A colt by Kingman out of the Australian-bred mare Reem topped the opening day of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale when selling for 750,000 guineas to champion trainer John Gosden. Bred by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Reem is by Galileo out of the Danehill mare Al Afreet and hails from the family of champion European 2YO & 3YO and 5-time Gr1 winner Rodrigo De Triano. This is the potent Galileo x Danehill cross that has produced the likes of the mighty Frankel. Consigned by Adrian and Philippa O'Brien's Hazelwood Bloodstock at Exning near Newmarket, the colt's purchase price is the second highest ever achieved at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. "That was unbelievable," said Adrian O'Brien. "I was not sure what he would make. We decided to let the market find his value. He has been very popular in the run-up to today, and a lot of the main players were interested - it was just a matter of whether they followed him into the ring - which thank god they did!"
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Yarraman Park's Gr3-winning stallion I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit-Cannarelle, by Canny Lad) celebrated an elite race quinella when 3YO Australian-bred filly Oohood (I Am Invincible-Bella Sunday, by Sunday Silence) conceded the leaders a big start turning for home but jumped out of the ground late to score a narrow win in the $500,000 Gr1 Flight Stakes (1600m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Fiesta & Nakeeta Jane. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned Oohood improved her record to 1 win and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Gr1 Golden Slipper & Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes) from 10 starts for $1,310,800 in earnings. This was a thoroughly deserved win for Oohood, who finally shed her unwanted tag as Australia's best maiden. "I feel a bit numb. It's a great relief," trainer Tony McEvoy told Sky Racing. "It's very exciting and she deserves it. There's not a lot of her but she's got great ability and she's very tenacious." The win boosted Oohood's value significantly as she is a direct descendant of influential broodmare Easy Date, ancestress of Gr1-winning sire Snippets, Golden Slipper winner Forensics, and Arrowfield's high profile stallion Not A Single Doubt.
Muntahaa (Dansili-Qertaas, by Linamix) capped a big week for trainer John Gosden when landing the Ebor Handicap (2800m) at York on Saturday. Gosden was still celebrating the win of top-class 3YO colt Roaring Lion in the Gr1 Juddmonte International Stakes earlier in the week when Muntahaa (11-1) finished powerfully to claim the £500,000 feature - the most valuable handicap ever run in Britain - by 3.25 lengths over Weekender & Sea The Lion. Angus Gold, racing manager to Muntahaa's owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said Muntahaa was a chance of travelling to Australia for the Melbourne Cup. "His ability was never in doubt. It was just a case of getting him in good form mentally. John said to me last week he had never had this horse better," Gold said. "If entries haven't closed yet [for the Melbourne Cup] we'll put him in. Whether he'd take to it mentally with the hustle and bustle, I don't know."
The opening race at Pakenham today (Racing.com Fillies Maiden Plate 1200m) will feature the debut of a valuable 2YO filly, to race in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. El Estoora (Spanish for "the stool") will represent the astute juvenile stable of Tony McEvoy in what looms as a classy affair that also includes a homebred first starter with serious credentials in Sutphin Boulevard (a Medaglia d'Oro half-sister to Gr2 winner Tinbourina, Gr2 Magic Night winner Media and Listed winner Cardinal Virtue). El Estoora is by High Chaparral from prolific Danehill mare Diamond Like, a sister to Gr1 winner Viking Ruler and Gr2 winner Kempinsky. Diamond Like has already produced Gr2 winner Forever Loved (full-sister to El Estoora), Gr3 winner Zephyron and stakes-placed duo Fenella and Ardeche. This is the truly regal Eight Carat family that needs no introduction. El Estoora was a NZ$800,000 purchase at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Sale.
The only Australian-bred runner in this year’s Gr1 Durban July Handicap (2200m) is given a reasonable chance of running into the money. Competing in the iconic Greyville feature in Durban, 3YO colt Yakeen (Teofilo-Reine, by Royal Academy) goes into the event with a number of positives where he takes on a strong field headed by locally-bred $3.50 favourite African Night Sky (by Dynasty). By Darley’s Gr1 Dewhust Stakes hero Teofilo out of a half-sister to Gr1 Blue Diamond winner Nadeem, Yakeen is conditioned by globally influential trainer Mike de Kock for Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum whose yellow and bright blue silks are well known in Australia. Purchased by Form Bloodstock from the draft of Yarran Thoroughbreds for $160,000 at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, Yakeen was unraced as a 2YO but has won 4 of his 6 starts to date, including his last outing in the Gr3 Jubilee Handicap (1800m) at Turffontein. The 400m longer distance may pose a challenge to the $25 chance, however on a clock-wise circuit more akin to Moonee Valley, Yakeen is weighted to give his supporters some hope from a favourable draw, particularly as his champion grand dam Candide won at Gr1 level to 2400m, and another of her daughters is dam of Gr1 Australasian Oaks winner Marju Snip.
