Thursday, May 31, 2012


Weanling colt tops MM National

Eliza Park banner horse, Wanted, is used to the spotlight.
First off, he featured at the 2008 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, sharing equal billing as the highest priced Fastnet Rock sold that year ($800,000).
Wanted then became a Group winner at two before going on to capture Australia’s premier sprint … no mean feat at three (a milestone he shares with the likes of Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, along with leading sires Exceed And Excel and General Nediym).
But it’s his star turn at stud which has really upped the ante.
With the first of the mares in foal to Wanted selling up to $205,000 at broodmare auctions last year, Eliza Park would consign his Vestment colt to Oaklands Junction where the first crop youngster sold for $117,500, topping the first session of the 2012 Great Southern Weanling Sale.
Even that only served as an entrĂ©e to the Gold Coast National sales series where, on Tuesday, the stakes winning mare, Satin Robes – in foal to Wanted – was knocked down to Coolmore Stud for $420,000, while another of the mares who visited Wanted in season two, Patronyme, found a new home to Nick Vaas’ bid of $340,000.
All up, nine mares in foal to Wanted were offered, averaging out at $137,222 – the third highest average for three or more sold and the highest for a covering sire without runners.
Wanted, however, would finish his go at the Nationals with considerable flourish yesterday when three of his weanlings were sold for $80,000, $190,000 and $255,000 respectively for an average of $175,000 – almost six times service fee AND, remarkably, topping the sale’s weanling sire average!
Craig Rounsefell of Boomer Bloodstock managed to grab the well related Aquatint filly for $190,000, while the Regal Arena colt will head to Newgate Farm in NSW after fetching $255,000.
Rounsefell certainly pulled no punches when talking up the new addition to the family: “I loved the filly on type – big girth, nice rein and terrific balance. My client asked to me to find the best filly in the sale and that’s exactly what we’ve ended up with.
“I believe that Wanted has got a better chance than most … he’s by Fastnet Rock, he’s got a good family and he’s certainly producing the types!”
Edinburgh Park’s Ian Smith was also fulsome in praise for the Wanteds, albeit his result more bitter than sweet: “I was on the filly (out of Aquatint) for a long way and also bid up to $220,000 for the colt (ex Regal Arena). I reckon that’s a fairly good indication as to what I think of them (Wanted progeny).
“They’re very similar to Wanted – and for that matter, Fastnet Rock … quality types with plenty of bone.
“Just wish you blokes had a few more of them up here. I’ll definitely hope to go one better in Sydney as I notice he’s got a few entered for the Weanling Sale there.”
Henry Field, who eventually secured the Wanted colt out of Regal Arena for his Newgate Farm, was buoyant post sale: “Seriously, he is one of the best colts I’ve seen at a weanling sale in the last two or three years.
“I really believe in this horse (Wanted) – clearly we have a vested interest being a shareholder so that’s why we want to ensure we’re selling some very good yearlings by him at major sales next year.
“There was a lot of competition on the colt, as I expected there would be … he really looks to be a running type, with plenty of class. Just like his sire!”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Eliza Park’s exciting young sire, Wanted, has topped day one of the 2012 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale with his flashy bay colt from, Vestment, being knocked down for $117,500 – almost twice that of the second highest price of the opening session.
The Wanted colt’s entry to the sales ring sparked a bidding duel among the major players with Ascot Heath Pty Ltd, the session’s leading buyer overall, eventually winning out.
Bred at Eliza Park, the youngster is out of the Danasinga mare, Vestment, a half sister to the dam of Flemington stakes winner Satin Robes and a daughter of Group One winner Lady Madonna. The weanling is also closely related to another Eliza Park home-bred in Group One winner Recurring.
“The colt was popular from the moment he arrived at the complex last Thursday,” Eliza Park’s Mark Lindsay pointed out. “It would be fair to say that all of the serious buyers had a good look at him and he certainly had a large number of x-ray hits.
“While we thought it was an excellent price for the colt, it doesn’t really come as a surprise.
“For starters, Wanted is a cracking type himself – one of the best looking horses of his year (selling as a yearling for $800,000). What’s more, he’s by boom sire Fastnet Rock and after winning a Group race at two, he went on to win the Group One Newmarket at three.
“Mares in foal to Wanted have sold up to $205,000 and I’d be telling fibs if I said that we didn’t have our fingers crossed that his foals turned out OK.
“Today’s result is the proof in the pudding and we’re obviously looking forward to next year’s yearling sales.”

