30th Group 1 winner for Redoute's Choice

Howard Be Thy Name completed an historic Oaks-Derby double for Redoute’s Choice & Arrowfield when he outstayed his rivals in Saturday’s $500,000 SAJC South Australian Derby 2500m G1.

It was a polished performance by the imposing 3YO colt who came into the race after four consecutive wins, including Listed & Group 3 successes at Morphettville. Coolly directed by jockey John Allen, Howard Be Thy Name settled midfield off the fence, and coped easily when Arcadia Dream lifted the pace around 1200 metres from home.

He swept unimpeded around the home turn and joined a determined Etymology to fight out the finish, eventually forging clear to score by a half-length with Cool Chap 2.3 lengths away in third place.

Watch Howard Be Thy Name win the South Australian Derby G1.

A week earlier the champion sire’s daughter Abbey Marie won the Australasian Oaks G1 at Morphettville. It’s the first time since 1983, when the Oaks was granted Group 1 status, that the same sire has been responsible for individual winners of both races in the same year. ( Two fillies have also completed the Oaks-Derby double: Delicacy in 2015 and Zarita in 2008).

But it gets better. Howard Be Thy Name and Abbey Marie were both offered by Arrowfield at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale, where they entered the ring as Lots 339 & 362.

Abbey Marie found a buyer, well-known bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington, at $300,000, but Howard Be Thy Name was passed in, and so is raced by his breeder Eric Watson, Howard & Lisa Aldridge and his trainer Darren Weir.

Never out of the first three in his 11-start career, and with more than $520,000 in the bank, Howard Be Thy Name will now head to the $600,000 Queensland Derby G1 on 11 June. That race is already on Redoute’s Choice’s stud record, thanks to Empires Choice (2007) and Dariana (2010).

In all, the great son of Danehill has sired the winners of 7 Oaks, six Guineas and five Derbys; and, according to Arion Pedigrees, he is the leading active Australasian-based sire of individual Group 1 winners with a total of thirty.

Howard Be Thy Name, Abbey Marie and Group 1-winning mare Peeping head Redoute’s Choice’s 14 winners of 20 Group & Listed Races this season.

Howard Be Thy Name is Derby-bound

Howard Be Thy Name marked himself the horse to beat in the $500,000 South Australian Derby G1 later this month with a soft win in Saturday’s $120,000 SAJC Chairman’s S. 2020m G3.

The 3YO son of Redoute’s Choice jumped well and settled comfortably midfield where jockey Brad Rawiller was content to leave him until 600 metres from home when he asked the colt to go forward. A shake-up at the 300-metre mark was all that was needed to secure a stylish 2.3 length victory, ahead of Royal Rumble and Manhattan Boss, in a time of 2:05.45 on the Good4 track. 

Watch Howard Be Thy Name’s SAJC Chairman’s S. G3 win.

The win completed a stakes double at Morphettville for Rawiller and trainer Darren Weir, and took Howard Be Thy Name’s record to four wins, six placings and just over $200,000 prizemoney from 10 starts, all of them this season.  His progress has been dramatic, from a distant debut third at Cranbourne in October, to his maiden win five starts later at Ballarat in January, the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas two weeks ago and now his first Group success.

Bred by Watson Bloodstock, Howard Be Thy Name is the third foal of the admirable Group 2-winning mare Bellini Rose (by Faltaat). He was offered under the Arrowfield banner at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale, but was passed in and is now raced by Eric Watson, Howard & Lisa Aldridge and the Weir stable. His unraced 2YO three-quarter sister Roseito (by Snitzel) is in training with Paul Messara.

Howard Be Thy Name is among the 12 winners of 17 Group & Listed Races this season for Redoute’s Choice, but it can be predicted with some confidence that the great son of Danehill will incease that record before 31 July.  He has averaged 15 winners of 23 black type races each year of the past decade including four Group 1 Derby winners: Redoute’s Dancer (New Zealand Derby), Empires Choice & Dariana (Queensland Derby) and Wylie Hall (South African Derby). 

130th stakeswinner for Redoute's Choice

Howard Be Thy Name brought up a fresh milestone for Redoute’s Choice when he out-gunned his rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 SAJC Port Adelaide Guineas 1800m LR.

Watch Howard Be Thy Name’s Port Adelaide Guineas LR win.

Jockey John Allen said, “He was really strong at the end. He’s a nice horse and he’s only going to improve on that for the Derby.”

The 3YO colt is the champion sire’s 130th stakeswinner and is now a fine prospect to become his next Group 1 winner, in next month’s $500,000 South Australian Derby.

Redoute’s Choice was also represented at Morphettville by Into The Mist who scored an easy fourth win for owner-breeder Peter Katelanis & his family, and trainer Tony McEvoy.  Already Group 3-placed, the 4YO mare looks capable of earning black-capital status in the near future.

Howard Be Thy Name has won or placed in all nine of his starts from the Darren Weir stable this season, hitting top gear since his maiden win at Ballarat on 27 January. That was followed by a close second in the Tasmanian Derby LR and a second win at Pakenham before his trip to Adelaide.

Bred by Watson Bloodstock, Howard Be Thy Name is the third foal of the very good Group 2-winning mare Bellini Rose (by Faltaat). He was offered under the Arrowfield banner at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale but was passed in and is now raced by Eric Watson, Howard & Lisa Aldridge and the Weir stable. His unraced 2YO three-quarter sister Roseito (by Snitzel) is in training with Paul Messara.

Redoute’s Choice is enjoying a stellar season on the track and in the ring with 12 stakeswinners worldwide, among them his 28th Group 1 winner, and an average price of almost $440,000 for 36 lots sold across the two major Australian auctions, Magic Millions & Inglis Easter.

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.