The build up to next month's Magic Millions Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale continued in Victoria on Friday when a quality line up of juveniles went through their paces at Seymour. The quickest time of the morning of 10.19 seconds was set by Lot 181, the Better Than Ready-Upper Notch colt from the draft of Baystone Farm. That breeze continued an exciting start to the stud career of the Lyndhurst Stud Farm based first season sire Better Than Ready who has seen three members of his first crop at the official trials all win. The second fastest 200 metre breeze came from Lot 111 - the Dundeel filly from Natural Selection who clocked 10.21 seconds. The filly, presented by Capital Gain's consignor Moffatt Breaking & Pre Training, is from a two time winning half sister to the Golden Slipper placed sire Zizou. She will be out to emulate Darren Weir's quality three-year-old filly Krone who was the fastest filly at the same session last year and is already a stakes winner for her Roll the Dice Racing connections. Other youngsters to impress on the day were colts by Deep Field (Lot 40 in 10.28 secs), Uncle Mo (Lot 101 in 10.33 secs) and Mawingo (Lot 154 in 10.35 secs). The action continues on Monday when the Gold Coast Turf Club hosts the third session of breeze-ups from 9.30am (AEST). As with all sessions of Magic Millions' breeze-ups the work outs will be streamed live online.
The 2019 The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival is a week-long celebration of all things equine, kicking off with the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo on Sunday 6 January 2019 at Doug Jennings Park, Gold Coast. Enjoy high-action polo and picturesque surrounds as we welcome back some of the world's finest polo players including international polo superstar, Nacho Figueras, and former and current Australian polo captains and brothers, Rob and Jack Archibald, as well as racing expert Francesca Cumani. Experience more glamour, more entertainment and more magic in 2019 at the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo. Click here to see the events and options available or for further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, Andrew Forsman says he is looking forward to see stable stars Bonneval and Jon Snow back in action in the spring. Bonneval, the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year, missed the entire autumn due to a suspensory ligament issue, while Jon Snow has overcome the niggling foot problems that also saw him skip the autumn. Both horses are likely to campaign in Melbourne and be entered in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. "That was probably our biggest disappointment that we never got to see the best of those two this season but they are both coming up as well as ever for the new season," Forsman told NZ Racing Desk. "Bonneval is a lot stronger than she was this time last season and if she stays sound and takes that to the racetrack, she'll be competitive wherever she goes." Forsman added: "We've got a strong team ready to go for spring so we've got our fingers crossed we can do it all again."
Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Ben Smith says top-class sprinting mare In Her Time is in career-best condition leading into the spring. In Her Time is set to resume in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on 30 September before racing second-up in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 13 October. "I actually pulled a blood off her on Monday and I'd say it's the best it's ever been," Smith told racing.com. "It's only the early stages. She's only trotting and cantering at the moment but by the end of the week we'll start a little pace work with her. She's lovely and free in her action." Smith added: "She'll have a trial at the end of August or early September and an exhibition gallop before the Premiere." In Her Time, who will represent slot-holder TAB in The Everest, is currently rated an $11 chance for the world's richest turf race.
Godolphin have revealed that English Derby hero Masar (New Approach-Kawlah, by Cape Cross) will miss the remainder of the season, but that he will return to action next year, with the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom his first target, reports Godolphin.com.au. "The vet has seen a change in the soft tissue damage to Masar's off-fore, and after speaking to His Highness, we have decided to call a halt to the colt's season immediately," trainer Charlie Appleby said. "Sheikh Mohammed is keen for Masar to run again at four, and if we are to deliver on that, the best option is to give him a long break." Appleby added: "In time, though, we can give him the right preparation for big races such as next year's Coronation Cup, which is over the same course and distance as the Derby. Other targets we will look at are Ascot's Gr1 King George and the Gr1 Arc."
A strong debut victory by The Closer at Geelong on Sunday gave Arrowfield's first season sire Dundeel his fifth winner and another bright prospect for the spring. In a performance reminsicent of her sire’s storming debut win at Ellerslie six years ago, The Closer circled the field around the turn and proved too strong for Wild Flyer and the favourite Angel in the 1340 metre contest for 2YO fillies. David Eustace, assistant to trainer Ciaron Maher, said The Closer is highly regarded by the stable. "She’s got a big action and she’s very athletic, but she still has plenty of furnishing to do so we are hopeful she will get over a bit of ground and up in class." The Closer is the first winner out of Miss Evasive (Elusive Quality), herself a city-winning daughter of dual Classic winner Magical Miss. The filly was a $70,000 purchase for Ciaron Maher and part-owner W. Ballantine from the draft of her breeder Gilgai Farm at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Dundeel’s other first-crop 2YO winners are Group 3 winner Irukandji, Sydney winner Dealmaker, Cutadeel, and Atyaab, trained by Mike de Kock in South Africa. Confidence in Dundeel’s future as a stallion has driven lively bidding for his second-crop yearlings, sold in 2018 for up to $500,000 (Inglis Easter), $280,000 (Magic Millions), $NZ270,000 (NZ Premier), $150,000 (Inglis Classic) and $180,000 (Inglis Melbourne Premier).
