Arrowfield mourns Weatherly

The death of the gorgeous and enormously talented 3YO colt Weatherly, euthanased after fracturing a sesamoid at Canterbury on 31 December, is deeply felt by his owner-breeder Mr Oussama Aboughazale and by everyone at Arrowfield, in particular his trainer Paul Messara, his devoted strapper & friend Leah Gavranich and the Arrowfield Training Centre team.

As Paul wrote on his Facebook page, “We loved him and he was the star of our team. Above all he was a beautiful animal that we will miss having around. Thank you to all the racing team and especially Leah who has gone above and beyond to care for Weatherly.”

Fate sometimes seems to decree that great gifts are accompanied by ill fortune and that is certainly how it feels with Weatherly, whose four-start career featured a breath-taking victory in last February’s VRC Talindert S. LR.

Watch Weatherly win the VRC Talindert S. LR

It looked like a step on the way to stardom, as success in the same race had been for Miss Finland, Star Witness and All Too Hard. A Group 2 third followed in Sydney behind Kiss And Make Up and subsequent Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, but it was the prospect of his 3YO career that really excited Paul Messara.

The colt’s preparation sharpened with trial wins at Scone in October and Rosehill in November, before his eagerly awaited return at Canterbury on the last day of the year. It all ended soon after the start of the 3YO 1100-metre contest when Weatherly faltered abruptly, and was restrained out of the race by jockey Andrew Adkins, with an injury severe enough to make euthanasia the only option.

Weatherly’s death deepens the loss of his sire Beneteau, also an exceptional, but unfulfilled racing talent who died almost exactly three years ago after only two seasons on Arrowfield’s roster. The nine stakeswinners and 11 other stakes performers he’s so far left from his 136 named foals make him an even bigger absence from the ranks of Australian stallions than the celebrated Star Watch (10 stakeswinners & four stakes performers from 119 named foals).

But that’s not the end of it. Weatherly’s dam Luna Bella (by Stravinsky), an unraced sister to Group 2 winner Hips Don’t Lie, died during foaling in September 2015. The foal, a filly by Redoute’s Choice (and so a three-quarter sister to Weatherly) was saved by the prompt action of Arrowfield’s veterinary team and Operations Manager David Morrissey, who took the filly to Scone Equine Hospital.

Mr Aboughazale’s loss is acute, because he bred and owned all these horses, Beneteau, Luna Bella & Weatherly and, in partnership with Arrowfield, has managed to breed only three foals from Slice Of Paradise since Beneteau’s birth in 2007. He will retain the Redoute’s Choice-Luna Bella filly, but will offer the Snitzel-Slice Of Paradise colt at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

Redoute's Choice sons end 2016 with a flourish

Arrowfield’s sire sons of Redoute’s Choice have been among the big stories of 2016 and they ended the year on Saturday with a final flourish of success, tempered by the death of Beneteau’s brilliant son Weatherly in Sydney.

Not A Single Doubt opened the batting with the debut at Canterbury of his 2YO daughter From Within (ex Zimaretto by Anabaa) from the Chris Waller yard for owners Mark Sowerby and Raffles Racing.

From Within duly delivered, with a trio of Snitzels, the colts Invader & Chauffeur and the filly Exceeds, chasing her home. The filly’s official winning margin of 1.25 lengths could have been considerably more, because Glyn Schofield eased her down in the closing stages, and she still ran the final 600 metres in 34.80.

Watch From Within’s debut victory at Canterbury.

Bookmakers immediately made her favourite for the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (R) LR on 14 January, and her trainer Chris Waller indicated that, much like Not A Single Doubt’s 2011 Magic Millions winner Karuta Queen, she has everything it takes to win the race. 

“She’s a ready-made two-year-old, very professional. Has speed, manners, knows that to do, relaxes and switches off.”

Snitzel quickly set about filling his side of the ledger, winning the next race at Canterbury with Spending To Win and the card’s feature race, the $150,000 Canterbury Classic 1200m LR with his 47th stakeswinner, Le Cordon Bleu.

Spending To Win, a grey son of the Invincible Spirit mare Madame Trop Vite, secured a strong maiden success on his return from tie-back surgery. The 3YO colt had shown good ability in three juvenile placings and jockey Blake Shinn was enthusiastic about his performance over 1100m in class record time of 1:03.86.

“The horse did a great job. Had to do a bit of work early to get across and travelled really nicely. First-up today off a relatively quick tempo was a fantastic effort.”

Sadly, it was after this race that Weatherly, the son of Beneteau and Luna Bella trained by Paul Messara for Sumaya Stables, was euthanased after fracturing his near-fore sesamoid about 600 metres after the start. The stunning colt made a very favourable impression when he won last season’s VRC Talindert S. LR and he seemed likely to be one of Sydney racing’s Autumn 2017 stars. His death compounds the loss of Beneteau who died almost three years ago and has now compiled 20 stakes performers from 91 runners.