Smart filly Oohood, widely recognised as the best maiden in Australia, has trainer Tony McEvoy excited about her prospects in the spring. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned filly was a model of consistency throughout her juvenile season never finishing out of the placings in six starts. However, she is yet to win a race despite placing three times at Group 1 level in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne, the Golden Slipper (1200m), and the Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in Sydney. "She has done beautifully. She grew and really thickened up which she needed to do and has come back in tremendous order," McEvoy told Sky Sports Radio. "She has a great economical action this filly and she's just up to the evens time stage now and I'm very happy with her." McEvoy added: "If you look back she was very unlucky not to win the Blue Diamond and she was also a bit stiff in the Golden Slipper, the two premier races on our two-year-old calendar, so its very exciting having her in my team." By Yarraman Park's high-profile stallion I Am Invincible, Oohood is out of Bella Sunda (Sunday Silence) and is a direct descendant of influential broodmare Easy Date, ancestress of Gr1-winning sire Snippets, Golden Slipper winner Forensics, and Arrowfield's high profile stallion Not A Single Doubt.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed that a trip to Australia for The Everest will be considered for rejuvenated sprinter Blue Point after his impressive win in Tuesday's Group 1 King's Stands Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot. Blue Point's (Shamardal) victory saw him return to the high class form he displayed as a 2YO, which included placings in the Gr1 Middle Park Stakes & Gr1 Dewhurst Stakes. "A lot (of horses) have been mooted for The Everest which was obviously run for the first time last year and is a fantastic race, so it's definitely on our radar," Appleby told Sky Racing. "We've got a few more months to cover yet but it's there on our radar. We'll enjoy today and then look to the future." Appleby added: "I'll let the dust settle and over the course of the next week or two will be in conversation with His Royal Highness (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum). We'll map out what we feel is right for the horse."
Trainer Tony McEvoy is expecting smart filly Oohood (I Am Invincible-Bella Sunday, by Sunday Silence) to have no problems stepping up to seven furlongs for the first time in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Sires Produce Stakes at Royal Randwick, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned filly has been a model of consistency throughout her juvenile season never finishing out of the placings in all five starts. Although she is yet to win a race, she boasts the strongest form lines having placed twice at Group 1 level in the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne and the Golden Slipper (1200m) in Sydney. "She's been knocking on the door and hopefully she's got another big run in her for us," McEvoy said. "She's learning and learning and getting better all the time. She did everything correct in the Slipper and just missed."
Meanwhile, Mazarine also has an unraced O'Reilly filly named Faazya who is highly-regarded by her trainer Tony McEvoy, reports NZ Racing Desk. "The Sheikh's [Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum] racing manager Tim Stakemire has been keeping me up to date and they think she is a Group filly in the making," breeder Michael Moran said. Moran also co-bred former champion Australian racehorse So You Think, a possible suitor for Mazarine later this year. "The mare went to Iffraaj, but unfortunately the last scan showed she was empty so we'll have to work out the right mate for her this year - maybe So You Think," he said. The beautifully related Mazarine (Zabeel) is a three-quarter sister to 2003 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Shower Of Roses from the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes winner Marquise. This makes Hiyaam a granddaughter of legendary broodmare Eight Carat, dam of champion galloper and Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal, his exceptional but ill-fated triple Gr1-winning brother Mouawad, Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce winner Kaapstad, and Gr1 Railway Handicap winner Diamond Lover.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO New Zealand-bred filly Hiyaam (High Chaparral-Mazarine, by Zabeel) was able to dictate in the lead before powering clear over the concluding stages to win the $500,000 Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) for 3YO fillies, over the unlucky Unforgotten & Aloisia. A homebred for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Hiyaam improved her record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr1 VRC Oaks & Gr2 ATC Phar Lap Stakes) from 8 starts for $477,740 in earnings. Hiyaam is now a $7 chance with TAB for Saturday week's Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick. "Even after the line I was still humming down the side. Bring on the Oaks, that's for sure," jockey Michael Dee told Sky Racing. "If she can get the lead and run in the Oaks she will be hard to beat." Hiyaam is out of the beautifully related Mazarine (Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to 2003 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Shower Of Roses from the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes winner Marquise. This makes Hiyaam a granddaughter of legendary broodmare Eight Carat, dam of champion galloper and Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal, his exceptional but ill-fated triple Gr1-winning brother Mouawad, Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce winner Kaapstad, and Gr1 Railway Handicap winner Diamond Lover.
At Kranji racecourse in Singapore, former Yarraman Park and now Kooringal Stud-based Gr2-winning sire Magic Albert (Zeditave-Sally Lou, by Salieri) added a Group race success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Aramco (Magic Albert-Eye For Fun, by Snitzel) claimed his first stakes victory when resuming with a strong win in the S$200,000 Gr3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Countofmontecristo & Lim's Samurai. Aramco, who is a half-brother to Gr1 Golden Slipper winner Mossfun, improved his record to 6 wins and 10 placings from 22 starts for $440,031 in earnings. Aramco was a $750,000 purchase by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
At Meydan racecourse in Dubai, Darley's three-time Gr1-winning world-class shuttle sire Dubawi (Dubai Millennium-Zomaradah, by Deploy) celebrated an elite race success when 6YO UK-bred gelding North America (Dubawi-Northern Mischief, by Yankee Victor) bounded clear for a dominant win in the US$400,000 Gr1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Godolphin galloper Thunder Snow & Furia Cruzada. North America improved his record to 5 wins and 5 placings (including the Gr2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Stakes) from 14 starts.
