When Audacious Spirit crossed the line in Saturday’s Sky Racing Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben, he became Bel Esprit’s 15th stakes winner.
And deservedly so – the Gillian Heinrich trained speedster had previously placed in five Group and Listed events, including a whisker second in the Group Two Royal Sovereign Stakes at Randwick.
But while 15 stakes winners is a milestone worthy of recognition – particularly for a stallion regularly pigeon holed as “the sire of Black Caviar” – Audacious Spirit’s victory was the cap on a remarkable month.
Indeed, Christmas came early for Victoria’s perennial champ, with no less than 28 winners in Australia in the first three weeks of December.
That included a treble, five doubles and, amazingly, on three consecutive Saturdays, four wins apiece.
Apart from the obvious highlight of Audacious Spirit (below), Bel Price is now rated one of the top mares in the Apple Isle after a double for the month and will be targeted at Group glory during the Tasmanian Summer Carnival; Vain Attraction, the unbeaten Miss Softhands, Hot Lover and Beltrois all won in Melbourne and have, between them, some $800,000 in stakes; and, of course, there is the lightning quick Clevadude.
Trained by Rick Hore-Lacy, the exciting 2YO is one of the pre-post favourites for the $2 million Magic Millions Classic in January and, will maybe, head on to the Golden Slipper. The trainer of such 2YO champs as Canny Lad and Redoute’s Choice, Hore-Lacy is not saying that Clevadude is the best horse he has ever trained … not yet anyway!
Not surprisingly, Bel Esprit has raced to the top of the Australian Sires’ premiership by winners with 76 individual winners of 105 races for the season and, with Clevadude poised, it could be a very happy new year.
Hoofnote: Bel Esprit was at it again on Boxing Day with another four winners, headlined by Esprit de Bullet’s victory at Morphettville. What a gutsy performer that bloke is : it was win No. 8 for the John Hyam trained sprinter and he hasn’t exactly had a trouble free run throughout his career. Well done to connections including breeders and part-owners Alastair and Patti Mcfarlane.
So, that’s now 32 winners in Oz for December (thus far!) and 78 individual winners of 109 races for the season. Go you good thing!