A total of 88 nominations have been weighed for the 153rd running of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) which will be run at Royal Randwick on 29 September. This year's edition will be run with a 50kg minimum weight (48kg minimum weight for three-year-olds) with total prize money of $1 million. The top weight for the race is defending champion and triple Gr1 winner Happy Clapper who has been allocated 59kg. Next is recent Gr1 Memsie Stakes winner Humidor with 59kg, followed by Le Romain at 58kg and Hartnell with 57kg. Another notable nomination is Randwick Guineas winner and Memsie Stakes runner-up Kementari with 55.5kg. The highest-weighted mare is the 2017 Gr1 Cantala Stakes winner Shillelagh with 53kg, while the 3YOs nominated for the race - Fighting Harada, Master Ash, Tavisan and Seabrook, have all been allocated 48kg. Click here to view Epsom Handicap weights.
Group 1 winning mare Shillelagh will open her spring campaign in the Gr2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. Last seen finishing runner-up in the Gr1 Tattersall's Club Tiara (1350m) in Brisbane in June, trainer Chris Waller says the plan is to step her up in distance this spring. "She's spelled well and has come back in really good shape. We are getting really good comments consistently from her riders," Waller said. "She's in for a good preparation. I would love to stretch her out to beyond a mile this time, for the first time. I would love to get her up to 2000m, being a daughter of Savabeel." Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) has hitherto won 7 of her 25 starts, highlighted by her win in the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) last November.
Waikato Stud's champion sire Savabeel has set a new benchmark for stallion excellence during the 2017-18 season, reports NZ Racing Desk. At next month's New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards, Waikato Stud's Mark Chittick will accept the Grosvenor Award, Dewar Stallion Trophy and Centaine Award, a Savabeel clean sweep of all three New Zealand stallion awards for an unprecedented third straight season. The son of deceased multiple champion sire Zabeel sired 6 Group 1 winners during the 2017-18 season, namely Kawi (Captain Cook Stakes), Shillelagh (Cantala Stakes), Embellish (NZ 2,000 Guineas), Hasahalo (1000 Guineas), Sword Of Osman (Sistema Stakes) and Savvy Coup (New Zealand Oaks), boosting his career tally of top-flight winners to 17. "It's been another cracking season. His success, earned in so many countries, at the highest level was huge," Chittick said. "The obvious highlight, which he gave us the opportunity to do, was breeding the 1000 and 2000 Guineas double and we got a lot of satisfaction from Savvy Coup winning the New Zealand Oaks. They were all out of young mares too." Chittick added: "That's the fortunate position we are in with Savabeel. He is always giving mares a great opportunity and continually upgrading families." Chittick marvelled at Savabeel's strike rate. "The unwritten rule is anything above five per cent of stakes winners to runners and you have a successful stallion. I think he's one of only three in Australasia at 10 per cent or higher, which is freakish really." Chittick said the rising 17YO would have his book of mares restricted in the future. "We've restricted his book to outsiders. Syndicate members' mares make up 100 of his book so we've only taken about 20 or 30 outside mares this season and that's a decision we've made to look after him as he gets older and add longevity to his stud career," Chittick said.
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, Arrowfield Stud's deceased Gr1-placed stallion Beneteau (Redoute's Choice-Slice Of Paradise, by Encosta de Lago) celebrated an elite races success when 4YO Australian-bred mare Prompt Response (Beneteau-Prompt, by Exceed and Excel) sent her value soaring when breaking through at the highest level in the $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Tattersall's Tiara (1350m) for fillies & mares, defeating Shillelagh & Super Cash. Prompt Response, who is a full sister to Gr3 Maribyrnong Plate winner Prompt Return, improved her record to 6 wins (including the Gr2 Emancipation Stakes, Gr2 Breeders Classic, Gr2 Dane Ripper Stakes & Listed Twilight Glow Stakes) and 11 placings (including the Gr1 Queen Of the Turf Stakes, Gr1 Tatts Tiara, Gr3 Dark Jewel Classic, Gr3 Hawkesbury Guineas, Gr3 VRC Emirates Airline Plate & Gr3 ATC Percy Sykes Stakes) from 27 starts for $1,481,350 in earnings. Co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott are now hopeful of attracting some interest from slot owners for the $13 The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on 13 October. "She's found it difficult until now to get a Group 1 but she's been most consistent right throughout her career and from her first start as a two-year-old," said Bott. "She's been in top class races and she's in career best form now." Bott added: "We had the confidence a Group 1 win would come one day and trained a bit differently she could be a real speed mare for us, so we want to give serious consideration about keeping The Everest open for her."