Co-trainer David Hayes concedes that exciting filly Qafila is going to have to produce something special to win tomorrow's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Qafila has been given an unorthodox preparation for the $1.5 million juvenile feature and goes into the race as the only horse not to have had a lead-up run. This makes her somewhat of an unknown quantity and the dark horse of the race. The daughter of Not A Single Doubt, who is raced by long-time Lindsay Park client Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Shadwell Stud, hasn't raced since scoring a most impressive win in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield in October. Hayes is confident that Qafila has the ability to win the race, but says she will have to have luck on her side after drawing poorly in barrier 16. "Qafila will be at good odds because she hasn't run recently," Hayes told racenet. "Until the barrier draw, I was sure she was going to be right in the race because if I ran her in a lead-up, she would have won." Hayes added: "She is going well but is going to need a D Dunn [Dwayne Dunn] classic ride." Shadwell Stud has had nine runners in the Blue Diamond Stakes for three winners, namely Mahaasin (1990), Nadeem (2006) and Reaan (2008).
It's an exciting time for the connections of the three Karaka graduates set to make their debut in Dubai. Group 1 winner Music Magnate (Written Tycoon) has accepted his invitation to the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on 31 March, while Singapore stakes winners Gilt Complex (Gold Centre) and Bahana (Elusive City) have already arrived in Dubai and tested the Meydan track ahead of their major assignments in March. Group 1 Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate tuned up for his first international foray by winning a barrier trial at Rosehill on Monday, while Gilt Complex and Bahana had their first start over 2000m in Dubai on 8 February. Gilt Complex could proceed to the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold on 10 March and Bahana could line up in a race on World Cup night, Saturday 31 March. Kiwi horses have performed at the highest levels in Dubai. Former Hong Kong Horse of the Year and Champion Stayer Vengeance of Rain (Zabeel) claimed the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic Stakes while Joy and Fun (Cullen) won the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint Stakes also placing twice in the race after it received an upgrade to Group 1 status. Karaka graduate Gun Pit (Dubawi) also performed admirably finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Stakes. Over the years, legendary Kiwi horses such as Sunline (Desert Sun) and Seachange (Cape Cross), and more recently Karaka graduates So You Think (High Chaparral) and Ocean Park (Thorn Park), proved themselves as highly credentialed Group 1 winners and headed to Dubai in attempts to replicate their form. Click here to view comments from the connections of the above mentioned Dubai runners.
Top French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, best known as the trainer of champion mare and dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Treve, has announced she is retiring from the sport. Head-Maarek, whose career has spanned 40 years, will saddle up her final runners on 1 February. However, she will not be lost to the sport and plans to spend more time at her family's stud, Haras du Quesnay in Deauville. "It was a tough decision to take, because it is always tough when you decide to change. It is a big change for me. I have been training since 1977, so 41 years," she told Sky Sports. "I've been very lucky to train for some wonderful owners, like the Wertheimer brothers, Juddmonte Farms and Prince Khalid Abdullah, Maktoum Al Maktoum and obviously my dad [Alec Head]," she told Racing Post. "For 40 years I've been lucky to have fantastic horses throughout, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. It was a hard decision to make, but I'm nearly 70 and it's time to stop."
With NZB's Karaka set to literally light up on Sunday 28 January with the commencement of Book 1's new night session at the 2018 National Yearling Sales Series, buyers will have the opportunity to invest in a catalogue laden with matriarchal strength. A lofty 19% of Gr1 winners in Australia over the past 5 seasons are NZ-bred. The dazzling role call includes dual Oaks and Underwood Stakes winner Bonneval, Champion 2YO Melody Belle, together with fellow Gr1 winning fillies Charmont, Chenille, I Am A Star and Montoya's Secret. 2018 has already commenced spectacularly with Gr1 Guineas winners Aloisia and Hasahalo as well as top drawer sprinter Volpe Veloce taking the Railway. Amidst a buoyant contemporary bloodstock market, prices are again tipped to soar and rival the $800,000 outlaid by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum in 2017 for the High Chaparral filly out of Diamond Like.
Trainer Tony McEvoy will unveil valuable 2YO Al Naifa at Moonee Valley tonight. Purchased by Tim Stakemire on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum for $1.8 million at this year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Newhaven Park, Al Naifa is by Redoute's Choice out of Court (Anabaa) and is a half-sister to classy sprinter and Gr1 All Aged Stakes winner English. It is also the family of dual Group 1 winner and successful sire Grand Lodge. Foreman Michael Shepherdson said the stable was expecting a forward showing from Al Naifa when she debuts in the CRT/Whites Rural Plate over 1000m. "She's a high-priced yearling that's been well-educated and we've been really excited to have her in the stable," Shepherdson told racing.com. "She's had a jump-out at Flemington and two trials at Cranbourne. In the first one she showed quite a lot of speed and natural talent so in the second trial we wanted to bring her in behind to teach her to switch off and she did that before circling them to win the trial." He added: "She's banging the door down to go to the races and we've drawn a nice barrier so she should get the run of the race."
At Doomben in Brisbane, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) added a black-type success when 3YO Australian-bred filly Pretty Fast (Not A Single Doubt-Miss Sharapova, by Ustinov) lived up to her name with a brilliant display of sustained speed to lead throughout in the first leg of the Summer Crown series for 3YOs, the $100,000 Listed Bobby Clarke Mode Plate (1200m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Winter Bride & Dream Kisses. Purchased by Tim Stakemire on behalf of owner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum for $650,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Arrowfield Stud, Pretty Fast improved her record to 4 wins and 1 placing from 7 starts for $191,335 in earnings. Pretty Fast is out of the talented mare Miss Sharapova (3rd in the Gr3 Lowland Stakes & 4th in the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks) and is a direct descendent of the good producer Rory's Rocket, dam of Gr1 Golden Slipper winner and successful sire Rory's Jester. "She's a valuable broodmare now she's won Black-Type and she's a Magic Millions filly," co-trainer Paul Snowden said. "We think 1200 metres is probably her best distance and there's a similar race for her in two weeks." He added: "The Magic Millions Guineas is over 1400 metres so we'll just wait and see." Pretty Fast is the 49th stakes winner for her prolific sire Not A Single Doubt.
