2018

Winx's Toughest Challenge: Bowman

Friday, 13th April 2018

Hugh Bowman says Winx will face her toughest challenge in years when she lines up in tomorrow's $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick. "It's probably the hardest task she has had for quite some time and when I say that I mean a couple of years, probably [since] her first Cox Plate. It's going to be one hell of a race and all we want it a smooth passage," Bowman told Racing NSW. "Usually there is one main horse to be focused on but this week there is three or four or maybe even five that are primed for their target." He added: "If Gailo Chop is allowed to control things to his liking he will take some running down. If the pressure is right on he might be feeling the pinch from the 200-300m mark but if that's the case a horse like Humidor or Ambitious, who I thought was very impressive in the Tancred Stakes, will be capitalising on the genuine pace...the bottom line is that there are horses there, no matter how the race is run, that are going to perform very, very well." However, despite the healthy respect he has for the opposition, Bowman has absolute faith in Winx. "She's in great order and I'm really happy with how she has come through the George Ryder win. Her work here on Tuesday morning was absolutely outstanding," he said. Winx will attempt to equal Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive victories and claim her 18th Group 1 title in the Queen Elizabeth. The Chris Waller-trained superstar already holds the world record for most number of Group 1 victories which stands at 17 after her win in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on 24 March.

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Winx (image: Steve Hart)

Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes Final Field & Barriers

Wednesday, 11th April 2018

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the showpiece event of The Championships, the weight-for-age $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday. First run in 1851 as the Queen's Plate, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes has been won by champion Australian racehorses including Carbine (1889-91), Wakeful (1901), Phar Lap (1930), Peter Pan (1933), Flight (1946), Tulloch (1960 & 61), Ming Dynasty (1978), Rough Habit (1992), Veandercross (1993), Might And Power (1998), Lonhro (2003), Grand Armee (2004 & 05), and of course Winx (2017).  Headlining this year's 10-horse field is the world's best horse Winx who will attempt to equal Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive victories and claim her 18th Group 1 title. The Chris Waller-trained superstar set a new world record of 17 Group 1 victories (surpassing US champion John Henry) when landing the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on 24 March. Winx has drawn the outside gate (10) for the Queen Elizabeth but bookmakers are unperturbed, with the mighty mare a $1.15 chance with TAB to continue on her inexorable path to greatness. Unsurprisingly, all other runners are at double figure odds with Humidor next preferred in the market at $11, followed by Happy Clapper and Gailo Chop at $13.

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Winx (image: Steve Hart)

Gr1 Doncaster Mile: Preview & History

Friday, 6th April 2018

The $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile is the showpiece event on the opening day of The Championships at Royal Randwick tomorrow. First run way back in 1866 (Dundee was the inaugural winner), the Doncaster has since established itself as Australia's premier mile handicap having been won by turf luminaries such as Wakeful (1901), Chatham (1934), Tobin Bronze (1967, Gunsynd (1972), Emancipation (1983), Super Impose (1990 & 91), Sunline (1999), Grand Armee (2000), More Joyous (2012), and Winx (2016). Australian racing's First Lady, Gai Waterhouse, will be striving to become the most successful trainer in Doncaster history when she chases her eighth winner with Arbeitsam. Waterhouse currently shares the Doncaster record of 7 winners with her legendary father TJ Smith. Chris Waller is another trainer looking to build upon his successful Doncaster record. Exciting 3YO colt D'Argento is Waller's best chance of training a record equalling seventh Doncaster winner following the victories of Triple Honour (2008), Rangirangdoo (2010), Sacred Falls (2013 & 14), Kermadec (2015), and Winx (2016). This year's race is shaping as a cracking renewal with Godolphin's star 3YO colt Kementari the current pre-post favourite at $3.80 with TAB. Next in the market is the ultra-consistent Happy Clapper at $5, followed by D'Argento at $7.50 and dual Gr1 winner Humidor at $9. The Doncaster Mile will be run as race 9 at 4:30pm.

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Gr1 Doncaster Mile Field & Barriers

Wednesday, 4th April 2018

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday. First run way back in 1966 (Dundee was the inaugural winner), the Doncaster has since established itself as Australia's premier mile handicap having been won by turf luminaries such as Wakeful (1901), Chatham (1934), Tobin Bronze (1967, Gunsynd (1972), Emancipation (1983), Super Impose (1990 & 91), Sunline (1999), Grand Armee (2000), More Joyous (2012), and Winx (2016). This year's race is shaping as a cracking renewal with Godolphin's star 3YO colt Kementari the current pre-post favourite at $3.50 with TAB. Next in the market is the ultra-consistent Happy Clapper at $5, followed by the untapped 3YO D'Argento at $7 and dual Gr1 winner Humidor at $8. The Doncaster Mile will be run as race 9 on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick at 4:30pm.

Kings Will Dream Wins Listed Mornington Cup

Monday, 26th March 2018

At Mornington south of Melbourne, Darley's former Gr1 Racing Post Trophy winning stallion Casamento (Shamardal-Wedding Gift, by Always Fair) added a black-type success when 4YO Irish-bred gelding Kings Will Dream (Casamento-Road Harbour, by Rodrigo De Triano) showed why he is considered one of the most exciting stayers in training when bounding clear for a most impressive 5 length win in the $300,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Harrison & Fastnet Dragon. Trainer Darren Weir said the highly progressive import will now be spelled and aimed at the Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in the spring. "I think we will spell him and focus on the spring," Weir told racing.com. "I'm not sure where he fits in if you take a line through a Gailo Chop or a Humidor, they're very good horses and he's got to come up a little bit to get to them but he's certainly the right style of horse." He added: "He's beautiful and sound and he's done everything we've asked of him so far." Kings Will Dream advanced his record to 6 wins and 2 placings from 8 starts for $330,331 in earnings.