Monday, May 21, 2012


The Bel Esprit Winners Club – the chronicler of all things Bel – reveals that Super Broadband was winner No. 200 for the current racing season.
(It’s actually 202 when you throw Goodluck’n’goodbye and Bells Victory into the mix following their wins out west)
Incredible when you think about it, given that there’s still two and a half months of the season to go.
The breakdown is as follows:

Australia (175)
Singapore (9)
Philippines (13)
Hong Kong (1)
New Zealand (2)

Brian Donohoe has also heard a whisper that Bel Esprit has the No. 1 horse in Iran – Magic Million (ex. Jill Mary) but is waiting to confirm as there is not a whole lot of racing news that comes out of downtown Gonbad.
Brian was also pretty quick off the mark in response to a question put forward on #NSWbiasinstallionspruiking asking ‘Underrated or just Victorian based?’, citing that only 92 of the 202 wins was in Victoria!
Meanwhile, Danny Power’s The Thoroughbred twitter page responded to yesterday’s treble with: does a day go by when this underrated stallion (Bel Esprit) doesn’t get a new winner?
Well, yes there are days that go by without a Bel winner, but not too many of them. And we love the tag: #notjustthesireofBC
True that!


Another super weekend for Bel Esprit with a treble on both Saturday and Sunday, including a flash win by Super Broadband at Devonport yesterday.
Super Broadband (out of the Golden Snake mare Enola Girl) was bred and is raced by long-time Eliza Park clients, Dr Vu Van Tu and Amanda Lockett, and the 3YO scored a deserved win in the Apple Isle after a second at the track two weeks previously.
The weekend kicked off with a bold front running performance from Audacious Spirit (ex. Roskeel by Zeditave), notching up a confident victory in the opening event on the Doomben Cup program.
Starting favourite in the Channel 7 Handicap, Audacious Spirit (below) is “notoriously hard to run down when he gets into a nice rhythm”, and jockey Glyn Schofield said post race that “I knew nothing was going to get near him”.
The 4YO has now won four with a further eight placings (three at stakes level) from 19 outings and accumulated nearly $200k in stakes.
Bred by Robert Harding, Audacious Spirit was sold by Eliza Park to Heinrich Racing at the 2009 Inglis Melbourne Premier.
Bel Esprit’s other pair on Saturday was at Mildura, the Victorian township famous – among other things – for once having the longest bar in the world.
One can only assume that some of the owners of firstly the J Mathews bred Rebel Truce (ex. Largo by Encosta de Lago) and then the J Harcourt bred Belle Ez (ex. Tamarillo by Hurricane Sky) fronted up to the Mildura Working Man’s Sports & Social Club (surely it’s not still called that?), for a heart starter – particularly after Rebel Truce’s last stride win.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Super Broadband’s scamper was supported by a double out west when firstly, the Eliza Park bred Goodluck’n’goodbye (ex. Archie’s Magic by Archway) won the opening event at Kalgoorlie (her first win from just three outings) before Bells Victory (ex. Stylish Victory by Durham Ranger) lobbed four races later and has now recorded wins at three of his last four for the Erinvale Investments/Shane McGrath bred 4YO.


Big weekend on the international front with the unbeaten Frankel returning to racing with a telling victory in the Lockinge at Newbury, while I’ll Have Another (below) followed up his Kentucky Derby success by taking out the Preakness Stakes, again relegating Bodemeister to second.
Timeform reacted quickly to the Frankel win, by allocating the son of Galileo a 142 rating – one pound less than his career high after taking out the QEII last year – but still six up on Black Caviar.
Wonder what the ratings will be if BC ever gets the chance to hand Frankel his char grilled rump to him on a platter?
I’ll Have Another will now attempt to become the first horse since Affirmed back in 1978 to capture the Triple Crown when he heads to New York for the Belmont Stakes on 9 June.
The 34 year drought is the longest in Triple Crown history and to give you a mental picture, the now 52 year old Steve Cauthen was just an 18 year old kid when he became the toast of America by steering home Affirmed in three epic battles with Alydar.
Real Quiet who stood in Australia for three seasons and produced just three stakes winners in this neck of the woods, came the closest when he was just pipped in the 1998 Belmont, while Smarty Jones (who shuttled in 2006 and 2007) won the first two legs before being knocked out in a Belmont boilover in 2004.
Just for the record, Affirmed’s triple in 1978 was preceded the year before by Seattle Slew and almost equalled a year later when Spectacular Bid won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
It would have been first time that the triple was tripled (since the series began in 1875) and at one stage – between Gallant Fox in 1930 and Citation in 1948 – it was captured seven times.
But since Spectacular Bid in 1979, Pleasant Colony (1981), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004) and Big Brown (2008) have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, while Swale (1984), Risen Star (1988), Hansel (1991), Tabasco Cat (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Point Given (2001) and Afleet Alex (2005) have won either the Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont.
In other words, despite the Triple Crown drought, 19 of those years have produced some form of double.