The Lindsay Park team will be represented by two runners at this year’s UAE racing season in Dubai. Ben Hayes said the dual Gr2-winning and Gr1-placed sprinter Faatinah (Nicconi) and stakes-placed Shaf (Wanted) will compete during the early part of the season at the behest of their owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and owner of Shadwell Stud. “The sheikh suggested it and we decided to take a couple over,” Hayes told racenet. “It will just be great to show off some Australian talent in Dubai. They are going over to target the 1000m and 1200m races before the big carnival in March.” Hayes added: “I reckon the way Faatinah is going, he’ll definitely measure up and Shaf is a good travel companion.”
At Flemington in Melbourne, former Westbury Stud triple Gr1-winning shuttler Makfi (Dubawi-Dhelaal, by Green Desert) added a Group race success when 2YO bay colt Run Naan (Makfi-Raneen, by Perfectly Ready) maintained his perfect record when powering to an impressive win in the $150,000 Gr3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) for 2YOs, defeating Encryption & Belzella. A homebred for Sheikh Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Run Naan extended his unbeaten record to 2 wins from 2 starts for $103,600 in earnings. Run Naan is the first foal to race of the Perfectly Ready mare Raneen, a direct descendant of champion Australian mare Emancipation (4th dam). Emancipation, a six-time Gr1 winner and Australian Horse of the Year, has been just as influential off the track with her daughters and granddaughters producing numerous stakes performers including Gr1 winners Railings, Virage de Fortune and Rumya. Trainer Tony McEvoy said Run Naan had a bright future. "He will grow up," McEvoy told racing.com. "I want him to settle down because I need to keep him as an entire." He added: "He's a pretty good colt this fellow and I'll pop him aside now and we'll come back in the autumn and we'll have a look at him then."
At Chantilly in France, 3YO Irish-bred sprinter Battaash (Dark Angel-Anna Law, by Lawman) claimed his maiden top-flight success when streeting his rivals by 4 lengths in the Gr1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp (5 furlongs) for 2YO+, defeating Marsha & Profitable. Owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud, Battaash improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 King George Stakes) and 3 placings from 10 starts for £446,344 in earnings. Trainer Charlie Hills was delighted with the result. "It's very important to win that Group One with him and he did it in great style," Hills said. "I'm looking forward to having him around next year. He's finished for this season, but everything is open next year, including the Breeders' Cup."
The first foal by Frankel to be born in New Zealand is set to make his debut in the Schweppes 3YO Handicap (1400m) at Warwick Farm today. By the world's highest-ever rated racehorse, Frankel, Tangmere is out of the Zabeel mare Our Echezeaux and was purchased for $1.3 million by a high profile syndicate that includes Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, BBA Ireland, Tom Magnier and the Niarchos Family at last year’s NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Pencarrow Stud. Pencarrow Stud principal Sir Peter Vela has retained an interest in the blue blooded colt. The beautifully bred Our Echezeaux is a daughter of Vice Regal mare Richebourg, making her a half-sister to Romanee Conti, the dam of Melbourne and Caulfield Cup heroine Ethereal and a full-sister to Australasian Oaks winner Grand Echezeaux, the dam of 5-time Gr1-winning sire Darci Brahma and Gr3 winner Burgundy. Our Echezeaux who has already produced Group winners Dolmabache and Pure Elegance. Trained by Chris Waller, Tangmere is currently a $13 chance with TAB to make a winning debut.
At Sandown in the UK, blue-blood juvenile Emaraaty (Dubawi-Zee Zee Top, by Zafonic) closed off his pipe-opener strongly over 7 furlongs in a 2YO maiden last Friday to finish fourth, beaten 3.75-lengths as joint $4 favourite from an unsuitable wide barrier. Owned by Sheik Hamdam Al Maktoum, Emaraaty was a 2.6 million guineas yearling at the 2016 Tattersalls October Book-1 Sale, where he was the joint top lot. Prepared by John Gosden, the colt holds an entry for October's Gr1 Dewhurst Stakes, however may now be put away before a potentially exciting 3YO season next year where much is expected of him. To say Emeraaty's pedigree is soaked in Gr1 form is an understatement. Within his first two dams and their offspring alone are Gr1 winners Zee Zee Top, Izzi Top, Colourspin, Kayf Tara and Necklace.
Well-bred filly Roomooz confirmed connections' plans to target the Gr1 Thousand Guineas in the spring after resuming with a strong win at Moonee Valley on Saturday. The Tony McEvoy-trained 3YO proved too good for Golden Slipper-placed filly and race favourite Tulip when holding on for a tough head win in the Johnnie Walker Plate over 1200m. "I've had a high regard of her for a long time. In a year's time, she'll be better again," McEvoy told racing.com post-race. McEvoy is confident Roomooz will have no trouble stretching her brilliance out to 1600 metres in the $500,000 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on 14 October. "Her pedigree says a mile. She's by Fastnet Rock and her mother, Pane In The Glass, was a very good mare and was a Group winner at a mile - it won't be an issue," he said. A $480,000 Easter yearling purchase by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Roomooz is by Fastnet Rock out of Gr3 Silver Shadow Stakes winner and multiple Gr1 placed filly Pane In The Glass (Testa Rossa).