Doncaster Mile Re-Handicaps

Wednesday, 21st March 2018

Racing NSW has announced the following re-handicaps for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile:

  • Daysee Doom - 53kg including 1kg penalty for winning Gr1 Coolmore Classic
  • Sovereign Nation - 50kg. No penalty for winning Listed March Stakes
  • Comin' Through - 51.kg. Exempt from ballot after winning Gr2 Ajax Stakes
  • Cliff's Edge - 49kg. Not eligible for penalty after winning Gr2 Alister Clark Stakes
  • Humidor - 58kg. Not eligible for penalty after winning Gr2 Blamey Stakes

The following horses are exempt from ballot in the Doncaster Mile:

  • Alizee
  • Crack Me
  • Happy Clapper
  • Kementari
  • Daysee Doom
  • Comin' Through

Humidor Wins Gr2 Blamey Stakes

Monday, 19th March 2018

At Flemington in Melbourne, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) celebrated a group success when 5YO gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Darren Weir in the $200,000 Gr2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) for 3YOs+, defeating fellow 5YO gelding Cool Chap & 7YO gelding Hellova Street. With a field of just five to face the starter, the general consensus of opinion was that the event woud be fought out by Humidor, considered a track and distance specialist, and his imported Japanese-bred stablemate Tosen Stardom. The latter started to shorten stride a long way out and slipped from prominence before Humidor surged from the rear to score a solid win, albeit given a fright by unwanted Cool Chap and plucky Tasmanian galloper Hellova Street. Boasting a beautiful damline, NZ-bred Humidor took his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes, Gr1 Australian Cup & Gr3 Manawatu Classic) & 9 placings (including the Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Livermol Classic, Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr2 TS Carlyon Cup & Gr2 Peter Young Stakes) from 24 starts for $2,604,415 earnings. According to news.com.au, Humidor will now proceed to Royal Randwick's Gr1 Doncaster Mile in twelve days time before a potential clash with Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during The Championships.

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Humidor (image: Mark Gatt)

Doncaster Mile Weights Released

Tuesday, 27th February 2018

A total of 181 nominations have been weighted for the 153rd running of the $3 million Gr1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) to be run on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 7 April. Heading the weights for the time-honoured feature is dual Gr1 winner Humidor who has been allocated top weight of 58kg on a 50kg minimum (49kg for 3YOs). Next is three-time Gr1 winner Le Romain & dual Gr1-winning Japanese import Tosen Stardom with 57.5kg, followed by Gr1 Epsom Handicap winner Happy Clapper on 57kg. The highest weighted mare is Japanese mare Admire Lead with 54kg, while Victoria Derby hero Ace High heads the 3YOs with 53kg. Click here to view the full weights for the Doncaster Mile.

Tosen Primed for Orr

Wednesday, 7th February 2018

Humidor's high-flying stable-mate Tosen Stardom could go through the autumn undefeated, according to trainer Darren Weir's foreman Jarrod McLean. The Japanese-bred Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact-Admire Kirameki, by End Sweep) was one of the stars of the spring after he posted brilliant victories in the Gr1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) and Gr1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) in Melbourne. The Australian Bloodstock-owned entire is scheduled to launch his autumn campaign in the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday. "We're really excited with him heading towards Saturday. He's wound up and he's forward and he's ready to go," McLean told racing.com. "I made the statement a couple of weeks ago when he galloped at Ballarat that he might go undefeated this preparation and I'm not back-pedalling from that." He added: "If he wins on Saturday, he'll certainly be a deserved favourite going towards an Australian Cup." The $1.5 million Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) will be run at Flemington on 10 March.

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Tosen Stardom (image: Mark Gatt)

Humidor Playing Catch-Up

Wednesday, 7th February 2018

Top-class galloper Humidor is unlikely to be ready in time to defend his title in the $1.5 million Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on 10 March. The 2017 Australian Cup winner and Cox Plate runner-up, who was last seen finishing a disappointing 19th in the Melbourne Cup, is likely to have his campaign rerouted to the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney or possibly even the Gr1 Doomben Cup in the winter. "He's a little bit behind," trainer Darren Weir's foreman Jarrod McLean told racing.com. "If he gets to the Australian Cup he gets there but at this stage races like the Queen Elizabeth and Doomben Cup in May are real good targets for him. There's no real hurry or urgency to get him to an Australian Cup." Humidor is nominated for Saturday's Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, but McLean said a start is unlikely. "He's nominated for Saturday but at this stage I am told we'll give him one more trial and then head to the Futurity [Gr1] first-up," he said.

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Humidor (image: Mark Gatt)

2017

Lane Heading Home

Wednesday, 15th November 2017

Victoria-based jockey Damian Lane is set to head home to ride during the Perth summer racing carnival. The 23 year-old Lane, who hails from the city of Bunbury south of Perth, has had a memorable Melbourne spring carnival claiming three Group 1 wins aboard Tosen Stardom in the Emirates Stakes and Toorak Handicap, and Humidor in the Makybe Diva Stakes. "It's been great," Lane told the West Australian. "I've been riding some really quality cattle and getting some great opportunities." Lane rode Stratum Star to victory in last year's Kingston Town Classic (1800m), and he says he is keen add further success in his home state. "Nothing's confirmed yet, but it does look like I will be riding there," Lane said. "I enjoy getting back to Perth and I enjoy the racing. I had a bit of success last year winning the Kingston Town and I'd love to have a bit more success this year."

In House Melbourne Cup Tips

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Assuming diametrically opposing views on the outcome of the race that stops the nation, below are a selection of first three tips, and why, for this afternoon.

