Owner Sean Kiernan says he would love to give Adelaide Cup winner Fanatic the chance of emulating her sire Shocking by aiming at this year's Melbourne Cup. It has been nearly ten years since Shocking won the Melbourne Cup (2009) and Kiernan says Australia's most famous race is also looming as a potential target for the New Zealand-bred mare. But first, the Lindsay Park-trained mare has another two-mile contest in her sights - the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 April. "They [trainers David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig] are really keen to put her into the Sydney Cup while she is in good form," Kiernan told NZ Racing Desk. "They said she is a superstar over two miles so we’ll keep going. The Melbourne Cup has always been the long range goal. She is an elite athlete over two miles."
At Morphettville Park in Adelaide, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) added a Group race success when 5YO New Zealand-bred mare Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) showed staying was her forte with a strong win in the $400,000 Gr2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, defeating German import Ormito & Poppiholla. Raced by her breeder Sean Kiernan, the Curraghmore born and raised Fanatic improved her record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks & Listed Sandown Cup) and 4 placings from 31 starts for $416,803 in earnings. Co-trainer Ben Hayes said Fanatic was now likely to head to Sydney for the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 April. "Once this horse gets out over 2800 metres plus she’s elite-level," he said. "I thought she was really strong at the end of that race. Weiry’s horse [Ormito] challenged her and she fought him off. I’d say she’ll definitely be heading to Sydney."
At Flemington in Melbourne, nine-time Champion European Sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated yet another stakes success when 6YO gelding Aloft (Galileo-Dietrich, by Storm Cat) sprinted clear off a slow tempo to claim the $120,000 Listed 3AW Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) over Fanatic & Ormito. The talented import took his record to 5 wins (including the Listed Royal Ascot Queen's Vase) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Doncaster Racing Post Trophy, Gr2 Chairman's Handicap & Listed Japan Trophy) from 14 starts for earnings of $471,417. Aloft is one of 9 individual winners from his dual Gr1-winning dam which includes Irish Gr3 Renaissance Stakes winner Beauty Bright.
At Sandown in Melbourne, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) added a black-type success when 5YO New Zealand-bred mare Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) claimed her first stakes win since winning the NZ Oaks in March last year when landing the $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, defeating Swacadelic & Gallic Chieftain. Raced by her breeder Sean Kiernan, the Curraghmore born and raised Fanatic improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks) and 3 placings from 28 starts for $389,053 in earnings.
Fanatic's record over the distance points to a bold showing in tomorrow's Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. A winner of the New Zealand Oaks in 2016, Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) boasts a third in the Gr3 Wellington Cup and a sixth in the Gr1 New Zealand Cup over Saturday's two mile journey. Now trained by the Lindsay Park team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Fanatic showed she was back in form when scoring strong win in the VRC Ronald McDonald House Handicap (2800m) at Flemington at her most recent outing. "She's rock-hard fit," said co-trainer Tom Dabernig. "Her action is great and she's quite a tough sort of mare so I would have to think she would be a good chance."
New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic will target the Melbourne spring carnival for new trainers David Hayes, Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Taranaki breeder-owner Sean Kiernan has revealed. According to NZ Racing Desk, Kiernan said the Shocking 4YO mare, who has won three of her 21 starts for Te Awamutu trainers Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney, would fly to Melbourne next week. Regarding her options, Kiernan noted "I don't know what races she'll target... I'll just leave that up to David - you don't tell a Hall of Famer how to suck eggs. We just want her pedigree enhanced if at all possible." Fanatic's owner did however indicate that Fanatic would again be entered for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Fanatic was ruled out of last year's Caulfield Cup, with just 50kg on her back, after suffering a spider bite.