Four Group 1-winning Arrowfield graduates were the only Australian-bred finalists for South Africa's 2016/17 Equus Awards, and two of them won their respective categories. Sheikh Hamdan's brilliant colt Mustaaqeem was named Champion 2YO Colt, while Whisky Baron won the Champion Middle Distance title at the awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening. Like his sire Redoute's Choice, Mustaaqeem made only two juvenile appearances that culminated in an outstanding 4-length victory in the Gr1 SA Nursery (1160m) at Turffontein in May. A $1.75 million purchase by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud Australasia at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Mustaaqeem is the fourth foal to race from the three-time Gr1 winning South African mare National Colour (National Assembly) and is a full brother to stable-mate Rafeef, who won the Gr1 Computaform Sprint on the same program. An $800,000 Easter purchase, Rafeef, now standing at Highlands Stud in South Africa, was a finalist for the Champion Sprinter award won by Carry On Alice. Whisky Baron (Manhattan Rain-Tazkara by Sinndar), a product of the Aga Khan Studs' partnership with Arrowfield, was bought for just $50,000 at the 2014 Easter Sale. Trained by Brett Crawford, Whisky Baron progressed dramatically from three to four winning all five of his starts last season ending with a stunning win in the R5 million Gr1 Sun Met (2000m) at Kenilworth. The fourth Arrowfield Equus Award finalist was 3YO colt Heavenly Blue (Snitzel-Simply Carina by El Prado), who finished third in the Gr1 South African Derby.
The first foal of dual Gr1-winning stallion Pride Of Dubai (Street Cry-Al Anood, by Danehill) has been born at Coolmore Stud in the NSW Hunter Valley, reports breednet. The filly is the second foal out of the unraced Isstoora who, like Pride Of Dubai himself, was bred by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. By High Chaparral out of Murjana (Giant's Causeway), Isstoora is a direct descendant of celebrated blue hen Best In Show, ancestress of multiple champion Australian sire Redoute's Choice among many others. "His Highness has been looking forward to the first Pride Of Dubai foals for quite some time," said Tim Stakemire, bloodstock manager for HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. "This filly appears to have inherited all of the best physical characteristics of her sire which is very exciting. His Highness supported him with a large volume of quality mares in his first season and he is very much looking forward to racing his offspring in years to come." A winner of the Gr1 MRC Blue Diamond Stakes and Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes as a 2YO - the only horse ever to achieve the double - the outstanding Pride Of Dubai retired in February 2016 with a record of 2 wins and 2 placings from 5 starts for $1,336,100 in earnings. Pride Of Dubai, who himself hails from a blue blooded family that includes champion European sire Invincible Spirit and Gr1 Prix de Diane winner Rafha, will stand at Coolmore this spring at a fee of $44,000.
At Deauville in France overnight, Darley’s unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 2YO filly Tantheem (Teofilo-Riqa, by Dubawi) led throughout for a convincing win in the Gr3 Prix de Cabourg (6 furlongs) for 2YOs, defeating Darkanna (Dark Angel) & Mister Picnic (Penny’s Picnic). Prepared by master French trainer Freddy Head on behalf of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud, Tantheem improved her record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 3 starts.
At Salisbury in the UK overnight, Darley's Australian three-time Gr1-winning shuttler Helmet (Exceed and Excel-Accessories, by Singspiel) added a black-type success when 3YO Irish-bred gelding Eqtiraan (Helmet-Miranda Frost, by Cape Cross) scored by a neck for trainer Richard Hannon in the Listed Cathedral Stakes (6 furlongs), defeating Mythmaker & Pixeleen. "He's got a lot of speed and he's done it well in the end,” assistant trainer Tom Ward told Racing UK. "That gives us plenty of options and some nice Group races later in the year, hopefully." Raced by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud, Eqtiraan improved his record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr3 Solario Stakes) from 7 starts for £55,555 in earnings.
Meanwhile, today's opening race at Canterbury in Sydney could be decided by an event held last January. That feature was the Widden Stakes at Rosehill where $6 debutant Boorooj finished 1.5-lengths behind high class 2YO Teaspoon. Boorooj is by Darley's leading stallion Exceed and Excel out of Gr1-winning Zabeel mare Unearthly. She set Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum back $750,000 at 2016's Inglis Easter Sale. This afternoon the juvenile filly takes on some pretty handy opposition in the form of Godolphin's colt Gaulois and James Cummings' Envy Of All, both of which are yet to be unplaced from their first three starts. Throw in All Too Hard's promising Team Hawkes-trained colt Newburgh plus a few interesting debutants, and it's a really intriguing contest.
Kitchwin Hills have announced that beautifully related entire Sooboog (Snitzel-Monte Rosa, by Fraar) will stand at the Scone-based stud for a fee of $13,200 for the 2017 season. A winner of the Gr3 Aurie's Star Handicap (1200m) last year, Sooboog is a full brother to top-class sprinting mare and Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes winner Snitzerland and was purchased for $1.5 million by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Arrowfield Stud. The Darren Weir-trained 4YO is among the nominations for Saturday's $700,000 Gr1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) in Brisbane.