PETER MULLEN (DAILY NEWS CHIEF COLUMNIST)

  1. Marmelo ($7.50): The UK-trained stayer boasts the best credentials in this year's Melbourne Cup. History shows it is nigh on impossible for the international horses to win the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia. Marmelo meets that criteria courtesy of an eye-catching performance in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when running home strongly from near last to finish sixth (beaten just 2.7 lengths). Had to change course on at least two occasions but once balanced he really motored to the line. Crying out for the two miles. Prior to his Australian debut, he won one of Europe's best Melbourne Cup guides - the Gr2 Prix Kergolay (3000m) in France. Several recent Melbourne Cup winners have either won or run in the Prix Kergolay en route to Cup glory on the first Tuesday in November, namely Protectionist (2014), Dunaden (2011) and Americain (2010).
  2. Almandin ($9.50): Huge chance to become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). Turned in one of the performances of the spring when cruising to an effortless win under a hands-and heels ride in the Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington on 16 September. Burdened by a 61kg impost that day but drops to 56.5kg in the Cup. At most recent outing was fourth (beaten 3.35 lengths) in the Gr3 Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington but still found the line strongly under 60kg. Is a genuine two-miler and has a potent affinity with Flemington having won 3 of his 5 starts at the famous track. Owner Lloyd Williams has made a habit of winning Australia's most famous race and is shooting for his sixth Melbourne Cup win.
  3. Humidor ($10): Classy galloper who has to be included in the top three after his outstanding performance when second to Winx in the Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m). Indeed, Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter rated his Cox Plate performance superior to the champion mare. There is quite simply no better form line than running the world's best turf horse to less than half a length in track record time. But the question is: does he possess the stamina to run out a strong 3200 metres? His pedigree suggests he can. He's by Teofilo - a son of champion European sire and stamina influence Galileo - who has sired Derby and St Leger winners. But best of all he's out of a Zabeel mare! Other factors in his favour are that he has a Melbourne Cup winning jockey on board in Blake Shinn and is trained by a master in Darren Weir. If he stays he probably wins.
 

GARY KNOWLES (BREEDING&RACING EDITOR)

  1. Big Duke ($20): Prepared by a trainer who could probably get a rocking horse to win, the Duke disappointed in last start 's Moonee Valley Cup, but the odds-on favourite struck bad traffic on the tight circuit at a vital time. An absolute model of consistency over staying journeys, he will not know himself as he is carrying his lightest weight since almost landing the Gr1 Sydney Cup last April. Unlike a lot of the more fancied runners, has a lovely draw. Rock-hard fit, he'll be given every chance if the race is run at a solid tempo.
  2. Johannes Vermeer ($10): In an event well known for its cavalry charge down the straight for the first time, the European raider draws to do no work which should offset any question marks over the extended distance. Sent off at silly odds in his first Australian start in the Caulfield Stakes which he almost won. Backed that up emphatically in the Caulfield Cup with a super run. Trained by one of the most astute judges in the world, JV has a great hoop aboard and should be in calculations 300m from home if given a cuddle until the turn.
  3. Hartnell ($31): Doesn't appear to have come up quite as well this prep as connections would have hoped for. Nonetheless, he is way too classy to be ignored, for a long time considered the only horse potentially capable of beating Winx. Is as exquisite a looker as you'll see on the track, and although he goes up 1.5 kilos following 2016's placing behind Almandin, he gets a 3kg pull at the weights with the winner. Could provide new Godolphin trainer James Cummings with a perfect result in the race dominated by his inibitable late grandfather Bart.

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If he gets the trip Humidor is a huge danger (pic: Mark Gatt)

Weight Humidor's Biggest Worry

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Darren Weir says he is more concerned about Humidor's weight than he is about the New Zealand-bred running out a strong two miles in today's $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, reports NZ Racing Desk. "The negative is the 56kg. It's enough, but all the indications say he will stay," Weir said. Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) boasts top-class form going into the Melbourne Cup having run a close second (beaten just 0.4 length) to champion mare Winx in the Gr1 Cox Plate over 2040 metres. Indeed, Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter rated Humidor's Cox Plate performance superior to Winx who won the prestigious weight-for-age event in track record time. "I didn't really think he would get that close, but he's such a good horse when he's ridden the right way and he got a beautiful run in the Cox Plate," Weir said. "From a Cup point of view it was a terrific run." Weir added: "I'm very happy with the horse and the preparation. The only thing I would change if we had it over again would have been for him to be ridden quieter in the Caulfield Cup [when ridden forward and placed fifth]."

Final Melbourne Cup Field & Barriers

Monday, 6th November 2017

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Australia's most famous race - the $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) to be run at Flemington racecourse tomorrow. The Irish-trained stayer Thomas Hobson has secured the final spot in the 24-horse field following the withdrawal of Jon Snow on veterinary advice. Interestingly, the 24-horse field is split evenly between locally trained runners and international raiders. First run in 1861 when won by Archer, the Melbourne Cup boasts an honour roll that features some of the greatest names of the Australian turf including Carbine (1885), Phar Lap (1930), Peter Pan (1932/34), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Light Fingers (1965), Galilee (1966), Rain Lover (1968/69), Think Big (1974/75), Let's Elope (1991), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1997), Ethereal (2001), and Makybe Diva (2003-05). This year, defending champion Almandin is currently the $8.50 TAB fixed odds favourite, ahead of Gr2 Prix Kergolay winner Marmelo at $9 and Cox Plate runner-up Humidor at $9.50. Should he be successful, the German-bred Almandin will become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups, joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). The Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, who put in an eye-catching Melbourne Cup trial when a fast-finishing third in the Caulfield Cup, heads those runners at double figure odds at $10. Click below to view the Melbourne Cup and all other stakes fields for Tuesday.

Hartnell Confirmed for Melbourne Cup

Thursday, 2nd November 2017

Trainer James Cummings has confirmed that Hartnell will run in Tuesday's $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) after receiving the endorsement of Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed. Hartnell, who finished third in last year's Melbourne Cup, will carry top weight of 57.5kg on Tuesday and his trainer is convinced he is again a worthy contender. "To have a Melbourne Cup runner for Sheikh Mohammed is a great honour and is also a credit to our team here in Australia who have got Hartnell to a level where he is a genuine contender," Cummings told Godolphin.com. The dual Gr1 winner convinced Cummings to run him in Australia's most famous race after an impressive track gallop at Flemington on Tuesday. "I was delighted with him…he's nice and bright and alert," Cummings said. "We are going to the Cup with a horse who puts himself into his races, whose form is sound and who can run 3200 metres." Cummings says his confidence is buoyed by the strong form lines around Hartnell this spring. "He's been racing a bit like a handicapper at his last couple of starts and the form around him is very strong," he said. "The form from the Makybe Diva Stakes and the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes in which he's run well has been the best of the spring." He added: "Humidor showed that with his run behind Winx in the Cox Plate that it's as good a form reference as you'll find." Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) is currently a $26 chance with TAB for the Melbourne Cup.

