Respected yearling judge Dr Alan Bell, whose Catchy full-sister Symi made all on debut last week for Team Hawkes, will have another yearling buy bred in the purple have her first start this afternoon for Team Hawkes. Again piloted by in-form Tommy Berry wearing Bell's grey and red diagonal stripes silks, Debate (So You Think-Alisa Free, by Favorite Trick) was a $540,000 yearling purchase at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale when consigned by Glen Burrows' Willow Park Stud. A half-sister to Gr2 Schillaci Stakes winner Unpretentious (also placed in the Gr1 William Reid Stakes), Debate's dam is a half-sister to Gr1 NZ Thoroughbred Stakes winner Rockabubble, dam of multiple Group-winning and Gr1-placed Rock Magic. It's also the family of Gr1 Caulfield Guineas winner Chortle. Notwithstanding whether Debate, placed in both her trials, wins or not at her first time of asking, being a daughter of So You Think suggests she could end up getting a mile and beyond.
Meanwhile, the following race at Canterbury Park today, the TAB Rewards Handicap (1250m), will see a beautifully pedigreed filly launch her racing career. Symi will also represent Team Hawkes (see previous item) and will also be ridden by Tommy Berry who will don the famous Schillaci, Deep Field and Star Turn silks of owner Alan Bell. Symi was a $700,000 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase from the draft of Coolmore Stud and is a full-sister to Rob Crabtree's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy, by Fastnet Rock from the Gr2 Let's Elope Stakes winning mare Cats Whisker. Symi has built steadily across three trials, with her latest on July 23 resulting a close second to dual winner Nasaayim at Rosehill.
Meanwhile, co-trainer David Hayes has urged Everest slot-holders not to forget about Group 1-winning filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) when it comes time to choose a horse to represent them in the world's richest turf race. The rising 3YO is a proven top-flight sprinter, having won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) as a juvenile and been placed in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) in her 3YO season. "I think Catchy is a prospective Everest horse this year as well," Hayes told Sky Sports Radio. "I'm hoping that she will put her hand up to." Hayes added: "She will be running in a sprint about five weeks before The Everest and she is a Randwick 1200 metre Group winner over the carnival, so I can't see why, if she ran well, she wouldn't be a genuine chance."
Early entries for both the $3.5 million Longines Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and $1.5 million Ladbrokes Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes have hit new highs, reports racing.com. February 23rd's Blue Diamond has received 1,688 entries while March 23rd's Slipper has garnered 2,452 rising 2YOs pitching a claim to the richest prize in world juvenile racing. But wait, there's more. Blue Diamond entrants can vie for the $350,000 Blue Sapphire Stakes while Slipper entrants have an early seat in the $1 million Golden Rose. The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) announced a rise from 1,472 in 2017 (up 13%). Stables with the highest juvenile squadrons for Melbourne include Hayes/Dabernig with 143, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (106), Godolphin (100), Tony McEvoy (89) and Mick Price (79). MRC chief executive Josh Blanksby enthused, "The total number of entries received represents an increase of over 200 nominations on last year's tally and sets a new all-time benchmark for Victoria's richest-juvenile race." He added, "This confirms the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes' standing as one of the most popular races on the calendar, which continues to attract Australia's best two-year-old horses." Flashing light early entries include full-sisters to both Catchy (Hayes/Dabernig) and Sunlight (McEvoy).
Meanwhile, top Queensland filly Houtzen will have to overcome the outside gate of 14 in Saturday's $700,000 weight-for-age Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) in Brisbane. It will be the 3YOs first start at Doomben since she won her debut there as a 2YO in December 2016. Houtzen (I Am Invincible-Set to Unleash, by Reset) showed a pleasing return to form in the autumn when finishing third to I Am Excited in the Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) at Randwick before landing the Gr3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on day one of The Championships - her first win in seven months. At her most recent outing she finished sixth behind Catchy in the Gr2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on 14 April. "The wind was blowing a gale that day and it was always going to be difficult that day," trainer Toby Edmonds told Racing Queensland. "She's come home in great order and she gets a bit of weight off horses like Redzel this time. She's matured a lot and is a lot stronger and is an on-speed filly so I suggest she'll run well." TAB currently have Houtzen listed as a $23 chance for the Doomben 10,000.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1 million Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) to be run at Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide this Saturday. First run in 1984, the Robert Sangster has been won by fillies and mares such as Dantelah (1999), Our Egyptian Raine (2003), Alinghi (2005), Response (2011), Black Caviar (2012) and Miracles Of Life (2015). This year the locally-trained Viddora is the TAB market elect at $4.20, ahead of Quilista at $6.50, Super Cash at $8, and Catchy & Dainty Tess at $10.
