The mighty Darren Weir-stable could provide the answer to Adelaide's Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville Parks tomorrow. A two-pronged attack that forms part of a nine-strong collective of Weir runners at the meeting, Theanswermyfriend and Danon Liberty are part of a 14-horse capacity field that includes two runners from each of the Tony Mcevoy and Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig stables. While Japan-bred import Danon Liberty is expected to improve after finishing down the field behind Showtime in the Lawrence Stakes two weeks ago, Theanswermyfriend is on track for a hat-trick after wins at Flemington and Moonee Valley at his past two starts. Drawn to do little work under Harry Coffey, Theanswermyfriend will need to withstand a late charge from favourite Widgee Turf who was outstanding in his half length defeat to Showtime but who has to overcome the very outside barrier.
The first Group 1 of the new season in Melbourne offers more questions than answers with different formlines, and competitors with different distance objectives that lie ahead in coming months. Memsie markets suggest a one-horse race with Vega Magic at $2.70, however there are a host of chances – subject to fitness levels surrounding some horses as they work towards the deeper end of respective Sydney and Melbourne Spring Carnivals. Happy Clapper, who is starting to get mentioned as a potential The Everest contender, is first-up over the 1400m at Caulfield, but after winning his seasonal debut last year in the 1400m Tramway (again dropping back from the 2000m of the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth) he is clearly a serious threat here. The Lawrence Stakes form brings Showtime, Kings Will Dream and Jungle Edge into calculations; and then there is the gun duo Grunt and Kementari who, on their best form, could blouse the lot of them.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred entire Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais, by Timber Country) showed the benefit of race fitness when scoring a narrow front-running win in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Hartnell & Widgee Turf. The well-bred Showtime improved his record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Stutt Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr2 Sliver Slipper Stakes) and 8 placings (including the Gr1 All Aged Stakes & Gr1 Futurity Stakes) from 17 starts for $624,230 in earnings. A $1.1 million yearling from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, Showtime is a full-brother to Gr1 Galaxy winner Sweet Idea from Gr1 Metropolitan & Gr1 Ranvet Stakes winner Electronic.
Champion trainer Chris Waller has nominated almost half the possible field for next Saturday’s first Group 1 of the new season – the Winx Stakes (1400m). Along with Winx herself, looking to better Black Caviar’s record run, the Waller nominees include D’Argento, Libran, Religify, Single Gaze and Unforgotten. The remaining 7 entrants, spread across 7 stables, are Ace High, Alizee, Cabeza De Vaca, Classic Uniform, Invictus Prince, Luvaluva and Showtime. There will be a lot of interest to see which nominees stand their ground to be part of the history-making event at Royal Randwick. The feature's make-up could change yet with nominations for the Winx Stakes extended until 11am tomorrow (Tuesday).
Trainer Gary Portelli says he is looking forward to former star filly She Will Reign making her return to racing in Saturday's Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick. The Missile Stakes is shaping as an early highlight of the new racing season, with several high-class sprinters entered for the race including Gr1 performers Kementari, Pierata, Music Magnate, Showtime, and Takedown. Portelli is hoping She Will Reign can extend her brilliant speed out to a longer trip this campaign, and he says Saturday's race will give him a better idea of the most suitable races to target. "She looks fantastic," Portelli told Darby Racing.com. "The preparation will all hinge on what she does in this race, as far as what distance we go up to. I'm looking forward to seeing how she goes." Portelli added: "It's going to be a very high pressure race, I've got no doubt, with the horses they're spruiking going into the Missile first-up and with horses trying to get into The Everest." Syndicator Darby Racing has previously announced that She Will Reign will have her final Australian campaign this spring after being sold privately to overseas interests.