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Hartnell (image: Steve Hart)

Wonderful Winx Wins Historic Gr1 Cox Plate

Monday, 30th October 2017

At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry (Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy) celebrated an elite race success when his exceptional 6YO daughter Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) created history with a narrow but decisive win in Australia's Race of Champions, the $3 million weight-for-age Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m), defeating Humidor & Folkswood. Winx joined the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates with her 22nd consecutive win and her 15th at Group One level to advance her remarkable record to 26 wins (including the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gr1 Cox Plate - twice, Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes - twice, Gr1 Doncaster Mile, Gr1 George Ryder Stakes - twice, Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes - twice, Gr1 Epsom Handicap, Gr1 Queensland Oaks, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr2 Warwick Stakes – twice, Gr2 Apollo Stakes - twice, Gr2 Theo Marks Stakes, Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes & Gr2 Furious Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks & Gr1 Flight Stakes) from 32 starts for $15,627,925 in earnings. The Chris Waller-trained mare also surpassed three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva to become the greatest prize money earner in Australian racing history. An emotional Waller said of Winx's famous victory: "You never know what is going to happen on a racetrack. Humidor gave us a hell of a fight but she's Winx and she finds a way to win like all champions do," he told Network Seven. "It's what dreams are made of. I'm blessed to be in this position, as simple as that." Jockey Hugh Bowman perhaps summed Winx's accomplishment best when he said: "I'm lost for words. I was born the year that Kingston Town won his first Cox Plate and to think that she has emulated the great horse…we are in the presence of greatness." Bowman added: "She will now be remembered as one of the greatest horses to have graced the Australian turf. To be a part of her career, I can't explain what that means. It's very humbling." Winx was a $230,000 Magic Bloodstock purchase at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.

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Winx holding out Humidor for a famous win (image: Mark Gatt)

Gr1 Cox Plate Field & Barriers

Wednesday, 25th October 2017

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $3 million Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m) to be run at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Champion mare Winx, who will be attempting to create history by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates, will face just eight rivals in the weight-for-age feature. Winx, who will jump from barrier six, could start the shortest-priced Cox Plate favourite since Phar Lap in 1931 when Australia's greatest racehorse won at odds of $1.07. Winx is currently a $1.15 chance with TAB. Such is Winx's towering reputation, her nearest market rivals are Humidor and Gailo Chop at $18. Click below to view the Cox Plate field.

Lane Has Faith in Humidor

Friday, 20th October 2017

Jockey Damian Lane believes Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) can provide him with the biggest win of his career in tomorrow's Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), reports Sky Racing. Lane knows the Darren Weir-trained Humidor well having partnered him to Gr1 glory in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) two starts ago. He says the 5YOs performance when 3rd [beaten 7 lengths] behind Winx in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes was better than it looked and that he is now ready to step out over more ground. "When Winx let go he was left out of his comfort zone and from where he was I thought he probably ran the best as he could," Lane said. "I thought he closed the race off well and ran like a horse probably looking for the 2400 metres." Lane continued: "He's come through his Turnbull run really well and he's drawn a good gate [7] which always helps. I'm very excited. The Caulfield Cup is the Caulfield Cup. There's a lot of great chances…but if he gets the right run I'm sure he can run really well." Humidor is currently the $8 second favourite for the Caulfield Cup behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer at $4.20.

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Humidor (image: Mark Gatt)

Manikato Target for Hey Doc

Wednesday, 18th October 2017

Trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed that smart 3YO Hey Doc (Duporth-Heyington Honey, by General Nediym) is set to resume racing in the Gr1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on 27 October. The Australian Guineas winner has not been sighted since finishing 10th (of 12) behind Humidor in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 16 September.

World's Best Winx Wins Gr1 Turnbull Stakes

Monday, 9th October 2017

At Flemington in Melbourne, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry (Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy) celebrated an elite race success when his 6YO champion daughter Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) strolled to one of the easiest and most visually brilliant wins of her glittering career when claiming Saturday's $500,000 Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Ventura Storm & Humidor. Winx, who seems assured of being named the world's best racehorse when the next round of international rankings are released, posted her 21st consecutive victory and advanced her remarkable record to 25 wins (including the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gr1 Cox Plate - twice, Gr1 Caulfield Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes - twice, Gr1 Doncaster Mile, Gr1 George Ryder Stakes - twice, Gr1 Chipping Norton Stakes - twice, Gr1 Epsom Handicap, Gr1 Queensland Oaks, Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr2 Warwick Stakes – twice, Gr2 Apollo Stakes - twice, Gr2 Theo Marks Stakes, Gr2 Phar Lap Stakes & Gr2 Furious Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks & Gr1 Flight Stakes) from 31 starts for $13,777,925 in earnings. Winx will now bid to create history by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates at Moonee Valley on 28 October. "What a great horse," trainer Chris Waller told racing.com. "When she winds up and lets go, it's pretty scintillating." Waller said the Cox Plate (2040m) in three weeks' time would be a special event. "There's no training manual for a horse like Winx. The amazing part about her is she keeps putting on weight but never loses it…she's going as well as ever," he said. "She's going to be very hard to beat in three weeks." Winx was a $230,000 Magic Bloodstock purchase at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.

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Winx (image: Mark Gatt)

Bonneval Wins Gr1 Underwood Stakes

Tuesday, 3rd October 2017

At Caulfield in Melbourne, Westbury Stud's three-time Gr1-winning shuttle stallion Makfi (Dubawi-Dhelaal, by Green Desert) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO New Zealand-bred mare Bonneval (Makfi-Imposingly, by Zabeel) confirmed herself as the second best mare in Australasia [behind Winx] when defeating a high quality field in the $750,000 Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, over Hartnell & Gailo Chop. The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year is now unbeaten in her two starts this campaign and improved her record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Australian Oaks, Gr1 New Zealand Oaks, Gr2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes, Gr2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic & Gr3 Hawkes Bay Lowland Stakes) and 1 placing (the Gr3 WRC Desert Gold Stakes) from 10 starts for $1,582,469 in earnings. Co-trainer Murray Baker confirmed Bonneval's primary spring target is the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 21 October. "She's still got a bit of her winter coat to lose yet but we thought she had improved a bit from last start," Baker told racing.com. "She's obviously a very good filly. That's her sixth Group win in a row." Baker continued: "We will give her one more run, possibly the Caulfield Stakes, and then the Caulfield Cup." Jockey Hugh Bowman commented: "She's a genuine Cups contender this mare - I just wish I was light enough to ride her. She has a lovely future ahead of her." Bonneval is now the outright TAB favourite for the Caulfield Cup at $5.50 ahead of Humidor at $6. The well-bred Bonneval is a full sister to Gr3 winner Imposing Lass and a half-sister to Gr3 winners Full Of Spirit (Flying Spur) and Lady Cumquat (Duke Of Marmalade) from the Zabeel mare Imposingly, a three-quarter sister to New Zealand Derby winner St Reims and Gr1 Mackinnon Stakes winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Champagne (both by Zabeel).

