Group 1 winners The Autumn Sun, Estijaab & Maid Of Heaven and Listed winner Wild Planet, Diplomatico is a graduate of Arrowfield’s Yearling “Class of 2017…

What co-trainer Michael Hawkes described as “a little race on Derby Day for three-year-olds” is a possible target for Snitzel’s 84th stakeswinner Diplomatico after his defiant victory in the $150,000 ATC Brian Crowley S. 1200m LR at Randwick on Saturday.

That “little race” is the $1 million VRC Coolmore Stud S. G1, down the famous straight six at Flemington on 3 November. It’s a big step from Listed company, but the determined manner in which Diplomatico ran down his rivals after sitting three and four wide confirmed that he is a colt on the rise.

Watch Diplomatico win the ATC Brian Crowley S. LR.

He is the third Brian Crowley winner for Snitzel after Goodfella (2017) and Hot Snitzel (2011), and Not A Single Doubt’s son Legend Of Condor completed the 2018 quinella for Arrowfield stallions.

Diplomatico is the fourth winner, after Havana (BTC Classic G3) and Hong Kong talent Jing Jing Win, from four foals out of juvenile winner and excellent broodmare Top Cuban (by Anabaa).

Co-incidentally, Top Cuban’s youngest half-sister Working From Home also earned black type on Saturday, when she was runner-up to From Within (by Not A Single Doubt) in the MRC Alinghi S. LR.

Top Cuban has since produced two colts by Redoute’s Choice and has an early positive test to his son Pariah, serving his first book of mares at Arrowfield this Spring. 

All four of Top Cuban’s progeny offered at auction have sold well, up to the $1.7 million Hong Kong agent George Moore bid for Diplomatico at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale. Paul Favretto, who bred the colt with Paul Rowe, retains a share in the ownership alongside John Moore, David Boehm & partners.

While Flemington is an option for Diplomatico, Michael Hawkes indicated that the best of him won’t be seen until his next campaign. “He has a few grades to jump but it’s all up to him, he could be in the paddock as well. We’ll just take it step by step but I can say he’ll be some horse in the Autumn.”

Diplomatico is the fifth stakeswinner to emerge from Arrowfield’s Class of 2017, after Group 1 winners The Autumn Sun (by Redoute’s Choice), Maid Of Heaven (Smart Missile) & Estijaab (Snitzel) , and Listed winner Wild Planet (Animal Kingdom).

Nothing Dubious about Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate win

Dubious came, saw and conquered at Randwick on Saturday when he powered home late to win the $160,000 ATC Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate G3 in race record time.

Dubious came, saw and conquered at Randwick on Saturday when he powered home late to win the $160,000 ATC Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate 1000m G3 in race record time of 56.45 seconds.

He also became Not A Single Doubt’s 21st 2YO stakeswinner & 59th lifetime stakeswinner, and the first Victorian-trained winner of the race, one of the season’s first two stakes races for 2YOs on the Australian calendar.

It was a performance succinctly described on Twitter by one observer, Anthony Jones @racingtheclock2: “Trained Melbourne way – only horse to come from out of town – re-shod at the barrier – wide and without cover – finished with an enormous will to win – race record – WOW.”

Trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace had identified Aquis Farm’s compact colt as the stable’s most precocious colt and sent him to Sydney for a professional trial win on 17 September.  Dubious progressed exactly as hoped, before taking his place alongside several other trial winners and placegetters in the field for the Breeders’ Plate.

He began smartly from gate 10 but was left in no-man’s land while Covert Ops drove forward and took up the running. At the 300-metre mark Covert Ops was not stopping and Dubious got down to serious work, responding with an impressive turn of foot to close the gap and secure victory in the last couple of strides.

Watch Dubious win the ATC Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate G3.

The yearling Dubious, offered by Kitchwin Hills at the 2018 Magic Millions Sale. (PHOTO: Magic Millions)

Bred by Anthony Roberts’ Chesapeake Thoroughbreds & Brian Toohey’s Winton Bloodstock, Dubious was bought for $350,000 by Aquis Farms & Ciaron Maher  at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. He is the first foal of the stakes-placed French-bred mare Suspicieuse (by Elusive City), a half-sister to G3 winner Sediciosa, from the family of Japanese sire Neo Universe. Suspicieuse was a €55,000 purchase by agent Sheamus Mills from the 2013 Arqana Breeding Stock Sale. 