Former star French galloper Vadamos (Monsun-Celebre Vadala, by Peintre Celebre) heads Rich Hill Stud’s 2017 stallion roster with the Gr1 Prix du Moulin winner to stand at an introductory fee of $15,000 + GST, reports NZ Racing Desk. Melbourne Cup winner Shocking will stand at $12,500 + GST. Shocking is already the sire of 10 stakes performers, including first-crop Group winners Fanatic (Gr1 New Zealand Oaks), The Hassler (Gr2 ARC Championship Stakes) and Chocante (Gr3 Counties Cup). Thorn Park’s five-time Gr1-winning son Jimmy Choux – the champion New Zealand first season sire of 2015-16 - will stand at $7000 + GST, as will Proisir who is a son of Gr1-winning shuttler & former star Australian sprinter Choisir. Foundation stallion Pentire, who is New Zealand’s leading active sire of Gr1 winners with 15, will stand at $10,000 + GST.
At Matamata in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's deceased multiple Champion sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle, by Nureyev) added a black-type success when 4YO grey gelding Von Tunzelman (Zabeel-J'Adane, by Danehill) displayed his superior staying talent when scoring by 0.5 length for trainer Roger James in the $50,000 Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, over 4YO mare Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) & 8YO gelding Cruiser (Captain Rio-Morton Babe, by Orpen). This was the first stakes victory for the promising and lightly raced Von Tunzelman who improved his record to 4 wins and 4 placings from 10 starts for $69,425 earnings. Von Tunzelman is just the second foal to race from former smart racemare J'Adane (Danehill), who was placed three times at Gr1 level in the Mudgway Stakes (behind champion Kiwi mare Seachange) & Kelt Capital Stakes (behind Princess Coup) in New Zealand, as well as the Gr1 Winter Stakes (behind Nova Star) in Queensland.
Graeme Sanders has the photographic evidence of a nasty leg wound from a spider bite that led to the abandonment Fanatic's (Shocking) spring Cups campaign in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. It's a souvenir he'd rather not have but the Te Awamutu trainer is hoping a bold performance from the New Zealand Oaks winner in tomorrow's Gr2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa will help ease the pain. "I've got the photo on my cellphone. The vet took the hair off her just below her fetlock and you can clearly see the spider bite," Sanders said. "Her leg just blew up - there was swelling and soreness - it was a pretty painful thing to happen to her. She lost a lot of weight, about 25 kilos." The spider bite was sustained on the eve of the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and forced Fanatic's scratching from the race. After initially recovering in Melbourne, Fanatic returned to Sanders' stable at Te Awamutu before spending 10 days at Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore property. "She's put on a lot of weight and she looks good. We're really happy with her," said Sanders, who trains in partnership with his daughter Debbie Sweeney. "She needs to race because we want to have her ready for the City Of Auckland Cup. She perhaps needs to race next week as well. We'll decide that after we see how she goes on Saturday." He added: "We've checked her out and there doesn't seem to be any ongoing issue. Her blood's all good and we think she'll go a nice race."
New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) is likely to begin her build up toward the summer staying features next month, reports NZ Racing Desk. "She's in good shape and I'm hoping to have her ready to run on December 10 in the fillies and mares' race at Te Rapa," said Graeme Sanders, who prepares the 4YO with his daughter Debbie Sweeney. The Gr2 Cal Isuzu Stakes over a mile is the race they have in mind for Fanatic, whose spring campaign in Australia was halted by a spider bite. "She's good now and we're aiming her at the City of Auckland Cup, the Avondale Cup and the Auckland Cup," Sanders said.
