Jericho earns black type at Doomben

Jericho joined Smart Missile’s growing list of stakes performers when he rocketed home for second in Saturday’s $100,000 BRC Hampden S. 1200m LR.

It was a big run from the Triple Crown Syndications colt, who drew 9 and ended up at the back of the field, but stormed home when space opened up for him in the straight. Victory was momentarily in his grasp, but inexperience cost him the critical final metre, and he conceded the win to the Godolphin colt Archives, who proved resolute on the rail.  Spendthrift Australia’s promising Redoute’s Choice colt Redouble finished third.

The $250,000 Sires’ Produce S. G2 on 28 May and the $600,000 J.J. Atkins G1 on 11 June are both on Jericho’s horizon. Given that he’s progressed from city maiden winner to Carnival stakes performer in two starts, they look within his capability.

Trained by Peter & Paul Snowden, Jericho is the fifth stakes performer from Smart Missile’s first crop 2YOs, after Listed winner Sassy ‘N’ Smart, Group 3 placegetters Smart Amelia & Smart Manoeuvre, and stakes-placed Fromparis Withlove.

Jericho, the second foal of the Red Ransom mare Advance To Go, was bred by Jonathan Andrews, Louis Le Metayer & partners and initially sold under the Willow Park banner at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale to agent Sheamus Mills for $75,000. Re-offered by Rosemont Stud at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, he was knocked down to Triple Crown’s Chris & Michael Ward for $180,000.

Smart Missile is third in a tightly packed bunch at the top of an Australian First Season Sires’ list that will be fascinating to watch over the next two months. With six Group & Listed Races for 2YOs worth more than $1.2 million scheduled between 28 May and 9 July, this is one Premiership that remains very much undecided.

Starcraft to stand at Rosemont Stud

A joint venture between Arrowfield and Rosemont Studs will position Champion miler and Group 1 sire Starcraft in Victoria this Spring at a fee of $11,000 inc. GST. 

The handsome son of Soviet Star has been based at Arrowfield Stud since 2006 and is the sire of 15 stakeswinners and 11 other stakes performers. They are headed by Champion Australian 3YO Colt Star Witness and outstanding New Zealand filly We Can Say It Now, both dual Group 1 winners. 

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara says, “Starcraft has already justified our faith in him as a sire of top-class performers and, with around 300 foals coming on stream from his latest four books we’re confident there’s plenty of good news ahead of him. All of Starcraft’s current shareholders, including Arrowfield, will retain ownership of the horse, and we’ll be sending several mares to him at Rosemont this season.”

Messara adds, “Anthony Mithen’s personal enthusiasm for the horse is a major factor in our decision to move Starcraft. When we also considered Rosemont’s ability to support him and the appeal of a fresh pool of mares, a move to Victoria made excellent sense at this stage of Starcraft’s career.”

Rosemont Stud owner Anthony Mithen says, “Starcraft is a horse we’ve targeted for some time now. We contemplated approaching Arrowfield 12 months ago but had our hands full re-launching Starspangledbanner. The timing for us this year was perfect.

“Starcraft is such a stunning looker and gets great-looking stock which is priority number one for us at Rosemont. Type is everything and he produces some of the most attractive yearlings around that sell incredibly well – up to $650,000 at Easter this year.”

Mithen continues, “Starcraft sold more than 50 yearlings at all the top sales and averaged nearly $70,000. That is some effort. It also tells breeders finalising their matings for 2014 that Starcraft has plenty of unraced quality progeny out there in some of the very best stables. I am certain he will produce more topline runners in the next 12 months.

“Add the fact Starcraft’s Victorian-bred progeny will qualify for the riches of Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, and he is a no-brainer. I’ve got a feeling we are in for a very busy week!”

Mithen adds, “I’ve contacted a few of our best clients with mares here at the farm over the weekend to let them know he will be available here at Rosemont and they all booked mares to him on the spot.

“We will be sending a dozen or so very nice mares to him this season including the mother of recent Brisbane Group 2 winner Sacred Star, as well as some of the stakes-winning American and European mares we’ve been collecting in recent years.”