Smart filly Oohood, widely recognised as the best maiden in Australia, has trainer Tony McEvoy excited about her prospects in the spring. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned filly was a model of consistency throughout her juvenile season never finishing out of the placings in six starts. However, she is yet to win a race despite placing three times at Group 1 level in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne, the Golden Slipper (1200m), and the Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in Sydney. "She has done beautifully. She grew and really thickened up which she needed to do and has come back in tremendous order," McEvoy told Sky Sports Radio. "She has a great economical action this filly and she's just up to the evens time stage now and I'm very happy with her." McEvoy added: "If you look back she was very unlucky not to win the Blue Diamond and she was also a bit stiff in the Golden Slipper, the two premier races on our two-year-old calendar, so its very exciting having her in my team." By Yarraman Park's high-profile stallion I Am Invincible, Oohood is out of Bella Sunda (Sunday Silence) and is a direct descendant of influential broodmare Easy Date, ancestress of Gr1-winning sire Snippets, Golden Slipper winner Forensics, and Arrowfield's high profile stallion Not A Single Doubt.
At Belmont racecourse in Perth, WA, Vinery Stud's champion shuttler More Than Ready (Southern Halo-Woodman's Girl, by Woodman) added a black-type success when 3YO Australian-bred gelding State Prosecutor (More Than Ready-Significant, by Flying Spur) opened his stakes account with a slashing last-to-first win in the $100,000 Listed Belmont Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Roganella & Necklet. A homebred for prominent WA owner and breeder Bob Peters, State Prosecutor improved his record to 3 wins and 5 placings from 14 starts for $121,810 in earnings. Peters said State Prosecutor would now head to the Aquanita Stakes (2000m) on 7 July and the Belmont Classic (2200m) two weeks later. "William decided to drop him back when he drew the outside barrier today. It turned out that we could have found the key to this horse," Peters told the West Australian. "He was throwing his head up and not settling when racing between rivals. Back by himself today, he showed a free-flowing action and finished much better than previously. He's big and strong, and could develop into a good stayer."
On the fifth and final day of the Royal Ascot carnival in England, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) celebrated an elite race success when top-class 3YO Australian-bred colt Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock-Legally Bay, by Snippets) surged home under Ryan Moore to score a narrow short head victory in an action-packed renewal of the Gr1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating City Light & Bound For Nowhere. Purchased for $350,000 by Ciaron Maher Racing at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Segenhoe Stud, Merchant Navy improved his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, Gr2 Greenlands Stakes, Gr3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes & Listed Anzac Day Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap) from 10 starts for $1,658,291 in earnings. A winner of last year's stallion-making Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington, Merchant Navy was transferred to the famous Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O'Brien earlier this year to be prepared for the Diamond Jubilee. He is scheduled to return to Australia next month to stand his first season at Coolmore in the NSW Hunter Valley, but O'Brien said he is keen to delay his flight so he can bid for the big sprint double in the July Stakes at Newmarket in three weeks time. "We thought it was an impossible task for Merchant Navy as he was meeting the other horse from Australia [Redkirk Warrior] 12lb wrong compared to when they met there," O'Brien told Racing Post. "He's only a three-year-old [bred to southern hemisphere time] but being treated like a four-year-old. He's a lovely big horse. He's relaxed and genuine and has a good mind. He's no problem in any way. He's a joy to have anything to do with." O'Brien added: "He improved a lot from the Curragh to here, and we thought there was plenty more to come, but he's booked to go back to Australia after this so I don't know what's going to happen. Wouldn't it be great to have him for the July Cup too."
Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping that unbeaten 2YO Ronstar can develop into a stakes horse in the spring, reports racingnsw.com.au. The son of boom sire Zoustar has won his only two starts to date, but Portelli wants him to prove he is a serious carnival contender by stepping up a level in Saturday's Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill. "How good is he? I don't know. He just seems to do what he has to do to win and he does that in trackwork as well," said Portelli, referring to Ronstar's narrow victories. "I don't think he knows how to use his action yet. He scrambles a bit when they go with him then he levels out and hits the line. To get carried away and think he's a spring carnival horse you'd like to see him put a margin on horses." He added: "If we win this race, we are forced into black-type racing no doubt about that." Ronstar's fifth dam is Wiley Trade (USA), the dam of popular Melbourne Cup winner Subzero.
Racing Queensland has granted a request from the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) to reduce Saturday's Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap meeting from nine to eight races to help preserve the track, reports Sky Racing. Doomben has had to endure a significant workload due to the much criticised Eagle Farm track being out of action. BRC racing manager Matt Rudolph said the prospect of showers later in the week had prompted the request, which will see the Saturday meeting now start later. "The weather bureau has forecast the chance of showers in the lead-up to Stradbroke Day and, with the prospect of another heavy dew and soft going, the scheduled starting time was unsuitable," he said. The program change will see the $125,000 Listed Daybreak Lover for 3YOs run a day later at the Sunshine Coast.
Trainer Kerry Parker says Dark Dream has recovered from a foot injury sustained during last week's Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben. The 3YO son of All American was a beaten favourite in the Group 3 feature in which he finished third to the Darren Weir-trained Heavenly Thought. The performance saw Dark Dream displaced as favourite for the Queensland Derby on 9 June, but Parker says the run should be ignored after the gelding injured a sensitive part of his foot when treading on a shoe. "I don't really know how long he ran with the toe clip in his foot, but it pierced a sensitive area and ripped away a fair bit of the wall of his foot," said Parker. "When that happened he was more aggressive in the run, he grabbed the bit and tried to run through it. There were genuine excuses for what happened and given everything that happened, I was happy with his effort." Parker said Dark Dream was now over the injury. "He trotted and cantered up really well the last couple of days and his action looks great," he said. Dark Dream is currently on the third line of betting at $6 with TAB, behind Live And Free at $4 and Lucky For All at $4.50.