Breeders’ Plate history offers plenty of encouragement that Dubious will play a leading role as the season unfolds, and perhaps beyond his racing career. Winners since 2000 include outstanding juveniles Capitalist, Vancouver, Pierro & Sebring, Champion Sire Snitzel, leading sire Choisir and Group 1 sire Charge Forward.

Not A Single Doubt strikes at Randwick & Flemington

Saturday’s new Group winners Not A Single Cent at Flemington and Sugar Bella at Randwick gave Not A Single Doubt his eighth same-day stakes double and consolidated his position among Australia’s top half-dozen sires this season.

2YO colt Not A Single Cent showed the benefit of his debut fifth at Caulfield last month with a determined victory in the $200,000 VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2. 

Watch Not A Single Cent win the VRC Sires’ Produce S. G2.

That was the start of an amazing day for Canberra-based Michael Thomas, as owner-breeder of Not A Single Cent and his older half-brother Happy Clapper, who won the Canterbury Stakes G1 about 90 minutes later.

Not A Single Cent was sold to Ciaron Maher Racing for $280,000 from the Willow Park Stud draft at the Magic Millions Sale, with Thomas retaining a share of him, and Aaron Purcell training the colt while Maher completes his six-month suspension.

Sadly, the dam of both horses, Busking (by Encosta de Lago) died in January 2017, leaving a now-yearling full brother to Not A Single Cent. 

At Randwick the Kris Lees-trained Sugar Bella maintained her near-perfect record when she snatched a last-stride victory in the $150,000 Wenona Girl Quality 1200m G3. 

Watch Sugar Bella win the Wenona Girl Quality G3.

The 4YO mare has now won six of her 7 starts and returned almost twice the $135,000 Fesen Pty Ltd paid for her at Magic Millions, where she was offered by breeder Corumbene Stud. Like Not A Single Cent, Sugar Bella may step up to Group 1 company at The Championships. 

Sugar Bella is the last foal of dual Group winner Hula Wonder (by Hula Chief), and is related to Group 2 winner Fell Swoop, also by Not A Single Doubt.

Not A Single Doubt has added almost $400,000 to his Australian earnings in the past week and, with $7.9 million is comfortably ahead of sixth-placed Street Cry –  at least until Winx lines up in the George Ryder S. G1 on 24 March!

The son of Redoute’s Choice has taken his lifetime record to 53 stakeswinners, 18 of them juveniles. He has 19 lots catalogued in next month’s Inglis Easter Sale, including two colts in the Arrowfield draft

50th stakeswinner for Not A Single Doubt

It’s almost two years since Bell River Thoroughbreds’ $4.5 million dispersal of bloodstock at the Inglis & Magic Millions sales and more than a year since Andrew & Georgie Ferguson sold their property near Wellington, in inland New South Wales.

However, the family’s departure from the industry is only temporary. The Fergusons are considering various options for resuming their involvement, and their son James has already set up his own bloodstock agency, working in conjunction with the UK-based McKeever Bloodstock.

It’s no surprise that one of their first joint agency purchases was the $130,000 Not A Single Doubt-Tingirana filly from the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

The Fergusons were among Not A Single Doubt’s earliest and staunchest supporters, and were rewarded as co-breeders, with Lloyd Walker & Bob Hogno, of dual Group 1 winner Extreme Choice and last season’s Listed winner Bidii Babe.

They all appear again as the breeders of Not A Single Doubt’s 50th lifetime stakeswinner Faraway Town, who defeated last year’s winner Zestful (by Redoute’s Choice) in Saturday’s $150,000 ATC Triscay S. 1200m G3.

Watch Faraway Town win the ATC Triscay S. G3.

Trainer Matthew Smith has tried a different approach with the 4YO mare, spacing her runs and keeping her to sprint races. Jockey Tim Clark believes it’s paid off, saying after the win, “She has definitely come back a much better mare.She reacted well fresh and he gave her that few weeks between runs and it paid dividends today.”

A $200,000 Magic Millions buy for Francis & Christine Cook’s Mystery Downs, Faraway Town (ex London Calling by Dehere) has won just over $500,000 in three seasons of racing, with a juvenile Group 1 third and three other stakes performances franking her quality. She will have an opportunity to extend that record in the ATC Guy Walter S. G2 on 3 March.