Star juvenile and 3YO colt Pariah (redoute’s Choice-Secluded, by Choisir) joins the Redoute’s Choice dynasty at Arrowfield and will stand his first season in 2018 at a fee of $22,000 inc GST, with sixty mares already committed to him by his strong shareholder group. Arrowfield chairman John Messara commented, “Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt and Beneteau – all by Redoute’s Choice, all outstanding 2YOs and all outstanding sires. Pariah is in the same mould and we are excited to stand him.” Bought by James Harron for $700,000 from the 2016 Inglis Easter Sale, Pariah won the Gr3 ATC Canonbury Stakes (1100m) on debut at Rosehill in January 2017, defeating Menari. After finishing second in the Gr3 MRC Blue Diamond Prelude Pariah started favourite in the Gr1 Blue Diamond S. where he was caught in the shadows of the post by Catchy after racing three wide without cover for much of the 1200-metre journey. Pariah was Timeform’s second top-rated 2YO colt of 2016-17, given a figure of 118, just below Invader & She Will Reign (both 119), and ahead of Gr1 winners Summer Passage, Catchy, The Mission & Trapeze Artist. Pariah returned as a Spring 3YO when he overcame an awkward draw and a weight penalty to win the Gr3 ATC San Domenico in sizzling time. He then filled second spot behind Menari in the ATC Run to the Rose H. G2 with Kementari and Invader in arrears. The three-quarter brother to dual Gr1 winner Melitoretires to stud with two wins, three placings and $541,000 prizemoney from 9 starts, all at Group level. James Harron will be heavily supporting Pariah at stud with mares that include Gr1 winner Shamal Wind and Group winners Petits Filous, Real Stolle and Scarlet Rain.
On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) unleashed her trademark late burst to overhaul her rivals for an easy win in the $600,000 Gr2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Showtime & I Am Excited. Racing in the red and white checked silks of Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm, Catchy advanced her record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Gr2 Danehill Stakes & Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas & Gr1 William Reid Stakes) from 15 starts for $1,965,000 in earnings. By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at 2016's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Yarraman Park's Gr3-winning stallion I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit-Cannarelle, by Canny Lad) celebrated a Gr1 triumph when 5YO entire Hellbent (I Am Invincible-Volkaspray, by Volksraad) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Darren Weir in the $500,000 Weight For Age Gr1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs+, defeating 4YO horse Thronum & 3YO filly Catchy. A $95,000 yearling consigned by Dartbrook Downs Thoroughbreds at the 2014 Inglis Classic Sale, Hellbent is part-owned by members of the Mitchell family and Yaramman Park Stud which stands his boom sire. Spruiked by trainer Darren Weir as a prospective elite level sprinter last August, Hellbent has put himself in the box seat to be a possible heir-apparent to his sire. The Gr1 victory, surprisingly his maiden stakes-win, follows several Group and Listed race placings for Hellbent, and took Weir's Gr1 haul for the current season to six. "He's always had the ability, but things just haven't worked out for him," reflected Weir of Hellbent whose record now stands at 7 wins & 7 placings (including the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate, last year's Gr1 William Reid Stakes where he just missed out behind Silent Sedition & the Gr3 Hallmark Stakes) from 23 starts for $901,450 earnings.
On Day-2 of the 2018 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, a colt by Coolmore's impeccably-bred freshman yearling sire Rubick (Encosta de Lago-Sliding Cube, by Rock of Gibraltar) sold for $420,000 to the bid of trainer Gerald Ryan. Acting on behalf of Muzaffar Yaseen, whose Teeley Assets has enjoyed sensational success with both the damline and subsequent stallions from the Redoute's Choice family of Shantha's Choice, Ryan had been instructed to "buy the best looking son of Rubick he could find". The sale-topping colt was consigned by Supreme Thoroughbreds on behalf of Rob Crabtree (Magnus, Catchy, Sheidel, Bella Martini etc) who agreed that Lot 300 is a dead-ringer for the Gr2 Schillaci Stakes-winning sire. Second highest price on the day was a Sepoy filly out of exceptional producer Beauty World, knocked down to bloodstock agent Damon Gabbedy on behalf of John Muir's Milburn Creek.
An elite catalogue of 534 top-level yearlings will be the focus of the world's thoroughbred industry at the 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale at Riverside Stables from April 9-11. The catalogue, which is now available online, features 38 siblings to Group 1 winners such as Catchy, Starspangledbanner, Mighty Boss, Shoals, Buffering, Mossfun, Lankan Rupee, Flying Artie, Press Statement, Sebring, English, Shooting To Win, The Quarterback and Lucia Valentina. There are also progeny of 31 Group 1-winning mares including Peggy Jean, Secret Admirer, Amanpour, Go Indy Go, Plucky Belle, Norzita, Sacred Choice, Snitzerland, Bonaria and Steps In Time. Arrowfield's incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel is the leading sire with 64 progeny, while I Am Invincible (41), Fastnet Rock (39), Sebring (34), Redoute's Choice (23), Pierro (21), Dissident (20), Not A Single Doubt (19), Exceed And Excel (17) and Deep Field (16) round out the top 10. There are also progeny by outstanding international sires Deep Impact (3), Tapit (3), and Frankel (2). Arrowfield Stud is leading vendor with 51 entries ahead of Coolmore Stud (39), Widden Stud (30) and Kitchwin Hills and Segenhoe Stud (24). The 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale will be the first held at the new Riverside Stables from Monday April 9 until Wednesday April 11. Click here to view the catalogue.