Good yarn in the Oz this morning about Black Caviar’s Group status among the pantheon of female turf stars …

Who remembers Kwassa Kwassa showing up in a two-year-old handicap at Flemington in April, 2009 . . . and running into a tornado in the shape of Black Caviar?
Kwassa Kwassa was showing grand potential, having won at Moonee Valley and Flemington and twice being placed in his five starts.
But a five-length trouncing by the previously unraced Black Caviar that day may have broken his spirits, because he never
won again in his remaining 10 starts.
Black Caviar has run 20 times since her debut and remains unbeaten.
Because all 20 wins since then have been in graded stakes races, she has attracted special attention from the Australian Stud Book.
The book notes that, among celebrated females of the turf, Black Caviar is within reach of the 22 stakes races won by Wenona Girl and also of Wakeful’s 25 stakes wins.
But it concedes Sunline’s 30 stakes wins may be beyond reach, though not impossible.
The honour roll of our most-successful stakes race performers is acknowledged, with the book allowing for the fact that the Australian stakes calendar was not initiated until 1979.
It places the number of stakes wins by Wenona Girl and Wakeful using the classifications used to identify feature races as Group I, II and III and Listed events.
Black Caviar’s unblemished record is made up of that juvenile debut win followed by two Listed wins, eight Group IIs and 11 Group Is.
From the book’s viewpoint, Black Caviar has joined Wakeful in equal third place on the all-time list of female Group I winners behind Sunline (13) and Wenona Girl (12).
Peter Moody, Black Caviar’s trainer, saw and doubtless admired, quite a deal of Sunline and how the powerhouse daughter of Desert Sun went about her racing with such an aggressive winning style.
But Moody was some five years away from his birth — on the last day of the racing season of 1968-69 — when Wenona Girl ran the last race of her career of 68 starts over five seasons from two to six years. He did not get to see her in the flesh, but would have liked her very much. Bred at Newhaven Park, in NSW, from the first foal crop of the stud’s French import, Wilkes, (who became a triple champion sire in Australia), Wenona Girl was in her time the darling of Sydney racing.
She was a glamour horse, with a blonde mane and tail against a rich chestnut coat, a catchy white streak down her forehead and a white sock on her off-hind leg.
Trained by former champion jockey Maurice McCarten for Bill Longworth, chairman at the time of the Sydney Turf Club, Wenona Girl won on debut as a two-year-old, in the AJC Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Randwick in October, 1959. She closed her career 5 and a half years later at the same track, fittingly with a victory in the All-Aged Stakes (1600m).
The Gimcrack and the All-Aged Stakes were bookends to 27 race wins for Wenona Girl, and what qualified as stakes wins is a matter for interpretation of today’s classifications.
But it is clear that at least 15 of Wenona Girl’s wins are worthy of Group I status by those standards — judge for yourself from the accompanying list.
Clarification is required on two of her wins among the 15: the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the AJC Adrian Knox Stakes.
Both the VRC and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes were graded at Group I level in the first classifications, of 1979. But while the Randwick version retains its status today, the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes was downgraded to Group II level from 2005.
The Adrian Knox Stakes was originally registered in 1885 as the AJC Oaks, at 2400m.
When it was renamed the Adrian Knox Stakes in 1922, the distance was reduced to one mile (1600m) but then extended to 10 furlongs (2000m) in 1946 before reverting to its original one and a half mile trip in 1956, when Evening Peal won as a forerunner to her Melbourne Cup triumph six months later. Two years after Wenona Girl won the 1963 Adrian Knox Stakes, the AJC committee reverted the set weight event to its original name before another makeover in 1995, when it became, and remains, the Australian Oaks — all the while staged as a Group I event.
Wenona Girl may also have claims to a further Group I success record when she made one of three appearances during Melbourne Cup week in 1963 — taking out the weight-for-age Linlithgow Stakes (1600m) on the Oaks Day card.
In 1908, the Linlithgow Stakes replaced the feature that had been for the previous 50 years the Flying Stakes, and the list of winners from then to Wenona Girl’s success 55 years later included luminaries such as Amounis (1926-27-29), Gothic in 1928, Phar Lap in 1930, Chatham in 1931-32-33, Ajax (1937-38), Royal Gem (1945), Matrice (1956-57), Noholme (1959) and Wenona Girl’s superb rival Sky High, in 1962. In that period, the Linlithgow Stakes would most assuredly have warranted a Group I tag given the high-quality names drawn to contest the weight-for-age feature. But the Linlithgow Stakes, reduced in distance to 1400m in 1968 and given a Group II rating in 1979, is gone altogether from the Cup-week program.
It was replaced by various sponsor names until a rebranding as the Patinack Stakes, which was given automatic Group I status.
Nonetheless, the 15 Group I equivalent wins listed here for Wenona Girl (below) are legitimate and 15 should be the benchmark that Black Caviar has to beat to become the nation’s all-time Group I-winning female.

(Also worth noting that Desert Sun, sire of the mighty Sunline, is living out his days in an Eliza Park paddock after years of sterling service).