Following last week's announcement that triple Gr1-winning Kiwi galloper Turn Me Loose will join Windsor Park Stud's roster in 2017, the stud has confirmed their Group One performed Australian entires Vanbrugh and Rageese will also retire to stud this spring. Both the co-owned Windsor Park 4YO's have forthcoming Group One assignments and stud owner Rodney Schick is very enthusiastic about their potential. "The important thing with Vanbrugh, Rageese and Turn Me Loose is they all possessed huge talent from day one and they've all competed successfully at the highest level in Australia," he said. "They are outstanding types with pedigrees to match and now, with the recent announcements around boosted prize money, Windsor Park are excited to offer breeders three new high-class stallion prospects." Vanbrugh (Encosta de lago), who is scheduled to run in the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) later this month, is a winner of the Gr1 ATC Spring Champion Stakes, while Rageese, who is owned in partnership with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, finished runner-up in the Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes in Sydney as a 2YO. Rageese (Street Cry), a direct descendant of champion Australian mare Emancipation, is scheduled to run in the Gr1 Goodwood Handicap in Adelaide followed by the Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane.
At Turffontein in South Africa, multiple Champion Australian Sire Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) celebrated an elite race success when 2YO colt Mustaaqeem (Redoute's Choice-National Colour, by National Assembly) confirmed his status as a rising star of South African racing when sprinting clear for a brilliant 4-length win in the R1 million Gr1 SA Nursery (1160m) for 2YOs, defeating stable-mate Naafer & Wonderwall. Mustaaqeem, who is now unbeaten in his only two starts, was bred in Australia by Arrowfield Stud who sold him for $1.75 million to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud Australasia at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Mustaaqeem is the fourth foal to race from the three-time Gr1 winning South African mare National Colour (National Assembly) and is a full brother to and stable-mate to Rafeef who won the Gr1 Computaform Sprint on the same program. Jockey Callan Murray paid Mustaaqeem a huge compliment saying: "He's one of the better horses I've sat on…at the 400m mark it was no race. He has a lovely nature too…It's a privilege to be able to ride horses like these." Trainer Mike de Kock said on his website: "Breeding the best to the best doesn't always work out but in this case it has. National Colour was an unbelievably good mare. She finished a close second in the Nunthorpe Stakes, a proper English Gr1 sprint, a race she would have won if they didn't change the course." He added: "This would have made Sheikh Hamdan proud and we are happy with him, he deserves the success for his big and continued support of South African racing. Mustaaqeem is a professional, he knew what to do today."
Following a stellar Day-3 of the 2017 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, where Arrowfield Stud sold five Lots for $1 million or more, including the overall sale-topping Lot 333 (a Redoute’s Choice x Secluded brother to Blue Diamond runner-up Pariah), purchased by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s racing manager Tim Stakemire for $2.5 million, Arrowfield’s John Messara praised the Sydney sales company. “Inglis put together a very strong buying bench so all credit must go to them in all honesty,” Messara acknowledged, after the Hunter Valley stud farm sold seven Lots in total for $1 million or more from their 34 sales over the three days, ending with a 92% clearance rate. “We brought a very strong product to market but Inglis brought the market together from all around the world and when you get a strong product and a strong market, you get maximum results.” On the $2.5 million sale-topper, Messara wasn’t surprised the colt attracted significant attention from the buying bench. “I was expecting a big price but I didn’t know what that price would be,” he said. “It’s fitting that Redoute’s should top the sale too because he’s been leading sire here for so long now.”
It took a syndicate of international powerbrokers to outbid a Sheikh for top honours on a strong second day of the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale at Newmarket on Wednesday. The object of their desire was the stunning Medaglia d'Oro x Hoss Amor colt (Lot 178) from Yarraman Park which was eventually purchased by Coolmore, Stonestreet Stables, Aquis/Bluesky and Unifaith for $2.4 million from under bidder Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. The price tag proved a further indicator of the strength and depth of the buyer market present at the sale, which has led to impressive overall figures. At the conclusion of day two, the sale's average price was $354,044, median $270,000, and gross $79,660,000. The clearance rate was a healthy 81%. The leading vendor by aggregate is Arrowfield Stud ($10,355,000) and by average (three or more sold) is Yarraman Park at $600,714, while the leading buyer by Lots purchased is Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott with 14. James Harron is the leader by average (three or more Lots bought) at $1,050,000 for four Lots. The leading sire by aggregate is Snitzel ($13,590,000 from 29 sales) and by average (three or more Lots sold) is Easter graduate Exceed And Excel at $606,364. With one day to go, there have been 10 Lots sell for $1 million or more, eclipsing last year's results which saw 9 millionaire yearlings sold over the three days. Day three of the sale begins at midday today. Click here to view the video highlights of day two.
Beautifully bred entire Sooboog (Snitzel-Monte Rosa, by Fraar) has been secured by Kitchwin Hills and will commence stud duties later in the year, reports breednet. A winner of the Gr3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) last year, Sooboog is a full brother to top-class sprinting mare and Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes winner Snitzerland and was purchased for $1.5 million by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Arrowfield Stud. Trainer Darren Weir said Sooboog’s current preparation was progressing nicely. “With the preparation so far going perfectly, the main target will likely be the Group 1 Goodwood at Morphettville and if we are all happy then onto the Brisbane carnival,” he said. "We are really excited to have secured Sooboog," said Kitchwin's Mick Malone. "Breeders can see with their own eyes, Written Tycoon, Beneteau, Not a Single Doubt, Hinchinbrook, I am Invincible, whilst none of them were G1 winners they were all ripping types and as importantly possessed serious 2yo speed. We are proud and excited to be able to offer breeders lifetime entitlements in Sooboog." A lifetime breeding entitlement can be purchased before Sooboog resumes his autumn campaign for $30,000 (plus GST) (limited to a maximum of 40 entitlements). It entitles the owner to breed two live foals in 2017, two live foals in 2018 and a lifetime breeding right from 2019 onwards. Sooboog’s tentative service fee this year will be $12,000 (plus GST), however that may be revised upwards should he perform well during his upcoming campaign.
