Animal Kingdom's first Group 1 performer

It’s been a progressive fortnight for second season sire Animal Kingdom, with three new winners in Australia and his first Group 1 performer in the United States.

Untamed Domain, already a Grade 2 winner this northern summer, made a big impression when second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf G1 on 3 November, after coming from the back of the pack and running 68 feet further than the winner Mendelssohn.

Sent out by Animal Kingdom’s trainer Graham Motion, Untamed Domain, out of two-time stakeswinner Ciao (by Lear Fan), is raced by West Point Thoroughbreds who have every reason to look forward to plenty more success with him. 

Untamed Domain heads a group of seven winners that have driven Animal Kingdom’s rise to third position on the US First Crop Sires’ list. with prizemoney of $US803,254. 

Back in Australia this week, two Arrowfield graduates from Animal Kingdom’s first Southern Hemisphere crop won successive races at Ballarat.  

First-up was Peaceful State who fought out the finish of the 1400-metre maiden with his stablemate Captain Henry, leaving six lengths of daylight back to the third horse.

Watch Peaceful State win at Ballarat.

Peaceful State is the last foal of Weekend Beauty (by Helissio), celebrated as the dam of Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, and he is trained by Darren Weir for Katsumi Yoshida, who bred him with Arrowfield. The colt’s likely next assignment will be the $250,000 Sandown Guineas G2 on 18 November.

In the next race, Roar (ex Line Honours by Hussonet)  led all the way and proved too strong over 1600 metres, winning by a length from Pollinator & Bradbury.

Watch Roar win at Ballarat.

Roar (ex Line Honours by Hussonet) was a $200,000 purchase for Champion Thoroughbreds & Matchem Genetics from Arrowfield’s 2016 Magic Millions draft. He is trained by Robert Smerdon who said after the win, “[Roar] has really improved with blinkers and he enjoyed getting out to 1600m today…he will only get better the further he goes.” 

A couple of promising placegetters look close to breakthrough wins. Team Valor’s 3YO filly Oleksandra was third at Randwick on Tuesday, and Godolphin’s 2YO colt Rheingau was third on debut at Rosehill on Saturday.

New Year, new Group winner for Snitzel

Snitzel signed off on 2016 with his 47th stakeswinner, Le Cordon Bleu at Canterbury, and almost exactly 24 hours later has chalked up his first stakeswinner of the new year.

Odyssey Moon relished the chance to run his own race on Flemington’s “Straight Six” course, taking up an early lead and, aided by an energetic Noel Callow ride, held out his nine rivals in the $160,000 VRC Standish H. 1200m G3.

Callow said, “Full credit (to him). He was there to be run down and he pinned the ears back. I’ve never ridden him and I hit him (with the whip) and he didn’t like it at all so I kept him going (hands and heels).”

Watch Odyssey Moon win the VRC Standish H. G3.

Trained by Robert Smerdon for Belinda Bateman, Odyssey Moon was bred by the highly successful Arrowfield/Jungle Pocket partnership and originally purchased for $25,000 from Arrowfield at the 2014 Inglis Classic Sale. He was subsequently re-sold for $120,000 as a 2YO to James Harron.

His dam, Run To The Moon (by Arch) is a half-sister to dual US Grade 1 winner Jostle and was sent to Arrowfield in 2005 by Katsumi Yoshida. Now owned by Aquis Farm, she is again in foal to Snitzel.

As a juvenile, Odyssey Moon was prepared by Rod Northam to win the ATC Inglis Nursery (R) LR and dead-heat for second in Pride Of Dubai’s Sires’ Produce S. G1. All up, he’s won four races and placed eight times in black type company for earnings of more than $720,000. 

Snitzel was represented by another Flemington winner on Sunday, the 3YO colt Snitzson, prepared by the Hayes/Dabernig partnership. With three wins from five starts, he definitely qualifies as progressive and has the $750,000 Australian Guineas G1 on 4 March in his sights.

Seven winners, two of them stakeswinners, in seven days have propelled Snitzel at speed into 2017 and the impending Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and Carnival will only increase the level of excitement around him and his progeny.