Easter Sales Schedule:
At Gosford, north of Sydney, the Central Coast-based race club hosts two feature races this afternoon – the Listed Audi Alto Central Coast Gosford Guineas (1200m) and Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m). On paper, Victorian filly Bella Martini (owned by Dorrington Farm and racing in the same silks as last year's Gr1 Blue Diamond winner Catchy) appears the likely winner of the Guineas off the back of two dominant wins at Moonee Valley and Caulfield. Both Island Missile and Epidemic are expected to provide stiff competition. One race later, the Gosford Cup looks like a mine field for punters. While there are no less than 6 runners quoted between $3.50 to $7.50 for the event, 9YO warhorse Destiny's Kiss (at $12) finished third in this race last year and is racing in good form. He is unlikely to find this much harder than Randwick's recent Tatts Cup where he ran into the placings with the same 61kg weight. With red hot Corey Brown as his pilot Destiny's Kiss should be running on at the business end.
A record 220 juveniles remain in contention for the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 24 February following the closure of second acceptances on Tuesday, reports the Melbourne Racing Club. The figure represents an increase of 22 entries at this stage last year and provides an increase on the all-time record of 209 second acceptors set in 2016. The Lindsay Park training team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, who prepared last year's winner Catchy, top the list of second acceptors with 26, ahead of two-time Blue Diamond Stakes winning trainer Mick price (19), Godolphin and Tony McEvoy (18), and Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths (17). High profile sire I Am Invincible is represented by 17 progeny, while incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel and former champion sire Exceed And Excel not far behind with 16 youngsters each. Of particular interest among the second acceptors is the Team Hawkes-trained Prince Of Caviar, an unraced son of Sebring and champion sprinter Black Caviar. Third declarations for the 2018 Blue Diamond Stakes close at 12pm noon (AEDT) on Tuesday, 30 January 2018. Click here to see the full list of second acceptances.
The catalogue for the 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale is taking shape, with an elite line up set to grace Riverside Stables on April 9-11. The annual Inglis Easter Preview Magazine is now available online and contains the pedigrees of hundreds of world-class yearlings that will be offered to a local and international buying bench next year. Among the 535-strong early catalogue are 39 siblings to Group 1 winners including VRC Oaks heroine Pinot, Catchy, Mighty Boss, Shoals, Flying Artie, Press Statement, Sebring, English, Shooting To Win, The Quarterback and Lucia Valentina. There are also progeny of 36 Group 1-winning mares such as Alinghi, Commanding Jewel, Peggy Jean, Secret Admirer, Red Tracer, Cosmic Endeavour, Daffodil, Bonaria, Steps In Time and Absolut Glam. Arrowfield Stud's Snitzel is the leading sire with 64 entrants ahead of Coolmore's Fastnet Rock (44), Yarraman Park's I Am Invincible (39) and Widden Stud's Sebring (31). There will also be four fillies by champion Japanese stallion Deep Impact, and two Frankel colts. The 2018 Australian Easter Yearling Sale will be the first held at Riverside Stables from Monday April 9 until Wednesday April 11. The Chairman's Sale (Racing Prospects, Thursday April 5) and The Chairman's Sale (Breeding Prospects, Thursday April 12) will bookend the Easter Sale, while the Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale will follow for three days from Sunday April 15. Click here to view the Easter Preview Magazine.
Inglis Easter Schedule
A record number of horses remain in contention for next year's $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) following the conclusion of the first round of acceptances on Tuesday. 706 horses have been declared as first acceptors for Victoria's richest 2YO race that is scheduled to be run at Caulfield racecourse on Saturday, 24 February 2018. The figure represents a rise from the 686 horses that accepted at the corresponding stage last year and is also the first time that first acceptances have topped 700 in the race's history. The leading stables by number of acceptors are David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig with 77, ahead of Tony McEvoy and Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott with 46. Caulfield trainers Aaron Purcell (38) and Mick Price (34), along with the Hawkes Racing (34) round out the top stables. The top sires represented are I Am Invincible, who has 48 sons and daughters still in contention, Australian champion sire Snitzel with 42 and Pierro with 29. Interestingly, Hawkes Racing have accepted with Black Caviar's second foal, Prince of Caviar (Sebring), as well as Fastnet Rock' filly Symi, who is out of Cats Whisker making her a full sister to last year's Blue Diamond winner Catchy. Second declarations for the Blue Diamond close at 12pm noon (AEDT) on Tuesday, 9 January 2018. Click here to see the full list of first declarations.
