At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, former Arrowfield Stud and now Murrulla Stud-based Gr1-winning stallion Charge Forward (Red Ransom-Sydney's Dream, by Bletchingly) added a black-type success when 5YO bay mare Slightly Sweet (Charge Forward-Semitone, by Dubai Destination) claimed the third stakes win of her career in the $150,000 Listed ATC Winter Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Man Of His Word & Elle Lou. Retained to race by her breeder the Esplin family after being passed in for $27,500 at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Slightly Sweet improved her record to 5 wins including the Gr3 Keith Nolan Classic & Gr3 JHB Carr Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr2 Surround Stakes & Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes) from 25 starts for $481,685 in earnings.
At the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Emirates Park Stud & Aquis Farm stallion Al Maher (Danehill-Show Dancing, by Don't Say Halo) added a black-type success when 4YO bay gelding Monsieur Gustave (Al Maher-Saigon Moonlight, by Stravinsky) continued his impressive progression through the grades when posting his second consecutive stakes win in the $175,000 Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Snippets Land & Man Of His Word. Monsieur Gustave advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Listed Eye Liner Stakes) and 3 placings from 16 starts for $343,900 in earnings. Purchased by McLachlan Place Racing Stables for $34,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Vinery Stud, Monsieur Gustave is out of a full-sister to the dam of former champion sprinter Lankan Rupee. This is also the female family of Victoria Derby winning stallion Grosvenor, Australian Oaks winner Mahaya, and her half-sister Shadea, dam of champion racehorse and stallion Lonhro.
At Doomben racecourse in Queensland, multiple Gr1-winning shuttler & former star Australian sprinter Choisir (Danehill Dancer-Great Selection, by Lunchtime) added a black-type success when 6YO chestnut gelding Religify (Choisir-Sacred Witness, by El Moxie) ran his rivals off their feet with yet another impressive front-running victory in the $100,000 Listed G.H. Mumm Open Quality (1615m) for 3YO+, defeating Payroll & Man Of His Word. Religify, who hails from the same female family as champion Hong Kong sprinter Silent Witness, improved his record to 13 wins (including the Listed The Wayne Wilson & Listed Prime Minister's Cup) and 7 placings (including the Gr3 BRC Sprint Handicap) from 30 starts for $804,510 in earnings. Religify was a $135,000 purchase at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
At Doomben in Brisbane, French 2000 Guineas & French Derby winning shuttler Lope De Vega (Shamardal-Lady Vettori, by Vettori) added a black-type success when 4YO gelding Man Of His Word (Lope de Vega-Mandalina, by Fasliyev) stormed home to score by 1.8 lengths for trainer Bruce Hill in the $100,000 Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) for 3YO+, over fellow 4YO gelding Cylinder Beach (Showcasing-Queen's Colours, by Rainbow Quest) & 4YO mare Sweet Redemption (Snitzel-Redeeming Lass, by Red Ransom). This was the first stakes victory for the progressive Man Of His Word who improved his record to 6 wins and 3 placings from 18 starts for $255,000 earnings. A $10,000 purchase by his trainer Bruce Hill at the 2014 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale, Man Of His Word hails form the family of multiple Gr2 winner and Gr1 placegetter Natural Blitz and champion US racehorse and successful sire Damascus. Man Of His Word will have one more start in the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm on New Year's Day before heading for a break. "He'll run in the Bernborough next then go for a holiday and maybe come back for the winter carnival," trainer Bruce Hill said.
Trainer Bruce Hill has resisted the temptation of running Man Of His Word in the Villiers Stakes in Sydney by remaining closer to home for the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at Doomben. The Gold Coast-based Hill, who also will start Coffs Harbour Cup winner Bodega Negra, gave serious thought about sending Man Of His Word interstate following his impressive last start win at Eagle Farm on December 3. “He’s going terrific and he’s always shown us he has the ability,” Hill told Racing Queensland Webnews. “He’s slowly getting there. He’s not quite mature enough and he gets a bit lost and wanders." He added: "We’ve decided to stay in Brisbane instead of going for the Villiers [Gr2]. I gave it a lot of thought but I’m taking the easier option to stay home.” The talented Man Of His Word (Lope de Vega-Mandalina, by Fasliyev) has won 5 of his 17 starts to date, but is yet to be successful at black-type level. However, he has always shown stakes ability as evidenced by his fifth placing behind dual Gr1 winner Press Statement in the Gr2 ATC Stan Fox Stakes last year.