Inglis will move its new-look Ready2Race Sale back to Sydney and link it with the $13 million The Everest as part of a host of changes to the 2018 edition of the sale. The revamped Ready2Race Sale will represent the finale of a huge week of action at both Warwick Farm and Randwick when it is held at Riverside Stables on Monday 15 October - two days after The Everest. Entries for the sale are now open. More than 100 entries have already been received including 2YOs by leading stallions including Fastnet Rock, Spirit of Boom, Smart Missile, Written Tycoon, So You Think, Tavistock and Deep Field. Half-price entries are now being taken, with any entries submitted before 5pm on Tuesday 12 June costing just $500 + GST. Breeze ups will take place at Cranbourne (September 14), Taupo (September 17) and Warwick Farm (September 21), with an alternative breeze up session held at Warwick Farm three days prior to the sale. Some of the changes include:
Inglis' Managing Director Mark Webster considers the format changes central to the success of this format of sale. "We started this five years ago and we believe there is demand for the up-and-going product and we still believe that is right. I don't think we have executed it perfectly yet and we are determined to get it right," said Webster said. Click here for more information.
Calendar of Events – Ready2Race Sale & The Everest
Dual Group 1 winning sprinter Terravista will be entered to run at Scone on Saturday in case connections decide not to travel to Brisbane, reports Sky Racing. Trainer Joe Pride's preference is to run in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m), but says the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) appeals as a second option. The 8YO, who hasn't been seen in action since finishing 6th in the Gr2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on 10 March, tuned up for his latest assignment with a third in a 795m barrier trial at Warwick Farm on Friday. "He will be a surprise nomination for the 1100 metre sprint at Scone," said Pride. "It has a top weight of 61 kilos so he can't get any more than that so it's an option." Pride added: "I was pretty pleased with his barrier trial on Friday and he seems really well so he will be fit wherever we go."
At Ascot in Perth, Coolmore's Triple Crown winning Champion 2YO Pierro (Lonhro-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) added a Group success when 3YO gelding Action (Pierro-Broadway Belle, by Redoute's Choice) scored by a facile 4-lengths for trainers Grant & Alana Williams in the $400,000 Gr2 W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) for 3YOs, defeating 3YO filly Like A Butterfly & 3YO gelding Media Baron. Campaigned in the familiar Peters Investments cerise and white silks and giving nothing else a chance, exciting prospectAction took his record to 3 wins & 3 placings (including March's Listed Lex Piper Stakes) from 7 starts for $351,200 earnings.
Unbeaten Godolphin filly Musis Amica will be given her chance at classic glory after registering a strong win in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte (1600m) at Longchamp in France on Sunday. Prepared by master French trainer Andre Fabre, Musis Amica extended her perfect record to 2 wins from as many starts when quickening impressively over the final stages to score eased down by 1.25 lengths over Sea Prose in a time of 1:46.85 (on a heavy track). "Andre [Fabre] told us she was our filly for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, but it looked a strong race on paper beforehand so it is a pleasant surprise," said Godolphin's Lisa-Jane Graffard. "We thought she might lack for experience in this first start of the season which, of course, is only the second outing of her career. She has a lovely action, she quickened well and can improve physically because she is a big filly. She's not quite there yet, but we're still very hopeful of a good run back here next month." By Darley's exciting 4-time Gr1 winning shuttler Dawn Approach (New Approach-Hymn of the Dawn, by Phone Trick), Musis Amica is out of the Gr3 winning mare White Star (Darshaan), herself a daughter of Gr1 Kentucky Oaks, Gr1 Delaware Oaks and Gr1 Alabama Stakes winner White Star Line (Northern Dancer). This is also the family of Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude winner Samara Dancer and Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Eclair Big Bang. Musis Amica will now endeavour to add a Group 1 success to her record when she makes her next appearance in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches on 13 May. She also holds big race entries in the Gr1 Prix Saint-Alary on 27 May and Gr1 Prix de Diane on 17 June.
Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping a change in riding tactics will see former star filly She Will Reign return to her best in Saturday's $600,000 Gr2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Royal Randwick. Last year's Golden Slipper heroine has been slightly disappointing at her past two outings, finishing 10th and 8th respectively in the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate and Gr1 William Reid Stakes in Melbourne. "At Moonee Valley we rode to suit the race and not herself. She was never comfortable," Portelli told racingnsw.com.au. "They were scorching out in front and the winner came from second last. Had she been back with the winner does she run on strongly like she did when she won the Moir? We'll never know." Portelli says She Will Reign has undergone changes to her physical conformation which will necessarily affect how she is ridden in her races. "She's a different shape. When she was in the Slipper she was short and compact but now she's longer and leaner," Portelli said. "Because she's changed shape it means her action has changed. I feel she's looking to settle and unwind and I'm hoping to see that. She looks absolutely amazing. It probably sounds silly but she's giving the impression she's a 1400m horse now she's a bit older." She Will Reign is rated a $13 chance with TAB for the Arrowfield Sprint. The Godolphin-owned Viridine is the current pre-post favourite at $3.50 ahead of the progressive I Am Excited at $4.60.