Hugh Bowman has been booked to ride classy filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) in next month's Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne, reports racing.com. Last season's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner has been in top form this preparation, landing the Gr2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) before placing third in both the Gr2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) and Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at her last two outings. "I'm looking forward to it. She's been racing consistently as a three-year-old, but as a two-year-old, I thought she was a cut above them," Bowman said. "As the three-year-old season came around, there's been no horse that has put their hand up to say I'm a dominant horse." Bowman added: "I think back to 1200m will suit her." The Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) will be run at Flemington on 4 November.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO chestnut colt Mighty Boss (Not A Single Doubt-Bullion Mansion, by Encosta de Lago) scored a shock win at odds of 100-1 in the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Kementari & Catchy. Mighty Boss, whose second dam is the Gr1 Australasian Oaks winner La Volta, improved his record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 6 starts for $1,239,750 in earnings. Racing in the familiar colours of Mr Muzaffar Yaseen's Teeley Assets, Mighty Boss was purchased by his trainer and co-owner Mick Price for $180,000 at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud. Price was counting his lucky stars that Mighty Boss – who was the first emergency – even gained a start in the stallion-making feature. "I really liked this bloke as a yearling and I asked My Yaseen if I could keep ten percent," Price told racing.com. "Ever since he won his Sale maiden, we wanted to point him in this direction and see if we could get a run." Price added: "We crossed our fingers and a little bit of magic got us in the field." Price said Mighty Boss would now be spelled and aimed at the Gr1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne this Saturday. The stallion-making feature - which boasts top stallions on its honour roll such as All Too Hard (2012), Starspangledbanner (2009), Lonhro (2001), Redoute's Choice (1999), and Luskin Star (1977) - has attracted a capacity field of 16 horses with the Mick Price-trained Mighty Boss the lone emergency. Current race favourite Royal Symphony has drawn midfield in barrier 9, while others to draw a good gate include the only filly entered in the race, Catchy, in barrier 3, Levendi (7), Salsamor (8), Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Perast (2), Gold Standard (6), and Showtime (1). In a competitive market, Royal Symphony is the most popular runner at $4 with TAB, ahead of Catchy at $5, Kementari ($5.50), and Perast next best at $10. Click below to view the Caulfield Guineas field.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Woodside Park's Gr2-winning stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesias-Party Miss, by Kenmare) added a Group race success when 3YO brown filly Booker (Written Tycoon-Noondie, by Flying Spur) led throughout and held off the late challenge of her rivals in the $200,000 Gr2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Shoals & Catchy. A $230,000 purchase at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Mill Park Stud, Booker improved her record to 2 wins and 3 placings (including the Gr2 Danehill Stakes) from 5 starts for $279,000 in earnings. Co-trainer Matthew Ellerton said Booker was likely to make her next appearance in the $500,000 Gr1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on 14 October. "I'll let the dust settle and see what we do," Ellerton told racing.com. "Obviously she probably goes to the Thousand Guineas. But we also have the option of freshening her up for the Coolmore [Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over 1200m at Flemington] on Derby day."
Champion mare Winx heads the 48 horses still in contention at the second acceptance stage for the $3 million Gr1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October. Among the other notable acceptances were Melbourne Cup winner Almandin, Bonneval, Catchy, Egg Tart, Gingernuts, Hartnell, Humidor, Royal Symphony, Foxplay and Scales Of Justice. Winx is aiming to create history this spring by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. Click here to view full list of Cox Plate second acceptances.
Top Kiwi colt Summer Passage (Snitzel-Subsequent, by Encosta de Lago) will make his next Australian appearance in the Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on Sunday, 1 October (Underwood Stakes Day), reports NZ Racing Desk. "After that we will make the decision as to whether he goes to the Caulfield Guineas or the Coolmore," said Lance O'Sullivan, who trains the 3YO in partnership with Andrew Scott. A winner of the Gr1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in March, Summer Passage rounded out his juvenile season with a second placing behind Invader in the Gr1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in Sydney in the autumn. He showed he had returned in good order when resuming with an encouraging 8th (beaten 2.5 lengths) behind top filly Catchy in Saturday's Gr2 Danehill Stakes (1200m0 at Flemington. "The run was a lot better than it looked," O'Sullivan said. "He was a bit lost down the straight and Mark Zahra had to take a hold of him when that other horse fell." He added: "He's come through the race very well and he will improve with it."
At Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group success when 3YO bay filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) utilised her trademark late finishing burst to score a strong win in the $200,000 Gr2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Jukebox & Booker. Racing in the red and white checked silks of Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm, Catchy advanced her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes & Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude) from 7 starts for $1,251,000 in earnings. Co-trainer David Hayes said Catchy was likely to bypass the Gr1 Thousand Guineas against her own sex in favour of the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas against the boys. "In that Blue Diamond, if you go back and watch how powerful she was that last 400m, and she did that to the boys again today" Hayes told racing.com. "So at the moment, she's favourite to take the boys in the $2 million Guineas." The Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) will be run at Caulfield racecourse on 14 October. By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at 2016's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
Top filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) will miss Saturday's Gr3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes in preference for the Gr2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington on 16 September, reports racing.com. The Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner, who has never raced at Flemington, resumed with a narrow defeat to Crown Witness in the Gr3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Moonee Valley on 19 August. Owner and breeder Rob Crabtree of Dorrington Farm said the logic behind the plan was to give Catchy some vital experience up the famous Flemington straight. "David [trainer David Hayes] said this morning he'd prefer the Danehill. I said, 'Why? She's already won at Moonee Valley for us'," Crabtree said. "He said, 'Well at some stage you've got to run at Flemington, you'll need some experience at Flemington'. Crabtree continued: "He's a pretty good thinker, David. Not just a good trainer, he's a good, quiet thinker. At this stage, I'd say we're leaning towards the Danehill."
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter) added a black-type success when 3YO filly Crown Witness (Star Witness-Noble Heir, by Kahal) held on determinedly to defy all challengers by 0.2-length for trainer Stuart Webb in the $150,750 Gr3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) for 3YO fillies, over last season's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy and Ploverset. This was the first stakes victory for the undefeated Crown Witness and took her record to 3 wins for $221,500 earnings. Crown Witness was a $50,000 purchase at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Golden Grove and is a son of a South African Gr1 sprint-winning mare.
