Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Fresh from his Newmarket victory at Flemington on 10 March, Hay List will be having his first crack at the William Reid Stakes-G1 at Moonee Valley on Friday night, attempting to ‘double, double’ two of the nation’s most prestigious sprints.
Hay List’s Newmarket win followed up that of Black Caviar’s 12 months earlier and he is now following a similar path to racing’s superstar by attempting to eclipse the Reid.
If Hay List is successful on Friday, Eliza Park sired horses will have won the last two William Reids, the last two Newmarkets (plus Wanted in 2010), the last two Patinack Farm Classics, the last two Lightnings, the last CF Orr and one of the last two Manikatos.
When you take into account that there are only eight Group One open sprints staged in racing’s capital every year, it’s a fairly enviable strike rate.

Photo by Bronwen Healy


Kevan Wacey’s Magnus colt, How Swede It Is, joined his sires’ band of stakes horses on Friday night with a gutsy, albeit troubled, performance in the St Albans Stakes-LR over 1200m at Moonee Valley.
Slowly away, the colt found plenty of strife in running but fought on well over the final stages for second behind Underestimation.
Trained by Shane Nichols, How Swede It Is is out of the city winning General Nediym mare, In Need I Am, in turn out of a Rory’s Jester mare, Emily Blue … plenty of speed there!
It’s well worth noting that while Magnus (below) currently sits sixth on the Australian First Season Sires’ chart, he has less than half the runners of those above him.
And, what’s more, with Imprimis, Magnus Reign and now How Swede It Is all earning black type, this Group One winning half brother to the dam of Black Caviar can now boast an incredible 43% stakes horses to runners!


Gee, that Utah Saints is a good horse. A winner at Flemington and Caulfield at his last two campaigns, the Matt Ellerton/Simon Zahra trained speedster just can’t crack it for a stakes win, despite best intentions.
Second in the Regal Roller-LR at Caulfield last August and, at his next outing, third in the Sofitel-LR at Flemington, Utah Saints was resuming in the Trojan Hand Tools Night Sprint-LR at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Unfortunately, the God’s Own 4YO overraced for much of the journey and had to be eased off the heels of the leaders at one stage, but flew home for a well earned third in what was a crack field.
Those left in his wake included Gran Sasso, multiple Group winner Doubtful Jack, Group Two winner Testa My Patience and the dual stakes winner Secret Flyer.

The other Utah Saints


Expat Aussie, Masthead, is poised to chase Group glory in Singapore according to Michael Lee.
Highly-rated sprinter Masthead lived up to his skinny odds to record his second win from as many starts at Kranji on Friday night.
The Written Tycoon 3YO had already given a glimpse of his ability when he trounced his rivals at his debut race, a Graduation race over 1000m on 4 March. On the strength of that facile victory and his outstanding record in Australia where he ran second in the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes and fourth in the Group One Golden Slipper, it came as little surprise he was sent at unbackable odds of $5.3 (minimum dividends) at his next start in the $65,000 Graduation race over 1100m on Polytrack.
With six rivals seemingly not in the same calibre, many thought the win for the Michael Freedman-trained colt would be a foregone conclusion from a long way out.
The red-hot favourite duly obliged but the manner of the win was anything but an armchair ride for his jockey Joao Moreira. Masthead was not the best beginner and had to course out wide before he settled in a one-off position behind leader Super Jetset, who was setting a brisk pace to the race.
Swinging for home, Moreira readied up his mount for his challenge on the leader, but the latter proved harder to get past than envisaged.
But class prevailed in the end as Masthead knuckled down to the task under Moreira’s persuasion to fend off the two challengers and win rather comfortably.
Masthead, who had 55.5kg on his back, recorded the smart time of 1min 5.13 seconds, only 0.46 second outside the course record jointly held by Dictator and Speedy Cat. The win also gave Freedman his 200th winner since he sent out his first runners at Kranji back in 2008.
The Australian trainer, who had been weighing up the colt’s future options between the first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge – the $200,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1200m on March 30 and the $200,000 Group 3 Kranji Sprint over 1200m on April 8, seemed to have found the answer he needed after the win.
“I spoke to Joao after the race and he told me the horse had a bit of freshness off him tonight,” said Freedman.
“It was only 12 days ago that he last ran. I normally don’t space my horses’ runs like that but that Graduation race fitted well into his program.
“The first leg of the 3YO series is in two weeks’ time while the Kranji Sprint gives him another week. I think he can only improve on tonight’s run and three weeks will do him a world of good.
“Whichever race it is, Joao told me he is definitely looking for a bit further and a 1200m race on turf will suit him very well.”


News of the passing of former Florida stallion, Fortunate Prospect (537 winners from 632 runners!, 28 SWs and $38m in stakes) got us thinking …
The 31 year old Northern Prospect stallion was euthanised at the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Centre due to complications of old age and while three decades is a pretty good knock for any horse, it’s a long way short of being a record.
Allegedly the oldest (recorded) horse was Old Billy who died on 27 November 1822 at the age of 62! (wonder if he was called Old Billy when he was only two?).
The oldest thoroughbred was Tango Duke who died on 25 January 1978 at the age of 42 – he lived through a depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and The Beatles.
And the oldest horse to win a race was Revenge who scored at Shrewsbury in England in 1790 at the age of 18.
Here’s some other horsey facts and figures (not necessarily thoroughbred related):
  • It takes a horse three days to digest an oat
  • The smallest horse was a stallion called Little Pumpkin who stood 35.5cms (14 inches high) and weighed just 9kgs (20 pounds) … one might consider the use of the term ‘stallion’ to be superfluous
  • Mr Ed could answer a telephone, open doors, write notes with a pencil and unplug a light – but no, he couldn’t really speak. Wilbur!
  • In Arizona, it’s illegal for cowboys to walk through a hotel lobby wearing their spurs (helpful tip for those of you planning on vacationing in Arionza with your spurs)
  • Feeding garlic to horses in believed to help combat worms, repel flies, aid respiratory disorders and clean the blood. Evidently that’s a bunch of horse manure, but scientists have worked out it does cause bad breath!
  • During Oliver Cromwell’s reign he banned horse racing (and we just thought he was unpopular because he massacred thousands of men, women and children)
  • At one time it was a Japanese custom to hang the head of a horse at the entrance to a farm house as a good luck talisman (although, not so good luck for the horse!)
No, it's not a real horse head!