The opening day of The Championships has been hailed an outstanding success with close to 20,000 patrons enjoying Day 1 of the prestigious carnival featuring four Group 1 events at Royal Randwick, reports racingnsw.com.au. "The racing was world-class and we could not have wished for a better opening day to The Championships," said Racing NSW’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter V’landys. "It augurs well for next Saturday’s second day when we can come out to Royal Randwick and witness the world’s best racehorse, Winx, in action competing in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes." Australian Turf Club Chairman, Laurie Macri, said: "Day One of The Championships has provided top class racing on a fantastic Royal Randwick surface. Since its inception in 2014, The Championships has gone from strength to strength." The Championships continue at Royal Randwick on Saturday 14 April when superstar mare Winx will be looking to equal Black Caviar’s record of 25 consecutive wins in the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Sporting a new name in 2018, the NZ Bloodstock Karaka May Sale is now available online. This year the sale has attracted increased numbers with a total of 518 horses catalogued. Compacted into two action-packed days of selling on 7 and 8 May, the first lot will go under the hammer from 10am each day. Day 1 will commence with the Yearling category with 65 lots to be offered, followed by the first half of the Weanling category with a further 185 lots going through the ring. Day 2 will start by offering the remaining 109 Weanlings (294 in total), followed by 2YOs (three), Unraced Stock (two), Racehorses (10) and Broodmares (144). In a new addition to the Yearling category, all yearlings entered are now eligible to be nominated for the lucrative Karaka Million Series which comprises of two $1 million races – the Karaka Million 2YO and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic – in addition to the $100,000 CollinsonForex Karaka Cup which they can contest for the duration of their career. In the last five seasons, 42 individual stakes winning graduates of the sale have amassed a total of 70 stakes wins across five racing jurisdictions – New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau. Momentum has continued into the current season with 10 individual graduates triumphing in 10 stakes races. Star graduates include three-time Group 1 winner Gingernuts, Gr1 Myer Classic winner I Am A Star, and recent Gr1 Auckland Cup winner Ladies First. There are a total of 51 vendors offering drafts at the Sale this year with the progeny from a wide selection of 141 sires, including 15 first season sires. There will be the progeny of 65 stakes-winning dams, including 10 Group 1 winners, and siblings to 103 stakes winners of which 23 are at Group 1 level. Click here to view catalogue.
The Auckland Racing Club has unveiled plans for a new stables development at Ellerslie. The $6 million development will include tie-up stalls for 126 horses created alongside a warm-up ring, veterinary boxes and office, function room and trainers' cafe. Work is scheduled to start immediately and will be completed in time for the Melbourne Cup in the first week of November. Seventy per cent of the current stable block will be demolished to make way for the development, comprising of four separate buildings around the central parade ring. ARC chief executive Paul Wilcox said the new stables will cement Ellerslie as a world class racecourse and put its facilities on par with those at Australia's famous Flemington and Randwick racecourses. "The idea of this development is to bring race goers and owners closer to the horses and even closer to the action," Mr Wilcox said. "The configuration of these open plan tie-up stalls will allow people to look at the horses both before and after racing and gain a greater sense of the energy and passion that thoroughbred horse racing is all about. It's how it's done at some of the best racecourses in the world and it's how it will be done at Ellerslie racecourse."
One-time New Zealand Derby favourite Scott Base will return to action in Saturday's Gr2 Wellington Guineas at Trentham, reports NZ Racing Desk. A stylish winner of the inaugural Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie in January, Scott Base (Dalghar-Extra Celestial, by Danehill Dancer) missed the Derby after injuring himself when fourth in the Gr2 Avondale Guineas at his most recent appearance. "He's nice and fresh and he's drawn well. He's got a good turn of foot and Trentham will suit him," said Johno Benner, who trains the 3YO gelding with partner Hollie Wynyard. "He had a bruised heel after that [Avondale Guineas] but he's freshened up really well and he's bright and bubbly." Benner said Scott Base's future programme will become clearer after Saturday. "He's looking good but we'll see what happens and just take it a race at a time," he said.
At Ascot racecourse in Perth, Western Australia, Oakland Park Stud's deceased triple Gr1-winning stallion Viscount (Quest for Fame-Antwerp, by Sir Tristram) added a black-type success when 3YO Australian-bred gelding Miracle Man (Viscount-Stormy Zaph, by Metal Storm) opened his stakes account with a determined win in the $100,000 Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) for 3YO colts & geldings, defeating Action & Media Baron. Miracle Man improved his record to 3 wins and 2 placings from 8 starts for $120,200 in earnings.
The 2018 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale got off to an even start on a day where the Victorian industry led from the front. Woodside Park stallion Written Tycoon topped the Leading Sire list by aggregate, trainer Tony McEvoy was the day’s No.1 buyer and Swettenham Stud (by average) and Supreme Thoroughbreds (by aggregate) were the high-flying Day 1 vendors. Day 1 ended with near identical stats to the same stage last year – average of $126,276, median of $110,000, clearance rate of 80% and gross of $14,648,000. The Blue Riband session was also healthy, averaging $144,500 with a median of $150,000, clearance of 77% and gross of $4,335,000. Inglis’ Victorian Bloodstock Manager Simon Vivian was satisfied with the day’s action. “It was a largely predictable day, on par with this time last year and there are still a lot of very good horses from very good stallions to enter the ring,” Vivian said. “We would obviously like to see the clearance rate improve over the coming days but I’m extremely confident that will be the case as there is a lot of great stock still to be offered. The average of over $126,000 is pleasing knowing what is being offered over the coming days.” Day-2 starts this morning at Oaklands Junction and can be viewed live on Inglis’ website.
Aquis Farm & Phoenix Thoroughbreds have teamed up to secure last season's champion Australian 2YO colt Invader and will stand him at stud in 2018, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. Trained by Peter & Paul Snowden, Invader (Snitzel-Flame of Sydney, by Encosta de Lago) enjoyed a highly successful juvenile campaign winning the Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) and also finishing runner-up in the Gr1 ATC Champagne Stakes (1600m) in Sydney in the autumn. "Snitzel is the best and most commercial champion sire currently at stud in Australasia and Invader is his best and fastest two-year-old son," said Aquis Farm chief executive Shane McGrath. "He is out of stakes winner Flame Of Sydney, a very fast and precocious two-year-old herself by champion broodmare sire Encosta De Lago. And he is a half-brother to Group One sprinter Not Listenin’tome." A service fee is yet to be announced. He added: "That combination of sire power, performance and pedigree is extremely rare. Factor in his impeccable conformation and athletic physique, his quality and action and you can understand why we’re so thrilled to have him."