An historic Royal Ascot bid for unraced filly Luck Favours has been aborted after she spiked a temperature overnight. The 2YO daughter of former Royal Ascot hero Starspangledbanner was set to make history as the first Australian juvenile to compete at the world famous Royal Ascot carnival, but her racetrack debut will now have to wait. "We have cancelled her trip. We got her blood tested and there were some small indicators that there might be an infection," Rosemont Stud principal and owner Anthony Mithen told Sky Sports Radio. "Her temperature spiked overnight and we just thought we would err on the side of caution." He added: "It was a tough call but its a long 30-hour trip for any horse, let alone a young, immature two-year-old filly and we just weren't prepared to take the risk." Bred to northern hemisphere time, Luck Favours is out of a Falbrav half-sister to Gr1 winner Sweet Idea and Gr1-placed Showtime.
Anthony Mithen is contemplating taking a leaf out of the Wesley Ward book by running a 2YO at the Royal Ascot carnival this year. Mithen, the principal of Victoria-based Rosemont Stud, has two juveniles by Starspangledbanner bred to northern hemisphere time that he says may be ready in time to make the long trip to England for the Royal meeting in June. The most likely of the duo to make the journey is the unraced filly Luck Favours who is out of a Falbrav half-sister to Gr1 winner Sweet Idea and Gr1-placed Showtime. The US-based Ward has been plundering Royal Ascot for years with his 2YOs, a prime example being champion filly Lady Aurelia who romped to a breathtaking 7 length win in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes in 2016. "We're probably just a step away from the stage of putting her [Luck Favours] in a barrier trial and applying some proper pressure. She's still going through her gears," Mithen told Racing Post. "If you'd asked me two months ago if this would happen I would've shrugged my shoulders and said it's too fanciful. But last week she did half a trial and showed there's hope there. The track rider just held her up and didn't push her out, but he was very complimentary and said it felt that if he'd let her go, she would have responded well. She's giving us a nice feel and she's bred to be reasonably quick." Mithen added: "I'm working on the theory that the Aussie two-year-olds are probably a whole lot more precocious and forward than the Europeans, given our climate and need for speed – so why not play on a world stage? If Wesley Ward can do it with those big, hulking American two-year-olds each year at Royal Ascot, perhaps a few Aussie two-year-olds bred to northern time can do it as well."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Trapeze Artist (Snitzel-Treppes, by Domesday) showed his fighting qualities when scoring a narrow win in the $600,000 weight-for-age Gr1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Le Romain & Showtime. Owner Bert Vieira is now in the enviable position of having to decide whether to accept one of the big money stud deals on offer for Trapeze Artist or continue racing him and target events such as The Everest and possibly even Royal Ascot. "Obviously I've had a lot of offers. I will make some firm decision on Monday, and hopefully we will make the right decision for him," Vieira told Sky Racing. "I would love to race him in The Everest, to be honest. It is exciting." He added: "If I did that it means I can't breed him this season, I'll have to race a few more Group Ones and then maybe take him to Ascot and breed him next year. That's my option." This was the third top-flight victory for Trapeze Artist who advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes, Gr1 Golden Rose, Gr2 Expressway Stakes & Gr3 Black Opal Stakes) and 2 placings (the Gr1 Randwick Guineas & Gr1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes) from 14 starts for $3,102, 850 in earnings. Hailing from the female family of Gr1 winners Crawl and Boardwalk Angel, Trapeze Artist was passed in for $250,000 at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Vieira Group. Interestingly, Trapeze Artist also traces his female line back to New Zealand mare Entreaty, the dam of legendary racehorse Phar Lap.
