Venerable matron celebrates a Slipper runner

Arrowfield’s home-bred filly Teaspoon is a 40/1 chance in Saturday’s $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper G1, but she knocks it out of the park with the oldest dam of the 19 runners in the field.

The average age of those 19 mares at the birth of their Golden Slipper runners was 9.5, with eleven of them nine or younger and seven aged ten to 15.

Teaspoon, though, is the 16th and last foal of the unraced Patronella  (Mister C-All Sterling by One Pound Sterling) who was 23-years-old when she delivered the bay filly by Snitzel on 4 September 2014. The Arrowfield foaling team recorded a “normal foaling, foal of normal size with good body and bone” and similar observations were made of Patronella’s six previous deliveries at the Stud.

Assistant Operations Manager Kerry Stephens says, “We can’t recall any foaling issues with Patronella, and reproductively she’s been straightforward.”  Ditto her character too, although she’s no pushover, as Kerry points out.

“She’s an average sized mare, with an attractive head, plenty of bone and substance. She’s straightforward to handle, with no odd habits or quirks, but she has spirit –  if she doesn’t like something she’s quick to let you know. All the good ones have spirit!”

Unlike some mares, the now 25 year-old Patronella, pictured right at Arrowfield this week (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy) hasn’t had a special paddock mate and gets on well with most other horses. That’s made for an easy transition to her new life in retirement as a nanny mare.

Kerry explains, “Her latest assignment was baby-sitting the Easter Sale yearling fillies before they began their sale preparation. It’s very useful having an experienced older mare keeping an eye on the young ones, it helps to keep them settled in the paddock and reduces the chance of injury.”

Patronella has visited Starcraft, Charge Forward, Hussonet, All American, Beneteau and Snitzel (twice) during her eight-year breeding career at Arrowfield, failing to conceive only in 2011. Five of the resulting seven foals were sold as weanlings or yearlings for relatively modest prices, and three of those have won races. The best of them was Teaspoon’s full sister Aliyana Tilde, born in 2008 and bought for $50,000 by trainer Kerry Parker at the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Aliyana Tilde turned out to be very good indeed, even better than Patronella’s first two foals, two-time Listed winner Stella Artois and Group 3 winner Smytzer’s Trish, born back in the mid-nineties, when their mother was five and six.

Unlike Teaspoon though, Aliyana Tilde’s forte was classic stamina, evident in her ATC Epona S. G3 victory and three Group 1 placings in the Australian Oaks, Sydney Cup and Storm Queen Stakes. That record made her an appealing proposition when she retired in 2013 and so it was that she returned to the ownership of Arrowfield where she’s had two colts by Animal Kingdom and a Dundeel filly.

Research conducted by Arrowfield alumnus Byron Rogers of Performance Genetics confirms both the rarity of mares that produce one Group winner during their careers, and that around one in five of those select mares will go on to leave subsequent Group winners. Three Group winners put Patronella in elite company, though not in the league of the extraordinary Juddmonte mare Hasili, dam of seven Group winners, five of them successful at Group 1 level.  

Kerry notes that all of Patronella’s Arrowfield foals have resembled her, and the one most like her is the filly Bacarella (by Beneteau), a year older than Teaspoon and talented enough to win at two and place twice in Sydney Group 2 company last Spring.

However, Kerry adds, “Teaspoon was always a staff favourite as a foal, because she was a particularly attractive filly and a strong individual.”

Like Bacarella, Teaspoon was retained by Arrowfield because she’s a late filly from a wonderful broodmare so, while her fellow yearlings were being prepared for sale, she was being educated at Rick Worthington’s Danric Lodge before joining Michael Freedman’s stable last September.

Teaspoon opened her account with a debut win at Canterbury in November, spelled, then returned to win the ATC Widden S. G3 with a quality performance under pressure, and become Snitzel’s 48th stakeswinner at Rosehill on 28 January. She also completed an Arrowfield graduate Group double with her Golden Slipper rival Pariah (by Redoute’s Choice), successful on the same card in the ATC Canonbury S. G3.

Teaspoon, quirkily named by Arrowfield’s Sydney Office Manager Sophie Swain for Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer’s habit of leaving teaspoons around the office, goes into the Slipper off a game third in the ATC Sweet Embrace S. G2 and will be ridden by Zac Purton. 

