Dundeel colt on New Zealand Derby trail

Second-crop sire Dundeel has set himself up for a big Autumn with a steady stream of impressive winners from major stables during the first third of the season.

New Zealand-owned colt Lincoln Falls has stepped up to spearhead Dundeel’s Autumn assault with a soft win over 1400 metres at Trentham on Saturday.

Jockey Johnathan Parkes confirmed that the performance was as good as it looked. “He was just a class ahead of them today and I did like the way he settled off a very slow pace and he’s travelled up really well.

“I still think he is learning and every time he gets out there the penny is going to drop a little more, but he is a first-class animal and he will go on to bigger and better things.”

Lincoln Falls won on debut at Woodville and was a close second at Hastings on 6 October when slightly shinsore. Trainer Lisa Latta and owners John Street, Christopher Grace & Kevin Pratt elected to spell him for three weeks and the colt returned to trial very well on 27 November before his his Trentham success. 

He will now be set for the $1 million ARC New Zealand Derby G1 on 2 March, and will have his first look at Ellerslie in the Uncle Remus S. LR on Boxing Day.

The 2YO Lincoln Falls breezed up in 10.78 before the NZ Ready To Run Sale. (PHOTO: NZ Bloodstock)

Lincoln Falls was bred by Nearco Stud from the dual stakeswinner Causeway Queen, a Giant’s Causeway half-sister to brilliant sprinter Solar Charged, now the dam of the even more brilliant Group 1 winner Sunlight. John Street’s Lincoln Farms paid $200,000 for the colt at the 2017 New Zealand Ready To Run Sale where he was offered by JK Farm.

Causeway Queen has a 2YO daughter Love Handles (by Olympic Glory), a yearling full brother to Lincoln Falls in the Bhima Thoroughbreds draft for the Inglis Premier Sale, a 2018 colt by Dundeel and a positive test to the six-time Group 1 winner.

Eight members of Dundeel’s first crop have won in the past month, and with 11 last-start winners in major Australian & New Zealand stables he is well-placed to build his profile as Summer racing rolls on into the Autumn.

There are 14 Dundeel yearlings catalogued for the 2019 Magic Millions Sale, among them 7 colts and a filly consigned by Arrowfield

Smart Missile keeps firing in the ring & on the track

Australia’s leading second season sire Smart Missile continued to please vendors with his third crop of yearlings at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale averaging $107,419 for 31 lots. That’s better than five times his fee which has remained at $20,000 + GST for five years.

His top price of $300,000 was achieved by a pair of fillies, the daughter of Kitalpha offered by Daandine Stud and purchased by Newgate Thoroughbred Services, and Newgate Farm’s half-sister to Listed winner Russian Revolution, bought by China Horse Club. That figure of $300,000 is the second-highest price paid for a Smart Missile yearling, exceeded only by his first-crop debut 2YO winner Missile Coda, purchased by Woppitt Bloodstock.

Smart Missile’s first offering of yearlings in 2017 attracted strong interest from a wide range of local and international buyers. Three colts were bought at $260,000, $150,000 and $110,000 for the Hong Kong market; John Warren paid $250,000 on behalf of Highclere Australia for Yarraman Park’s Miss Vandal filly; and New Zealand buyers signed for a colt and a filly.

Several Australian stables and syndicators added a Smart Missile to their purchases, among them Clarry Conners, Hawkes Racing, Lindsay Park, Ciaron Maher, Gai Waterhouse, Matt Laurie, Matt Cumani, Dalziel Racing and Prime Thoroughbreds.

Meanwhile, 3YOs Ahndras (in Brisbane), Arleigh (in Adelaide), Stephenstihls (in New Zealand) and Friday’s Canberra winner Like A Shot have taken Smart Missile’s current season list of winners to thirty-four.

Arleigh, an Arrowfield home-bred grand-daughter of champion filly Alinghi, was an impressive maiden winner at Morphettville on Wednesday. Trainer Phillip Stokes expected her to be competitive first-up from a spell and so it proved as she bounced zestily out of the gates, settled second under a hold and sprinted clear to score untested by almost four lengths in 57.13 for the 1000 metres.

Watch Arleigh win at Morphettville.

Across the Tasman, the Mike Breslin-trained Stephenstihls has put himself in the frame for the $1 million New Zealand Derby G1 on 4 March with a stakes placing and two consecutive wins in progressive company, most recently over 1400 metres at Trentham on 7 January.

Watch Stephenstihls win at Trentham.

Smart Missile has 30 lots on offer at next month’s Inglis Classic Sale, including two colts and two fillies in the Arrowfield draft, and 11 yearlings catalogued for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.


Beneteau's new 2YO stakes performer

Her name doesn’t give any clues to her pedigree, but Dontpokethetiger’s runner-up finish in Saturday’s WRC Wellesley S. 1000m LR at Trentham, New Zealand suggested there would be plenty of quality on the page.