On day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred filly Catchy (Fastnet Rock-Cats Whisker, by Fusaichi Pegasus) unleashed her trademark late burst to overhaul her rivals for an easy win in the $600,000 Gr2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Showtime & I Am Excited. Racing in the red and white checked silks of Robert Crabtree's Dorrington Farm, Catchy advanced her record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Gr2 Danehill Stakes & Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas & Gr1 William Reid Stakes) from 15 starts for $1,965,000 in earnings. By Fastnet Rock out of the dual Gr2 winner Cats Whisker (Fusaichi Pegasus), Catchy was purchased by Dorrington Farm for $220,000 at 2016's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, 5YO Japanese-bred entire Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom-Tosen Smash, by Tokai Teio) broke through at the highest level with a brilliant win in the $500,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Tosen Stardom & Showtime. Trained by Darren Weir on behalf of a syndicate headed by Australian Bloodstock and Mt Hallowell Stud, Brave Smash improved his record to 4 wins (including the Listed Bendigo Bank Stakes) and 9 placings (including the Listed Regal Roller Stakes) from 20 starts for $2,145,436 in earnings. "It's important that we get results with them because they are very well-bred horses," trainer Darren Weir told racing.com. "Both horses [Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom] have now done it and while it's a huge thrill, it's also a huge relief as well." Weir said Brave Smash will run next in the Gr2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 17 March before heading to Sydney for the Gr1 Doncaster Mile.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race quinella when 3YO Australian-bred colt Trapeze Artist (Snitzel-Treppes, by Domesday) resumed with a promising win in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 Expressway Stakes (1200m), defeating Showtime & Addictive Nature. Trainer Gerald Ryan said he would immediately raise the bar with newly minted millionaire Trapeze Artist by running him against champion mare Winx when she resumes in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on 17 February. "He's won at weight-for-age now so we may well take on Winx next," Ryan told Sky Racing. Trapeze Artist improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Golden Rose & Gr3 Black Opal Stakes) and 1 placing (the Gr1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes) from 10 starts for $1,073,550 in earnings. Hailing from the female family of Gr1 winners Crawl and Boardwalk Angel, Trapeze Artist was passed in for $250,000 at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Vieira Group. His record now reads 2 wins from 3 starts for $195,200 earnings. Interestingly, Trapeze Artist also traces his female line back to New Zealand mare Entreaty, the dam of legendary racehorse Phar Lap.
Meanwhile from the same 2016 Magic Millions Arrowfield Stud draft that has already produced stakes-winners Snitzkraft (see above), Invader, Dracarys, Showtime and Pretty Fast, an Animal Kingdom debutante I Am Queen (Animal Kingdom-Cat by The Tale, by Tale of the Cat) has made a mess of her rivals over 1000m at Taupo in New Zealand. Singled out by champion Animal Kingdom's trainer Graham Motion and jockey John Velazquez at the Gold Coast Sale as a promising type, the $310,000 yearling has been patiently held back by connections but there was no hiding what she'd shown at home, consequently starting a strong favourite before surging away to a facile 4.3-lengths victory. Trainer Stephen Marsh suggested post-race that I Am Queen, who made most of the running, is not a 1000m metre type which augurs well for what she might show in the autumn over a longer trip. With 13 individual winners from his first Australian crop, champion Animal Kingdom will be represented by 11 yearlings at next week's Gold Coast Sale, among them 9 in the Arrowfield Stud draft. Also in the consignment is a Redoute's Choice half-brother to I am Queen, whose elder siblings include Group-placed city winners Raphael's Cat and Tale of Choice.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne this Saturday. The stallion-making feature - which boasts top stallions on its honour roll such as All Too Hard (2012), Starspangledbanner (2009), Lonhro (2001), Redoute's Choice (1999), and Luskin Star (1977) - has attracted a capacity field of 16 horses with the Mick Price-trained Mighty Boss the lone emergency. Current race favourite Royal Symphony has drawn midfield in barrier 9, while others to draw a good gate include the only filly entered in the race, Catchy, in barrier 3, Levendi (7), Salsamor (8), Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Perast (2), Gold Standard (6), and Showtime (1). In a competitive market, Royal Symphony is the most popular runner at $4 with TAB, ahead of Catchy at $5, Kementari ($5.50), and Perast next best at $10. Click below to view the Caulfield Guineas field.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 3YO chestnut colt Showtime (Snitzel - Flidais, by Timber Country) opened his stake account when leading throughout for a determined win in the $200,000 Gr2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Salsamor & Holy Snow. The well-bred Showtime improved his record to 2 wins and 4 placings (including the Gr2 Sliver Slipper Stakes) from 9 starts for $238,730 in earnings. A $1.1 million yearling from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, Showtime is a full-brother to Gr1 Galaxy winner Sweet Idea. The duo's dam is Gr1 Metropolitan & Gr1 Ranvet Stakes winner Electronic.