New Zealand mare and classic winner Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) has been forced out of tomorrow's Gr1 Caulfield Cup due to a freak incident, reports NZ Racing Desk. Debbie Sweeney was set to join her father and training partner Graeme Sanders in Melbourne for the $3 million staying feature when she received a phone call relaying the worst of news. "Dad rang me and they seem to think the mare has been bitten by a spider – there's a puncture wound there and her leg was swollen and tender," Sweeney said. "Just in case, she has been scanned but nothing else has showed up. It's the last thing you would ever expect to happen." Sweeney added: "Everything was good with her and then Dad looked at her first thing this morning and knew she was in trouble. She'll be monitored over the next few days and hopefully she comes right soon."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $3 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne on Saturday. The Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka has maintained her place at the top of the market at $3.30 despite drawing wide in barrier 13. Next best is the West Australian mare Real Love and German stayer Articus at $7.50, while Godolphin's Scottish is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8.50. The final field is:
1. PREFERMENT (Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman) 57kg (15)
2. OUR IVANHOWE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-D Dunn) 56.5kg (6)
3. EXOSPHERIC (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Damien Oliver) 55.5kg (3)
4. SCOTTISH (Charlie Appleby-Kerrin McEvoy) 55kg (7)
5. SIR ISAAC NEWTON (Aidan O'Brien-Colm O'Donoghue) 55kg (9)
6. TARZINO (Mick Price-Craig Newitt) 54.5kg (4)
7. ALMOONQITH (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-M Walker) 54kg (2)
8. SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (John Thompson-Blake Spriggs) 53.5kg (5)
9. ARTICUS (Andreas Wohler-Zac Purton) 53kg (11)
10. TALLY (John O'Shea-Brenton Avdulla) 53kg (19)
11. JAMEKA (Ciaron Maher-Nicholas Hall) 52.5kg (13)
12. REAL LOVE (Darren Weir-Craig Williams) 52.5kg (10)
13. SET SQUARE (Ciaron Maher-Michael Dee) 52kg (20)
14. BIG MEMORY (Tony McEvoy-Chris Parnham) 51.5kg (12)
15. SACRED MASTER (Chris Waller-Tommy Berry) 51.5kg (8)
16. FANATIC (Graeme Sanders-Dean Yendall ) 50.5kg (16)
17. PEMBERLEY (Ciaron Maher-Ben Allen) 50.5kg (17)
18. GO DREAMING (Grant Kluske-Ms Katelyn Mallyon) 50.5kg (1)
19e. DE LITTLE ENGINE (Danny O'Brien-Ben Thompson) 50.5kg (14)
20e. VENGEUR MASQUE (Michael Moroney-Patrick Moloney) 50.5kg (18)
Classic winner Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) will be on trial for a trip to the Melbourne spring carnival in Saturday's Gr1 Livamol Classic at Hastings, reports NZ Racing Desk. "This is the one we have set her for," said co-trainer Debbie Sweeney, who prepares the 4YO with Graeme Sanders. "She is really well, we're very happy and the only question mark will be the track. We've got to be positive and anything up to a Dead 6 would be okay, but maybe not any worse." The winner on protest of last season's Gr1 New Zealand Oaks, Fanatic resumed on the opening day of the Hawke's Bay carnival finishing a disappointing sixth over 1400 metres. She was then considered an unlucky runner when ninth behind Kawi in the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m). "We've been quite happy with her over the shorter trips and on the second day she couldn't get a crack at them when she was stuck back on the rail," Sweeney said. A bold showing from Fanatic in the Livamol Classic will see her head across the Tasman, although her programme there has yet to be confirmed. "Everything is up in the air until after Saturday," Sweeney said. "She's down the order a bit for the Caulfield Cup, but we could be looking at a race like the Geelong Cup." Fanatic is currently equal 30th in order of entry to the $3 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 15 October.
Gr1-winning Kiwi filly Fanatic's first major test of the new season will come at the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, reports NZ Racing Desk. Plans are for the New Zealand Oaks winner to be given the opportunity to double her Group One tally in the Windsor Park Plate on the middle day of the meeting at Hastings on 17 September. "She's been back for nearly three weeks and her main aim will be Hawke's Bay," said Debbie Sweeney, who trains the daughter of Shocking with her father Graeme Sanders. "The 1400 metre race on the first day (the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes) might be a bit sharp for her and stepping up to the mile will suit her better." She added: "We'll give her a trial first and maybe take her to the races for a gallop." The Melbourne spring carnival is also on Fanatic's radar, although specific targets have yet to be set. "We'll just wait and see how she comes up as a four-year-old before we make any plans, there are a lot of options," Sweeney said.