Group One Blue Diamond Stakes winner Catchy has continued to please the Lindsay Park stable ahead of the spring, reports AAP. "She's come back a bigger stronger girl, I was thrilled with her piece of work [on Monday]," co-trainer Ben Hayes told Sky Sports Radio. "It looked effortless and she ran one of the quickest times of the morning, so we are really happy with Catchy." Raced by Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm, Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) is a winner of 4 of her 5 starts, with her only defeat coming in the Gr1 Golden Slipper when she pulled up with cardiac arrhythmia. Her primary spring target is the Gr1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) in October.
Top juvenile fillies Catchy, Tulip and Formality will step up their spring preparations with a gallop at Lindsay Park's Euroa base today, reports AAP. Group One Blue Diamond winner Catchy, Golden Slipper placegetter Tulip, and Group winner Formality are then likely to have jump-outs at Flemington at the end of July before kicking off their campaigns in August. "They are all having a gallop on Monday," co-trainer Tom Dabernig said. "It will not be a real hard gallop and they'll probably have two jump-outs at Flemington before resuming. They are all at a similar stage and at this stage we're a little bit unsure of their paths.” Although all three fillies have hitherto only been tested over sprints, Dabernig is hoping they can stretch their brilliance to a mile with the Group One Thousand Guineas in Melbourne and the Flight Stakes in Sydney among the possible targets. "We're hoping they're milers," Dabernig said. "They've shown that they're good sprinters but the key this preparation will be to see whether they can run a mile.”
The fillies dominated the 2YO division in the autumn, but trainer Gerald Ryan is predicting the colts to turn the tables in the spring, reports racenet. Houtzen won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m), Catchy saluted in the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), and She Will Reign landed the Gold Slipper to give the females a clean sweep of the feature 2YO races last season. But Ryan, who has three potential top-class colts in Menari, Trapeze Artist and Condor Heroes, believes the boys will come into their own as 3YOs. "I don't think the fillies are going to improve from the autumn but the colts could jump out of the ground," Ryan said. Arguably the best of Ryan’s trio is the richly talented Menari (Snitzel), who had his juvenile season, and his brilliant acceleration, thwarted by wet tracks. The George Altomonte-owned colt is being aimed at the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 4 November. "He's come back big and strong – really well," Ryan said. "Him, Trapeze Artist and Condor Heroes all look really good. Trapeze Artist will probably kick off in the Rosebud and I'm thinking about the San Domenico (Stakes) with Condor Heroes.” Ryan added: “They're all around the same time but we'll just keep them apart and aim them towards to the Golden Rose. Maybe Menari will stick to the sprints."
Long-time successful Victorian owner and breeder Rob Crabtree has purchased iconic Nagambie stud farm Wood Nook. According to tbv.com.au, the move comes off the back of the Crabtrees having recently sold their Hastings property on the Mornington Peninsula. The Crabtrees, who bred Black Caviar’s dam Helsinge, and recently led in their Gr1 Blue Diamond heroine Catchy, will keep the name Dorrington Farm. Wood Nook, developed extensively by former Moonee Valley Race Club Chairman Bob Scarborough and his wife Rosemary, has produced no less than twelve Gr1 winners, among them Final Card, Gallica, Gold Ace, Hit the Roof, Leica Guv, Light Fantastic, Marble Halls, Sleek Chassis and Stella Cadente. Click here to read the full item.
The final field has been declared (16 plus three emergencies) and the barrier draw conducted for the world's richest juvenile race – the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, 18th March. Boom Queensland filly Houtzen is the current $4.40 tab favourite for the race despite drawing wide in barrier 16. Fellow unbeaten filly She Will Reign also fared poorly, with connections coming up with gate 13. The Gary Portelli-trained filly is second favourite at $5. Next best is Blue Diamond winner Catchy at $7 (barrier 8), followed by Blue Diamond runner-up Pariah at $8 (barrier 4). All other runners are at double figure odds headed by Tulip at $11 (barrier 10). The final field is:
Team Snowden will delay its decision regarding a Gr1 Golden Slipper start for Pariah until final acceptances are taken next Tuesday, reports AAP. Pariah (Redoute's Choice-Secluded, by Hussonet) has emerged as one of the country's leading 2YOs with a win in the Gr3 Canonbury Stakes at Rosehill, a second in the Gr3 Blue Diamond Prelude, before finishing a narrow runner-up to boom filly Catchy in the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield. Raced by a syndicate headed by James Harron Bloodstock, Pariah is currently rated an $11 chance with Tab for the world's richest juvenile race at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week (18 March).