Chris Waller has opted for classy mare Shillelagh as his stable's best chance in Saturday's $500,000 weight-for-age Tattersall's Tiara (1350m) at Doomben. Waller has four mares engaged in the race, with Shillelagh joined by stable-mates Invincibella, French Emotion and Noire, who is the third emergency. Shillelagh (Savabeel), who hasn't won a race since landing the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne and the spring, is coming off a creditable effort when sixth (beaten 3.2 lengths) in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) two weeks ago. "Shillelagh is probably a miler and she needs a pretty good track," Waller told racenet. "She is already a Group I winner and from a trainer's perspective I am trying to build her value, hence the reason she ran in the Stradbroke. If the race is run at a solid tempo and Shillelagh is travelling at the 400 metres then she would be my pick." Waller added: "But if there is less pace then Invincibella has a better turn of foot and is probably best suited."
Chris Waller is bullish about the prospects of New Zealand mare Shillelagh in tomorrow's Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) landed the biggest prize of her career when swooping late to win the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in the spring, and Waller believes she can now go on with it and establish herself as one of the best horses in the country. "She's been set for this race first-up," Waller said in a stable update. "She's had the two trials in Sydney - she's obviously a horse that races well left-handed and right-handed." Waller added: "Yes, it's weight-for-age. It's some of the best horses in the country running, but I think she could well be one of them. I expect her to run well, and she'll be hard to beat." TAB agrees with Waller installing Shillelagh as an $8 chance for the CF Orr.
In New Zealand, Monday's Gr2 Rich Hill Mile win by Waikato Stud's cleverly-named Coldplay (Savabeel-Forty Two Below) at Ellerslie was the icing on the cake on what has been a couple of extraordinary months for their incumbent New Zealand Champion Sire Savabeel. By early September last year he was already comfortably leading both the Dewar Stallion Trophy (combined Australian & New Zealand progeny earnings) and the Centaine Award (NZ-conceived progeny earnings worldwide). Subsequent to that point his hand-canter has turned into a full-blown gallop as he marches on to a fourth consecutive NZ Champion Sire title while starring on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Since then, which should have the vendors of his 75 NZB National Yearling Sales Series entries full of aniticipation, his progeny wins have included:
New Zealand's champion sire Savabeel (Zabeel) has continued to scale new heights as a sire in recent weeks, with his progeny boosting his tally of individual Group 1 winners to fourteen, reports NZ Racing Desk. Shillelagh kicked things off for Waikato Stud's Cox Plate-winning stallion on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival wining Gr1 Kennedy Mile (1600m) for owners and breeders Christopher and Susanna Grace. A week later $775,000 Karaka graduate Embellish sealed his future as a prospective stallion prospect winning the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton. While on the same day the Waikato-bred Savapinski continued her ascent through the mare ranks with an impressive win in the Gr2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. The 4YOs victory helped extend Savabeel's strike rate to 6.3 per cent Group winners to runners and an incredible 10.1 per cent Stakes winners to runners. "Saturday was hugely satisfying for us, it was quite an emotional day as well," said Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick. "Off the back of last season and the amount of stakes winners he had, it stamps him as one of the best stallions out there and with the best stallions that have stood in New Zealand." Savabeel stands at Waikato Stud for a service fee of $100,000 + GST and will be represented at next week's New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale by five lots.
The Melbourne Cup carnival has provided some timely pedigree updates for the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs (22 & 23 November). The carnival provided an exciting start on Victoria Derby Day when Ready to Run Sale graduate Luvaluva (Mastercraftsman) stormed home from well back to score an outstanding win in the Gr2 Wakeful Stakes. Nearly one year on since she was purchased at the Sale for $55,000, her half-brother at Lot 424 is set to be offered at the Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs. Luvaluva’s Kiwi breeders Christopher Grace and wife Susanna had multiple success on the first day of the carnival with home-bred mare Shillelagh (Savabeel) winning the Gr1 Kennedy Mile. Lot 134 who is out of a sibling to Shillelagh will be offered at the Sale. Lot 49 is from the same family as Gr1 Myer Classic winner Shoals (Fastnet Rock), while Lot 349 is a close relation to the five-time winning filly who has had only seven starts. This is the world famous Best In Show family of champion stallion Redoute’s Choice. The progeny of High Chaparral have dominated the carnival with Rekindling winning the Melbourne Cup, Ace High winning the Victoria Derby, and Karaka graduate Cismontane winning the Gr3 Lexus Stakes. Four 2YOs by High Chaparral are catalogued at the Ready to Run Sale, while three of his Group winning sons will also be represented. Other sires to be represented include So You Think, Dundeel, Redwood, and Zacinto. Emirates Stakes Day will see the last leg of the carnival with four Karaka graduates accepted for the Group 1 feature. Multiple Group 1-winning Ready to Run graduate Gingernuts (Iffraaj) is among the names along with Odeon, Antonio Giuseppe (Shocking) and All Our Roads (Road to Rock). Ready to Run Sale Lot’s 84, 223 and 265 are related to All Our Roads. Click here to view catalogue.