Group 3 quinella for Not A Single Doubt

No surprise to see Blueblood Thoroughbreds’ quality sprinting mare Secret Agenda win the $150,000 MRC How Now S. 1200m G3 – she was the favourite, and her first-up record is very good.

The surprise was Every Faith, who steamed home to nab second, despite a record that did not favour the course, the distance or her first campaign run.  A Listed winner and Group-placed at three, she’s since won three times over 1600 metres in Melbourne and the style of her 6YO debut indicates she’s very capable of extending her record this Spring.

Both mares are daughters of Not A Single Doubt and Secret Agenda is his second stakeswinner this season, following Don’t  Doubt Mamma’s VRC Let’s Elope S. G3 victory last Saturday. 

Trainer Mick Price indicated after the race that Secret Agenda would target Melbourne’s excellent program of mares’ races this Spring, and that there was plenty of improvement in her.

“She’s still got her winter coat and is in between phases at the moment. It’s good that she won and she’ll definitely improve – the give in the ground was the key to her.

“She’s a little bit more relaxed than she used to be, now we’ve worked her out and can ride a race on her.”

Secret Agenda was bred by the highly successful partnership of Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones, and sent in Arrowfield’s draft to the 2014 Magic Millions Sale, where she was purchased for $120,000 by Blueblood Thoroughbreds.

Her two juvenile starts included a Moonee Valley success, but she came into her own last season, winning the VRC Red Roses S. G3 and placing three times in Group company, including the ATC Sapphire S. G2.  Secret Agenda’s record now reads four wins and $431,000 from a dozen starts.

Secret Agenda is the fourth winner out of Negotiate, an unraced daughter of Red Ransom and Group 1 winner Euphoria, a grand-daughter of Denise’s Joy – who also appears as the fourth dam of Don’t Doubt Mamma.

Negotiate has not missed a beat in her breeding career.  Since foaling Secret Agenda she has visited Smart Missile four times, leaving the now 3YO colt Missile Strike (placed in Sydney at his second start), a filly bought for $200,000 by Phillip Stokes at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale, a yearling colt and a colt foal born on 11 September. 

Every Faith, a half-sister to Group 2 winner Alpine Eagle, has earned $334,000 from 5 wins and six placings for her owners Barry, Barbara & Rebecca Saunders and trainer Robert Smerdon.

Australia’s leading active sire of 2015/16, Not A Single Doubt is the sire of 34 stakeswinners, sixteen of them fillies including Group 1 winners Miracles of Life and Single Gaze.

Not A Single Doubt, Snitzel and their sire Redoute’s Choice have tag-teamed to put up 10 Australian stakeswinners in the first seven weeks of 2016/17 and are already eighth, first and fifth respectively on the General Sires’ table.

Gio Ponti's first Australian stakes performer

There is plenty to learn from Pearl Congenial’s heady debut second in the $120,000 MRC Debutant S. LR on Guineas Day at Caulfield.

The 2YO filly jumped smartly for Craig Williams, raced boldly in the leading bunch, took control in the straight and was run down only in the final stages by Missrock who unleashed a whirlwind finish from the back of the field.

Pearl Congenial is the first Australian runner & stakes performer for US champion Gio Ponti who shuttled for the 2012 season from Castleton Lyons in Kentucky to Arrowfield. Bred by Watson Bloodstock, she is the second foal of city winner Congenial (by Redoute’s Choice) and was a $100,000 buy from the Newhaven Park draft at the Inglis Easter Sale for David Redvers on behalf of Pearl Bloodstock.

Pearl Congenial’s debut effort is an early indication that Arrowfield’s willingness to look beyond the obvious in the search for stallions is going to pay off.  That she is out of a Redoute’s Choice mare supports the case for sending Danehill-line mares to outcross stallions with top-drawer American form.

Of course, that case has already been forcefully made by Street Cry and Medaglia D’Oro, responsible for 22 Australian-bred Group winners between them, notably last season’s best juveniles, Pride of Dubai and Vancouver, both out of Danehill mares.  