Golden Slipper favourite She Will Reign continues to thrive ahead of the world's richest juvenile race at Rosehill Gardens on 18 March, according to her trainer Gary Portelli. "She's done really well," Portelli told Racing.com. "She only lost two kilos from the run last start. She's pretty cool and laid back." Portelli said the boom filly's last-start victory in the Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes, in which she was slow out of the gates, proved to him that she will run out a strong six-furlongs in the Golden Slipper. "She's always showed a lot of speed but with horses that fast you're always worried about them getting a little tired," he said. "The big step up for me was the 1100 (metres) last start and to see her run through the line and have trouble pulling her up gave me more confidence." He added: "I'm at that level now where I go to the races I know I've got the horse. I just need some luck during the race and we should get a good result." She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain-Courgette, by Charge Forward), a brilliant winner of her three starts to date, is currently to clear Tab favourite for the Golden Slipper at $2.80, ahead of flying Queensland filly Houtzen and untapped colt Menari at $8. The Blue Diamond Stakes quinella of Catchy and Pariah are next best at $11.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) celebrated an elite success when 2YO filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) deployed her trademark late turn of foot to score by 0.4 length for trainers David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) for 2YOs, over 2YO colt Pariah (Redoute's Choice-Secluded, by Hussonet) & fellow 2YO filly and stable-mate Formality (Fastnet Rock-Jolie's Shinju, by Jolie's Halo). Racing in the red and white checked silks of Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm, Catchy extended her unbeaten record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude) from 4 starts for $1,102,000 earnings. Jockey Craig Williams, who has always compared Catchy to former champion filly Miss Finland, commented: "We put pressure on her from the outset because I said she reminds me of Miss Finland...but she's living up to it so far," he said. "She's a really, really good horse." Co-trainer David Hayes said: "I've been lucky enough to win a lot of big races but to do it with a young team behind me its a big effort and its great to have it acknowledged." Catchy is now likely to head north to Sydney to attempt claim the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double in three weeks time (18 March). By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at this year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, dual Gr1-winning former Coolmore shuttler Holy Roman Emperor (Danehill-L'On Vite, by Secretariat) celebrated an elite success when 5YO mare Sheidel (Holy Roman Emperor-Laventour, by Metal Storm) resumed with a strong 1 length win for trainers David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig in the $500,000 Gr1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding and stable-mate Faatinah (Nicconi-Alqwah, by Danehill) & 3YO colt Extreme Choice (Not a Single Doubt-Extremely, by Hussonet). This was a thoroughly deserved maiden Gr1 victory for former Perth mare Sheidel who boosted her record to 15 wins (including the Gr3 Sensis Stakes, Gr3 Cape Grim Beef Steaks, Listed Bel Esprit Stakes, Listed Summer Scorcher Stakes, Listed RS Crawford Stakes & Listed Jungle Mist Classic) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 WATC Winterbottom Stakes & Gr1 SAJC Robert Sangster Classic) from 27 starts for $1,571,450 earnings. Sheidel gave owner Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm two of the three Group One races on the day after earlier claiming the Blue Diamond Stakes with unbeaten filly Catchy. "I've placed in these two races before but to get them with two fillies who will become part of my broodmare band is just fabulous," Crabtree told Racing.com. Co-trainer Tom Dabernig added: "She really deserves this win. She's been narrowly defeated in a couple of Group ones but today she really travelled and never looked like she was going to get beaten." Sheidel is likely to have her next start in the $1.25 million Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on 11 March.
David Hayes has nominated Catchy as Lindsay Park's best chance in tomorrow's $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, reports Racing.com. The undefeated daughter of Fastnet Rock has drawn a wide gate (barrier 13) for Victoria's richest juvenile race, but Hayes is confident she has the class to overcome it. "She hasn't put a foot wrong. She reminds me a lot of the star two-year-olds we've had over the stable over the years," Hayes said. "Gary Fennessy [assistant trainer] said she reminds him of Midnight Fever, who won the race in 1987 very well for Dad [Colin Hayes]. Craig's [Williams] always compared her to Miss Finland. It's pretty hard not to tip her when you get those comparisons." However, Hayes did warn not to discount the stables other female runners Tulip and Formality. "I've got great respect for a filly called Tulip. I know she got beaten last start, but it was a long time between runs. She's been tuned up, and has a great barrier," he said. "Formality's form going into it has been impeccable too." Lindsay park will be represented by a total of six runners in the Blue Diamond, namely race favourite Catchy ($6), along with Formality ($7.50), Tulip ($6.50), Wait For No One ($31), Will's Bid ($61), and Muraahib ($35).
Adelaide trainer Tony McEvoy has nominated well-bred filly Roomooz as the pick of his three runners in Saturday's $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Roomooz, by Fastnet Rock out of Gr3 Silver Shadow Stakes winner and multiple Gr1 placed filly Pane In The Glass (Testa Rossa), will be joined by stable-mates Aspect and Azazel in Victoria's richest juvenile race. The Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned Roomooz arguably boasts the best form line of the trio with her most recent outing resulting in a fast-finishing fourth behind Diamond favourite Catchy in the Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies (1100m) on 11 February. Roomooz has drawn barrier 5, Aspect 14, while Azazel will jump from barrier 1. "I'd probably lean to the filly. She's one of the least experienced and has quite a bit of upside I think," McEvoy told Racing.com. "From [barrier] five, I'd like to see her in the first half. She's certainly got enough pace to be in the first half. That's a good spot to be in a Diamond. I don't think you need to be right up on the tempo." The Gr1 Blue Diamond Stales will be run as race 7 at 4:10pm (AEDT).