Faraway Town is one of Not A Single Doubt’s eight winners of 9 stakes races this season, a tally he has plenty of opportunities to boost this coming Saturday at Caulfield where his runners include Mighty Boss (Futurity S. G1), Qafila (Blue Diamond S. G1), Single Gaze (Peter Young S. G2) and the unbeaten 3YO filly Summer Sham (Angus Armanasco S. G2). 

Not A Single Doubt has six colts and two fillies catalogued for next month’s Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, and 19 lots in the Inglis Easter Sale, including a pair of colts in Arrowfield’s consignment.

Read also:
Fergusons Celebrate Extreme Success – TDN, October 2016
Bell River celebrates extreme success – December 2015
Bell River Thoroughbreds thrilled with Doubt – January 2013

Smart Missile 2YO wins Inglis Nursery

Smart Missile’s fourth 2YO stakeswinner Irish Bet made a more-than-usual impact with his convincing debut win in Saturday’s $500,000 ATC Inglis Nursery 1000m (R) LR. 

Watch Irish Bet win the ATC Inglis Nursery (R) LR.

Most obviously, the $291,000 winner’s prizemoney is an exceptional, and early return on the $55,000 that agent Mick Flanagan bid for him on behalf of the China Horse Club at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale.

The Club’s International Racing & Breeding Manager Michael Wallace said of Irish Bet, “He showed us a lot of ability from day one but two-year-olds off one trial, you never know until you see them in action.

“He was a lovely horse, was always going to be a good two-year-old type, he just had everything we look for in a two-year-old type.”

The win was more than usually significant as the first stakes success for John O’Shea on his own account since leaving Godolphin earlier this year.

He described Irish Bet, “He is a classic two-year-old. He is a compact horse, a running horse with a great attitude.

“He will be straight to the paddock for a short break and then we will get him ready for a race like the Skyline Stakes to get him to the Slipper.”

Race bonuses of $50,000 are uncommon and welcome rewards for breeders Barry Broomhead and Jim Knox who sent the unraced O’Reilly mare Dublin Me Bet to Smart Missile, and for the colt’s well-regarded vendor Middlebrook Valley Lodge.

Mr Broomhead explained his stallion selection, “I just liked Smart Missile, he was well priced, he had great sectionals in some of his racing, he was very fast and I just thought he would work for us.” Dublin Me Bet also has a yearling filly by Smart Missile.

Irish Bet and the filly Anthemoessa, second at Caulfield on Saturday, have propelled Smart Missile into third spot, behind Choisir and Not A Single Doubt, on the Australian 2YO Sires’ premiership. He has also moved past Sepoy to head the Third Season Sires’ table, with $2.2 million and 46 winners.

It’s a strong performance featuring a large cast of talent beyond Irish Bet. In fact, it was a four-win weekend for Smart Missile, thanks to Smartedge (Kembla Grange), Missile Boom (Cranbourne) & Protest (Sunshine Coast). 

They join a long list of Smart Missile performers since 1 August, including Group-placed 3YO fillies I’ll Have A Bit and Smart Coupe, and progressive city winners Sparky Lad, Special Missile, The Avenger and Missile Coda in Sydney, and Club Tropicana, Masculino, Memory Bank and Ultra Smart in Melbourne. 

Backed by sustained breeder support, large foal crops and leading owners & stables, the Champion First Season Sire of 2015/16 is on track to make 2017/18 his best season yet.

Twenty-two yearlings by Smart Missile will be offered at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, followed by 36 lots catalogued for February’s Inglis Classic Sale. Arrowfield’s consignments for these sales include 7 colts and 4 fillies by Smart Missile. 

 

Zestful wins the Razor Sharp at Randwick

Arrowfield Magic Millions National graduate Zestful has ended 2017 as she began it, with black type success at Randwick and the bonus of a shot at the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies & Mares on 13 January.  

“Zest” is exactly what the 6YO mare displayed in the $125,000 ATC Razor Sharp H. 1200m LR. She settled midfield for Christian Reith and powered up quickly at the top of the straight to claim the lead 200 metres out. Her determination shone through when I Thought So challenged hard in the final 100 metres, but Zestful prevailed, taking her record to six wins and prizemoney of just over $400,000.