6YO gelding Le Cordon Bleu (ex Ultimate Fever by Gold Fever) rewarded the patience of his breeder Luskin Park Stud, Wilf & Rosemary Mula and their fellow owners when he drove home from well of the pace to win the Canterbury Classic by almost a length from Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Grunderzeit.

Watch Le Cordon Bleu win the ATC Canterbury Classic LR.

Trained by Hawkes Racing, Le Cordon Bleu has now won five of his 16 starts for prizemoney of almost $350,000.

Between those two city victories, Corumbene Stud’s promising 3YO Treviso gave Snitzel a win at Gosford, where he won on debut last June before finishing third behind Russian Revolution and Morton’s Fork at Randwick.

Not A Single Doubt and Snitzel have made a big impact on 2016 racing with 27 winners of 44 Group & Listed Races between them, and sit third and fourth on the current Australian Sires’ list with collective prizemoney of almost $10 million. Vendors of their 79 yearlings on offer at the Magic Millions  Sale can look forward to being very busy indeed when parading starts at the Gold Coast later this week.

A Redoute's Choice kind of day

It was a Redoute’s Choice kind of day at Flemington on Saturday.

The champion sire opened the card with the fourth consecutive win by his daughter, Debbie Kepitis’ lovely mare All Cerise, and then his sire sons took centre stage.

Watching Sumaya Stables’ 2YO colt Weatherly win the $120,000 VRC Talindert S. LR revived memories of both his charismatic sire Beneteau and the juvenile Redoute’s Choice. Especially when he romped home without jockey Craig Williams needing to engage more than a couple of what he believes are the colt’s several gears.

That assessment is backed up by Weatherly’s sectionals. Despite a tardy start and ending up on the slower grandstand side with only two other horses, he produced a 33.47 last 600 metres to score by 1.5 lengths, easing down.

First start filly Conscious was an impressive runner-up with stakeswinner Jackson (by Not A Single Doubt) best of the railside runners, almost five lengths further back.

Watch Weatherly win the VRC Talindert S. LR.

Weatherly, named after the victorious 1962 America’s Cup defender, is trained by Paul Messara for his breeder, Chilean businessman Oussama Aboughazale, whose Australian thoroughbred interests are managed by his good friend, Arrowfield Chairman John Messara.

John Messara explains, “I met Oussama because he was an original shareholder in Hussonet, and he subsequently  invested in several fillies here, and then bred and raced Beneteau with us.” 

Beneteau’s bright star shone all too briefly, in a brilliant Blue Diamond Prelude G3 victory and a Blue Diamond G1 third, followed by early retirement and a much too early death in January 2013, leaving only 135 foals to build his stud record.

What a record it’s turning out to be. Thirty-one winners, including eleven stakes performers, five of them stakeswinners – enough to indicate that Beneteau would have stepped up alongside Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt to complete a formidable triumvirate of sensational Redoute’s Choice sons at Arrowfield.

Weatherly, whose dam Luna Bella (a sister to Group 2 winner Hips Don’t Lie, by Stravinsky) died last Spring after foaling a Redoute’s Choice filly, has given his owner and trainer a very desirable dilemma. Blue Diamond next week, or Golden Slipper next month?

Paul Messara says, “The horse’s welfare is number one and we’ll see how the horse is. It was only his second start in a race and we’ll take it from there.”

Around two hours after Weatherly’s win, Not A Single Doubt’s 3YO daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma defeated Egypt and Perfect Reflection in The Vanity 1400m G3, her second black type success and fourth win from 10 starts.

Watch Don’t Doubt Mamma win the VRC The Vanity G3.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said, “She surprised me a bit today, to come out and beat those other top line fillies and first-up today, fresh as she is, means there is a lot to look forward to.

“The Australian Guineas is a tempting offer for sure, but she’ll tell us where she is best suited. We’ll see how she comes through it – she’s a pretty uncomplicated filly.

“There’s a mares race (the Frances Tressady Stakes) back here and the Australian Guineas or we can go three weeks into the Coolmore Classic in Sydney. There are a few options to work out but it’s a nice problem to have.”

Don’t Doubt Mamma (ex Coconut Mamma, by Fantastic Light from the celebrated Denise’s Joy family) was purchased privately from Tyreel Stud by Blue Sky Bloodstock for Peter Katelanis and partners, most of whom also raced her year-older stakes-winning brother Risen From Doubt.

Arrowfield is breeding from Miss St Tropez (Magnus-Coconut Mamma), who has an All American weanling filly and is in foal to Animal Kingdom.

Five fillies and four colts by Redoute’s Choice will be offered by five vendors at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale which begins on Sunday 28 February.