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Bonneval (image: Mark Gatt)

Winx Heads Cox Plate 2nd Acceptances

Wednesday, 27th September 2017

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.

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Humidor Wins Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes

Monday, 18th September 2017

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."

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Star-Studded Field for NZB Memsie Stakes

Thursday, 31st August 2017

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.

Bart Likely To Need Lawrence Stakes Run

Friday, 18th August 2017

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.

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Black Heart Bart (image: Mark Gatt)

PB Lawrence Stakes Kicks Off Spring WFA Championship

Thursday, 17th August 2017

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.

PB Lawrence First-Up for Bart

Monday, 31st July 2017

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.”

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Black Heart Bart (image: Mark Gatt)

Significant Pedigree Updates for NZB National Weanling Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017

New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, which will be held at Karaka on Monday and Tuesday next week, has had numerous significant pedigree updates since the catalogues went to print in late March. Among the most significant is Lot 153, Novara Park’s weanling filly by Jakkalberry out of La Pinnicle. She hails from the same family as Gr1 Australian Derby winner Jon Snow as well as Showemup, who won the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes and placed in the Listed NZB Warstep Stakes to claim the title of NZB Southern Filly of the Year. Lots 87, 113 and 369 are all related to Gr1 Australian Cup winner Humidor, while Lot 245, a Proisir filly out of Safari Sunset, is closely related to Dixie Blossoms who finished third in the Gr1 Queen of the Turf Stakes in Sydney. Lot 278 is closely related to the Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther, whose race record includes wins in the Hong Kong Derby, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Gr1 Hong Kong Gold Cup, along with a third in last Sunday’s Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup. To view all a detailed summary of recent pedigree updates click here. NZB’s National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will be held at Karaka on Monday and Tuesday, commencing at 10am each day. Lots will be available for inspection from Saturday morning. Click here to view the catalogue.

Proven Vendors Present Quality Drafts at May Sale

Monday, 1st May 2017

New Zealand Bloodstock's National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will feature drafts offered by 51 proven and highly respected New Zealand thoroughbred nurseries. Last year's leading vendor Curraghmore is again likely to play a big part, presenting 18 weanlings, two yearlings and three broodmares who are in foal to Power, Proisir and El Roca. The Curraghmore weanlings include progeny of proven sires Savabeel, Makfi and Uncle Mo and newcomers such as El Roca and Wandjina. Curraghmore owner Gordon Cunningham said he believes the Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock is going from strength to strength every year. "From a buying perspective, I have no doubt that there is more opportunity for pinhooking value at Karaka in May than at any other sale throughout Australasia," he said. Nick and Anne-Marie King's Brighthill Farm finished a close second among vendors in last year's Sale with 15 horses selling for a total of $678,200. Brighthill Farm will offer 23 horses at this year's Sale – 13 weanlings, a two-year-old and nine broodmares. Five of Brighthill's weanlings are by Dalghar, with progeny of leading sires Savabeel and Iffraaj also featured. Lot 113, by Savabeel out of Hameeda, is closely related to the recent Gr1 Australian Cup winner Humidor, while Lot 278 is out of Sunset Stripper, a half-sister to the dam of Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther. For William Fell of Goodwood Stud, the return to Karaka for next month's Sale will bring special memories having sold Gr1 New Zealand Derby and Gr1 Rosehill Guineas winner Gingernuts as a weanling. Goodwood will offer six horses at this year's Sale, all weanlings. The catalogue also features stock from quality New Zealand breeding operations Haunui Farm, Little Avondale Stud, Mapperley Stud, Waikato Stud, Wentwood Grange, Westbury Stud and Windsor Park Stud to name a few. NZB's National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale will be held at Karaka on 8 and 9 May, with the broodmares selling on the second day from Lot 324. Click here to view the catalogue.

Jameka Wins Gr1 The BMW

Monday, 27th March 2017

At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Vinery's Gr1-winning stallion Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata, by Rousillon) celebrated an elite success when outstanding 4YO mare Jameka (Myboycharlie-Mine Game, by General Nediym) strolled to a brilliant 6.5 length win in the $1.5 million weight-for-age Gr1 The BMW (2400m) for 3YO+, over 4YO New Zealand-bred gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) & 5YO UK-bred entire Exospheric (Beat Hollow-Bright and Clear, by Danehill). A $130,000 yearling consigned by Gilgai Farm at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, Jameka improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Caulfield Cup, Gr1 VRC Oaks, Gr2 Dilmah Vase, Gr2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes & Gr3 Naturalism Stakes) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 Australian Cup, Gr1 VRC Turnbull Stakes, Gr1 Australian Derby, Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, Gr1 Thousand Guineas, Gr2 Thousand Guineas Prelude & Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes) from 24 starts for $4,872,915 earnings. "It was a super effort today and what a ride by Hughie," trainer Ciaron Maher told Sky Racing. "It was one of her target races and I'm just rapt to get it done." Jameka could now represent Australia on the world stage with Maher confirming she is likely to embark on a European campaign later in the year. Races such as the Gr1 King George And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot, and even Europe's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, are believed to have been discussed by connections. "We need to have some conversations with the connections. We'll see how she comes through this, but she's such a quality mare," Maher said.