It may only have been a maiden at Wyong on Friday, but one of the best bets since the invention of sliced bread destroyed his rivals after opening at $1.50 and starting a lot shorter in the day's opener on Wyong Cup Day. Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais) performed like a greyhound against whippets in Race 1, cruising along in the lead to have the rest of the field off the bit a very long way from home. And why wouldn't he have? The son of reigning Champion Australian Sire Snitzel boasted six first four placings – including the Kirkham, Canonbury (behind Pariah), Silver Slipper (behind She Will Reign), Todman (behind Gunnison) & St Albans Stakes – from six starts. Cuddled to the line by Brenton Avdulla to win as he liked for Team Hawkes, Showtime looked a million dollars and, with the maiden monkey off his back, could be a genuine contender for some of the rich pickings on offer over the Spring. A $1.1 million yearling from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, Showtime is a full-brother to sensational multiple Gr1-performed race mare Sweet Idea, with the duo boasting dual Gr1 winner Electronic as their dam.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne on Friday night, 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 2YO colt Doubt I'm Dreaming (Not a Single Doubt-Dreaming of You, by Spectrum) scored an impressive 2.75 length win on debut for trainer John McArdle in the $120,000 Listed Valley Pearl (1200m) for 2YOs, over fellow 2YO colts Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais, by Timber Country) & Muraaqeb (Snitzel-Tafseel, by Starcraft). Doubt I'm Dreaming, who was a $210,000 purchase by Redgum Racing at the 2016 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale from the draft of Milburn Creek, enjoyed the perfect launch to his career with 1 win from 1 start for $72,000 earnings. Trainer John McArdle said the youngster had been the subject of offers after an impressive trial a week ago, but said he would now be reluctant to sell. "It will have to take a fairly big offer now," McArdle told potential buyers of the strapping colt who set a class record in winning his debut. Winning rider Jamie Mott added to the hype predicting Doubt I'm Dreaming could develop into a Gr1 horse. "He put them away pretty easy," Mott said. "I think he could get to the top level."
The final field has been declared (16 plus three emergencies) and the barrier draw conducted for the world's richest juvenile race – the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, 18th March. Boom Queensland filly Houtzen is the current $4.40 tab favourite for the race despite drawing wide in barrier 16. Fellow unbeaten filly She Will Reign also fared poorly, with connections coming up with gate 13. The Gary Portelli-trained filly is second favourite at $5. Next best is Blue Diamond winner Catchy at $7 (barrier 8), followed by Blue Diamond runner-up Pariah at $8 (barrier 4). All other runners are at double figure odds headed by Tulip at $11 (barrier 10). The final field is:
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's Gr1-winning stallion Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago- Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) added a Group success when 2YO filly She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain-Courgette, by Charge Forward) scored by 1.5 lengths for trainer Gary Portelli despite missing the start in the $250,000 Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) for 2YOs, over 2YO colts Veranillo (Medaglia d'Oro-Shelters, by Lonhro) & Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais, by Timber Country). This was yet another brilliant performance by Golden Slipper favourite She Will Reign who saw her price for next month's $3.5 million Gr1 juvenile feature tighten into $3. A $20,000 bargain purchase by Darby Racing at the 2016 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, she extended her unbeaten record to 3 wins (including the Listed (R) Inglis Nursery) from 3 starts for $458,650 earnings. Trainer Gary Portelli said he had always been confident that She Will Reign could be just as effective racing off the speed. "I already knew but when she missed the start I thought 'this is perfect' because now we can find out for sure if she can race from behind," Portelli said. "We've learnt something out of today. She's not one-dimensional at all, but it was a big way to learn it." She Will Reign will have her final lead-up to the Golden Slipper in the Gr2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on 4 March.