Girl puts smiles on many faces at Rosemont Stud

Girl Gone Rockin’ gave her champion sire Redoute’s Choice his third Cup Week stakeswinner when she landed Saturday’s VRC Matriarch S. G2 from a gallant Queenstown.

She also gave her owners Anthony Mithen, his brother-in-law Nigel Austin and their team at Rosemont Stud in Victoria an unforgettable and very satisfying Spring Carnival success.

Girl Gone Rockin’ was bred by John & Deborah Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds and offered for sale from Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud draft at the 2010 New Zealand Premier Sale, where she was knocked down to Rosemont Stud for $NZ380,000. 

Anthony Mithen recalls the first time he saw her. “When I inspected her with my brother-in-law Nigel and John and Wayne Hawkes we could not wipe the smiles off our faces.

“We all thought we had seen a filly that could be a foundation mare for our farm and she had a pedigree to match. She was so powerful and strong, but seemed to know how to carry herself.”

Girl Gone Rockin’ is a half-sister to Group 3 winner Syreon (by Flying Spur), from Group 2 winner Sorrento, a daughter of Star Way’s son Just A Dancer, winner of the Sydney and Brisbane Cups, and sire of six stakeswinners from 127 runners.

The combination of Redoute’s Choice with mares by Star Way and his sons is noteworthy, producing 12 winners including Group 1 Classic winners God’s Own & Empire’s Choice, Group 3 winner Leveller and now Girl Gone Rockin’, from 16 named foals.

Sorrento was bred in New Zealand by the Wigley family’s Inglewood Stud, also responsible for the 1956 AJC & VRC Derby winner Monte Carlo and the 1985 Stradbroke Handicap winner Canterbury Belle.

Sorrento’s female family has been a consistent producer of quality Australasian performers for several decades, with her dam Amatrice a major contributor by way of four stakeswinners, most notably Stargazer (by Star Way), a six-time Group 2 winner and multiple Group 1 placegetter in the late 1980s era of Rough Habit, Super Impose, Dr Grace, Stylish Century and Zabeel.

Girl Gone Rockin’s unflinching determination in Saturday’s tight finish was no surprise to Anthony.

“She’s just so tough. We had a few injury worries with her early on in her career and through the recovery she showed us she was tough as nails.

“She seems to have that determination to compete and try. You never know whether they have that when you buy them, but she has it in spades. The way she threw her ears back and savaged the line on Saturday showed the racing world what we already knew.”

The Matriarch Stakes victory was the perfect climax of Girl Gone Rockin’s brief spring campaign and the 5YO mare is now enjoying a well-deserved break at Rosemont Stud.

Anthony explains, “I know she only had three runs in this time, but she’s done her job for the spring. We will map out a program in the autumn which will involve the good Group races both in Melbourne and Sydney. I think she will run out a strong 2400 metres, so we will “blue sky” aim at the BMW, but let her tell us as we progress.”

Such was Anthony’s faith in Girl Gone Rockin’ that he returned to the sale-ring earlier this year to purchase both her dam, now 18-years-old, and her half-sister Sorren Tessa (by Red Ransom), the latter in partnership with Ashley Hardwick. Both mares are now in foal to Rosemont’s flagship stallion Toorak Toff.

Long experience of racing’s twists and turns of fortune means that Anthony, his family and their staff truly understand the value of Girl Gone Rockin’s win, on the final day of one of the world’s great racing carnivals.

“It’s a huge result for everyone at Rosemont. We had a table of staff in the committee room at the Geelong Race Club on Saturday enjoying an afternoon out from very hectic duties and they tell me that we could have nearly heard them at Flemington, given the noise they made!

“It’s very exciting for everyone. From Jess who looks after Girl Gone Rockin’ when she spells, to the stud staff that know they will be caring for her in her retirement, to the office staff who know the ups and downs of racing horses, everyone has been walking around with smiles on their faces since the win.

“It’s particularly satisfying for Nigel and myself as we picked her out of a sale with the help of Team Hawkes, took a leap of faith, and paid as much as we have ever paid for a yearling and then waited to see the best of her. I can tell you, it was worth the wait!”