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Jameka (image: Steve Hart)

Humidor Concerns in BMW

Thursday, 23rd March 2017

The Darren Weir stable have expressed some doubt about Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) running out a strong 2400 metres in Saturday’s Gr1 The BMW at Rosehill, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. The last start Australian Cup winner (2000m) has only ever raced over the distance once in his career when 11th in the New Zealand Derby as a 3YO. “He’s in great order…The only little concern is the 2400 metres,” said Weir’s racing manager Jeremy Rogers. “He had one start at 2400 metres going right handed in New Zealand and he wasn’t at his best so it’s a little concern.” He added: “But he is going a lot better now than he was before he ran in the New Zealand Derby and he certainly couldn’t be any better going into Saturday’s race.” Humidor is currently the equal second favourite with Tab for the $1.5 million The BMW along with stable-mate Jameka at $4.20. Our Ivanhowe is favourite at $3.80.

Our Ivanhowe Heads Gr1 The BMW Nominations

Tuesday, 21st March 2017

Fourteen horses have been nominated for the $1.5 million Gr1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on Saturday. The Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Our Ivanhowe is the highest rated horse in the race and is set to back up after an impressive first-up win in the Gr1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) last Saturday. Some of the other notable entries are Caulfield Cup winner Jameka, Australian Cup winner Humidor, Australian Cup third and stable-mate of Our Ivanhowe Exospheric, Who Shot Thebarman, and last start Gr3 Sky High Stakes winner and Australian Derby Tavago. VRC Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit and Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon are the only 3YOs entered for the race. Click here to view all the nominations for Rosehill on Saturday.

Humidor Wins Gr1 Australian Cup

Monday, 13th March 2017

At Flemington in Victoria, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Gr1 success when the Darren Weir trained 4YO gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) scored by 0.4 length in the $1,505,000 Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) over brave 4YO filly Jameka (Myboycharlie-Mine Game, by General Nediym) & 3YO colt Exospheric (Beat Hollow-Bright and Clear, by Danehill). The NZ bred import took his record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 Manawatu Classic) & 6 placings (including the the Gr1 Livermol Classic, Gr2 TS Carlyon Cup & Gr2 Peter Young Stakes) for $1,113,334 in earnings. Humidor’s 3rd dam is Champion Irish 2YO and Champion European 3YO Habibti, a descendant of the blue hen Eight Carat.

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Humidor wins the Gr1 Australian Cup (pic: Mark Gatt)

Abscess Ends Auckland Cup Hopes

Thursday, 9th March 2017

A foot issue has prevented the Darren Weir-trained Lord Van Percy (Sir Percy) from crossing the Tasman for Saturday's $500,000 Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie, reports NZ Racing Desk. "He had a foot abscess. It was nothing serious but it was a long way to go with him not quite being 100 per cent," Weir's racing manager Jeremy Rogers said of the 7YO UK-bred import. Meanwhile, the stable is bullish about the prospects of the former New Zealand-trained Humidor in Saturday's Gr1 Australian Cup. "He's really well and he's a seriously good horse," Rogers said. Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) has finished in the money in all three of his starts since joining Weir's stable, including a last-start second behind stable-mate Stratum Star in the Gr2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield.

Gr1 Australian Cup Field & Barriers

Thursday, 9th March 2017

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1.5 million weight-for-age Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) to be run at Flemington racecourse this Saturday. Joint $4.20 Tab favourites for the race are stable-mates from the Darren Weir yard Humidor and Jameka who are coming off second and fourth placings respectively in the Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield. Next best is Peter Young Stakes victor Stratum Star at $6, followed by The United States at $7.50 and Exospheric at $8.50. The final field is:

  1. STRATUM STAR (Darren Weir-Mark Zahra) 59kg (2)
  2. AWESOME ROCK (Leon & Troy Corstens-Stephen Baster) 59kg (6)
  3. THE UNITED STATES (Robert Hickmott-Ben Melham) 59kg (4)
  4. MOURINHO (Peter Gelagotis-Anthony Darmanin) 59kg (9)
  5. ECUADOR (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-Adam Hyeronimus) 59kg (5)
  6. EXOSPHERIC (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Damien Oliver) 59kg (10)
  7. TALLY (John O'Shea-Joao Moreira) 59kg (1)
  8. TOM MELBOURNE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Glen Boss) 59kg (3)
  9. BOOM TIME (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-Regan Bayliss) 59kg (8)
  10. HUMIDOR (Darren Weir-Damian Lane) 59kg (7)
  11. JAMEKA (Ciaron Maher-Hugh Bowman) 57kg (11)
  12. REAL LOVE (Darren Weir-Brad Rawiller) 57kg (12)

Stratum Star Wins Gr2 Peter Young Stakes

Monday, 27th February 2017

At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Widden Stud's Gr1 Golden Slipper-winning stallion Stratum (Redoutes Choice-Bourgeois, by Luskin Star) added a Group success when 5YO entire Stratum Star (Stratum-Purely Spectacular, by Pins) scored by 0.2 length for trainer Darren Weir in the $200,000 Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding and stable-mate Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) & 7YO Irish-bred entire The United States (Galileo-Beauty is Truth, by Pivotal). Stratum Star, who was a $165,000 purchase by Rick Hore-Lacy at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Widden Stud, advanced his record to 8 wins (including the Gr1 Kingston Town Classic, Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Gr3 David Jones Cup & Listed Gothic Stakes) & 15 placings (including the Gr1 Futurity Stakes, Gr1 Toorak Handicap, Gr1 Memsie Stakes, Gr2 Alister Clarke Stakes, Gr1 Australian Guineas, Gr3 CS Hayes Stakes, Gr2 Sandown Guineas & Gr2 Carbine Club Stakes) from 35 starts for $2,375,960 earnings. Darren Weir speculated Stratum Star may be on the verge of having his final race start in the Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on 11 March, as he expects stud farms to start making offers for the dual Gr1 winner. "He's going to be make a beautiful stallion as he's got the lovely attitude and just have a look at him, he's a great type," Weir told Racing.com. "He's an amazing horse. He's as tough as they come but he's got such a great attitude and he's been terrific for our stable."