Tomorrow's race meeting at Newcastle, north of Sydney, will play host to one of 2015's leading yearlings when 3YO colt Shaheen (Snitzel-Admirelle, by General Nediym) has his first start. Accepted for two maiden events (over 1150m & 1300m) Shaheen was knocked down to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the Inglis Easter Sale for $2.2 million from the draft of high profile vendor Milburn Creek. Shaheen is a full-brother to young Newgate Farm stallion Sizzling, a Gr1 winner of $1.3 million. Dam, Admirelle, has had three colts subsequent to foaling Shaheen – by Redoute's Choice, I Am Invincible and Snitzel.
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).
Champion UK filly Taghrooda, winner of the Epsom Oaks and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, is one of the high-profile mares set to visit Muhaarar in his second season at owner-breeder Hamdan Al Maktoum's Nunnery Stud in Norfolk this year, reports Racing Post. The Al Maktoum-owned Taghrooda (Sea The Stars-Ezima, by Sadler's Wells), who became the first filly to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes since Pawneese in 1976, signed off on her brief but brilliant career when finishing third behind Treve in the 2014 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The beautifully bred Taghrooda hails from the same female family as The Queen's Ascot Gold Cup winner Estimate, as well as Irish Oaks winner Ebadiyla, and Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Edabiya. If that isn't impressive enough, all of the aforementioned mares descend from one of the most influential broodmares in history, namely Frizette, ancestress of the legendary stallions Mr Prospector & Seattle Slew. Other blue blooded mares who are also set to visit the champion sprinter are Tarfah, the dam of triple Classic winner Camelot, as well as the dams of Gr1 winners Tamayuz, Toormore, Robin Of Navan, Red Cadeaux, Planteur and Maarek. Muhaarar confirmed his status as one of the best European sprinters of the modern era when claiming four successive Gr1 victories in 2015. He also became the first British trained horse since Dayjur in 1990 to win three Gr1 sprints in a season.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed that impressive debut winner Roomooz is being aimed at next month's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, but says he is in no hurry to decide when she will run next. By former champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock out of Gr3 Silver Shadow Stakes winner and multiple Gr1 placed filly Pane In The Glass (Testa Rossa), Roomooz overcame a wide run to score by a widening 1.2 lengths in a 2YO maiden plate over 1000m at Morphettville on Saturday. Hailing from the same family as champion sprinter and speed influence Gold Brose, Roomooz was purchased for $480,000 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Newgate Farm. "She finished her last 200 metres in 10.97 and ran 21.8 for her last 400 metres, so for a two-year-old filly having her first career start in 40 degree heat..I thought was very impressive, McEvoy told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "I've spoken to Tim Stakemire, who looks after the Sheikh's horses, and we have decided not to make a decision this week. We just want her to get over that run in that heat." McEvoy added: "There are lots of options. The Blue Diamond Preview is in a fortnight...the Blue Diamond Prelude is in five weeks, so there is plenty of time. I'll wait until I see her later in the week and we will go from there." The Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) will be run at Caulfield on Saturday, 25 February.
Well-bred filly Roomooz looked a more than handy prospect when making a winning debut at Morphettville in Adelaide on Saturday. Despite racing three wide throughout in the small seven-horse field, the Tony McEvoy-trained 2YO proved too classy for her rivals surging clear over the final 50 metres to score by a widening 1.2 lengths. By former champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock, Roomooz is the first foal of Gr3 Silver Shadow Stakes winner and multiple Gr1 placed filly Pane In The Glass (Testa Rossa), herself a half sister to champion sprinter and speed influence Gold Brose. This is also the family of stakes-placed pair Bewilder and Dyslexia. Bred by SF Bloodstock, she was purchased for $480,000 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Newgate Farm.
Outstanding SA-based trainer Tony McEvoy has chosen the Projection Graphics Plate (1000m) at Morphettville Parks tomorrow as the launching pad for highly priced 2YO filly Roomooz (Fastnet Rock–Pane In The Glass, by Testa Rossa. A $480,000 yearling purchase by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum at the 2016 Inglis Easter Sale, Roomooz, an early $2.45 favourite, is the first foal of stakes-winning and multiple Gr1 placed mare Pane In The Glass, herself a half sister to Champion sprinter and speed influence Gold Brose. This is also the pace-laden family of stakes-placed pair Bewilder and Dyslexia. Roomooz was part of the Newgate Farm draft where she set the sale alight early as Lot 3. Pane In The Glass has subsequently had another two fillies, by Pierro in 2015, and Deep Fields last year.
Storm The Stars will continue his racing career under the care of German trainer Andreas Wohler, reports Racing Post. Owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook al Maktoum is hoping the move will eventually lead to career at stud for the well bred son of Sea The Stars. Bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm, Storm The Stars is out of the Sadler's Wells mare Love Me Only, an unraced half-sister to champion racehorse and leading sire Giant's Causeway as well as You'resothrilling, the dam of three-time Gr1-winning champion miler Gleneagles and 1,000 Guineas winner Marvellous. Despite winning just 3 of his 17 starts, Storm The Stars has displayed plenty of ability winning the Gr2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, and placing twice at Gr1 level in the English Derby behind Golden Horn, and the Grand Prix de Paris behind Erupt. Most recently Storm The Stars enjoyed a six-start campaign in Australia with champion trainer Chris Waller which yielded two Gr2 placings in the Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick in Sydney.