Watch Zestful win the ATC Razor Sharp H. LR.

Zestful is the fifth Australian stakeswinner this season for her champion sire Redoute’s Choice, and the best of nine winners left by Zest, by Marauding from Newhaven Park’s celebrated matron Summoned. 

She’s also one of nine stakeswinners from the 92 foals in Redoute’s Choice’s 2011 crop, a group headed by Group 1 winners Majmu, Peeping and Hampton Court.

Originally purchased for $90,000 by Frampton Racing from Arrowfield’s 2013 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale draft, Zestful is now owned by Paul Frampton and Widden Stud.

Arrowfield and John Leaver are breeding from her siblings Zing and Swing (by Not A Single Doubt), in foal to Maurice, and Tang (by Redoute’s Choice), in foal to Dundeel after delivering a colt by the six-time Group 1 winner this Spring.

Snitty Kitty tops off Snitzel's stakes treble

Two 3YO colts and a mare – Dracarys, Jukebox and Sweet Redemption – supplied Snitzel’s first stakes treble of this season, on 19 August. 

Two months later, same story, a pair of 3YO colts and a mare – but three different horses. This time it was Snitzepeg, Goodfella and Snitty Kitty completing a snappy 1-2-3 on Caulfield Cup day in Melbourne and Sydney. 

And it’s Snitzel’s third same-day triple stakes success in less than seven months. (The series began with Invader & Diddums at Randwick, and Heavenly Blue in South Africa on 1 April. Invader, remember, led home a Snitzel trifecta in the ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce S. G1.) 

At Caulfield, Snitzepeg followed up his Poseidon Stakes win two weeks ago with a gritty performance to overhaul the pace-setting Lord Sundowner and claim the $120,000 MRC Gothic S. 1400m LR. It was the colt’s third success for Hong Kong-based owner Peter Law and trainer Darren Weir. 

Watch Snitzepeg win the MRC Gothic S. LR.

Hopes are that Snitzepeg can follow the example of the stable’s 2015 Gothic Stakes winner Mahuta, who went on to complete a sequence of five straight Group & Listed victories that season.

Snitzepeg was purchased for $260,000 by Darren Weir and John Foote at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Bred in Victoria by Jeff Allis from the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Pegasus Queen, he was offered by Three Bridges Thoroughbreds.

Pegasus Queen has a 2YO Not A Single Doubt filly named Killer Queen in training with Anthony Freedman, and a yearling colt by Deep Field. 

Next up was 3YO Goodfella who, like Snitzepeg, has progressed sharply this Spring after an active juvenile campaign. He started favourite in the $150,000 ATC Brian Crowley S. 1200m LR at Randwick, but his chances didn’t look bright as he swung five-wide round the turn and Piracy picked up ahead of him.

However, Jason Collett had plenty of horse beneath him and Goodfella responded generously in the final stages to win by a half-length from Piracy and Andaz. 

Watch Goodfella win the ATC Brian Crowley S. LR.

Goodfella is Snitzel’s 73rd stakeswinner and the first winner that his dam Movie (by Red Ransom) has produced for Newhaven Park Stud, which sold the colt for $200,000 to Bjorn Baker & Blandford Bloodstock at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale. 

Back in Melbourne, Snitzel’s 4YO daughter Snitty Kitty confirmed her star quality with a 2.25-length victory in the $200,000 MRC Caulfield Sprint 1000m G2 where she was simply too strong and too fast for Super Too and Fatinah.

Watch Snitty Kitty win the MRC Caulfield Sprint G2.

Snitty Kitty was bought from the Willow Park Stud draft by her trainer Henry Dwyer for $175,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Sale and has earned almost $390,000 from six wins for a group of owners that includes her breeder Gordon Henderson. It’s a total she looks capable of increasing significantly over the next 12 months.

Snitty Kitty is the best of three winners left by Lassiter’s Cat, an unraced daughter of Tale of the Cat, from the well-known “Leica” family that has produced two Victoria Derby winners, Redding (in 1992) and Nothin’ Leica Dane (in 1995).