The final field (16 plus one emergency) has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Victoria's richest juvenile race, the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) to be run at Caulfield racecourse this Saturday, 25 February. Co-favourite for the race Catchy ($5.50) drew poorly in barrier 13, while the Robert Smerdon-trained Property, a late entry for the race, saw his price firm into $5.50 equal favouritism after drawing ideally in barrier 3. Other runners under double-figure odds to draw well were Jukebox (barrier 4, $7.50) and Tulip (barrier 8, $9). The final field is:
1. PROPERTY (3) 56.5kg
2. AZAZEL (1) 56.5kg
3. JUKEBOX (4) 56.5kg
4. PARIAH (11) 56.5kg
5. WAIT FOR NO ONE (10) 56.5kg
6. ASPECT (14) 56.5kg
7. CAO CAO (2) 56.5kg
8. TAKING AIM (6) 56.5kg
9. MURAAHIB (15) 56.5kg
10. WILL'S BID (16) 56.5kg
11. CATCHY (13) 54.5kg
12. FORMALITY (12) 54.5kg
13. TULIP (8) 54.5kg
14. SPOILS (17) 54.5kg
15. ROOMOOZ (5) 54.5kg
16. BLONDIE (9) 54.5kg
17e. SHEER MADNESS (7) 56.5kg
Darren Weir says the connections of smart Melbourne filly Limestone have decided against paying the $55,000 late entry fee to run in Saturday's $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, reports Racing.com. A homebred for David Moodie's Hesket Bloodstock, Limestone (Helmet-Limerock, by Charge Forward) was a winner of the Gr3 Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for fillies before finishing a close-up second to current Blue Diamond favourite Catchy in the Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m). However, Weir indicated Limestone's autumn campaign may not be over, with the Gr2 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on the second day of The Championships (8 April) under consideration. "If they are happy with her, then she'll come back into work then we'll go to Sydney for the two-year-old fillies race," Weir said.
Impressive debut winner Muraaqeb is likely to run in the Black Opal Stakes at Canberra on Sunday week in an attempt to qualify for the Gr1 Golden Slipper at Rosehill on 18 March, reports AAP. The Shadwell Stud-owned colt made an auspicious debut at Moonee Valley on Friday night when looping the field from last to score an eye-catching 1.25 length win in the William Hill Plate over 1000 metres. Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said Muraaqeb had always been ranked right up with the best of Lindsay Park's juveniles, including highly regarded Blue Diamond favourite Catchy. "We thought he was one of our best but he went a little bit shin sore so we had to turn him out," Dabernig said. "We might look at the Black Opal. It's a day short of two weeks then until the Slipper." He added: "We did it with St. Covet. He bolted in the Black Opal." St. Covet was trained by David Hayes to win the 1994 edition of the Black Opal by 6 lengths before running a close second to Danzero in the Golden Slipper. A homebred for Shadwell Stud Australasia, Muraaqeb is by Snitzel out of the Starcraft mare Tafseel and is a great grandson of dual Gr1-winning mare Bravery (Zephyr Zip), winner of the 1988 Queensland Derby and Queensland Oaks.
Luke Nolen has been confirmed as the rider of exciting colt Jukebox in Saturday weeks Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Jukebox (Snitzel-Jestatune, by Rory's Jester), unbeaten in his two starts to date, has been ridden on both occasions by Craig Williams who has chosen to ride Catchy in the $1.5 million juvenile feature.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group success when 2YO filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) scored a determined 0.1 length win for trainers David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the $200,000 Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for 2YO fillies, over fellow juvenile fillies Limestone (Helmet-Limerock, by Charge Forward) & Arctic Angel (Hard Spun-Icy Maiden, by Xaar). This was the maiden stakes victory for Catchy who extended her unbeaten record to 3 wins from 3 starts for $187,000 earnings. Jockey Craig Williams, who has previously compared Catchy to former champion filly Miss Finland, commented: "Not many fillies win three from three (starts) and she's been up for a long time with the stable managing her well," Williams told Racing.com. "You had to respect Limestone's form because she's beaten Tulip and when I saw her, she kept coming on the inside. Limestone made my filly work hard for it but I thought once we got on terms we were going to get the result." Catchy is now an outright $6 favourite for the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in two weeks (Saturday, 25 February). By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at this year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
Catchy (image: Mark Gatt)
A total of 198 two-year-olds remain in contention for the $1.5 million Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 25 February following the conclusion of the second round of acceptances on Tuesday. Global giant Godolphin leads the way with 25 second acceptances for Victoria's richest juvenile race, ahead of the Lindsay Park team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig with 24, and reigning Blue Diamond champion trainer Mick Price with 19. The Lindsay Park team hold a particularly strong hand in this year's edition with the unbeaten trio of Catchy, Tulip and Formality among their acceptors. Exceed and Excel is the best represented stallion among second declarations with 21 of his sons and daughters still in contention. Snitzel is next best with 18, while All Too Hard and Sebring both have 10 each of their offspring still in the running. The Blue Diamond series kicks off with the Blue Diamond Previews (Gr3 for fillies & Listed for colts and geldings) on Australia Day, followed by Preludes (Gr2 for fillies & Gr3 for colts and geldings) on 11 February. Third acceptances close at 12pm noon (AEDT) on Tuesday, 31 January 2017.