Ngaga, a 3YO Fastnet Rock half-sister to champion South African mare Igugu, made it two wins from as many starts when scoring a determined long neck win in a rating 70 fillies & mares race (1200m) at Kenilworth in South Africa on Saturday. By Coolmore's world-class champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), Ngaga was purchased by renowned bloodstock agent James Bester for $250,000 at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Kia-Ora Stud. Ngaga is the sixth foal to race from the unraced Irish-bred mare Zarinia (Intikhab), whose best progeny to date is undoubtedly former South African Horse of the Year Igugu. Igugu (Galileo) was bred in Australia by Kia-Ora Stud and sold for R1 million at the 2009 Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale. Trained by Mike de Kock on behalf of her owners Andre MacDonald and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Igugu won 10 of her 18 starts including the Gr1 South African Fillies Classic, Gr1 Woolavington Stakes, and South Africa's two most prestigious events, the Gr1 Durban July & Gr1 J&B Met. Zarinia has also produced Australian Gr3 Craven Plate winner Honorius (Holy Roman Emperor) and Gr3-placed Sweet Fire (Shamardal) and hails from the outstanding Aga Khan family of undefeated Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava.
Talented colt Rageese (Street Cry-Rabsha, by Dehere) has recovered from the hoof injury that ruled him out of the Railway Stakes in Perth and will run in the Gr3 Festival Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday, reports racing.com. Trainer Darren Weir said he expects the Sheikh Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum home-bred to run well on Saturday but that he won't be at his peak until the Gr2 Villiers Stakes at Randwick on 17 December. "He seems to be good, he had a few easy days after he had that little foot issue but I'm really happy with him," Weir said. "He is a big bull and having missed that run he might just need the run on Saturday but his main target is the Villiers and he should be right to go there." Rageese, a direct descendant of champion Australian mare Emancipation, was last seen scoring a slashing win in the Gr3 VRC L'Oreal Paris Stakes (1400m) on VRC Oaks day at Flemington.
Ngaga, a 3YO Fastnet Rock half-sister to champion South African mare Igugu, made a winning debut at Kenilworth in South Africa overnight. Trained by Willem Nel, Ngaga settled midfield before charging home late to score by 0.5 length in the Welcome To Kenilworth Maiden Plate over 1200 metres. By Coolmore's world-class champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), Ngaga was purchased by renowned bloodstock agent James Bester for $250,000 at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Kia-Ora Stud. Ngaga is the sixth foal to race from the unraced Irish-bred mare Zarinia (Intikhab), whose best progeny to date is undoubtedly former South African Horse of the Year Igugu. Igugu (Galileo) was bred in Australia by Kia-Ora Stud and sold for R1 million at the 2009 Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale. Trained by Mike de Kock on behalf of her owners Andre MacDonald and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Igugu won 10 of her 18 starts including the Gr1 South African Fillies Classic, Gr1 Woolavington Stakes, and South Africa's two most prestigious events, the Gr1 Durban July & Gr1 J&B Met. Zarinia has also produced Australian Gr3 Craven Plate winner Honorius (Holy Roman Emperor) and Gr3-placed Sweet Fire (Shamardal) and hails from the outstanding Aga Khan family of undefeated Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava.
Ngaga, a half-sister to champion South African mare Igugu, is scheduled to make her eagerly awaited debut in a 3YO maiden over 1200m at Kenilworth on Wednesday. By Coolmore's world-class champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), Ngaga was purchased by renowned bloodstock agent James Bester for $250,000 at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Kia-Ora Stud. Ngaga is the sixth foal to race from the unraced Irish-bred mare Zarinia (Intikhab), whose best progeny to date is undoubtedly former South African Horse of the Year Igugu. Igugu (Galileo) was bred in Australia by Kia-Ora Stud and sold for R1 million at the 2009 Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale. Trained by Mike de Kock on behalf of her owners Andre MacDonald and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Igugu won 10 of her 18 starts including the Gr1 South African Fillies Classic, Gr1 Woolavington Stakes, and South Africa's two most prestigious events, the Gr1 Durban July & Gr1 J&B Met. Zarinia has also produced Australian Gr3 Craven Plate winner Honorius (Holy Roman Emperor) and Gr3-placed Sweet Fire (Shamardal) and hails from the outstanding Aga Khan family of undefeated Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava.
Gun Pit looks like he has earned himself a trip to California for next month's Gr1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Karaka graduate remained on course for the Santa Anita feature after an impressive gallop under Zac Purton in a 1200 metre all-weather trial in Hong Kong on Tuesday. "He's trialling with a little bit more purpose now and he seems to be moving better, so it looks at this stage like he's going to go to America," Purton said. "He feels fine - there's nothing wrong with the way he's going." Gun Pit (Dubawi-Magic Tori, by Ali-Royal) was purchased by agent Michael Steadman out of Lyndhurst Farm's 2012 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft for $250,000. He trialled twice in New Zealand before he was sent to Hong Kong. He has won 8 of his 25 starts hitherto and been placed at Gr1 level when second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Stakes at Meydan in March.