At Flemington in Melbourne, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate-winning champion sire Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite race success when 6YO bay mare Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) landed the biggest prize of her career when arriving late to score a narrow win in the $1 million Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Wyndspelle. Shillelagh, who is full-sister to Gr2 Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore and recent Listed Spring Stakes winner Grazia, improved her record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 Godolphin Crown) and 3 placings (including the Gr2 MRC Tristarc Stakes & Gr3 VRC Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes) from 19 starts for $850,320 in earnings. "She's a good horse that's gone to a new level this preparation in my opinion," trainer Chris Waller told racing.com. "She came to me from New Zealand and is owned by Mr Grace and his wife. It's a fantastic story. They're only an hour up the road from where I'm from in New Zealand; one of my cousins actually works for them so it's a very special win."
At Riccarton Park in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate-winning champion sire Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) added a black-type success when 5YO brown mare Grazia (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) opened her stakes account when bounding to a dominant win in the $50,000 Listed Spring Classic (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Aspen Lass & Princess Brook. Owned by David Ellis's Te Akau Racing, Grazia improved her record to 4 wins and 5 placings from 17 starts for NZ$64,910 in earnings. Purchased by Ellis for $100,000 at the 2014 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Little Avondale Stud, Grazia is a full sister to Group winners Shillelagh & Tullamore.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter) added a Group race success when 4YO brown filly Global Glamour (Star Witness-Spectacula, by Testa Rossa) overcame a wide barrier to resume with a strong win in the $200,000 Gr2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) for 4YO+ mares, defeating Cool Passion & Shillelagh. Global Glamour, who was a $65,000 purchase by James Bester on behalf of the It's All About The Girls Syndicate at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Thousand Guineas, Gr1 Flight Stakes & Gr2 Light Fingers Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint Stakes & Gr2 Furious Stakes) from 12 starts for $1,389,000 in earnings. Co-trainer Gai Waterhouse said Global Glamour's primary spring target is the $500,000 Gr1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on 4 November. She then indicated that long-term, an international campaign could be on the cards. "She came down to run in the Myer," Waterhouse told racing.com. "She will only have one or two more runs then she will be freshened up for the Magic Millions, and then hopefully we may take her overseas." When asked what international plans she had in mind, Waterhouse nominated Royal Ascot as a potential target.
At Hawkesbury north-west of Sydney, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning sire Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) added a Group success when 5YO mare Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) broke through for an overdue stakes win in the $175,000 Gr3 Godolphin Crown (1300m) for 3YO+ fillies & mares, defeating Daysee Doom & Kinshachi. Shillelagh improved her record to 6 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr3 VRC Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes) from 15 starts for $127,195 earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said Shillelagh would now head towards the Gr3 Dark Jewel Classic at Scone, with the Gr1 Tatts Tiara in Brisbane also on the agenda. "She's been a pretty talented mare right throughout and she came across from New Zealand in good order," Waller told AAP. "Long-term a race like the Tatt's Tiara might be worth looking out to give her a chance in an Australian Group One.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $600,000 Gr1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) for 3YO+ fillies & mares to be run at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday. The current favourite is 3YO filly Omei Sword ($3.50 with tab) who will have to overcome the outside barrier (19) if she is to post her maiden Gr1 victory. Second favourite is Dixie Blossoms at $7, followed by dual Gr1-winning filly Global Glamour at $8, and star New Zealand filly La Bella Diosa at $9.50. Of those runners under double figure odds, New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner La Bella Diosa has drawn best in barrier 3, while Dixie Blossoms (12) and Global Glamour (16) have also drawn wide. The final field is:
New Zealand-bred and owned mare Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) has been transferred to the Sydney stable of Chris Waller, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 5YO joined the champion trainer's team following her fourth placing in the Gr3 Summoned Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. Raced by Christopher and Susanna Grace, Shillelagh's previous four appearances in Melbourne for Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards resulted in a win at Caulfield and a runner-up finish in the Gr3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes behind Artistry. "She's obviously up to black type company and Christopher has decided to run her for the better money over there," Te Akau racing manager Brad Taylor said.