The powerful Te Akau Racing stable will mount feature race assaults in two Australian states on Saturday week, reports NZ Racing Desk. New Zealand 2000 Guineas hero Embellish will run in Melbourne, while last season's champion New Zealand 2YO Melody Belle will be in action in Sydney. Melody Belle (Commands-Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj), who cruised to an emphatic last-start win in the Gr3 Mongolian Khan Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie, will step out in the Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick with the Gr2 Surround Stakes (1400m) to follow a fortnight later. "She's bounced through her Ellerslie win really well and it's a nice series of races for her in Sydney," co-trainer Jamie Richards said. Meanwhile, Embellish will make his Australian debut in the Gr3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on 17 February en route to the Gr1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on 3 March. "That will be his lead-up to the Australian Guineas a fortnight later," Richards said. "We're really pleased with him and everything is going right."
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has welcomed the comments of the federal Racing Minister, Winston Peters, when he opened the National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka this week, reports NZ Racing Desk. "Our stakeholders should be heartened when the Deputy Prime Minister confirms his intentions to make a genuine difference to our industry," NZTR Chief Executive Bernard Saundry said. The minister reaffirmed his commitment to New Zealand First's racing policies, which he described as being "prominent in the coalition agreement," and his desire to make a difference. "Your industry is going to change and change for the better," Mr Peters told the audience at Karaka. He said that New Zealand First had negotiated hard for the racing industry "because we see the value of racing as much more than a social activity and as a significant industry player for our country. We are working on urgent remedial action to incentivise ownership and make the purchase of bloodstock attractive again." More than 50,000 New Zealanders are directly involved in the New Zealand racing industry, which attracts a million spectators a year and contributes more than $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy.
Riverside Stables is ready for action and yearlings are soon to arrive on site for the 2018 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale. The first of Inglis’ Select Yearling Sales for the year will kick off at 6pm next Saturday, February 10 following the Warwick Farm races which features the $250,000 Inglis Classic for 2YOs and $250,000 Inglis Sprint for 3YOs. A total of 800 horses have been catalogued for the fastest-growing sale in the southern hemisphere, which this year will double as the historic first sale at Riverside from February 10-13. The following six vendors - Bhima Thoroughbreds, Bowness Stud, Cressfield, Fairhill Farm, Amarina Farm and Kitchwin Hills - will have their respective drafts available for inspection from Monday, with the majority of yearlings parading from Tuesday. To view the complete Classic Parade Schedule, CLICK HERE.
Trainer Toby Edmonds has nominated the Gr1 Robert Sangster Stakes in Adelaide as the long-term target for former gun juvenile Houtzen, reports racenet. The 3YO I Am Invincible filly, who won last year's Magic Millions 2YO Classic, has not been seen in action since finishing ninth in the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in the spring. "She has been back in work for three weeks and she will go to Sydney for some runs in March but everything is heading towards the Robert Sangster," Edmonds said. "She has really filled out and matured and she looks great to me." The $1 million Gr1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) will be run at Morphettville racecourse in May.
The Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale has re-written the record books for its Book One auction with previous benchmarks smashed during the action packed four-day event. A filly by Snitzel (Lot 830) became the ninth individual lot to reach seven-figures when she was knocked down to New South Wales trainer Mark Newnham during Saturday's night session for $1.1 million. Offered by Arrowfield Stud, as agent, the filly out of Intimate Moment (Dubawi) was the standout performer on Day Four and helped elevate the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale as the highest ever grossing yearling auction in southern hemisphere history. "That's the one we were waiting for the last three days. It's nice we were able to get her," Newnham said. "She just looks a natural. She's got a really good, strong pedigree behind her and you'd nearly give up if she couldn't run." He added: "We thought she'd be pretty dear – for us she was the best one here. You've got to pay for them."
No fewer than five other yearlings sold for over $500,000 during an action packed finish to Book One of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale on Saturday night. Book One ended with a gross of almost $156 million – over $22.6 million higher than last year. The average soared to exactly $228,000 while the clearance rate was a record equalling 89 per cent. "We've closed out with the highest grossing yearling sale ever in the Southern Hemisphere," Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said. "The previous record was back in 2008. It's been a wonderful sale and it's a wonderful result for Magic Millions and obviously a massive result for our breeders." Watch the video highlight reel of Saturday night's sale session below.
A live barrier draw at Karaka's iconic sales complex will set the scene for the two $1 million Karaka Million races in the lead up to the twilight meeting at Ellerslie on 27 January – the Karaka Million 2YO and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic. The barrier draw for both of the $1 million races will take place on Wednesday 24 January with Trackside's Michael Guerin hosting the event from 11:30am – 12:00pm (NZ time) where connections of the final fields will personally draw their barriers. Broadcast live from the Village Green at Karaka, follow all the action and post-draw commentary by tuning in to Trackside 1 (SKY Channel 261), watching online at www.nzb.co.nz, or on NZB's facebook page.
