High-class sprinter Voodoo Lad is primed for a bold first-up showing in Saturday's Group 1 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville, according to the Darren Weir stable. Voodoo Lad (I Am Invincible-O'Fortuna, by Gilded Time), who hasn't been sighted since finishing fifth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley in April, will head a three-pronged attack for Weir in the $1 million feature, with stable-mates Handsome Thief and Stellar Collision joining him in the race. A bullish sounding Jarrod McLean told Sky Sports Radio that he expects the 6YO to sprint well fresh after enjoying a long break. "We are confident with Voodoo Lad. He has been set for the race and goes like a bomb fresh," said McLean, Weir's Warrnambool foreman. "After his failure in the Moir he had surgery on a knee and had a good break. He's been down with us at Warrnambool for several months and everything he has done this time in has pleased us. His first-up record is outstanding so Weiry said in early April we would target the Goodwood first-up and that's where we are." McLean added: "He's not a Group 1 winner like a few of the others but he's a Group 1 runner-up and he deserves his spot in the race. I think he will be hard to beat." A dual Gr3 winner, Voodoo Lad has also proven his credentials at the elite level having finished second in the 2016 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) & 2017 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
At Warrnambool in Victoria, champion 2YO colt & 4-time Gr1-winning former Darley shuttler Shamardal (Giant's Causeway-Helsinki, by Machiavellian) added a black-type success when 5YO Irish-bred gelding Handsome Thief (Shamardal- Insoumise, by Galileo) steered towards the outside of the track to find the better going before letting down with a strong sprint to claim the $150,000 Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Stellar Collision & Bassett. Raced by Paul Fudge's Waratah Thoroughbreds, Handsome Thief improved his record to 6 wins and 5 placings from 14 starts for $296,400 in earnings. "Waratah are big supporters of the stable so its great to get a feature win for Paul and all the crew," trainer Darren Weir told racing.com. "After the track gets a bit of racing things become a bit tactical and I thought he [Dean Yendall] executed the ride perfectly." Handsome Thief is out of the Galileo mare Insoumise, a half-sister to Gr1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud winner Plumania. This is a prolific Gr1-producing family that also includes unbeaten Gr1 Australasian Oaks winner Abbey Marie, Indian Rose, Kinshasa No Kiseki, and successful sire Groom Dancer.
At Mornington south of Melbourne, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter) added a black-type success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Stellar Collision (Star Witness-What An Impact, More Than Ready) posted the second stakes win of his career in the $200,000 Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating I'm Wesley & Husson Eagle. Stellar Collision improved his record to 9 wins (including the Listed MRC Christmas Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr2 MVRC Australia Stakes & Listed SAJC Matrice Stakes) from 25 starts for $523,450 in earnings. Stellar Collision is closely related to Hong Kong Derby winner Elegant Fashion and hails from the family of Gr1 English 1000 Guineas & Gr1 French Guineas winner Highclere, dam of Gr1 winner and UK blue hen Height Of Fashion (Bustino). Height Of Fashion made her name in the breeding barn producing legendary racehorse Nashwan, his three-time Gr1 winning brother Nayef, and successful sire Unfuwain.
At Morphettville Park in Adelaide, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning sire Nicconi (Bianconi-Nicola Lass, by Scenic) added a black-type success when 4YO Australian-bred mare It's Been A Battle (Nicconi-Won My Heart, by Dehere) caused a minor upset at odds of 18-1 when leading wire-to-wire in the $100,000 Listed Matrice Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating Stellar Collision & Riziz. A $16,000 purchase at the 2015 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, It's Been A Battle advanced her record to 5 wins from 9 starts for $138,000 in earnings.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion and current leading Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred entire Thronum (Snitzel-Helena's Secret, by Five Star Day) scored a dominant front-running win in the $200,000 weight-for-age Gr2 Australia Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Mr Sneaky & Stellar Collision. Now trained by the Lindsay Park team of David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, this was the second stakes victory for Thronum who improved his record to 5 wins (including the Listed ATC Rosebud) and 3 placings (including the Gr3 MRC Kevin Heffernan Stakes) from 10 starts for $329,250 in earnings. Thronum, whose third dam is Gr1 Irish Oaks winner Helen Street, dam of deceased Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner and recently crowned Champion Australian Sire Street Cry, was a $300,000 purchase by Sun Bloodstock at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Highgrove Stud.
Champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir has nominated seven horses for next year's Auckland Cup (3200m), reports AAP. Taiyoo, Real Love, Lord Van Percy, Shamkiyr, High Church, Loresho and Auvray are among the nominations for the Gr1 staying feature to be run at Ellerslie on 11 March, 2017. "The hardest thing for us is that the Auckland Cup is two days before the Adelaide Cup," said Weir's racing manager Jeremy Rogers. "But we've nominated a few for Auckland and we'll see what happens. It's early days yet." The Weir stable has also nominated stakes-winning sprinter Stellar Collision for the Gr1 Railway Stakes on the same program.
At Flemington in Melbourne, Woodside Park stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesia-Party Miss, by Kenmare) added a black-type success when 3YO filly Super Cash (Written Tycoon-Super Bucks, by Dash for Cash) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Andrew Noblet in the $120,000 Listed Goodwood Racecourse Trophy (1100m) for 3YOs, over 3YO colt Sooboog (Snitzel, Monte Rosa, by Fraar) & 3YO gelding Stellar Collision (Star Witness-What an Impact, by More Than Ready). Super Cash took her record to 2 wins and 3 placings (including the Listed VRC Cap d'Antibes Stakes) from 7 starts for $151,250 earnings.