Meanwhile, Patronella grazes peacefully in the Hill 5 paddock at Arrowfield, perhaps thinking occasionally of those 16 foals, among them thirteen winners of 43 races, and that final, vibrant daughter out to make her mark on Slipper history at 4.10 pm on Saturday.

Redoute's Choice dominates Golden Slipper pedigrees

Redoute’s Choice, already the sire of two Golden Slipper winners, appears in the immediate pedigrees of no fewer than 11 of the 19 juveniles in the field for this year’s $3.5 million event, sponsored for the second time by Longines.

Pariah is his 17th Slipper runner, bidding to join the 2006 winner Miss Finland, and Stratum, who defeated Fashions Afield in 2005 to give their champion sire a memorable quinella. 

This year Redoute’s Choice also appears as the damsire of Trekking, Frolic and 3rd emergency The Mission, and as the paternal grandsire of Single Bullet (by Not A Single Doubt), and Trapeze Artist, Invader, Menari, Teaspoon and emergency runners Chauffeur & Showtime (all by Snitzel).

Given that Snitzel heads the 2YO Sires’ premiership by earnings, winners and stakeswinners, it’s not surprising this is his best-ever contingent in the Slipper. He’s already the damsire of a Slipper winner (Mossfun in 2014) and two placegetters, Snitzerland, the gallant runner-up to Pierro in 2012, and Showtime’s sister Sweet Idea, third to Overreach in 2013. 

A fourth Arrowfield stallion, Charge Forward, figures as the damsire of Single Bullet’s stablemate She Will Reign, a daughter of former Arrowfield resident (and half-brother of Redoute’s Choice) Manhattan Rain. Charge Forward, himself a close second to Dance Hero in the record-breaking 2004 Slipper, is also the sire of 2009 runner-up Headway.

Arrowfield is attempting to add a third Golden Slipper to the trophies won by Miss Finland and Flying Spur (in 1995) as the owner-breeder of Teaspoon, the last foal of venerable matron Patronella, now in happy retirement as a nanny mare at the Stud. Trained by Michael Freedman, Teaspoon has won two of her three starts including the ATC Widden S. G3 (pictured, right; PHOTO: Sportpix) and will be ridden by Zac Purton.

Arrowfield bred and sold Inglis Easter graduate Pariah (in partnership with John Leaver, David Paradice & Paul Favretto), and Magic Millions colt Showtime (in partnership with Katsumi Yoshida), and sold Invader on behalf of his breeeder Michael Pitt. Two other breeders have multiple runners: Darley (Veranillo & Trekking) and Corumbene Stud (Single Bullet & Menari).

An interesting aspect of the 16-strong 2017 Golden Slipper field is its exactly even distribution between the sexes, eight colts and eight fillies, though the three emergencies are all colts. History favours colts and geldings with 35 wins, compared with 25 by fillies, but the split by runners (165 male, 146 female), top five finishes (51 male, 49 female) and winners (11 male, 9 female) is a little more evenly balanced over the past two decades, 1997-2016.

Apart from being a thrilling contest that can determine both the season’s best 2YO and the champion sire of juveniles, the Golden Slipper frequently previews other top performers. Subsequent Group 1 winners that ran in, but didn’t win the race include: English, Single Gaze & Speak Fondly (2015), Sweet Idea, Guelph & Criterion (2013), Snitzerland & Epaulette (2012), Mosheen, Foxwedge & Hot Snitzel (2011), Melito, Wanted & More Joyous (2009), Empires Choice, Gold Edition & Casino Prince (2006),  Snitzel (2005), Charge Forward, Alinghi & Fastnet Rock (2004), Shamekha & Exceed and Excel (2003) and Choisir & Yell (2002). 

The Longines Golden Slipper S. 1200m G1, offering winner’s prizemoney of $2 million, will be held for the 61st time at Rosehill this Saturday 18 March at 4.10 pm AEDT.

2YO Group double for Redoute's Choice & Snitzel

Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel delivered a one-two punch at Rosehill on Saturday when the Arrowfield-bred pair Pariah and Teaspoon took out both the Group 3 features for juveniles.