Karaka 2018 schedule:
Barrier Draw: Wednesday 24 January
Karaka Million Twilight Meeting: Saturday 27 January
Book 1: Sunday 28 – Wednesday 31 January
Book 2: Thursday 1 & Friday 2 February
Book 3: Sunday 4 February
Meanwhile, Magic Millions Guineas favourite Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) will have to pass an inspection today before being allowed to run in tomorrow's $2 million 3YO feature at the Gold Coast, reports racenet. The inspection was ordered after Gold Coast chief steward Allan Reardon said he was not happy with the 3YOs action. "There are no huge concerns at this stage but the vets indicated they weren't 100 percent satisfied, so they will have a look at Pierata again tomorrow," Reardon said. Trainer Greg Hickman said the colt was fine and wondered why another vet examination was needed. "Ask Mr Reardon," he said. Pierata, a last-start runaway winner of the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) at Doomben, is currently the dominant $2.25 TAB favourite for the Guineas.
Racing Victoria has sensationally charged eight licensed persons for alleged raceday treatment extending back to 2010, reports racing.com. RV is considering using its powers to stand down the charged participants pending further legal advice. Among those charged is Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon who is alleged to have been involved in more than 100 illegal raceday treatments to horses in the period from 2010 to 2017. Those charged will front a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing on a date to be fixed. Racing Victoria's chief executive Giles Thompson said: "It is vital that in order to maintain a world-class thoroughbred racing industry that we have a world-class integrity regime that is strictly enforced. Where we have a breach of the rules, our Stewards and Integrity Services Department will take appropriate action to protect the integrity of the sport." Click here to view the full story.
With temperatures forecast to exceed 40 degrees, Melbourne Racing Club has made a forward-thinking move to switch Saturday's Caulfield meeting with Sunday's Mornington meeting (with its likely cooler location). The laudible move is no doubt logistically challenging but, in an age of unprecedented hot days, putting the welfare of horses, jockeys and support staff is non-negotiable. Large containers of ice water in mobile containers will be made available at appropriate locations around the racecourse with horses required in the mounting yard for reduced periods of time. According to racing.com, which also noted changes to some of South Australia's race programs and the Australian Turf Club's move of Saturday's Wawrwick Farm meeting to Randwick, other changes flagged by Racing Victoria include:
Irish Bet will follow a proven path to the Golden Slipper following his debut win in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery at Royal Randwick on Saturday. A $55,000 buy for Mick Flanagan of the China Horse Club from this year's Australian Easter Yearling Sale out of the Middlebrook Valley Lodge draft, Irish Bet powered away for a dominant win in the race that has been used as a launching pad to Golden Slipper glory by top fillies She Will Reign and Mossfun. "He showed us a lot of ability from day one but two-year-old's off one trial you never know until you see them in action," said China Horse Club's International Racing and Breeding Manager Michael Wallace. "He was a lovely horse, was always going to be a good 2YO type, he just had everything we look for in a 2YO." Irish Bet (Smart Missile x Dublin Me Bet) will now be given a short break before being aimed at the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March.
Wait A Sec will be back in action early next month to continue his build-up toward the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie in March, reports NZ Racing Desk. A surprise 30-1 winner of the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2000m) at Hastings in October, Wait A Sec will resume off a short break in the Gr3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham on 13 January. "We're looking to kick him off in the Anniversary at set weights and penalties," said Grant Cullen, who trains the gelding with Guy Lowry. "We'll take it from there and see how the tracks are, he can handle one or two on the firmer ground." Cullen credits Wait A Sec's resurgence in the last couple of seasons with a change in training regime at his Dannevirke property. "We work him at home and around the farm, he's just a very happy horse," he said.
Group 1-winning sprinter Music Magnate (Written Tycoon-Concert Girl, by Danehill Dancer) is being aimed at the Listed Christmas Classic (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 30 December, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. A winner of the 2016 Gr1 Doomben 10,000, the 6YO hasn't raced since finishing last behind Clearly Innocent in the Gr1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in Brisbane in May. "He's fit and well and back to a hundred per cent," trainer Bjorn Baker said. "The main thing is he's back in action. We're looking at the Christmas Classic and then a couple of very early autumn targets."
An outstanding draft of racing stock presented by Godolphin resulted in a perfect clearance rate at a successful Inglis December Thoroughbred Sale at Oaklands Junction in Melbourne on Friday. The sale topper was the former European stayer Big Blue (Galileo-Board Meeting, by Anabaa) who sold to Maher Bloodstock for $102,000 - one of four horses to reach six figures. Other Lots to realise $100,000 were the geldings Demonstrate and Foundation and the race mare Soiree. Godolphin was one of 20 vendors to enjoy a perfect clearance rate at the mixed sale, ensuring the sale's overall clearance rate was a very pleasing 90%. The December Sale is the very last for Inglis in 2018. The first auction for the new year is the Classic Yearling Sale, the historic first sale at Riverside Stables in Sydney from February 10-13 where 800 yearlings will be offered over four magnificent days of selling. The Classic Sale will be followed by the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction from March 4-7, where 770 yearlings are catalogued. Action then returns to Sydney for the southern hemisphere's biggest yearling sale, the Australian Easter Yearling Sale. The final Easter Yearling Sale catalogue will be available in January. Click here to view upcoming sales catalogues.
Thoroughbred industry leader John Messara has issued a warning about the critical shortage of skilled equine staff on farms and in racing stables. The former Chairman of Racing Australia and Racing NSW said: “The NSW industry has made outstanding progress in the past few years. However, further progress and growth will be seriously limited if we cannot attract more young people to industry training and long-term careers working with thoroughbreds at all stages of their life-cycle.” Messara believes the solution will be found only if the industry and the Federal Government work together. “Right now…our current visa protocols stop us from taking on well-trained overseas staff who want to work here from established equine centres such as Ireland, the UK and France,” he said. The Working Holiday Visa limits the time young people can stay in Australia with an employer and the 457 Visa in many instances is not a workable proposition for young people finding their way into the industry. Racing Australia is lobbying appropriate Federal Government agencies on this matter. Mr Messara concluded: “At some stage, without urgent Federal Government action, some employers will reach the point of winding up their businesses and leaving the industry because of this problem. So we’ll lose their investment, expertise and energy, and ultimately that will impact on all the businesses and communities, often in rural areas in the case of horse studs, that depend on thoroughbred horses being bred, sold and raced.”
NZB’s Ready to Run Sale of Two-Year-Olds commences today at Karaka. With 437 well-trained two-year-olds catalogued, the Sale promises to be an action-packed two days with selling starting at 11am each day. X-rays and veterinary certificates have been lodged with the Repository and are available to view on site at Karaka or via remote access for online viewing by registered vets. The Sale boasts an impressive record of 110 stakes wins over the past five seasons, including 12 individual Group 1 winners who collectively won 19 Group 1 features over the past five seasons alone. Three of those Group 1 victories came during the 2016-17 season with star representative and dual Group 1 winner Gingernuts triumphing on both sides of the Tasman and stable-mate Hall of Fame scoring a Group 1 feature. Further afield, Singapore winners last season were headed by 3YO Sprint and 3YO Classic winner Countofmontecristo, along with Patron’s Bowl and Stewards’ Cup winner Alibi. The statistics have been bolstered further this season with Gingernuts’ victory in the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, the Gr2 Wakeful Stakes by Luvaluva, and the Garden City Trophy and Jumbo Jet Trophy by Faaltless and Countofmontecristo. A live webcast of the Sale will be available to view on the NZB website from 11am on each day of selling. Click hereto view the catalogue and breeze-up videos online.
NZB’s Ready to Run Sale of Two-Year-Olds commences tomorrow (Wednesday 22 November) with horses available for inspection now at the Karaka Sales Centre. With 437 well-trained two-year-olds catalogued, the Sale promises to be an action-packed two days with selling starting at 11am each day. X-rays and veterinary certificates have been lodged with the Repository and are available to view on site at Karaka or via remote access for online viewing by registered vets. The Sale boasts an impressive record of 110 stakes wins over the past five seasons, including 12 individual Group 1 winners who collectively won 19 Group 1 features over the past five seasons alone. Three of those Group 1 victories came during the 2016-17 season with star representative and dual Group 1 winner Gingernuts triumphing on both sides of the Tasman and stable-mate Hall of Fame scoring a Group 1 feature. Further afield, Singapore winners last season were headed by 3YO Sprint and 3YO Classic winner Countofmontecristo, along with Patron’s Bowl and Stewards’ Cup winner Alibi. The statistics have been bolstered further this season with Gingernuts’ victory in the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate, the Gr2 Wakeful Stakes by Luvaluva, and the Garden City Trophy and Jumbo Jet Trophy by Faaltless and Countofmontecristo. A live webcast of the Sale will be available to view on the NZB website from 11am on each day of selling. Click here to view the catalogue and breeze-up videos online.
Fanatic's record over the distance points to a bold showing in tomorrow's Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. A winner of the New Zealand Oaks in 2016, Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) boasts a third in the Gr3 Wellington Cup and a sixth in the Gr1 New Zealand Cup over Saturday's two mile journey. Now trained by the Lindsay Park team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Fanatic showed she was back in form when scoring strong win in the VRC Ronald McDonald House Handicap (2800m) at Flemington at her most recent outing. "She's rock-hard fit," said co-trainer Tom Dabernig. "Her action is great and she's quite a tough sort of mare so I would have to think she would be a good chance."
Surprise Livamol Classic winner Wait A Sec will return to action in the Gr3 OMF Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie today, reports NZ Racing Desk. Wait A Sec caused a huge upset at odds of 30-1 when landing the rescheduled Gr1 Livamol Classic (2000m) at Hastings last start defeating odds-on favourite Gingernuts. "We're looking forward to it and giving him a run that way around and then later on, all going well, he'll head back for the Auckland Cup," said Guy Lowry, who trains the 7YO in partnership with Grant Cullen. "He's really been working well and he's bouncing around." The Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) is scheduled to be run at Ellerslie in March.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner (Candy Ride-Quiet Giant, by Giant's Causeway) defied a perceived inside track bias and a top quality field to score a dominant 2.25 length over Collected & West Coast to claim the US$6 million Gr1 Breeders' Cup Classic (10 furlongs) at Del Mar in the US on Saturday. The 4YO chestnut stamped himself as the new king of North American racing with his fourth successive Group 1 triumph and his fifth overall. His record now reads 11 wins (including the Gr1 Stephen Foster Handicap, Gr1 Whitney Stakes, Gr1 Woodward Stakes, and Gr1 Clark Handicap) and 5 placings from 17 starts for US$9,037,138 in earnings. Asmussen said the racing world finally got to see the real Gun Runner in action. "We let Gun Runner be who he is," Asmussen told Blood Horse. "I think he's better today than he's ever been." Champion galloper Arrogate looked a shadow of his former glorious self, finishing a lacklustre fifth. He will now retire to owner Prince Khalid's Juddmonte Farms. "My horses ran well. Arrogate - I don't know," said trainer Bob Baffert. "He just can't find the plate. He's like a pitcher who can't find the plate. I hate to make excuses for him, but he's just not the horse he was."
Meanwhile, the turnover record set last year at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale was broken on the fourth day as international buyers continued to dominate the action. The fourth day of the five-day sale saw a total of 212 lots sell for 1,788,500 guineas, taking the four-day total to a record 26,857,300 guineas. The average for the day was 8,436 guineas and the median 5,500 guineas. The Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale continues from 10am on Friday, November 3 and will be followed immediately by Book 4 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
A steady start set the tone of Day 1 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale Breeze Up’s with 199 two-year-olds breezing at Te Rapa Racecourse. The youngsters breezed up on a Dead 6 track with gusty south-westerlies throughout the day. Last year’s leading vendor by average, Lyndhurst Farm, presented six horses including a Fastnet Rock colt (Lot 49) who breezed in a time of 11.02 seconds. He was partnered by a Smart Missile gelding (Lot 80) who performed in a time of 10.78. Earlier in the day a duo of Shocking’s offspring, prepared by Landsdowne Park, breezed up smartly with a dead-heat time of 10.94 seconds for the colts (Lot 300 and Lot 421). Lot 300 is a half-brother to recent Gr3 Hawkes Bay Gold Trail Stakes winner Dijon Bleu. The fastest time of the day was recorded by Karaka Million nominated Lot 17, a Poet’s Voice colt prepared by Riversley Park in the respectable time of 10.53 seconds. Diamond Lodge presented the first of the Snitzels with a filly (Lot 87) clocking a time of 11.33 seconds. She was partnered with the white Reliable Man filly (Lot 182) who recorded 11.31 seconds. Champion NZ sire Savabeel was also represented today with Kilmore Farm’s Lot 200 breezing in at a time of 11.21 seconds. The colt breezed up with a son of Sizzling (Lot 310) who recorded a time of 11.35 seconds. Day 2 of the Breeze Up action will take place today at Te Rapa Racecourse from 10am. Click here to view Breeze Up times.
A colt by Frankel claimed top honours on the final day of the Goffs Orby Sale in Ireland when purchased by agent Justin Casse on behalf of Zayat Stables for €1.6 million. Consigned by Eddie Irwin's Marlhill House Stud, the colt (lot 330) is out of the Xaar mare Belesta and hails from the family of Gr1 Prix de l'Opera winner We Are. International competition was fierce throughout an action packed day in the sales ring, with another of the stand-out lots including the Kingman colt out of an own sister to champion filly Immortal Verse (Lot 444). "Two millionaires by Galileo and Frankel were the clear highlights of another strong renewal of our flagship Orby Sale which has been well supported by a huge international cast of buyers who flocked to Co Kildare to buy some beautifully bred world class yearlings that had been sent to us by leading breeders," said Goffs Chief Executive Henry Beeby.
New Zealand-bred 3YO Chopin's Fantaisie (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) extended his unbeaten record to four when winning the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1400m at Kranji racecourse in Singapore on Sunday, reports turfclub.com.sg. The son of Pins had to really stretch to hold off the gallant Aotearoa, but jockey Glen Boss played down the narrow half-length margin suggesting it was simply the gelding's nature to do the bare essential to get the job done. The winning time of 1:21.88 was only 0.10 of a second outside the class record. "He will never win by a space - that is not his caper. It's more cat-and-mouse style with him," said Boss after dismounting. "But he's got a lovely long action and has a great attitude. He will grow and mature further as he's not the full product yet. He is coming along quite well and will be even better in six months' time." Purchased for $150,000 by his trainer Michael Clements at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Chopin's Fantaisie is a half-brother to three-time Gr1 winner and former Hong Kong champion racehorse Ambitious Dragon. "Considering he has a well-related sibling we were quite happy to get him at such a price," Clements said. "He will go towards a Class 3 race in four to five weeks' time and I may look at a feature race late in the season for him, like the Committee's Prize." The Gr3 Committee's Prize is a handicap race run over 1600m on 17 September.
The world's best racehorse, Arrogate, submitted his final piece of work for Saturday's Gr2 San Diego Handicap with a six-furlong breeze in 1:11 flat on his home track at Santa Anita on Saturday. The champion 4YO will resume in the Gr2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on 22 July, before then heading to the Gr1 TVG Pacific Classic at the same track on 19 August. "He went well. I was happy with the work and everything went well, so now it's just getting down there and hoping he ships well," trainer Bob Baffert told Blood Horse. "(The San Diego) is a mile and a sixteenth, which is not really his distance, but he's ready for a race." The Juddmonte Farms-owned Arrogate (Unbridled's Song-Bubbler, by Distorted Humor) was last seen in action scoring an exceptional win in the US$10 million Gr1 Dubai World Cup on 26 March. That victory advanced his record to 7 wins from 8 starts for career earnings of US$17,084,600, surpassing California Chrome to become the richest North American thoroughbred of all time. Watch Arrogate's latest work below.
Give, a Helmet half-brother to Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Flying Artie, will trial over 760m at Cranbourne today, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. The 2YO has had just the three starts with his best performance being a second on debut, but trainer John Moloney expects him to develop into a nice prospect over the spring. Such is Moloney’s opinion of Give that he has nominated the Caulfield Guineas as a potential target. “So far, so good and he is shaping well. It is trialling time at the moment, so we will see how he presents,” Moloney said. “I feel he will get out over a bit of ground, but he will also be a much sharper horse this preparation.” He added: “He’s got a great action and gets over a bit of ground with his stride. Once he gets that going with his rhythm and action he should be able to develop into a handy horse.” Raced by a syndicate including Newgate Farm, China Horse Club Racing, Blake Sandblom, and Paul Whelan’s Luskin Park Stud who bred him, Flying Artie (Artie Schiller-Flying Ruby, by Rubiton) retired to Newgate Farm earlier this year with 3 wins from 7 starts for $1.28 million in earnings, highlighted by his brilliant win in the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes last spring.