Burning Front Wins Gr3 TS Carlyon Cup

Monday, 13th February 2017

At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Gr3-winning & triple Gr1-placed stallion Primus (Flying Spur-Copa de Oro, by Hector Protector) added a Group success when 6YO chestnut gelding Burning Front (Primus-She's a Knockout, by Kingston Rule) led throughout for a 0.3 length win for trainer Darren Weir in the $150,000 Gr3 TS Carlyon Cup (1600m) for 4YO+, over 4YO New Zealand-bred gelding and stable-mate Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) & 4YO Godolphin gelding Tally (Street Cry-Itemise, by Kris S). This was back-to-back Carlyon Cup victories for the ultra-consistent Burning Front who improved his record to 14 wins (including the Gr3 TS Carlyon Cup) and 18 placings (including the Gr3 VRC TAB Rewards Stakes & Gr3 MRC Sandown Stakes) from 43 starts for $816,960 earnings. "He's got a great racing style making his own luck up on the speed," Weir told racing.com. Meanwhile, Damian Lane, rider of runner-up and stable-mate of the winner, Humidor, who flashed home from last on the turn, lamented the latter's waywardness in the straight. "If he goes straight he wins," Lane said. Humidor will have his next start in the Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond day (25 February).

Humidor Set For Melbourne Debut

Tuesday, 24th January 2017

Talented New Zealand stayer Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) will make his first appearance for champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir in Thursday's Listed John Dillon Stakes at Caulfield, reports NZ Racing Desk. Formerly prepared by Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard, the 4YO is a winner of 4 of his 10 starts, including the Gr3 Manawatu Classic as a 3YO. Humidor's abundant potential was then on show when he finished a narrow second in the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2000m) in the spring, before crossing the Tasman for a luckless ninth in the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. His New Zealand owners John and Mark Carter and their sister Rachael, who race under their Jomara Bloodstock banner, then sold 50 per cent to clients of Weir's stable. "He's a new horse to us. He's just a good galloper," Darren Weir said. "He and Real Love are on an Australian Cup path, and Tosen Stardom will join in a fortnight later in the Carlyon Cup at Caulfield." The $1.5 million Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) will be run at Flemington on 11 March.

2016

Weir To Train Promising Kiwi Stayer

Thursday, 24th November 2016

Humidor will continue his career under Darren Weir after clients of the master Victorian trainer purchased a share in the talented stayer, reports NZ Racing Desk. "We've sold 50 per cent of him and he's spelling on one of Darren Weir's agistment farms. At this stage, we'd assume he'd come back for an autumn campaign," said John Carter, who shares in the ownership with his brother Mark and their sister Rachael under their Jomara Bloodstock banner. A son of Teofilo, Humidor was bred by the Carter siblings and is out of Zabeel's daughter Zalika, the winner of three races. "We've still got the mare and she's got a Makfi colt," Carter said. Humidor was previously trained by Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard and he won four of his 10 starts under their guidance. A winner of the Gr3 Manawatu Classic as a 3YO, Humidor's abundant potential was on show when he finished a narrow second in the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2000m). He then crossed the Tasman for a ninth place finish in the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington when blocked for a run in the straight. Carter said he hopes the 4YO can develop into a Cups horse next year. "He's a very, very special horse and we've got no doubt that once the penny really drops then he will be competing successfully in Caulfield and Melbourne Cups," he said.

Spring Carnival Provides Updates For NZB Ready To Run Sale

Wednesday, 9th November 2016

Melbourne's spring carnival is respected the world over for its prestigious and highly competitive racing, and this year's carnival has provided some notable pedigree updates for New Zealand Bloodstock's upcoming Ready to Run Sale. One of the most exciting races of the carnival was the Gr1 Darley Classic, where Malaguerra just held out Karaka graduate Spieth. Lots 97 and 189 in the Ready to Run Sale catalogue come from the same family as Malaguerra, who is now a dual Gr1 winner after claiming the BTC Cup in the winter. Other notable pedigree updates include:

  • Lot 132 - closely related to Gr1 Toorak Handicap winner He's Our Rokkii.
  • Lot 71 - from the same family as Gr1 Epsom Handicap winner and Gr1 Emirates Stakes placegetter Hauraki.
  • Lot 190 - related to Listed Inside Agent and Gr2 Danehill Stakes victor Saracino.
  • Lot 280 - closely related to Comin' Through, a half-brother to the multiple Gr1 winner Criterion and winner of the Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes.

There are also family members of recent Gr1 placegetters Hasselhoof (Lot 47), Whispering Brook (Lot 61), Rasa Lila (Lot 65), Humidor (Lot 171), Sezanne (Lot 295), Tivaci (Lot 319), Heatherly (Lot 477) and Full Of Luck (Lot 479). The Ready to Run Sale catalogue has attracted 552 two-year-olds. The Sale will be held on 16 & 17 November 2016 at Karaka with selling to commence at 10am each day. Click here to view online catalogue.

Humidor Heading Home

Tuesday, 1st November 2016

Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) is heading home to the spelling paddock after receiving a pass mark from his trainers following his ninth place finish in last Saturday's Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, reports NZ Racing Desk. Johno Benner, who trains the 4YO in partnership with Hollie Wynyard, said that while the son of Teofilo had no luck in running he was happy enough with the outcome. "He is a big raw type and the trip over there will make him," Benner said.  "He had nowhere to go and still hit the line well so we know he will measure up over there." He added: "He will have two or three weeks in the paddock and then will come back for the Herbie Dyke at Te Rapa in February." Provided all goes well upon his return, Humidor could be back at Flemington for the Gr1 Australian Cup in March.