In Malaysia, 4 Australian-bred gallopers scored at Perak:
In the US, multiple Gr1-winning Coolmore shuttler Lion Heart (Tale Of The Cat-Satin Sunrise, by Mr Leader) added a juvenile black-type success when daughter Thats Whatshesaid (Lion Heart-Strong Girl, by Boundary) scored a 0.75-length victory in the US$88,700 Listed Showtime Deb Stakes (6 furlongs) for 2YO fillies at Hawthorne in Illinois. Thats Whatshesaid (ridden by Ariel Smith for trainer James Gulick) defeated Shake N Quake (Richter Scale-Prospect's Dream, by Fortunate Prospect) & Speak Peace (Peace Rules-Speak Up, by Unaccounted For). Thats Whatshesaid now has 2 wins & 2 placings from 6 starts for US$84,185 earnings.
Emirates Park stallion Danewin (Danehill-Cotehele House, by My Swanee) added a group success when 3YO gelding Theseo (Danewin-Ozone Sand, by L'Enjoleur) gained the judges's verdict over his older rivals in a 3-way photo-finish to the $125,000 Gr3 Premier's Cup (2200m) at Doomben. Theseo (ridden by Michael Cahill for trainer Gai Waterhouse) scored by a neck from 6YO gelding Game On (Zabeel-Showtime, by Famous Star) with a further short neck to 5YO gelding Mandela (Ebony Grosve-Wairongoa Belle, by Sea Anchor). Theseo (a $120,000 yearling at the 2005 Magic Millions Premier Sale on the Gold Coast) now has 3 wins (also including last October's Listed Dulcify Quality over 1800m at Randwick) & 4 placings (including 2006's Listed Fernhill Handicap over 1600m & Listed Baillieu Handicap over 1400m) from 13 starts for $229,380 earnings.
Cambridge Stud's evergreen stallion Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle, by Nureyev) achived further stakes success when 6YO gelding Game On (Zabeel-Showtime, by Famous Star) won the $60,000 Listed QTC Smith & Nephew Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm. Ridden by Scott Seamer for trainer Robert Heathcote and sporting the famous Makybe Diva silks, Game On had three-quarters of a length to spare at the line over fellow 6YO gelding Fastness (Nediym-Tatham, by Kayhasi), with a further length to 5YO gelding Birthday Bash (Shinko Forest-Nightslip, by Night Shift). A NZ$230,000 yearling at the 2002 NZB Premier Sale at Karaka, Game On now has 6 wins & 5 placings from 26 starts and $209,825 earnings.
Blue Gum Farm's deceased 4-time Gr1-winning stallion Rubiton (Century-Ruby, by Seventh Hussar) added a group success when front-running 5YO gelding Jamberoo (Rubiton-Broadway Lil, by Padroug) scored a 2.25-lengths victory in the $150,000 Gr3 Summer Cup (2400m) at Randwick. Jamberoo (ridden by Grant Buckley for trainer Bede Murray) defeated 6YO gelding Game On (Zabeel-Showtime, by Famous Star) & favoured fellow 5YO gelding Taken At The Flood (Bianconi-Golden Hanoof, by Slew O' Gold). Jamberoo (a $50,000 yearling at the 2003 Inglis Premier Sale in Melbourne) took his record to 6 wins & 13 placings (including the Listed Wagga Gold Cup over 2000m in May) from 33 starts for $216,760 earnings.
NZ Rich Hill Stud stallion Pentire (Be My Guest-Gull Nook, by Mill Reef) added a group success when 4YO gelding Art Success (Pentire-Zabelette, by Zabeel) made it 2-wins-in-a-row with a 1-length victory in the $100,000 Gr3 Chairman's Handicap (2020m) at Doomben. Art Success (ridden by Tony Pattillo for trainer John Collins) defeated 5YO gelding Game On (Zabeel-Showtime, by Famous Star) & 6YO gelding Hello Possums (Semipalatinsk-Louise Louise, by Mendham). Art Success now has 5 wins & 5 placings in 17 starts for $144,161 earnings.