In the $150,000 Canonbury S. 1100m G3 Hualalai and Showtime took up the running ahead of the hot favourite Menari (by Snitzel), while Kerrin McEvoy settled debutant Pariah back off the pace.

Sent wide around the turn, Pariah got down to his work with real commitment to win by a length from Menari and Malahat in 1:04.63. Although Menari had to be counted unlucky, the Redoute’s Choice colt powered to the line in a manner that suggests there’s plenty more to come.

Watch Pariah win the ATC Canonbury S. G3.

Pariah’s co-trainer Peter Snowden said, “This horse has so much upside to him – it was only his first start today and he’s only going to improve from that.  He’s always been well above his years in everything he’s done.”

The $1.5 million Blue Diamond S. G1 at Caulfield on 25 February is the target proposed for Pariah, a $700,000 buy at last year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

He extends James Harron’s outstanding record with purchases from Arrowfield. Group 1 winners Sweet Idea & Wandjina, Group winner Odyssey Moon and Listed winner Detective have all been bought out of Arrowfield consignments by the Sydney-based agent. He signed for five Arrowfield yearlings at the 2017 Magic Millions Sale, including the sale-topping $1.3 million Redoute’s Choice-Ballet Blue colt.  

Pariah is raced by James Harron Bloodstock Colts with a group of regular JHB clients, among them Fergus Doyle, Belinda Bateman, Rob & Donna Love and John & Fran Ingham.

Harron said, “He’s a great-natured colt who has really matured into a beautiful horse and absolutely, things look good for him moving forward.’’

“When we saw him at Easter last year he had a lot of quality about him, was very masculine and he had a lovely shape, a really nice medium-sized horse, not too big and definitely not too small. Add to that his terrific pedigree and we were confident we were on a winner and, well, it’s off to a nice start.”

A three-quarter brother to dual Group1 winner Melito, Pariah is the first foal of the city-winning mare Secluded, and was bred by Arrowfield in partnership with John Leaver, David Paradice and Paul Favretto. Arrowfield will offer his full brother at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale and Secluded is again in foal to Redoute’s Choice.

The lifetime statistics for Redoute’s Choice now read 138 stakeswinners and 34 2YO stakeswinners and Pariah is his seventh stakeswinner this season. He is also the second stakeswinner to emerge from Arrowfield’s Graduate Class of  2016, after Inglis Melbourne Premier graduate Azazel, winner of October’s Inglis Banner S. (R) LR.

Forty minutes after the Canonbury, Arrowfield’s own Yellow and Black silks were seen in the winner’s circle after the Stud’s home-bred filly Teaspoon put up a quality performance to take out the $150,000 ATC Widden S.1100m G3 at her second start.

Teaspoon jumped smartly from gate 10 and Hugh Bowman elected to take advantage of her early speed by pressing forward to take up the running. The filly settled sweetly in front and went for home with plenty of determination, but briefly lost her lead as Mystic Empire drove at her in the straight.

However, when her champion jockey asked Teaspoon for another effort, she willingly gave it, and came away again to score by a half-length in 1:05.08 from Mystic Empire, Sweet Deal and the favourite Boorooj.

Watch Teaspoon win the ATC Widden S. G3
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Teaspoon’s trainer Michael Freedman said, “She’s given them weight today. Hugh has had to use her up a little bit from that wide gate. She was there to be run down and she kept fighting.”

The $3.5 million Golden Slipper on 18 March is now in the filly’s sights, with races like the Sweet Embrace and the Reisling as possible lead-ups.

Teaspoon is the 48th stakeswinner and 20th 2YO stakeswinner for Snitzel who topped the Magic Millions sires’ table with 42 lots sold for $13.9 million. He is also back on top of the Australian 2YO Sires’ list, though he remains in close battle with I Am Invincible.

Teaspoon is the fourth stakeswinner out of Arrowfield’s wonderful and now-retired matron Patronella, also dam of Group 2 winner Stella Artois, dual Listed winner Smytzer’s Trish, Group 3 winner Aliyana Tilde (by Snitzel) and Group 2-placed filly Bacarella (by Beneteau). Aliyana Tilde is already part of Arrowfield’s broodmare band, while Bacarella, recovering from injury, and Teaspoon run for the Arrowfield stable.