Group 1 goal for Raphael's Cat

Raphael’s Cat, having only his fourth start, confirmed his trainer’s high opinion of him with a fighting second in Saturday’s $200,000 VRC Danehill S. 1200m G2.

The 3YO son of Redoute’s Choice began well and set the early pace with Black Vanquish and Headwater until he was asked by Blake Shinn to extend 400 metres from home.  He quickly shot clear and sustained his sprint to hold off all his rivals except Kinglike who nabbed him with 100 metres to go and won by 1.2 lengths in 1:09.06.

Watch the VRC Danehill S. G2 – Race 4.

Trainer Gai Waterhouse considered the effort “a brilliant Coolmore Stud Stakes trial.”

She commented on Gai’s Blog, “I have always felt that this colt is a speed horse. He may develop into a miler with more experience, but at the minute he is a real get out and run colt, and these types of horses are very valuable in the spring.

“I have won good races up the Flemington straight in the past with the likes of Northern Meteor and Dance Hero, and I feel this colt has the sustained speed and tenacity required to really make it at the top level. He has a big Spring down south ahead.”

The $500,000 VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes is one of four Group 1 features on Derby Day, 31 October, which opens Cup Week in Melbourne.

Raphael’s Cat is raced by a partnership that includes his breeders Arrowfield and Matt & Jo Cloros, as well as Ricky Surace and Kate Waterhouse.

His dam, US Group 2 winner Cat By The Tale (by Tale Of The Cat) has a 2YO full sister to Raphael’s Cat, bought for $400,000 by Vinery Stud at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale, and a yearling filly by Animal Kingdom. Cat By The Tale is due to foal this Spring to Smart Missile.

Raphael’s Cat joins Group 3-placed King’s Troop (trained by Gerald Ryan), Dark Steel, an impressive maiden winner at Canterbury on Wednesday and also trained by Gai Waterhouse, and the Chris Waller-trained Counterattack to give champion sire Redoute’s Choice an appealing quartet of 3YO colts more than capable of joining his current list of 123 stakeswinners.

A troop of Redoute's Choice colts

The gap left on the Arrowfield roster by Beneteau begs to be filled by another son of Redoute’s Choice.

The Stud’s 2015 stallion brochure tags gifted colt Scissor Kick as “Coming Soon”, so his spot is assured, but less than a month into the new season, a couple of other Redoute’s Choice colts raced by Arrowfield have put up their hooves for the same imprimatur.

3YO King’s Troop, a three-quarter brother to Snitzel, made his bid on 15 August with a heady run for second in the ATC San Domenico S. 1100m G3, beaten only a half-length by the very talented gelding Japonisme in near-race record time of 1:02.57.

That performance was a significant step up for King’s Troop who attracted attention with a big trial win before his debut second on a heavy track to Japonisme at Rosehill on 18 July. Eighteen days later he broke his maiden with a 3.8 length win at Warwick Farm, before tackling Group company at his third start.

Trainer Gerald Ryan had already recommended that King’s Troop needs time to grow and strengthen with the aim of preparing for a major Autumn campaign. He went straight to the paddock after the San Domenico while owners Arrowfield and Alan Jones imagine his future.

The following Wednesday 19 August it was the turn of Raphael’s Cat to step up. He showed impressive acceleration at the end of 1200 metres at Canterbury, winning by 2.5 lengths from Tap This and Secret Trail.

He won his 2YO debut back in February for Gai Waterhouse and a group of owners headed by Ricky Surace, Matt Cloros & Arrowfield and spelled after an unplaced run in the ATC Pago Pago S. G2. He will now head to Melbourne for the $200,000 VRC Danehill S. G2 on 12 September.

Waiting in the wings for Arrowfield and Paul Messara are Panzer Division and Scissor Kick, both among last season’s best 3YO colts and set to return later in the Spring, while Rekindled Power (Group 2-placed at three) is not far away from his season debut.