The left-field strategy that brought Gio Ponti to Australia also led to Arrowfield’s 2012 purchase of Animal Kingdom. Like Street Cry, Medaglia D’Oro and Gio Ponti, he has an international, rather than a more familiar domestic pedigree and race record.

It’s significant that the Dubai World Cup G1 appears in the records of all four horses. Gio Ponti was fourth in 2010, Medaglia D’Oro was runner-up to Pleasantly Perfect in 2004, and Street Cry & Animal Kingdom won the race in 2002 and 2013.

Gio Ponti & Animal Kingdom also feature among respected US analyst Bill Oppenheim’s selection of young stallions likely to succeed in his Thoroughbred Daily News column, earlier this year.

Oppenheim notes Gio Ponti’s class, durability and versatility,  and adds, “The other reason I like Gio Ponti so much is that two other American turf sires, Kitten’s Joy and English Channel, have made sires, and Gio Ponti was certainly in the same class, at least, as a racehorse.”

He writes of Animal Kingdom, “He showed top-class form on all three surfaces, and won the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup. For all the legions of people who claim they want toughness and soundness, Animal Kingdom must be a horse who really appeals.”

Mated with Danehill-line mares, his chances of success in Australia must be rated outstanding, especially given the opportunities Arrowfield and their clients are giving him. The results so far include a beautiful first-crop filly from Arrowfield’s champion mare Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice) – now the dam of Group 1 winner Stay With Me, by none other than Street Cry.

First trial winner for Gio Ponti

Pearl Bloodstock’s 2YO filly Pearl Congenial, by US champion Gio Ponti, won her first trial at Cranbourne today. 

The Robert Smerdon-trained filly began smartly, took up the running with her ears pricked and needed only gentle encouragement from jockey Craig Williams to maintain her lead to the post. Pearl Congenial ran out the 800 metres in 49.31, finishing almost a half-length in front of Literate with Sweet Sherry third.

Watch Pearl Congenial’s trial win.

Pearl Congenial is the second foal of Congenial, a city winner by Redoute’s Choice from Group 2 winner Toast Of The Coast. Congenial was bought in foal to Gio Ponti for $85,000 by Westbury Stud from Arrowfield at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

David Redvers purchased the yearling Pearl Congenial for $100,000 from the Newhaven Park draft at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat-Chipeta Springs by Alydar) has had three 2YO winners this year from his first US-bred crop, including stakes-placed filly Truly Ponti. He stands at Castleton Lyons in Kentucky.

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.

Four success stories, one Easter draft

Ever wanted a Listed Race winner?  Hoped for a Group 3 winner?

Longed for a Group 2 winner?  Fantasised about owning a Group 1 winner?

At the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale, buyers needed to visit only one draft to find all four kinds of success stories.

You guessed right, it was the Arrowfield draft.

The latest star to emerge from the 32 yearlings the Stud offered at Easter that year is Saturday’s heroic VRC C.S. Hayes S. G3 winner Wandjina (Snitzel-La Bamba by Last Tycoon). He was one of the most popular Arrowfield yearlings in 2013 and sold for $1 million to James Harron, acting for leading owners Edmund & Belinda Bateman.

Champion South African 2YO filly Majmu (Redoute’s Choice-Spontaneous by Hussonet) was a $300,000 purchase by Angus Gold for Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud. She has raced only in black type company, winning all three of her juvenile starts, and achieving elite status with a dominant victory in December’s Kenilworth Cape Fillies Guineas G1.  Champion trainer Mike de Kock already rates her one of the best fillies he’s trained.

Well-known bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington was the successful bidder at $100,000 for the Manhattan Rain colt from Lunaspur (by Flying Spur). Sent to Mick Price by his owners Peter Anastasiou & Ken Biddick, he was named Moonovermanhattan and  made a dream debut, winning the SAJC National S. G3 and most of his purchase price in May 2014.

He progressed steadily to win the MVRC Moonee Valley Vase G2 as a Spring 3YO and has recently returned with Group 1 glory in his sights this Autumn.

