At Ascot in Perth, Coolmore's Triple Crown winning Champion 2YO Pierro (Lonhro-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) added a Group success when 3YO gelding Action (Pierro-Broadway Belle, by Redoute's Choice) scored by a facile 4-lengths for trainers Grant & Alana Williams in the $400,000 Gr2 W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) for 3YOs, defeating 3YO filly Like A Butterfly & 3YO gelding Media Baron. Campaigned in the familiar Peters Investments cerise and white silks and giving nothing else a chance, exciting prospectAction took his record to 3 wins & 3 placings (including March's Listed Lex Piper Stakes) from 7 starts for $351,200 earnings.
At Ascot in Perth, WA, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred filly Special Alert (Not A Single Doubt-Truly Special, by Jeune) caused a huge upset at odds of 60-1 to win the $250,000 Gr3 WA Oaks (2400m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Like A Butterfly & stable-mate American Joy. A homebred for prominent WA owner and breeder Bob Peters, Special Alert improved her record to 2 wins and 3 placings from 10 starts for $182,990 in earnings.
At Ascot in Perth, Scenic Lodge's deceased former VRC Derby-winning sire Blackfriars (Danehill-Kensington Gardens, by Grosvenor) added a black-type success when 3YO filly Friar Fox (Blackfriars-Pearlesque, by Statoblest) scored by 2.8-lengths for trainer Justine Erkelens in the $100,000 Natasha Stakes (2200m) for 3YO fillies, defeating fellow fillies Modern News & Like A Butterfly. Runner-up last start in the Listed Ascot One Thousand Guineas behind Like A Butterfly, Friar Fox turned the tables when heavily supported over the extra 400m, and now appears primed for the WA Oaks on April 14. A $14,000 bargain purchase from Scenic Lodge at the 2016 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Friar now has 4 wins & 2 placings from 7 starts for $189,485 earnings.
At Ascot in Perth, WA, Scenic Lodge's deceased VRC Derby-winning sire Blackfriars (Danehill-Kensington Gardens, by Grosvenor) added a black-type success when 3YO Australian-bred filly Like A Butterfly (Blackfriars-Prime Knockout, by Mossman) opened her stakes account when pouncing on her rivals late to win the $100,000 Listed Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Friar Fox & Private Dancer. Like A Butterfly improved her record to 3 wins and 1 placing from 7 starts for $98,890 in earnings. An $8,000 purchase by her trainer Lou Luciani at the 2016 Magic Millions Perth Winter Yearling Sale, Like A Butterfly's second dam is Gr2 WATC Champion Fillies Stakes winner Prime Again, dam of stakes winners Lady Knockout and Young Lionel.
Tomorrow's Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, a 1200m 3YO sprint for colts & geldings with a stallion-making reputation, looks done and dusted if the odds are anything to go by. Run down Flemington's famous straight six, the market for the race has been cornered by Godolphin's exceptional rising sprint star Exosphere (Lonhro-Altitude, by Danzero) who has been tightened in from $1.50 earlier in the week to $1.40. Sent off second favourite in the Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes as a 2YO behind Vancouver, where he failed to beat a runner home after suffering an injury, Exosphere's return to racing has been meteoric, so much so that the Gr1 Golden Rose Stakes hero is widely considered the only horse capable of stopping irrepressible sprinter Chautauqua from dominating Australia's short course features. But first there's tomorrow's project where he meets a cracking cast of sophomore sprinters. With a relaxed, fluid, galloping style that belies just how fast he is travelling, Exosphere could become the turf equivalent of Muhammed Ali, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
Friday Odd-Spot: Whether he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee remains to be seen, but a 2YO colt making his debut at Kenilworth in Cape Town tomorrow has the right credentials to punch above his weight. Seventh Flame, a R625,000 yearling consigned by Klawervlei at the 2014 Cape Premier Sale, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Tap Tap Makhatini who was named after the brilliant Zulu southpaw boxer of the 70s and 80s. His half-brother's moniker aside, Seventh Flame certainly has the pedigree to be championship material: by exceptional Australian-bred Gr1 winner Seventh Rock (Rock of Gibraltar-Ruby Clipper), Seventh Fame's grand dam is a half-sister to the dam of Alastor, winner of Cape Town's prestigious Gr1 J&B Metropolitan Handicap.