Talented New Zealand mare Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) is set to make her black-type debut next week after winning at Caulfield on Saturday, reports theinformant.co.nz. The 5YO Savabeel mare, who was a very unlucky fifth on her Australian debut two weeks earlier, overcame another troubled run to score a narrow 0.1 length win in a Benchmark 84 race over 1440 metres. Bred and raced by Christopher and Susanna Grace, Shillelagh's record now reads 5 wins and 1 placing from 8 starts for $73,195 prize money. "It was great to see her get the win on Saturday," co-trainer Stephen Autridge said. "It was a good win and she deserved it after being so unlucky the start before." Autridge added: "She's come through it really well and we've been very happy with her since the race. She's on track to run in a stakes race for fillies and mares at Caulfield next Wednesday." The race Autridge has in mind is the Gr3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield on Wednesday, 12 October.
US dual Gr1-placed 14-year-old stallion Chief Seattle (Seattle Slew-Skatingonthinice, by Icecapade) who was Indiana's leading sire in 2009-10 “was found dead in his paddock at Lake Shore Farm near Scottsburg in Indiana” reported bloodhorse.com. Chief Seattle (who covered over 40 mares this year) was relocated to Lake Shore for the 2011 breeding season from Indiana’s WinRich Thoroughbreds, after initially standing at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky for US$10,000 & later at Vinery New York. On the track, Kentucky-bred Chief Seattle won 1 of 4 starts (plus runner-ups in both the 1999 Gr1 Champagne Stakes & Gr1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile) & earned US$327,000. And in the breeding barn he has sired 27 stakes horses (10 stakes-winners, including Canada’s 2006 Champion 3YO male Shillelagh Slew plus US Gr2-winners Bold Chieftain & Seafree) & the earners of more than US$16 million. Chief Seattle’s stakes winning dam Skatingonthinice is a half-sister to the dam of Gr1-winning sire War Front.
In the US, dual Gr1-placed 14-year-old stallion Chief Seattle (Seattle Slew-Skatingonthinice, by Icecapade) who was Indiana's leading sire in 2009-10 "has been relocated to another Indiana farm" reported bloodhorse.com. Chief Seattle previously stood at WinRich Thoroughbreds, but will now stand at Lake Shore Farm for US$2,500. He has sired 27 stake horses, including 2010 Gr2-winner & millionaire Bold Chieftain, Canadian champion Shillelagh Slew & Gr2-winner Seafree. Overall Chief Seattle is represented by 74% winners-from-starters & the earners of more than US$14.5 million; his average earnings-per-runner is more than US$51,000. On the track, Kentucky-bred Chief Seattle won 1 of 4 starts (plus runner-ups in both the 1999 Gr1 Champagne Stakes & Gr1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile) & earned US$327,000.
US dual Gr1-placed 12-year-old stallion Chief Seattle (Seattle Slew-Skatingonthisice, by Icecapade) who was New York’s leading sire in 2007, has been purchased for stallion duty by WinRich Farm in Indiana, reported bloodhorse.com. Chief Seattle (who formerly stood for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley at Empire Stud in New York) has sired 10 stakes-winners, including Canadian champion & classic winner Shillelagh Slew, plus Gr2-winner Seafree. On the track, Kentucky-bred Chief Seattle won 1 of 4 starts (plus runner-ups in both the 1999 Gr1 Champagne Stakes & Gr1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile) & earned US$327,000.
In Canada, Robert Costigan's 3YO filly Arravale (a Gr1 winner in both Canada & the US during 2006) was named Canada's Horse-Of-The-Year & champion female turf horse during the Sovereign Awards ceremony in Toronto, reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Arravale (Arch-Kalosca, by Kaldoun) won 3 of 5 starts this year (US Gr1 Del Mar Oaks, plus Canada's Gr1 E.P.Taylor Stakes & Alywow Stakes at Woodbine) & took her career earnings to US$1,089,648. Other major winners were: