Jarrod McLean, stable foreman for Darren Weir, has labelled Nature Strip (Nicconi-Strikeline, by Desert Sun) as the best sprinter to come through the champion trainer's stable in years, reports racing.com. The boom sprinter showed that the hype surrounding him is more than justified when he resumed with an explosive win in the Great Ocean Road Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on Saturday. Having his first start for Weir, the rising 4YO set the track alight when scoring by 4.5 lengths in a near-track record time of 1:02:26 with a final 600m in 32.58 seconds. "We've had Black Heart Bart and Voodoo Lad both run seconds in Newmarkets and also Brave Smash," said McLean. "It's a bit hard to compare, but he's [Nature Strip] certainly the best sprinter I've had come through the yard at Weiry's in the last three years. He's the real deal." McLean said he expects Nature Strip to continue on his winning way when he contests the final of the Creswick Series at Flemington in two weeks time. "He should present well again and should be winning again," said McLean. The lightly raced Nature Strip has hitherto won 5 of his 8 starts for over $400,000 in earnings.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1 million Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville racecourse this Saturday. The race will see a capacity field of 20 runners take their place. First run in 1881, the Goodwood has been won by some top-class sprinters including Aurie's Star (1940), Royal Gem (1946), Super Elegant (2004), Glamour Puss (2005), Takeover Target (2009), Black Caviar (2012), Black Heart Bart (2016), and Vega Magic (2017). This year the favourite for the race is the Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic who is listed as a $2.60 chance with TAB to successfully defend his title. Vega Magic dominates betting, so much so that his nearest market rivals are Gr1 Winterbottom Stakes winner Viddora and Gr1-placegetter Voodoo Lad at $10 followed by Santa Ana Lane and Thronum at $13.
The sale that in recent years has provided the ilk of 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) and 2017 Gr1 Railway Stakes victor Great Shot (Magnus-Satin Covers, by Dr Grace), see below, is primed for another exciting rendition with 302 lots set to go under the hammer starting next Monday Feb 19 at 2PM. The two-day sale, to be held at the Belmont Park Sales Complex, will feature the diversity of 62 individual sires, including the debut yearlings of 8 freshman headed by God Has Spoken, Safeguard and Sessions. A tremendous further fillip for the sale, and potential buyers, is that 79% of yearlings catalogued are eligible for the lucrative Westspeed Platinum scheme. 37 Lots are also BOBS eligible with all Lots in the running for the $11 million plus Magic Millions Race Series. Catalogue highlights include yearlings from Group winners Arabian Lass, Moccasin Bend, Born Priceless, Translate, Heptonstall, Modometer, Native Song and Spirit Lady. Key lots on offer include half, three-quarter or full relations to Group winners Playing God, Moccasin Bend, Lamasery, Clueless Angel, Lucy Mae, God Has Spoken, Lords Ransom, Dainty Tess, Shining Knight, Showy Chloe, Vampi Lass, Graceful Anna, Ma Ma Machine and Poor Judge.
At Ascot racecourse in Perth, Scenic Lodge Stud's Gr3-winning stallion Universal Ruler (Scenic-Rulings, by Hurricane Sky) added a black-type success when 6YO Australian-bred gelding Rebel King (Universal Ruler-Rebel Sister, by Falbrav) resumed with a determined win in the $100,000 Listed Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Battle Hero & Dainty Tess. Rebel King, who was purchased for $40,000 at the 2013 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale from the draft of Scenic Lodge, improved his record to 10 wins (including the Listed HG Bolton Sprint) and 12 placings (including the Listed WATC Beaufine Stakes) from 36 starts for $712,375 in earnings. Rebel King is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Rebelson (Snippetson) and hails from the same family as multiple stakes winner Black Heart Bart and New Zealand Oaks winner Savannah Success, the dam of dam of Cox Plate winner and champion sire Savabeel.
Perth Cup placegetter Tradesman is the latest WA galloper to join the stable of champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir, reports the West Australian. A winner of 7 of his 21 starts, Tradesman's (Trade Fair-Virelay, by Laranto) biggest win to date came in the Listed Belmont Guineas as a 3YO. The consistent performer has also been placed three times at Group level, namely in the Gr2 Perth Cup, Gr2 Lee Steere Classic and Gr3 Northerly Stakes. Todd Harvey, who is also a part-owner of Tradesman, hopes a change of environment can help the 7YO realise his potential. "He's got a high rating here, but he doesn't have to race in top company over there," Harvey said. "There are plenty more options there. I feel he's a genuine stayer and we haven't really had a crack at getting him over ground. We all thought it was best for the horse to send him to Weir." Harvey added: "He'll fly over when Black Heart Bart and Ulmann go home in a couple of weeks and he'll probably have a month or so off when he gets there." It was announced last week that former champion West Australian 2YO Whispering Brook (Hinchinbrook-Artful Whisper, by Machiavellian) would also be joining Weir in the New Year.
The catalogue for the 2018 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale, the sale source of Summer Carnival Group One stars Black Heart Bart and Great Shot, is now available online. To be held at the Belmont Park Sales Complex on 19th & 20th February, the sale has brought together a quality catalogue of 302 lots. With other graduates including Group 1 winners Boom Time, Silent Sedition, Scenic Blast, Moment of Change, Magnifisio, Eagle Regiment and Scenic Shot, the Perth Yearling Sale is regarded as one of the best producing auctions in Australasia. Among the pedigree highlights are half, three-quarter or full relations to Group winners including Playing God, Moccasin Bend, Lamasery, Clueless Angel, Lucy Mae, God Has Spoken, Lords Ransom, Dainty Tess, Shining Knight, Showy Chloe, Vampi Lass, Graceful Anna, Ma Ma Machine and Poor Judge. Yearlings from Group winners including Arabian Lass, Moccasin Bend, Born Priceless, Translate, Heptonstall, Moodometer, Native Song and Spirit Lady are also catalogued. No fewer than 62 individual sires will be represented with strong interest also set to surround the stock of eight freshman sires including God Has Spoken, Safeguard and Sessions. In a great boost for local buyers, 79% of yearlings catalogued are eligible for the rich Westspeed Platinum scheme and 95% eligible for either Platinum or the standard Westspeed schemes. Some 37 lots are BOBS eligible and all lots offered are eligible to be paid up for the $11 million plus Magic Millions Race Series. Click here to view catalogue.
Jockey Brad Rawiller says barrier one gives Black Heart Bart every opportunity to add to his Group 1 record in Saturday's Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth. The Darren Weir-trained 7YO, who is coming off an excellent second to Great Shot in the Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) two weeks ago, will be chasing his sixth top-flight victory in the $1 million weight-for-age feature. "Barrier one sometimes means you might get caught a couple back on the fence, but I'll take it any day," Rawiller told racing.com. "Especially in this race as it means he should be able to find his position without too much trouble, relax in the run and be really strong through the line over the 1800 metres." Rawiller added: "He's going really well the horse and we all know he's well in at the weights at the conditions so if I can give him a good run in the race, then I reckon he'll take care of the rest." Black Heart Bart is currently the $3.30 TAB fixed odds favourite for the Kingston Town Classic.
Trainer James Cummings believes talented import It's Somewhat is primed to claim another big race success in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth. The 7YO US-bred son of Dynaformer, who registered the biggest win of his career when landing the Gr1 Doncaster Mile in April, brings strong form lines to Saturday's weight-for-age feature having finished a last-start third behind Tosen Stardom in the Gr1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. "He's really been targeted at this race for the entire campaign and we feel that he's building up to his peak," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "He achieved a good result with his third in the Emirates Stakes at Flemington and the space between runs coming into this suits him." Cummings added: "He gets his opportunity here coming back to nine furlongs...the team in Perth are really happy with the way he's settled in." It's Somewhat is currently the $4.60 TAB second favourite for the Kingston Town behind 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the final Group 1 race of the year, the $1 million weight-for-age Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. Black Heart Bart, who will be chasing his sixth Group 1 victory, is the current $3.40 TAB fixed odds favourite for the race, ahead of Godolphin import It's Somewhat at $4.60 and local mare Perfect Jewel at $6. Perennial bridesmaid Tom Melbourne is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The field is:
Darren Weir says he is thrilled with the condition of Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) leading into Saturday's Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot. The 5-time Gr1 winner is the clear $3.50 TAB fixed odds favourite for the $1 million summer feature after his excellent second (beaten just 0.15 length) to Great Shot in the Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) two weeks ago. That was Black Heart Bart's first start in nearly two months and Weir says he has improved significantly from the run after watching him gallop with stable-mate Ulmann at Lindsey Smith's Perth stable on Saturday. "Bart's good," Weir told the West Australian. "His work was good. We're fortunate enough to have Lindsey let us use his place." He added: "Bart has settled in to the routine there and it's just what he needed. All thing's being well, he's heading into the race in good shape." The barrier draw for the Kingston Town Classic takes place today.
At Ascot in Perth, Western Australia, Eliza Park's Gr1 Galaxy-winning stallion Magnus (Flying Spur-Scandinavia, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Great Shot (Magnus-Satin Covers, by Dr Grace) caused a huge upset at odds of 31-1 when holding on for a brave win in the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Black Heart Bart & Tom Melbourne. Great Shot, who was a $31,000 purchase by Francis Edwards at the 2014 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale from the draft of Scenic Lodge, improved his record to 8 wins (including the Listed Old Comrade Stakes, Listed Cyril Flower Stakes & Listed Belmont Guineas) and 11 placings (including the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes, Gr3 WATC Asian Beau Stakes, Listed Bunbury Stakes & Listed Grandstand Cup) from 24 starts for $1,204,875 in earnings. From a daughter of Gr1 Orlando Wines (now known as the Gr1 Coolmore Classic) winner Satin Sand, Great Shot is a three-quarter brother to Melbourne stakes winning mare Gawne. He is also a half-brother to the dam of Casino Dancer, a multiple Group winner also sold by Magic Millions. Young trainer Rhys Radford, who was celebrating the biggest win of his brief career, commented: "I thought he'd run a great race. I couldn't get him any better, so we were just hoping his best was good enough," he told the West Australian. "I've never had a horse try as hard as he does. It's really a credit to him, he never gives it away. I couldn't be happier."
Trainer Darren Weir has confirmed that Black Heart Bart will press on to the Kingston Town Classic after his brave second in Saturday's Gr1 Railway Stakes at Ascot, reports racing.com. The 5-time Gr1 winner is sure to strip a lot fitter after finishing just 0.15 length from the winner Great Shot in what was his first run in nearly two months. The 7YO is now the $4 TAB fixed odds favourite for the $1 million Gr1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) which will be run at Ascot on 9 December.
Defending champion Scales of Justice has retained favouritism for Saturday's Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot despite drawing barrier 13 in the $1 million feature, reports the West Australian. But with three of the four emergencies drawn inside him, Scales Of Justice (Not a Single Doubt-Beymatilla, by Umatilla) is likely to start from barrier ten in his bid for back-to-back Railway victories. Despite the unfavourable draw, he is currently the $5.50 TAB fixed odds favourite for the race ahead of 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart ($6) and Gr1 performer Tom Melbourne ($6.50). "I've got great faith in the horse," managing part-owner Chris Wells said. "If he's right he'll go very well." However, trainer Lindsey Smith does not seem to share Wells' optimism. Smith has been playing catch-up with West Australia's best racehorse ever since he pulled up lame in the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne. The 5YO was also below his brilliant best when resuming with a third placing in the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on 11 November. "I think Lindsey's a bit apprehensive, but as time goes on we get more confident. The weight (57.5kg) is not a problem. It's whether he's 100 per cent," Wells added. Scales Of Justice will run with a pad on his off-fore foot on Saturday, but Wells said the gear change wasn't a cause for concern. "Lindsey's farrier suggested it because his off-fore is two degrees off his near-fore. He doesn't have a foot problem," he said.
Meanwhile, trainer Darren Weir's travelling foreman Jarrod McLean says former WA galloper Black Heart Bart is in perfect order for Saturday's Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot. However, the 5-time Gr1 winner will have to defy history if he is to win the $1 million feature as no horse has carried 59kg to victory since Tudor Mak landed the prize with 61kg in 1967. "I know history is against him, but he's the kind of horse that can defy history," McLean told the West Australian. "Look out on Saturday." The 7YO will also be out to restore his reputation as one of the best horses in Australia having not won a race since the Gr1 Futurity Stakes in February. This is despite some excellent performances in the spring, including placings in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne. Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) is currently the $6 TAB fixed odds second favourite for the Railway behind defending champion Scales Of Justice at $5.50.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the 131st running of the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. Defending champion and local star Scales Of Justice is currently the $5.50 TAB favourite for the race, ahead of 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart at $6 and Gr1 performer Tom Melbourne at $7. The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Supply And Demand is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The final field is:
Racing.com reports that Gr1-winning sprinter The Quarterback has been retired. Trained by Robbie Griffiths, The Quarterback (Street Boss-Soorena, by Encosta de Lago) won 9 of his 34 starts for $1,518,250 in earnings. The biggest win of his career came in the 2016 Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington where he defeated top-class gallopers Black Heart Bart and Chautauqua. He is expected to embark upon a new career as a show horse.
The final field has been declared for the 131st running of the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. The barrier draw will be conducted today commencing at 4:30pm (7:30pm AEDT) and will be telecast live on Sky Racing. The final field is:
The weights have been released for the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) to be run at Ascot in Perth on Saturday week. The Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart has been allocated top weight of 59kg for the $1 million feature. The 5-time Group One winner hasn't raced since finishing 5th behind Bonneval in the Gr1 Underwood Stakes on 1 October. Defending Railway champion Scales Of Justice has been allocated 57.5kg, up from the 53kg he carried to victory in 2016. Black Heart Bart and Scales Of Justice are currently co-favourite with TAB at $6. Click here to view the full list of weights.
Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) will have to defy history if he is to claim Saturday week's Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot, reports the West Australian. The Darren Weir-trained 7YO has been allocated top weight of 59kg meaning he will have to break a 50 year-old record if he is to be successful in the $1 million feature. "Though he's won five Group 1 races, I think Black Heart Bart will face a serious challenge with 59kg," Racing and Wagering WA chief thoroughbred handicapper Ian Malpass said. Malpass added: "I'm comfortable with having given him 59kg. Luckygray, who carried 58kg in 2013, has been the highest-weighted Railway winner in recent years." No Railway Stakes winner has carried more than 58kg since Tudor Mak landed the prize with 61kg in 1967.
Nominations have been announced for the 2017 Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) to be run at Ascot racecourse in Perth on Saturday, 25 November. Headed by defending champion Scales Of Justice, 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart, Vega Magic, and dual Oaks winner Egg Tart, there are 70 horses nominated for the $1 million feature. Click here to view the full list of nominations.
Black Heart Bart, Scales Of Justice and Vega Magic are among the 18 Group One winners that feature in the nominations for the three $1 million races of The TABtouch Masters – the Gr1 Railway Stakes, Gr1 Winterbottom Stakes and Gr1 Kingston Town Classic. Black Heart Bart and Scales Of Justice, the WA Horse of the Year recipients of the past two years, are just two of the 10 Group One winners among the Railway Stakes nominations, with the others being Egg Tart, Good Project, Ihtsahymn, It’s Somewhat, Perfect Reflection, Redkirk Warrior, Silent Sedition and Single Gaze. Vega Magic, which has won two Gr1 titles since transferring from the WA stable of Sean Casey to the Victorian yard of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, headlines the Winterbottom Stakes entries that include fellow top-flight winners Hey Doc, Impending, Malaguerra, Redkirk Warrior, Santa Ana Lane, Sheidel, The Quarterback, as well as defending champion Takedown. Mark Worwood, Racing and Wagering Manager of Perth Racing commented: “Perth Racing is delighted with not only the quantity and quality of the nominations but also their geographical spread. One hundred and nine of the 222 nominations for the club’s three Group One races are trained outside Western Australia and that demonstrates the pulling power of an event of which there’s none like it anywhere else.” Worwood added: “It’s the world’s only single-track thoroughbred racing festival featuring a Group One race worth at least $1,000,000 on three consecutive Saturdays.”
Weights have been released for the 2017 Gr1 Magic Millions Kingston Town Classic (1800m) to be run at Ascot racecourse in Perth on Saturday, 9 December. A total of 99 horses have been nominated for the $1 million weight-for-age feature, headed by 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart, Scales Of Justice, Vega Magic, Redkirk Warrior, Silent Sedition, and dual Oaks winner Egg Tart. Click here for the full list of weights and nominations.
Despite an unplaced finish in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Hartnell has won the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship. The Godolphin galloper went into Saturday's fourth and final leg of the series with 18 points. The only other runner in the Caulfield Stakes field who was within striking distance on the table was star New Zealand mare Bonneval with 10. But despite being the two favourites for the weight-for-age race, the pair both finished outside the placings behind the winner Gailo Chop. Back markers Bonneval and Hartnell were unsuited to the tempo of the race and finished sixth and ninth respectively. Hartnell finished the Spring WFA Championship with 18 points, one ahead of last year's champion Black Heart Bart. Gailo Chop earned 10 points from Saturday's win to move into third place on 16, while Bonneval collected one point to finish fourth on 11.
Winx was last night crowned Australian Horse of the Year for the second straight year at an awards ceremony hosted by Racing Queensland in Brisbane. The honour comes as the Chris Waller-trained mare prepares to create history by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates at Moonee Valley on 28 October, following her stunning win in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Waller claimed the Bart Cummings Award as the leading Group One winning trainer for 2016/17, while Winx’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman won the Champion Group One Jockey Award. Remarkably, Winx finished 115 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Hartnell, with Chautauqua, Black Heart Bart and Almandin rounding out the nominees. The Australian Champion Racehorse category winners were:
Darren Weir is confident that Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) can mount a successful defence of his title in Sunday's Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, reports racing.com. The 5-time Group One winner is yet to win in three Group One outings this campaign, but that hasn't dented Weir's faith in the horse. "He's definitely got a stumbling block in Hartnell but we're really happy with the horse," Weir said. "He trialled really well at Monday at Coleraine and we're very happy with the horse." Weir is adamant that Black Heart Bart is in similar form as this time last year, it's just that the opposition may be slightly stronger. "It might be a bit tougher this season, but we think he's going really well," he said. "He's in really good shape but with Hartnell in it, it's not going to be an easy race." Black Heart Bart is second favourite for the Underwood at $4.80 with TAB. Godolphin's Hartnell is the dominant favourite at $1.80.
The $750,000 Gr1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) is the third leg of the four-race New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring WFA Championship Series and a spectacular field has assembled with the potential for major movement on the points table. Black Heart Bart has been placed in both the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes and the Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes to be on top of the Championship table at the halfway stage with 14 points. Breathing down his neck are the winners of the those two races, PB Lawrence Stakes winner Hartnell and Memsie Stakes victor Vega Magic with 10 points apiece. Black Heart Bart and Hartnell will renew their rivalry on Sunday and if either is successful will take a formidable lead in the Championship. The Series has an interesting newcomer on Sunday in the form of superstar Karaka graduate Bonneval, last season's New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year and New Zealand Horse of the Year who resumed with a top win in the Gr2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago. The fourth and final leg of the NZB Caulfield Spring WFA Championship Series is the $1 million Gr1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 14 October.
At Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO bay gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) finished powerfully to dominant a high class field in the $750,000 Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Hartnell & Black Heart Bart. In claiming his second Group One triumph, the New Zealand-bred Humidor improved his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Cup & Gr3 Manawatu Classic) & 7 placings (including the the Gr1 Livermol Classic, Gr2 TS Carlyon Cup & Gr2 Peter Young Stakes) from 18 starts for $1,874,344 in earnings. Humidor's 3rd dam is Champion Irish 2YO and Champion European 3YO Habibti, a half-sister to legendary blue hen Eight Carat. Trainer Darren Weir confirmed Humidor's primary target is the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield racecourse on 21 October. "He's always shown great promise and that was unbelievable really. It's just always been a matter of getting his manners right and I think we're winning the battle," trainer Darren Weir told racing.com. "The Caulfield Cup has been the plan with him all along and that's where we'll head."
Eighteen horses have been nominated for Saturday's $750,000 Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. The weight-for-age feature will be run with a 16-horse capacity field. The two highest rated horses in the race, Godolphin's Hartnell and Black Heart Bart, also occupy the top two spots in pre-post betting with Hartnell a dominant $1.80 favourite ahead of Black Heart Bart at $5. The only other runners under double-figure odds are Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc and triple Gr1 winner Le Romain at $9. Click here to view all race nominations for Flemington on Saturday.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, French 2000 Guineas & French Derby-winning shuttler Lope De Vega (Shamardal-Lady Vettori, by Vettori) celebrated a pinnacle Gr1 success when 5YO gelding Vega Magic (Lope de Vega-Admirable, by Magic Albert) saluted for trainers David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the Gr1 NZB Memsie Stakes (1400m) by an extending 1.8-lengths, defeating the Darren Weir stable pairing of Black Heart Bart and Tosen Stardom. Still unbeaten since leaving Western Australia, Vega Magic, who hails from the family of Golden Slipper winner Century Miss, advanced his record to 12 wins (including the Gr1 Goodwood Stakes, Gr3 Colonel Reeves Stakes & Gr3 AJ Scahill Stakes) and 3 placings from 16 starts for $2,026,550 earnings. The scintillating all the way victory not only confirmed his ability to stretch his raw speed at the top level but also further enhanced his undeniable chance should he gain a position in the inaugural The Everest at Royal Randwick on October 14.
The 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring Weight-For-Age Championship heats up on Saturday with the running of the second leg, the $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. The prize money for the Memsie Stakes has doubled this year from $500,000 to $1 million, a move that has been rewarded with a sensational field for the first Group One race of the 2017-18 Australian racing season. Hartnell (Authorized) won the first leg of the Series, the $200,000 PB Lawrence Stakes on 19 August, but is bypassing Saturday's race. A stellar cast of proven elite performers will be out to move up the points table in his absence. Nine of the 12 runners are Group 1 winners, including last year's winner Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) and the high-class Karaka graduates Jon Snow (Iffraaj) and I Am A Star (I Am Invincible). The Series will have a new leader if either Charmed Harmony (8 points, 2nd in Leg 1) or Black Heart Bart (6 points, 3rd in Leg 1) finish in the first three on Saturday, while a Memsie Stakes win by Tosen Stardom (3 points, 5th in Leg 1) or Humidor (1 point, 6th in Leg 1) would send them to the top of the table. The NZB Memsie Stakes will be run as Race 7 with a start time of 4:10pm (6:10pm NZT). Click below to view the NZB Memsie Stakes field.
Winx is one of five horses shortlisted for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year award that will be announced at Peninsula Docklands in Melbourne on Sunday night, reports racing.com. The Victorian Racehorse of the Year finalists are:
At Caulfield in Melbourne, triple Gr1-winning former English Derby victor & successful Darley shuttler Authorized (Montjeu-Funsie, by Saumarez) added a Gr2 success when 7YO gelding Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) strode clear to score a dominant 2.3-length victory for trainer James Cummings in the $201,000 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) over the geldings Charmed Harmony & Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq). The Godolphin-owned Hartnell improved his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 The BMW, Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr3 Sky High Stakes & Gr3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr2 Apollo Stakes, Gr1 Ranvet Stakes, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes & Gr1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud) from 33 starts for $4,194,610 earnings.
Brad Rawiller expects Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) to benefit significantly from the run when he opens his spring campaign in tomorrow's Gr2 Charge Of The Light Horse P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) Caulfield. The 5-time Group One winner, who hasn't raced since finishing 5th in the Gr1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in Brisbane in late May, will then bid to defend his title in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 2 September. "Going into this Saturday, there is no question that he is going to be better for the run," Rawiller told racing.com. "If I had drawn an outside barrier I think it might have been tough for him because he might not have been ready to make things happen like he normally would so we might have had to ride him a bit quiet." Rawiller continued: "But from barrier five, he's going to land in the nice position and we'll be able to give him a rest and it's going to bring him right into the race although he's going to be better for the run." Black Heart Bart is currently the $2.60 TAB favourite for the $200,000 weight-for-age feature, ahead of Godolphin's Hartnell at $3.20 and stable-mates Humidor and Tosen Stardom at $9. All other runners in the 12-horse field are at double-figure odds.
A star-studded field will clash in Saturday's $200,000 Gr2 Charge Of The Light Horse P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m), the first of four races in the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring WFA Championship. The 14-horse line-up features no fewer than eight individual Group 1 winners - namely Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice), Hartnell (Authorized), Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars), Gailo Chop (Deportivo), Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo), He's Our Rokkii (NZ) (Roc de Cambes), Abbey Marie (Redoute's Choice) and Montoya's Secret (High Chaparral). Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact) and Star Exhibit (Statue Of Liberty) have been Group 1-placed. The race will be run as Race 7 at 4:00pm (6:00pm NZT). The winner of Saturday's race will pick up 10 Championship Points, with 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 3 for fifth and 1 each for horses placed sixth, seventh and eighth. The remaining races in the NZB Caulfield Spring Championship Series are the $1m Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) on 2 September, the $750,000 Gr1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) on 1 October, and the $1m Gr1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 14 October.
Top-class galloper Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) could make his seasonal reappearance in the Gr2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 19 August, reports racing.com. The 5-time Group One winner, who hasn’t raced since finishing 5th in the Gr1 Kingsford-Smith Cup in Brisbane in late May, will then look to defend his title in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 2 September. “He’s come back really well but he hasn’t had a trial yet so we’ll just wait until he’s had a trial and then I’ll decide whether I run him in the P.B. Lawrence,” trainer Darren Weir said. “He’s just a really good horse and I wish I had a few more like him.” Weir said Black Heart Bart was likely to be joined by high class stable-mates Tosen Stardom and Humidor in the Memsie. “Tosen Stardom has come back really well and nearly beat Black Heart Bart in a Group 1 over 1400m at Caulfield (Futurity Stakes) so he deserves his place in this race,” he said. “He’s been a frustrating horse because we know how much ability he’s got but we just haven’t been able to get him to show it yet, but so far so good with him.” Weir added: “We’ll also run Humidor, he’s on a Caulfield Cup path.”
New Zealand Bloodstock has signed a two-year deal with the Melbourne Racing Club to continue its title sponsorship of the Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes, the New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship, and the Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes. NZB has sponsored the Memsie Stakes since 2010. The prestigious 1400m race, which will be run at Caulfield on 2 September, was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2014, making it the first Group 1 race of the Australian season. The exciting growth of the race continues in 2017 with prize money increased to $1 million. The Memsie Stakes honour roll includes some of the greatest horses ever to grace the Australasian turf, such as Sunline (NZ), So You Think (NZ), Phar Lap (NZ), Rising Fast (NZ), Manikato, Galilee, Makybe Diva and Ajax. The NZB Spring WFA Championship has proven to be a popular initiative in its six years of existence, this year offering almost $3 million in prize money across a four-race Series with the Championship winner receiving trophies to the value of $15,000. Commencing with the $200,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 19, the Championship was won last year by Black Heart Bart, with previous winners including Atlantic Jewel, Ocean Park (NZ), and Lights Of Heaven (NZ). The $150,000 Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m), to be held at Caulfield on October 21 this year, has a special significance for NZB. The race is named in honour of champion mare Ethereal (NZ), the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner who was bred and raced by NZB and Pencarrow Stud's Sir Peter and the late Philip Vela. The 2016 Ethereal Stakes had a fitting result, won by Karaka graduate Eleonora (NZ), a granddaughter of Ethereal.
Multiple Group winner Mahuta (Flying Spur-Vahine, by Zabeel) has been retired to stand at Lynward Park Stud in Western Australia, reports racing.com. Trained by Darren Weir for Roll The Dice Racing, Mahuta won 6 of his 16 starts, including the Gr2 Autumn Stakes, Gr2 Sandown Guineas, Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes, and Magic Millions 3YO Guineas, for over $1.75 million in earnings. He was also Gr1 placed in the Memsie Stakes behind Black Heart Bart last spring. By Arrowfield's former Australian Champion Sire Flying Spur (Danehill), Mahuta is out of a three-quarter sister to Isolda (Sir Tristram), winner of the 1995 Gr1 Champagne Stakes in Sydney.
2016 Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Under The Louvre will stand at Ipswich-based Grandview Stud from this spring at an introductory fee of just $7,700 (inc. GST). "Under the Louvre had incredible acceleration," trainer Robert Smerdon said. "He mixed it with the best and in the Stradbroke he faced nine Group One winners including Black Heart Bart." Smerdon added: "If he can throw that explosive turn of foot, athleticism and temperament into his progeny I believe he's a very good stallion prospect." Under The Louvre retires to stud with nine wins and 14 placings and over $1.8 million in prize money. Incredibly, from 22 starts in black type company, Under The Louvre either won or placed in 15. Grandview Stud's Michael Grieve is thrilled to have secured Under The Louvre who will stand alongside proven sire Jet Spur and the promising Tale of the Cat stallion, Whittington. "Under The Louvre is arguably the most exciting racehorse to enter stud in Queensland for many years," Grieve said. "Under The Louvre is the best performer by Group One winner Excellent Art who only stood a few seasons in Australia, but he is, in turn, a son of the outstanding speed influence, Pivotal." He added: "Another interesting aspect to Pivotal is that matched up with Danehill, he is running at a massive 18% stakes performers to runners. So, being totally free of Danehill, Under The Louvre offers a rare outcross for breeders."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1 million Gr1 Darley Goodwood (1200m) to be run at Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide on Saturday. Australia's second-best horse Black Heart Bart has drawn well in barrier two in his attempt to win back-to-back Goodwoods. The Darren Weir-trained 5-time Gr1 winner currently dominates the TAB market at $3.20. Surprisingly, dual Gr3-winning West Australian sprinter Vega Magic (barrier 6) is next best in the market at $6 despite never having raced outside his home state. He will be having his first start for the Lindsay Park team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig. Next is the Gr1 Robert Sangster Stakes winning mare Secret Agenda (barrier 5) at $7 and the Peter Gelagotis-trained dual Gr1 winner Malaguerra (barrier 9) at $8. All other horses are at double-figure odds, headed by Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc (barrier 21) at $15.
Top-class galloper Black Heart Bart is primed to defend his title in Saturday’s $1 million Gr1 Goodwood at Morphettville, according to the Darren Weir stable. The 6YO was last seen adding a fifth Gr1 win to his career tally in the Futurity Stakes on 25 February. “He’s in great form. He went to Ballarat last week and had a jump out and he’s just in great order,” Weir’s racing manager Jeremy Rogers told ANZ Bloodstock News. “He’s drawn barrier two, the same barrier he drew last year when he went and won. He will need a bit of luck in running, but as long as he gets it he will run well.” He added: “He is a fantastic horse. If Winx wasn’t about, he would probably be the best horse in Australia.”
Ascot trainer Simon Miller is confident that Melbourne jockey Luke Nolen will give top WA sprinter First Among Equals every chance when he makes his eastern states debut in Saturday's Gr1 Goodwood at Morphettville, reports the West Australian. A four-time stakes winner in his home state of West Australia, First Among Equals (Exceed and Excel-Pride of the Class, by Volksraad) is rated a $26 chance with TAB for the $1 million sprint feature. "I got to know Luke when I was working for Robert Smerdon and Robbie Griffiths in Melbourne," Miller said. "The horse travelled over well and will be topped off on Tuesday morning." Former WA galloper and now bone fide Gr1 star Black Heart Bart is the $3.20 favourite for the Goodwood.
Following an exceptional season with his first crop of 3YOs, where 10 individuals have won already, emerging sire Arlington (Red Ransom-Savannah Success, by Success Express) is the subject of a private yearling sale at Tamalee Farm, near Tamworth, on Sunday, May 21. "It's a no reserve sale," notes former STC Chairman Bruce McHugh, also Tamalee Farm principal, and managing owner of Arlington. He is confident that the 12 well-pedigreed yearlings on offer will find plenty of interest from owners and trainers, providing them with genuine value at modest prices. A Gr1-placed $1.55 million half-brother to multiple champion sire Savabeel, and closely related to Gr1 star Black Heart Bart, Arlington is stamping his progeny with his own impressive physique (see Lot 2 from the sale below). "The exciting thing," acknowledges McHugh, "is that each year the quality of mares Arlington gets has improved, and with the success of his progeny this year it is going to be even better in 2017." The sale starts at 11am. Click here for more information.
Sun Stud has announced the 2017 service fees for its Victorian and Queensland rosters, including the introductory fee for multiple Gr1 winner Palentino. Featuring 12 stallions - seven in Victoria and five in Queensland - Palentino joins the line-up at a fee of $17,600, while in other exciting news, proven speed source, Statue of Liberty, sire of Saturday's Listed Thoroughbred Club 50th Stakes winner Star Exhibit, will relocate to Queensland where he will stand at $7,700. "Sun Stud is gearing up for another busy season," Sun Stud's Sales & Nominations Manager, Phil Marshall points out. "Naturally, there's plenty of interest already in Palentino which is hardly surprising - he won two Group Ones and a Group Two over the mile at Flemington and defeated some of Australia's best performers including horses like Black Heart Bart." He added: "The re-location of Statue of Liberty is also an interesting development and sure to be welcomed by Queensland breeders. His brilliant sprinter, Hay List, was a Group winner in Brisbane and finished second to Black Caviar in the BTC Cup. Statue of Liberty will stand at $7,700, alongside Black Caviar's sire, Bel Esprit, who is leading sire in Queensland by earnings and winners and is exceptional value at $12,100 in 2017." Sun Stud's Managing Director, Danielle Cheng commented: "We're very happy with our line-up for 2017. I believe our stallions are very competitively priced in what is an extremely buoyant market and the roster really does offer something for all breeders." Sun Stud's roster is:
With 3 months of the current racing season still to run, emerging second crop sire Arlington (Red Ransom-Savannah Success, by Success Express) has sired his 10th individual winner for 2016-17. Joining the other 9 winners from Arlington’s first crop, Arlington Heights went one better than his previous start’s 2nd placing when scoring convincingly over 1700m at Grafton earlier this week. Much like his Cox Plate-winning and NZ Champion Sire half-brother Savabeel did with his early crops, Arlington’s progeny are coming into their own as they mature and tackle longer distances. A 2YO-winning, Gr1 placed 3YO, & $1.55 million Magic Millions yearling, now starting to attract better class mares following his first crop’s success and the continuing feats of close relation Black Heart Bart, Arlington will stand for $6,600 inc GST at Tamalee Farm in 2017.
Star galloper Black Heart Bart will miss Saturday's $600,000 Gr1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick due to the wet track, reports racing.com. Trainer Darren Weir confirmed the 6YO will instead mount a defence of his title in the $1 million Gr1 Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on 20 May. "He definitely won't run in the All Aged. The track is a bit of a concern and the Goodwood is really just a better race for him," Weir said. "He won't have another run before heading to Adelaide, he'll just have a jump-out in the lead-up." Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) now boasts five wins at Gr1 level following victories in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) at his last two outings.
The connections of Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact-Admire Kirameki, by End Sweep) have sent the 6YO to the spelling paddock to prepare for the spring, reports racing.com. After missing the majority of the 2016 spring carnival, the Darren Weir-trained galloper was once again restricted to a light autumn campaign finishing runner-up in both the Gr1 Futurity Stakes (behind stable-mate Black Heart Bart) & Gr2 Blamey Stakes (behind stable-mate Palentino) at his only two outings. "Tosen will go to the paddock. We're just not happy with him. He's not spot on. We think a fair bit of him, and we're not prepared to risk him," explained managing owner Jamie Lovett of Australian Bloodstock. "Rather than rushing and getting him to Brisbane, we might back off and get him ready for the spring."
Champion mare Winx will face eight rivals in Saturday's Gr1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill. The world's best turf horse will be seeking her 16th consecutive victory and her 11th at Gr1 level in the $1 million weight-for-age event which is one of five Group One features on Golden Slipper day. The Chris Waller-trained mare has drawn barrier eight for the time-honoured event for which she is a $1.15 chance with Tab. According to the market, the only horse expected to pose any sort of threat to Winx is Chautauqua who is rated an $8 chance. Of the original eleven horses nominated, only Black Heart Bart and Happy Clapper failed to accept. The final field is:
Champion mare Winx is the undisputed star act among the eleven horses nominated for Saturday's Gr1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens. The world's best turf horse will be seeking her 16th consecutive victory and her 11th at Gr1 level in the $1 million weight-for-age feature which is one of five Group One races on one of the Australian Turf Club's signature autumn meetings - Golden Slipper day. Having won both her starts this campaign, namely the Gr2 Apollo Stakes and Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes, Winx will face the toughest test of her preparation with the likes of Black Heart Bart, Le Roman, Chautauqua, Tosen Stardom, McCreery, and Hauraki all set to try and knock the queen of Australian racing off her pedestal. With a field limit of 18 runners (plus 4 emergencies), nominations for the George Ryder have been extended until 11am today. Click here to view all nominations for Golden Slipper day.
The Quarterback (Street Boss-Soorena, by Encosta de Lago) will have to defy history if he is to successfully defend his title in Saturday's $1.25 million Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington. No horse has won the time-honoured sprint first-up from a spell since Polycrates way back in 1917, a statistic his trainer Robbie Griffiths is only too aware of. "Very concerned when I look at the history around trying to win it first-up. No-one has done it in  years," Griffiths told racing.com. "Black Heart Bart couldn't do it last year when we beat him, and he's a five-time Group One winner now, and he had 53.5kg on his back." Griffiths added: "So with 55kg on our back, the challenge looks quite difficult but it's still fantastic to be a part of it so hopefully we can rewrite the history books on Saturday." After the Newmarket, Griffiths said The Quarterback could represent Australia on the world stage in the Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan racecourse in Dubai on World Cup night (25 March). "That decision will be made within 48 hours of the Newmarket," he said.
In-form galloper Ecuador (High Chaparral-Bak da Princess, by Danske) faces a big step up in distance when he contests Saturday’s Gr1 Australian Cup at Flemington. The 7YO has been in excellent form this preparation winning 2 of his four starts, including the Listed Carrington Stakes at Randwick, with his two defeats coming at the elite level in the CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes behind star galloper Black Heart Bart. Notably, all four of his runs have been over 1400 metres but co-trainer Adrian Bott doesn’t see any issue with jumping sharply to 2000 metres for Saturday’s 1.5 million feature. “We don’t have any concerns stepping up in trip,” Bott told ANZ Bloodstock News. “It wasn’t the original plan to have the two runs at the 1400 metres but going into each of those two Group One races he was a live chance and when you’ve got a horse in career-best form it’s hard to knock back the opportunity to give him a crack at it.”