Qatar Bloodstock’s agent David Redvers bought Crafty (Moonovermanhattan-Spirited Dancer by Sadler’s Wells) for $150,000. Sent to Robert Smerdon, she made her debut 10 months later, placing twice before a 3-length debut win at Sandown.

Two starts later she was a 2YO Listed Race winner and then, as a Spring 3YO, earned Oaks favouritism with placings in the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 and MRC Caulfield Classic G3. Sadly, injury prematurely ended her racing career, but Crafty had already done enough to warrant the first-class stud opportunities she will now receive in the northern hemisphere.

Of these four Arrowfield graduates, only Wandjina has a sibling in this year’s Easter consignment from the Stud. That’s Lot 8, the Manhattan Rain colt from La Bamba.

However, buyers need not fear any disappointment when they arrive in a few weeks’ time at the historic Big Barn where Arrowfield’s yearlings are housed at the Inglis Easter Sale. Thirty-five yearlings await them, including colts from Miss Finland, Alinghi, Brazilian Pulse, Hollow Bullet & US grade 1 winner Miss Match, Alverta’s first daughter, Weekend Hussler’s half-sister by Redoute’s Choice, Sweet Idea’s full sister, Smart Missile’s full brother & the half-brother to Dundeel.

 

Faith justified by Moonee Valley win

A decision to forgo Spring racing has paid off for owners Barry, Barbara & Rebecca Saunders and trainer Robert Smerdon when Every Faith won easily at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Third first-up at Sandown on 6 December, the 4YO daughter of Not A Single Doubt returned to the 1600m distance of her Listed stakes win in March and won by a widening 2.5 lengths from Coronation Shallan and Bec Said No Credit.

Smerdon explained, “She had a pretty tough Autumn as a three-year-old, had a big workload so we decided to miss the Spring and just come back and get her into winning form.”

“She was great first up and this is her distance range. She’s a stakes winner at this distance and is a really nice mare.”

Every Faith, bred by Dr Gene Tsoi from the winning Zabeel mare Zephyria, was initially sold by Brooklyn Lodge as a Magic Millions weanling for $28,000 to bloodstock agent Paul Willetts.  She was then offered by Three Bridges Thoroughbreds at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where she was bought for $130,000 by the Saunders family.

Zephyria has a 3YO High Chaparral colt named Alpine Eagle, a winner at two for owner Wolf Blass & trainer Tony McEvoy, a 2YO colt by Starcraft and a yearling filly by Snitzel. 

The Not A Single Doubt-Zabeel cross has produced 10 other winners from 16 named foals, including Group 1-placed Group 2 winner Gypsy Diamond and two other stakes performers.

Every Faith is one of the 65 winners of 80 races that keep Not A Single Doubt comfortably among Australia’s top 10 sires by those measures this season. He is also second by wins & winners, and third by earnings on the 2YO Sires’ list.

Twelve Magic Millions Gold Coast vendors will offer 17 Not A Single Doubt yearlings, among them two fillies and a colt in the Arrowfield draft – photos and videos here

Manhattan Rain moves up Second Season Sires' list

For second season sire Manhattan Rain, Caulfield Cup day was something of a groundhog experience, with three of his talented 3YOs almost exactly repeating their stakes performances at Flemington two weeks ago.

However, their latest efforts were rewarded with more prizemoney, enough to elevate Manhattan Rain to the No. 2 spot on the Australian Second Season Sires’ list where he splits Turffontein and Medaglia d’Oro. Manhattan Rain’s season earnings now total $432,640.

Once again, his Arrowfield-bred daughter Crafty unwound a terrific finish, this time at the end of 2000 metres in Saturday’s $750,000 MRC Caulfield Classic G3. Once again, she was beaten a neck by her classy stablemate Fontein Ruby, but this time she was the runner-up, almost a length ahead of the colt Firehouse Rock.

Trained by Robert Smerdon for Qatar Bloodstock, and a stakeswinner last season, Crafty gives every sign of being well-suited by the 2500 metres of the VRC Oaks G1 for which she is the early favourite.