Brenner Confident With Humidor

Friday, 28th October 2016

Humidor's awkward draw in tomorrow's $1 million Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington won't change Johno Benner's final words to jockey Michael Walker, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Otaki trainer will be instructing the former champion New Zealand rider to have the well-performed 4YO positioned up on the pace. "We've got the visitor's draw [barrier 15] but we'll still go forward," said Benner, who prepares Humidor with his partner Hollie Wynyard. "We want to make use of his light weight [52.5kg] and give him every opportunity to be competitive." The lightly-tried Humidor has won four of his nine races, including last season's Gr3 Manawatu Classic, and in his most recent appearance finished runner-up to Willie Cazals in the Gr1 Livamol Classic over 2040 metres. "We couldn't be happier with him. He travelled over well and he's settled in and doing everything right," Benner said. "He hasn't missed a beat since he's been here and he's a very, very fit horse. He did his last piece of work this morning [Thursday] and he looked great. He breezed up on his own here at Flemington and he worked home well over the last 400 metres." While Humidor's best form is over ground, Benner said 1600 metres on Saturday would be ideal for the son of Teofilo. "He's freshened up nicely since running over 2000 metres and a mile at Flemington should suit him," he said.

Australian Trip To Benefit Humidor

Friday, 21st October 2016

Humidor's current Australian campaign is one undertaken with an eye very much to the future, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Gr1 performer was on a plane to Melbourne on Wednesday night with the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (formerly the Emirates Stakes) over a mile at Flemington on Saturday week his target. "The main reason we decided to go over is for the experience and hopefully the trip turns a boy into a man," said Johno Benner, who trains Humidor with his partner Hollie Wynyard. "We want to be back in Australia next year for the Australian Cup and, dare I say it, the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups." He added: "We know he can stay and this trip can be the making of him. He still does a few things wrong, but he is getting better and this experience will certainly help him." Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel), a winner of 4 of his 9 starts, gave a glimpse of his talent when finishing a creditable second in the Gr1 Livamol Classic last start. "He came home after that and had a quiet week and we've just kept ticking him over since," Benner said. "He's going really well and we're happy with his condition."

Willie Cazals Wins Gr1 Livamol Classic

Tuesday, 4th October 2016

At Hastings in New Zealand, dual Gr1-winning former Coolmore shuttler Aussie Rules (Danehill-Last Second, by Alzao) celebrated an elite success when 9YO Irish-bred gelding Willie Cazals (Aussie Rules-Secrete Marina, by Mujadil) scored by a short neck for trainers Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott in the NZ$250,000 Gr1 Gr1 Livamol Classic (2040m) for 3YO+, over 4YO NZ-bred gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) & 5YO NZ-bred gelding Hasselhoof (Tavistock-Alpine, by Zabeel). This was the first top-flight victory for Willie Cazals who improved his record to 6 wins (including the Listed Milan Premio Merano) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Vase) from 25 starts for NZ$1,805,688 earnings.

Rasa Lila New Favourite With No Kawi

Tuesday, 20th September 2016

Rasa Lila is the new favourite for Saturday week's Gr1 Livamol Classic (2040m) following the news that Kawi will not be contesting the final leg of the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Allan Sharrock has confirmed that Kawi, winner of the opening two legs - the Makfi Challenge Stakes & Windsor Park Plate - will forgo his opportunity to become the first horse in history to claim the Triple Crown by targeting the Gr1 Railway Stakes & Gr1 Kingston Town Classic double in Perth later in the year. "I think it [the Windsor Park Plate] has taken its toll. It was a very hard run – physically in the birdcage afterwards he knew he'd had a race," Sharrock said. "That's why we've withdrawn from the Livamol and we'll look at other options. I'll give him a week off and then we'll assess things from there." Rasa Lila (Darci Brahma), who resumed with an excellent third behind Kawi in Saturday's Windsor Park Plate, is now the $3.80 favourite for the Livamol, ahead of Humidor at $4.60, Mime at $6, and Hasselhoof at $8.

Classic Contender Making Good Progress

Tuesday, 19th July 2016

Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) has begun his build-up toward a likely Group One challenge at Hastings later this year, reports NZ Racing Desk. The rising 4YO is back in work with Otaki trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard, who have a tentative long-term plan of a shot at the Livamol Spring Classic at Hastings on 1 October. "There's nothing set in concrete for him yet, but we will probably set him for the last Group One at Hastings," Benner said. "It's early days, but he's had a couple of gallops so he's starting to warm up. Physically, he's improved and he's a really good looking horse." He added: "The way he's been working suggests he's come back very, very well." Runner-up on debut in January before he broke his maiden over a mile at Wanganui, the gelding then headed north to Te Rapa for his middle distance debut and, despite laying in badly in the straight, he finished second to the subsequent Gr2 Championship Stakes winner The Hassler. Humidor then suffered an interrupted passage and again hung in the running when unplaced in the Gr1 New Zealand Derby before he showed his true colours with a stout victory in the Gr3 Manawatu Classic. "He's a 10 furlong plus horse for sure and he's just going to get better," Benner said. Humidor is raced by his breeders, former All Black Mark Carter and his brother John under their Jomara Bloodstock banner.

Luna Rossa Wins Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes

Monday, 4th April 2016

At Awapuni in New Zealand, Woodside Park stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesia-Party Miss, by Kenmare) celebrated an elite success when 2YO filly Luna Rossa (Written Tycoon-Wild Promises, by More Than Ready) scored a fast-finishing long neck win for trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman in the NZ$225,000 Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) for 2YOs, over 2YO gelding Sicario (Bullbars-Pica Pica, by Stravinsky) & 2YO colt Saracino (Per Incanto-Bella Daniela, by O'Reilly). This was the first stakes victory for Luna Rossa who took her record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 5 starts for NZ$155,900 earnings. "She's a Group One winner by Written Tycoon so she's a very, very valuable filly now," co-trainer Andrew Forsman told NZ Racing Desk. Luna Rossa is raced by her breeders John, Mark and Rachael Carter under their Jomara Bloodstock banner and her victory completed a memorable black type double as they also own Gr3 Manawatu Classic winner Humidor.

Able Friend Half Brother

Humidor Wins Gr3 Manawatu Classic

Monday, 4th April 2016

At Awapuni in New Zealand, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 3YO gelding Humidor (Teofilo-Zalika, by Zabeel) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainers Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard in the NZ$70,000 Gr3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO gelding Five To Midnight (Domesday-Fastnet Lady, by Fastnet Rock) & 3YO filly Zbeauty (Castledale-Zdenka, by Western Symphony). Retained to race by his breeder Jomara Bloodstock Ltd, Humidor took his record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 5 starts for NZ$56,900 earnings.