And indeed there is. She’s a daughter of brilliant 2YO Beneteau, second on last season’s Australian First Season Sires’ premiership, and La Lune (by Dehere), an unraced relative of Champion 2YO Miss Finland and her Group 1-winning daughter Stay With Me.  The relationship is made closer by the fact that Beneteau is a son of Miss Finland’s champion sire Redoute’s Choice. 

Dontpokethetiger is raced by her breeder Craig Dawson, who bought La Lune in foal to Beneteau from Arrowfield Stud at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Trained by Peter Rudkin, the filly made her debut on her home track at Riccarton Park on 3 October, finishing third to What Choux Want and Lambada.

The decision to send her north for a black type start, instead of the 2YO race at Riccarton on the same day, hinted at some some confidence about her ability and only the race favourite Tennessee denied her a victory, by three-quarters of a length, with the same distance back to second favourite Fortaleza. (The Riccarton race was won impressively by Smart Missile’s first runner Smart ‘N’ Sassy.)

Watch the WRC Wellesley S. LR.

Dontpokethetiger is Beneteau’s fourth stakes performer this season, following 3YOs Tatoosh and Voilier (both Group-placed in Sydney) and 2YO filly Jeanneau (2nd, ATC Gimcrack S. LR). Along with Group 3 winner Prompt Return and stakeswinner Lady Jivago they are among the 135 live foals from the two crops Beneteau conceived before his death in January 2013.

Beneteau was also represented on Saturday by Bob & Sandra Peters’ 3YO colt Universal Law, a half-brother to Champion 3YO Filly Delicacy. He maintained his unbeaten record with a third win in Perth.

Victorian breeder celebrates first Group 1 Star

While Mark Ruff was busy winning a campdrafting event at Trafalgar, two hours east of Melbourne, the thoroughbred horse he bred five years ago was storming to victory in New Zealand’s $250,000 WRC Telegraph H. G1.

Sacred Star became the 12th Group 1 winner for Arrowfield’s now-retired champion sire Flying Spur when he won last Saturday’s 1200-metre Trentham feature by four lengths in the blistering time of 1:07.01. Already a Group 2 winner in Brisbane last winter, and twice Group 1-placed at 1400 & 1600 metres, Sacred Star has won seven of his 22 starts and more than $470,000 for owner Raffles Thoroughbred Racing & trainer Tony Pike.

Mark, also part-owner of Flemington Oaks Day winner Sadaqa, says, “It’s been the best year ever on all fronts, and now topped off by Sacred Star, my first Group 1 winner. I watched the replay on Sunday morning, but it didn’t really sink in until I started receiving a heap of calls and texts. This is something I’ve been trying to do for a long time!”

Mark’s business is Qanstruct, a Melbourne-based design and construction company which he joined after completing a degree in Building Engineering. He also has extensive rural property interests, including two stations in central Queensland and his home base, Bulla Thoroughbreds on 900 acres at Diggers Rest.

However, horses, of the stock and thoroughbred kinds, are his enduring personal passion. Sacred Star’s story began in the 1980s when Mark worked between school and university for trainer Colin Little. Years later,  Little prepared Flying Spur’s Group 2-winning son Blur and Mark closely followed his racing career.

“I loved Blur, he was a real speed horse, and a big, strong type who was able to beat Choisir at Flemington. Later I saw Flying Spur at a stallion parade and he was a beautiful horse, and also very commercial, so that’s why I sent Irish Nova to him.”

Bred by Waikato Stud’s Garry Chittick, Irish Nova (O’Reilly-Night Star by Centaine) had been a $40,000 New Zealand Premier Sale purchase in 2004 by owner, breeder and racing journalist Rob Burnet. Trained by Lance Noble, she raced for prominent New Zealand owners and breeders Alan and Colleen Jackson.

The filly showed plenty of ability in her three juvenile starts, including a Group 2 placing at Trentham, but injury forced her early retirement, and subsequent sale to Rhys Smith, acting for Mark, at a cost of around $NZ150,000.

Mark says of Irish Nova, “She’s a very strong, attractive mare with a beautiful head and a lovely nature, and every horse she’s produced has been a really nice type. However, Sacred Star is probably the best individual I’ve bred.”

$200,000 was the price paid by Guy Mulcaster for Sacred Star at the 2011 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, where he was offered by Attunga Stud on Mark’s behalf.

Irish Nova’s first foal was a Zabeel filly named Zanova, unraced because of an injury as a foal, but fortunately retained by Mark because the mare has subsequently had five colts. Zanova is currently in foal to Equiano.

Mark sold Irish Nova, in foal to Stratum, for $120,000 to Rosemont Stud at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, but he has kept her yearling colt by Foxwedge to race, “because he’s the closest she’s had to Sacred Star”. He’ll be trained at Flemington by Mick Cerchi who, along with Rhys and Chloe Smith, and campdrafting champion Peter O’Neill, is a key source of  friendship, advice and inspiration for all of Mark’s equine activities.

Mark says modestly, “We just have a bit of fun campdrafting and racing.” With four or five thoroughbred broodmares, around ten racehorses in Mick’s stable and a busy schedule of draft events, this new Group 1 breeder clearly works hard at his fun!