Highly regarded filly Catchy is the $9 Tab favourite for next month's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes after she extended her unbeaten record to two at Caulfield on Saturday. Trained by David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Catchy asserted her superiority over the concluding stages to score a comfortable 2.25 length win over fellow 2YOs Property and Kedleston in the Peter Siggins Plate over 1100 metres. Jockey Craig Williams, who labelled Catchy a Gr1 horse in the making following her impressive debut win at Moonee Valley last month and also compared her to former champion filly Miss Finland, said the best was yet to come. "Once she got balanced in the straight she was very dominant," Williams told Racing.com. "I've compared her to Miss Finland...I know it's tough on her to put her under that much pressure...but I really like her and I know there is a lot more in store for later." Co-trainer Ben Hayes commented: "It's great to see her run so well at Caulfield given she is on that Blue Diamond prep. Hopefully she has more to come." By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at this year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud. The Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) will be run at Caulfield on Saturday, 25 February.
Jockey Craig Williams has labelled well-bred filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) a Gr1 horse in the making following her impressive debut win at Moonee Valley on Friday night. Trained by David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Catchy did indeed look a smart young horse when storming home from the rear to score by 0.3 length in the William Hill Plate over 1000 metres. By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker, Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at this year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud. The win even prompted Williams to make a favourable comparison with former champion filly Miss Finland. "She was very impressive. She's a Group One horse," Williams said. "When I first trialled her I felt that she had a feeling of Miss Finland about her. And the way that she did it on Friday night, I was very happy." Williams added: "So even if she's not a Blue Diamond filly she's going to be a classic filly somewhere, wherever it is. All going really well she will be a Blue Diamond filly, and if not, Miss Finland never won the Blue Diamond." Bred and raced by John Messara's Arrowfield Stud, Miss Finland will be remembered as one of the best fillies of the modern era with 11 wins from 26 starts and over $4.6 million in prize money. Among her wins were five at Gr1 level, namely the Golden Slipper, Thousand Guineas, VRC Oaks, Australian Guineas and Arrowfield Stud Stakes.
At Hanshin racecourse in Japan, 2YO filly Major Emblem (Daiwa Major-Catchy Title, by Opera House) stamped herself as Japan's champion filly when cruising to a 2-length win for trainer Yasurhito Tamua and jockey Christophe Lemaire in the 67th running of the ¥135 million Gr1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (1600m) for 2YO fillies, over fellow 2YO fillies Win Fabulous (Stay Gold-Summer Eternity, by Admire Cozzene) & Blanc Bonheur (Deep Impact-Le Sucre, by Sakura Bakushin O). Major Emblem took her record to 3 wins and 1 placing from 4 starts for ¥ 94,662,000 earnings. Winning rider Christophe Lemaire predicted that Major Emblem would be a force to be reckoned with in next year's 3YO fillies Classics. "She is easy to ride and was relaxed today," he said. "She ran strongly to the finish line and I'm very happy we were able to claim the Group One race. She's an amazing filly and I'm sure she'll do well in the classics."
At a private function held last Friday night in Sydney, NZB co-managing director Petrea Vela launched the company's much anticipated catalogue for Karaka's 2013 Premier Sale. Stepping away from the norm of simply branded catalogues, January's Sale catalogues incorporate NZB's catchy theme 'The Art Of Winning' featuring equine art with an innovative modern twist. Vela acknowledged that eye-catching branding aside, the sale's success ultimately lies with its graduates who have enjoyed another stellar year on the track off the back of a highly successful history. Run over 28 & 29 January, the 2-day Premier Sale (followed by Classic & Festival sessions) features 441 select yearlings.
Meanwhile, it seems everywhere one looks these days, Australian owners are following their US counterparts' lead and embracing horse names whose words are all rolled into one. At Caulfield, not only did Howmuchdoyouloveme blouse his rivals in the Gr2 Caulfield Sprint (see above) but Whateverwhenever saluted in the Gr3 Moonga Stakes (see above). As catchy as their monikers may be, we're still playing catch up with America where juvenile Notacatbutallama could soon be challenged by another 2YO for wackiest name: last Friday at Belmont US$700,000 Keeneland graduate Watrugonnadorosie won her Maiden. Fittingly, Watrugonnadorosie was sold by Australia's Ron Gilbert of Highgrove Stud, who purchased the Curlin filly's pregnant dam Tears I Cry - who is a half-sister to leading sire Street Cry.
US multiple Gr2-winning 9YO freshman sire Graeme Hall (Dehere-Win Crafty Lady, by Crafty Prospector) recorded his 1st winner when juvenile son Bovell Road (Graeme Hall-Catchy Patton, by Patton) scored by 6.25-lengths on debut over 5 furlongs at Monmouth Park, reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Graeme Hall stands for US$7,500 at Winding Oaks Farm in Florida & has 67 foals in his 1st crop. On the track, Kentucky-bred Graeme Hall notched 7 wins & 8 placings from 22 starts & earned US$1,147,441; his highlights included victories in the 2000 Gr2 Arkansas Derby & Gr2 Jim Dandy Stakes, plus the 2001 Gr2 Eclipse Handicap & Gr3 Stuyvesant Handicap.