Remarkably, Snitzel is collecting plural stakes wins more often than singular ones this Spring. Ten of his progeny’s 18 stakes victories since 1 August have been either doubles or trebles, and all but two of them have been achieved in Sydney or Melbourne. 

Eight members of Snitzel’s outstanding 2014 crop, all of them colts, have contributed to that tally: Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist, Group 2 winners Menari & Showtime, Group 3 winners Dracarys, Jukebox & Perast and Listed winners Goodfella & Snitzepeg.

Redoute's Choice dynasty's cup runneth over

Saturday 14 October 2017 is a date that followers of the fortunes of the Redoute’s Choice dynasty and in particular, his spectacular sons Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt, will remember for a long, long time. 

By the end of it, Snitzel had cracked $10 million on the Australian General Sires’ premiership and Not A Single Doubt’s four new stakeswinners, emulating Snitzel’s feat on 13 May 2017, and including his 8th Group 1 winner, had taken him to second spot with $3.5 million. 

Here’s how the day unfolded across four extraordinary hours:

Caulfield, 12.20 pm – Sheikh Hamdan’s 2YO filly Qafila (Not A Single Doubt-Zighy Bay by Tapit) pounced late to claim the $120,000 MRC Inglis Debutant S. 1000m LR. from Sacred Sword and Encryption.

Watch Qafila win the MRC Inglis Debutant S. LR.

She’s trained by the Hayes & Dabernig team that turned out Snitzel’s 2YO daughter Nomathaj to win last Saturday’s VRC Maibyrong Trial S LR, carrying the same, famous blue and white silks.

Qafila is Woodpark Stud’s first stakeswinner as a breeder and was purchased from Attunga Stud at the Magic Millions Sale for $450,000, making her Not A Single Doubt’s second top-priced yearling filly this year. Qafila is now his 17th juvenile stakeswinner.

The Gerald Ryan-trained colt Legend Of Condor (ex Rhodamine by Success Express), gritty debut winner of  the  $100,000 Victory Vein Plate at Randwick 20 minutes after Qafila’s win, may well be Number 18.


Royal Randwick, 1.15 pm – 3YO filly Torvill (Not A Single Doubt-Bolero Queen by Iglesia) put up the best performance of her eight-start career to land the  $125,000 ATC Reginald Allen Quality 1400m LR, with Yulong Xingsheng and Workdrinks filling the placings.  

Torvill’s winning time of 1:22 flat was a new race record and trainer Clarry Conners indicated a race in Melbourne is now a possibility  for her.

Watch Torvill win the ATC Reginald Allen Quality LR.

From the family of Queensland Derby G1 winner Ruthven and multiple Group winner Cangronde, Torvill is raced by her breeders Barry Garforth and Max Kowalczuk.



Caulfield, 1.30 pm
– Former Western Australian mare Cool Passion (Not A Single Doubt-Hiavanna by Mister C) made Guineas Day memorable for her owners John & Anne McDonnell, Jane Henning & Mr D. Balian when she defeated Pedrena and Princess Of Queens in the $150,000 MRC Northwood Plume S. 1400m G3.

Watch  Cool Passion win the MRC Northwood Plume S. G3.

Bred by Michael MacDermott, Cool Passion was having her first start in Melbourne for trainer Tony McEvoy after eight wins in the West.


Royal Randwick, 4.15 pm – the inaugural running of the world’s richest turf race, the $10 million The Everest over 1200 metres ended with a perfect performance by Snitzel’s powerhouse son Redzel. The 5YO gelding jumped smartly, slotted in just behind the early leader Houtzen, took control soon after the turn and sprinted clear to score by almost a length from Vega Magic, Brave Smash and Chautauqua. Emotions over-flowed around the Randwick winner’s circle as trainers Peter & Paul Snowden, jockey Kerrin McEvoy, slot-holder James Harron and the ecstatic group of owners managed by Triple Crown Syndications’ Chris & Michael Ward began celebrations likely to last several days.

Watch Redzel win The Everest.

Bred by Lee Fleming from the Rubtion mare Millrich, Redzel was a $120,000 purchase by Triple Crown from the Marquee Stud draft at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale. He has now won ten of his 20 starts, including last season’s Doomben 10,000 G1, and $7.1 million.