The brave win by Pentire's progressive son Tucanchoo at Randwick on Saturday continued the remarkable success of Rich Hill Stud's classic 2011 Karaka yearling draft. The list of top class winners bred, raised and sold from the farm's consignment that year has continued to grow since Ockhams Razor, a $170,000 purchase, won the Listed Karaka Million in 2012. The honours board also includes the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance, Gr.1 Australian Guineas winner Ferlax, Gr.3 BRC Premier Cup winner Faust and the Listed VRC Poseidon Stakes winner Pronto Pronto. A lightly-raced gelding from the Hawkes stable, Tucanchoo was recording his third successive win and he looks like another potential stakes winner to add to the list. To bred, raise and sell a Karaka Million winner, a Melbourne Cup winner and an Australian Guineas winner from one crop is an outstanding achievement and a reflection of the quality of New Zealand thoroughbreds and the opportunities on offer at Karaka, commented Rich Hill studmaster John Thompson. Rich Hill head into the 2016 breeding season full of confidence these great results will continue with their stallion rooster at a very exciting phase. Jimmy Choux is currently New Zealand's leading first season sire and Shocking has sired a Group One winner (NZ Oaks heroine Fanatic) from his first crop of three-year-olds, while Proisir was NZ's most popular first season sire last year and we look forward to his first foals in a few months' time. Pentire, of course, is now NZ's leading active sire of Group One winners (14) and he just continues to deliver. "The international performance of the New Zealand thoroughbred in 2015-16 has been a revelation and Rich Hill, our stallions and our sales graduates have been major contributors to this on-going success," Thompson said.
The inclement Sydney weather hasn't put a dampener on Stephen Marsh's dream of a Group One win at Randwick on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Cambridge trainer can't fault the condition of his Australian Oaks contender Sofia Rosa, whose chances won't be compromised by the rain-affected going. "There's been a fair bit of rain here so it's going to be an off track and she won't mind that at all," Marsh said. The winner of the Gr2 Royal Stakes and the Gr3 Lowland Stakes, Sofia Rosa went into the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks as an even money favourite and crossed the line first. A subsequent stewards inquiry relegated her to second behind Fanatic and while understandably disappointed, Marsh didn't have any complaints. "It happened close to the line, but our filly definitely shifted out," he said. However, Sofia Rosa's performance was enough to crown her the NZB Filly of the Year and confirm her passage across the Tasman. "She travelled over here really well and got through a nice bit of work on Tuesday morning," Marsh said. "She's done very well and stretched her legs at three quarter pace from the 1500 and quickened the last bit." He added: "She tightened up with the trip over here so she doesn't need to do a lot. I'm very happy with her and having Hugh Bowman booked for the ride is another big plus." Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago), who will jump from barrier 12 on Saturday, is on the fourth line of betting at $9.50.
The immediate future of New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) will be decided in the coming days, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 3YO became the first Gr1 winner for her Melbourne Cup-winning sire Shocking when scoring a surprise win at odds of 60-1 for her trainers Graeme Sanders & Debbie Sweeney in the fillies classic at Trentham last month. Fanatic is currently enjoying a brief let-up before a possible trip to Brisbane for the Gr1 Queensland Oaks in the winter. "The owner is quite keen so it's a possibility, but we'll have a meeting in the next week or so and make some decisions," said Debbie Sweeney. "She had a couple of days in the stable after she got back from Wellington before she went to Curraghmore." Fanatic is raced by her Taranaki breeder Sean Kiernan, whose brother-in-law is Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham.
Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) is almost certain to complete a strong New Zealand contingent set to tackle next month's Gr1 Australian Oaks in Sydney, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs-prepared Valley Girl and Danica Guy's Capella are definite contenders for the fillies Classic at Royal Randwick on 9 April with Stephen Marsh keen for his filly to join them. "Sofia Rosa's bright and happy and at this stage she will be going over," Marsh said. Sofia Rosa was first across the line in Saturday's Gr1 New Zealand Oaks, but lost the race on protest after the stewards upheld an objection from the connections of the runner-up Fanatic. Despite being disappointed with the overall result, Marsh was accepting of the decision. "It happened close to the line, but our filly definitely shifted out," he said. However, there was some consolation for Sofia Rosa who picked up the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title. "That's a big thrill and it salvaged something from the remnants," Marsh said.
