At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Widden Stud's ill-fated Gr1-winning sire Northern Meteor (Encosta de Lago-Explosive, by Fappiano) added a Group race success when 6YO Australian-bred gelding Burning Passion (Northern Meteor-Dearness, by Snippets) registered the second stakes win of his career with a tough on-speed performance in the $150,000 Gr3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Oxford Poet & Dothraki. Purchased by Darby Racing for $24,000 at the 2016 Inglis Sydney Autumn Thoroughbred Sale from the draft of Gooree Stud, Burning Passion improved his record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 W.J. Healy Stakes) and 10 placings (including the Gr3 ATC Liverpool Cup) from 28 starts for $554,630 in earnings. Burning Passion is a half-brother to Gr1 JJ Atkins winner Romantic Touch from the Snippets mare Dearness, herself a half-sister to 6-time Gr1 winner Desert War and Gr1 Rosehill Guineas winner Laser Hawk.
At Gosford on the NSW Central Coast, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion and current leading Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Calanda (Snitzel- Speedy Bell, Brocco) opened his stakes account in the $150,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs +, defeating stable-mates Supreme Effort & Oxford Poet. Calanda improved his record to 6 wins (including the Inglis Sprint) and 3 placings (including the Gr3 BTC George Moore Stakes) from 16 starts for $544,450 in earnings. Jockey Blake Shinn commented: "He fought very hard over the final 100 metres. It was a good win. It's nice to win in these colours [the China Horse Club colours]," he said. Purchased by Newgate Farm in conjunction with China Horse Club, Calanda fetched $200,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the Yarraman Park draft. He is the eighth foal to race from the Listed AJC Gimcrack Stakes winner Speedy Bell, dam also of Gr3 Adrian Knox Stakes winner Speedy Natalie and Listed Jungle Dawn Classic winner Silverstream.
-Meanwhile, as Houtzen aims to cement his position in the Magic Millions Classic, trainer Toby Edmonds will also be floating Magic Millions Summer Sprint aspirant Sundance (I Am Invincible–Pacific Dreams, by Desert Prince) to Warwick Farm tomorrow in a raid that may lead to a tilt at the Summer Sprint at the Gold Coast a week later, reports theage.com.au. Following an ultra impressive 2.3-length victory at the Sunshine Coast on Boxing Day, Edmonds is banking on a fitness edge as he takes on the dashing pair of race favourite Mr Manhatttan and Oxford Poet, who is returning from a spell. Edmonds mused, "There's good speed in these types of races. They might not be that tuned up, who knows?" He added, "It's an ideal race and with 53kg he fits the bill. I'm not sure if he'll lead or sit outside of them, but he'll be bang up there. [His settling position] will be determined by the pace." As for backing up in the Magic Millions Summer Sprint seven days later Edmonds gave little away, "It will be difficult [to back Sundance up], but we'll have a look at it… Logistically it can be difficult, but we're not that far away from anywhere at the moment which is good."
Two alumni of the Karaka sale ring played a starring role as champion expat New Zealand trainer Chris Waller enjoyed a record-breaking treble at Rosehill on Saturday. Waller went into the meeting with 166 metropolitan wins in Sydney this season, needing another two to beat the record of 167.5 that he himself set in 2012-13. Win number 167 came courtesy of the Premier Sale graduate Harlem Lady (Zabeel), who won by a length in a Benchmark 85 event over 1500m. Pioneering (Sebring) became Waller's 168th winner two races later, and then the Karaka weanling sale graduate Marenostro (Duelled) capped the day with a tenacious victory in the feature race – the Listed Winter Challenge over 1500m. Ridden by Tye Angland, Marenostro raced close to the pace before throwing down a challenge to the leader Oxford Poet more than 500 metres from home and outgunning that rival down the straight to win by half a length. "We're very proud of the record," said Waller, a familiar face on the Karaka buyers' bench. "Our staff are just doing a fantastic job 52 weeks of the year. It's the last Saturday of the season today but they'll be there tirelessly tomorrow and they'll be there Monday for the start of the new season." He added: "So I'm proud for them and obviously proud of the support we get. It's a big thing. We're all here every Saturday doing our best, as all the other trainers are, and the competition is so great in Sydney."
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Dormello Stud stallion Duelled (Redoute's Choice-Leica Pretender, by Sir Tristram) added a black-type success when 5YO New Zealand-bred gelding Marenostro (Duelled-Maybe Yes, by Last Tycoon) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Chris Waller in the $150,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) for 3YO+, over 5YO gelding Oxford Poet (Dylan Thomas-Oxford Princess, by Magic Ring) & 4YO gelding Ruling Dynasty (Medaglia d'Oro-Makarova, by Thunder Gulch). This was the first stakes victory for Marenostro who advanced his record to 10 wins and 6 placings from 29 starts for $455,550 earnings. Marenostro - who was purchased by Phill Cataldo Bloodstock for NZ$20,000 at the 2011 NZB National Weanling Sale - is out of the Last Tycoon mare Maybe Yes, a half-sister to the dam of Gr1 winners Press Statement and Pressday. Maybe Yes, who died in 2014, has also produced Gr1 Avondale Gold Cup winner The Mighty Lions.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's European Horse Of The Year & 6-time Gr1-winning shuttler Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Diesis) added a black-type success when 5YO gelding Oxford Poet (Dylan Thomas-Oxford Princess, by Magic Ring) scored by 0.3-length for trainer Kim Waugh in the $150,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, over 6YO geldings Zin Zan Eddie (Zizou-Exclusive Bid, by Snippets) & Ninth Legion (Fastnet Rock-Xaar's Jewel, by Xaar). This was the first stakes victory for Oxford Poet who improved his record to 5 wins and 12 placings (including the Listed ATC June Stakes) from 22 starts for $478,050 earnings.
At Randwick in Sydney, Kitchwin Hills stallion Dane Shadow (Danehill-Slight Chance, by Centaine) added a Group success when 4YO mare Danish Twist (Dane Shadow-Madame Flurry, by Perugino) scored by 2-lengths for trainer Kris Lees in the $100,000 Listed June Stakes (1100m), over 6YO gelding Mount Nebo (Dubai-Spy Hill, by Danehill) & 5YO gelding Oxford Poet (Dylan Thomas-Oxford Princess, by Magic Ring). A half-sister to triple Gr1 winner Happy Trails, Danish Twist took her record to 8 wins (including the Gr3 Dark Jewel Classic) & 6 placings from 17 starts for $728,560 earnings.
At Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley, former Gr1-winning & 4-times Gr1-placed shuttler & champion 3YO miler Excellent Art (Pivotal-Obsessive, by Seeking The Gold) added a black-type success when 4YO gelding Artlee (Excellent Art-Danelee Dancer, by Danehill Dancer) scored by 1-length for trainer Todd Willan in the $140,000 Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) for 3YO+, over fellow 4YO gelding Oxford Poet (Dylan Thomas-Oxford Princess, by Magic Ring) & 5YO mare Slots (Casino Prince-Serein, by Snippets). This was the first stakes victory for Artlee who was coming off an impressive victory in the Country Championship Final at Randwick in early April. Artlee took his record to 6 wins and 1 placing from 9 starts for $390,545 earnings. "I am still shaking and I am a bit weak at the knees, but it is very exciting," a delighted Todd Willan said. "He is just a good honest horse and next prep we will find a nice race for him I think."