Caulfield, 4.30 pm – an unexpected victory in the $2 million MRC Caulfield Guineas 1600m G1 by 100/1 shot Mighty Boss (Not A Single Doubt-Bullion Mansion by Encosta de Lago) completed an unforgettable day.

Watch Mighty Boss win the MRC Caulfield Guineas G1.

Mighty Boss gave co-owner  Muzaffar Yaseen of Teeley Assets his second Caulfield Guineas win, 18 years after Redoute’s Choice won a magnificent battle with Testa Rossa for the 1999 race.

Bullion Mansion was bought by Coolmore for $160,000 in foal to Not A Single Doubt from the 2014 Teeley Dispersal at the Magic Millions National Sale. The resulting colt was offered by Curraghmore Stud at the 2016 NZ Premier Sale where he was bought for $180,000 by trainer Mick Price, who shares the colt’s ownership with Teeley Assets.

Four hours and 10 minutes, a Group 1 Classic victory, three other Group & Listed stakes wins, one Everest and more than $7.2 million prizemoney – truly an amazing day at the office for the superstar sons of Redoute’s Choice.

Caulfield Photos by Bronwen Healy; Royal Randwick Photos by Sportpix.

Fell Swoop set to descend on Everest

“Very, very excited!” That’s how Paul Armstrong, co-breeder and part-owner of Not A Single Doubt’s son Fell Swoop, describes his emotional state in the final countdown towards The Everest at Randwick on Saturday. 

The Canberra-based builder-turned-demolition specialist says, “I was lucky enough to be at the barrier draw on Tuesday, rubbing shoulders with Peter Snowden, Max Whitby and Damion Flower, wondering ‘How did we get here?’

“It’s good that little guys like us get a chance at these big races. It’s quite surreal, we feel very privileged and very grateful.” 

Back in 2003, Paul, Graham Singh and Mark Richards, friends since their schooldays at De La Salle Bankstown, all took shares in the Fasliyev-Crimson Flight yearling filly bought by Lee Curtis at the Magic Millions Sale, and named Touched In Flight. 

Remembers Paul, “She won her debut at Wyong, and we thought ‘How easy is this?’ She was very quick but wasn’t temperamentally sound so she was retired. We stayed in her ownership with Lee and a couple of other people and after we bred Fell Swoop, Mark, Graham and I bought her outright.

“Then Matt Dale bought Fell Swoop at Inglis Classic for $45,000 and we stayed in for 60%, with all of us bringing in other people to race him, so he now has 17 owners in all.”

The 6YO gelding has already given his owners a wonderful ride, winning nine races, including the BRC Victory S. G2, two Listed Races, and more than $1.6 million.  Five Group 1 placings – two of them in successive TJ Smith Stakes, in company with Chautauqua and English – have earned Fell Swoop serious respect, though that’s not reflected in his long odds for The Everest.

Says Paul, “I know the bookies don’t rate his chances highly, but he deserves his place in the field, and it’s a horse race so, as The Everest ads say, expect the unexpected!”

Paul highlights a few specifics in Fell Swoop’s favour. “Matt has had one aim for the last six months, to have him 100% for his Grand Final on Saturday.

“His coat’s come through, he’s thrived on bush walking and beach work at Moruya and Tye [Angland] is very confident and happy with him. And his best runs are usually third up.”

Fell Swoop’s prospects also improve with easing in the ground at Randwick. Untried on Firm conditions, he’s won seven times on Good ground and twice on Soft tracks. 

Paul nominates Fell Swoop’s unflinching will to win, and Matt Dale’s skill and dedication as key factors in their quest for the Everest. 

“Matt has been the most patient of trainers, he thinks about his horses all the time and his focus and attention to detail are second to none. It’s a privilege to share this experience with him and his family.”

It was Matt who negotiated with slot-holder Inglis, confirming Fell Swoop as the fourth Everest contender in June. 

Says Paul, “Our relationship with Inglis is wonderful, I can’t speak highly enough of Mark Webster and Jonathan D’arcy, and the whole Inglis team has been wonderful to deal with.”

Touched In Flight is playing her part too. She produced a “beautiful” full brother to Fell Swoop at Willow Park on 9 September, and visits Not A Single Doubt again this Spring.

And what if Fell Swoop wins The Everest? “I’ll cry like a baby,” says Paul, “then I’ll compose myself and make the speech!”