At Trentham in New Zealand, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) celebrated his first Gr1 winner as a sire when 3YO filly Fanatic (Shocking-Komplete Klass, by Groom Dancer) scored a surprise nose win at odds of 60-1 for trainers Graeme Sanders & Debbie Sweeney in the NZ$300,000 Gr1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) for 3YO fillies, over fellow fillies Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) & Strada Cavallo (Alamosa-Abenroad, by Danroad). Fanatic belied her long odds and finished strongly to be beaten by the barest of margins with a subsequent protest reversing the result at the expense of the red-hot favourite Sofia Rosa. "She deserved it and if she hadn't got the decision I would have been pretty upset," co-trainer Graeme Sanders told NZ Racing Desk. "I had a lot of confidence in the filly and I honestly thought she could win, but I was so nervous and I don't normally get like that. Maybe it was because I hadn't won an Oaks before and that was the only one left - I've won all he big races now." The first Group One winner for Rich Hill Stud stallion Shocking, Fanatic is raced by her breeder Sean Kiernan and was born and raised at Curraghmore, the Waikato nursery of his brother-in-law Gordon Cunningham. Fanatic took her record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 12 starts for NZ$185,465 earnings.
In South Africa overnight, former Darley shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel (In The Wings-Glorious Song, by Halo) added a black-type success when UK-bred 6YO mare Polzeath (Singspiel-West Devon, by Gone West) won the R125,000 (A$20,000) Listed East Coast Handicap (2000m) for fillies & mares at Clairwood. Polzeath (ridden by Brandon Lerena for trainer Duncan Howells) defeated 4YO mares Steady Chat (Windrush-Star Chatter, by Eli's Star) & Laser Fan (Fanatic Dane-Sandton City, by Al Mufti). Polzeath now has 7 wins & 10 placings (including January's Listed Michael Roberts Handicap over 1800m at Scottsville) from 22 starts for R350,940 (A$53,000) earnings.
Technology entrepreneur & thoroughbred owner Halsey Minor "has set his sights on the purchase & renovation of the revered Hialeah Park Race Track in Miami," reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Virginia multimillionaire Minor, 43 (who campaigns multiple Gr1-winner Dream Rush & stakes-winner Fierce Wind) confirmed he will meet Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti "in the coming weeks" & declared: "My principle goal is to kick-start thoroughbred racing. What could be better than the resurrection of one of the industry's decaying icons?" Minor (a "horse fanatic & history buf who shelled out US$15.3 million last year to buy Carter's Grove Plantation in Williamsburg in Virginia to preserve the historic property & use it as part of a thoroughbred breeding operation") estimated it would cost US$20-40 million to "restore the property to the way it looked a half-century ago at the apex of its and racing's popularity". Minor added: "Assuming I can work something out with Mr Brunetti, I think we could get it back up & running in pristine form in 3 years." Hialeah Park opened in 1921 & is "one of the oldest existing recreational facilities in South Florida. It played host to some of the country's best horses, served as a playground for the rich & famous through its heyday & for decades was hailed as one of the world's most beautiful racetracks". The track (which held its final race in May 2001) "is officially designated a sanctuary for the American flamingo by the Audubon Society & in 1979 was listed on the US National Register Of Historic Places".
In South America, former Argentine Horese-Of-The-Year & "record-setting US Gr1-winner at Gulfstream Park" Mat-Boy (Matun-Boyera, by Pastiche) died aged 28, reported bloodhorse.com. On the track Mat-Boy notched 9 wins from 13 starts; "after he had run out of competition in Argentina", he moved to the US & easily won the 1984 Gr1 Widener Handicap at Hialeah, followed by a 12-lengths blitz in the Gr1 Gulfstream Park Handicap (10 furlongs) in a track-record 1min 59sec. Upon retirement he returned to Haras La Biznaga in his native Argentina & sired numerous Gr1-winners, including Gran Premio Nacional (Argentine Derby) winner Fanatic Boy (who subsequently won a US graded-stakes at Del Mar in 1993) & Festin (who won the 1991 US Jockey Club Gold Cup, Gr1 Oaklawn Handicap & Gr2 Nassau County Handicap.