Light Up Manhattan, trained by Ciaron Maher, filled fourth position in the Caulfield Classic, the same place he occupied in Listed company over 1800 metres on 4 October.  However, this time the Victoria Derby contender finished much closer and his jockey Hugh Bowman said, “Very good run. He’ll enjoy getting to Flemington.”

Once again, a half-neck margin separated the Mick Price-trained Manhattan Avenue from Stratum Star, but this time it was Manhattan Avenue doing the chasing. The post came up just too soon for him in the $120,000 Gothic S. 1400m LR, but his determination under pressure was, once again, impressive.

Crafty, Light Up Manhattan, Manhattan Avenue are among Manhattan Rain’s five stakes performers, and Music Man, successful at Gosford on Sunday, took his tally of winners to eleven.

Rain, rain, rain for Flemington on Saturday

Don’t panic, this isn’t the weather forecast for Flemington – Saturday is going to be warm and sunny.  Instead, it marks the start of what may be a very exciting Spring Carnival for a promising second season sire.

Manhattan Rain has not one, but three runners, all of them Inglis sale graduates, in black type races at Flemington on Saturday. Better still, their trainers all have bigger targets on their Spring programmes.

Light Up Manhattan (ex Luminata by Zabeel) will take his place in the Listed VRC UCI Stakes over 1800 metres fresh from his maiden win on 21 September.

He was bought initially by Peter Clarke from the Supreme Thoroughbreds draft at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, and was twice stakes-placed at two, including a half-length second to Merion in the VRC Anzac Day S. LR.

Trainer Ciaron Maher and a group of owners led by Colin McKenna (also owner of Girl Guide and Gregers) purchased Light Up Manhattan after that preparation specifically as a Victoria Derby prospect.

Maher says, “He’s very scopey and clean-winded, with a lovely temperament and he’s still learning his craft so I’ve trained him quite softly. I’m starting to screw him down now, so he should improve further out the back of Saturday’s race.

“He’ll go to the Spring Champion Stakes, and then if he needs another run, the Caulfield Classic before the Derby. He’s a massive-striding horse and the distance and the big open track at Flemington will suit him.”

Mick Price will saddle up the talented Manhattan Avenue for the 3YO sprint race at Flemington, the Listed Yellowglen Vintage Stakes over 1400 metres.

Placed at two, he broke his maiden at his second start this season, defeating subsequent Caulfield winner Firehouse Rock. Manhattan Avenue  ran off in that race on 20 September, but trialled without a problem around the course on Tuesday.

Interviewed by Shane Anderson on Radio Sport National on Friday morning, Price said,  “He’s a nice horse…he might end up in the Carbine Club and the Sandown Guineas if he trains on. He’ll run well, but I just think a mile will be better for him.”

Manhattan Avenue (ex Tizzy May by Danzero) was also offered at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, where Price bought him from Northern Lodge Stud.

The Arrowfield-bred filly Crafty runs for Qatar Bloodstock in the Group 2 VRC Edward Manifold Stakes over 1600 metres. She won the Listed Gibson Carmichael Stakes at the same course and distance in July, and judging by his interview with Radio Sport National on Thursday morning, trainer Robert Smerdon clearly has his eye on her VRC Oaks nomination.

“She ran on well from the back after drawing wide at Caulfield last start [on 20 September] but hasn’t fared too much better at the barrier on Saturday, so I suspect she’s going to be a fair way off them at some stage, and maybe she’s got to get out over a longer trip before we see her to best advantage.”

From the Sadler’s Wells mare Spirited Dancer, Crafty is a half-sister to Lunar Rise (VRC Carbine Club S. G3) and was a $150,000 purchase by David Redvers from Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale. 

Manhattan Rain heads the Australian Second Season Sires’ table by winners with a total of six, and is already the sire of two stakeswinners, Crafty and Moonovermanhattan, also a fine second in last weekend’s MVRC Stutt S. G2, and on the second line of betting for the Victoria Derby G1.