Milestone Looms for Mertens
Victorian apprentice Beau Mertens will get the chance to claim a special career milestone when he legs aboard favourite Supido in Saturday's Gr3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, reports racing.com. Mertens, who will ride Supido for his master Mick Kent, has three Listed wins to his name, but is yet to boot home a winner at Group level. Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time), who posted his maiden stakes victory in the Gr3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield two weeks ago, is currently the $3.20 fixed odds favourite with Tab ahead of Lankan Rupee ($6.50) and Robert Smerdon's progressive sprinter Ability ($7).
Supido Wins Gr3 Sir John Monash Stakes
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Widden Stud's former Australian champion 2YO colt Sebring (More Than Ready-Purespeed, by Flying Spur) added a Group success when 5YO brown entire Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time) sprinted powerfully down the centre of the track to claim his maiden stakes victory in the $150,000 Gr3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) for 3YO+, defeating Daytona Grey & Murt The Flirt. Supido, who was purchased by his trainer Mick Kent for $190,000 at the 2013 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, improved his record to 7 wins and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Goodwood & Gr2 ATC Challenge Stakes) from 13 starts for $471,150 in earnings. "I'm sure he's a Group 1 horse," Kent told racing.com. "It's good to get this win out of the way because it's his first stakes win. He's Group 1 and Group 2-placed but I've been dying to get a Stakes win with him." Kent said Supido would have his next run in the Gr3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 29 July. "We'll head to the Bletchingly now in a fortnight and then see where we go from there, but I would like to get him back into a Group 1 race one day," he said.
Supido Favourite for Monash
Smart sprinter Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time) will resume as the $2.10 Tab favourite in the Gr3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday. A winner of 6 of his 12 starts to date, Supido was given an early autumn spell after finishing at the tail of the field in the Gr1 Galaxy Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill in March. “He was struggling on that heavy ground up there [in Sydney],” trainer Mick Kent told ANZ Bloodstock News. "We pulled the pin nice and early so he had a good break and had time to get ready for this.” Kent added: “I'm happy with him. He seems good. Caulfield is the only metropolitan track in Melbourne he hasn't won at. He's had a couple of starts there, but he's good to go.”
English Wins Gr2 Challenge Stakes
At Randwick in NSW, Coolmore's former dual Champion Australian Sire Encosta De Lago (Fairy King-Shoal Creek, by Star Way) added a Gr1 success when 4YO mare English (Encosta De Lago-Court, by Anabaa) scored by a nose for trainers Gai Waterhouse & Aidrian Bott in the $500,000 Gr2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) for 3YOs+, over 4YO gelding Redzel (Snitzel-Millrich, by Rubiton) and 5YO entire Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time). English, a Newhaven Park homebred, took her record to 5 wins (also including the Gr1 All Aged Stakes, 2016 Gr2 Challenge Stakes & Gr2 Reisling Stakes) & 2 placings (including the Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes & Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes) from 13 starts for $2,058,800 earnings.
Black Heart Bart Favoured For Goodwood Repeat
Early Markets for this year's Gr1 Goodwood Stakes in Adelaide have ultra consistent Gr1 hero Black Heart Bart at a tempting quote to go back-to-back in May's big feature sprint (see below). The Darren Weir-trained former WA star is currently at $7, marginally ahead of Malaguerra and Supido, both at $9. Black Heart Bart is Australia's quinella king for big race punters, with 12 first or second placings – 9 in Gr1 company – from his past 13 starts. Underlining the scope of his versatility, Black Heart Bart currently holds nominations for the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 11 at Flemington, the Gr1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 1 at Royal Randwick, and the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 8.
Top 3YOs Battle For Lightning Favouritism
Two of the best 3YO colts, from what is a vintage crop, are involved in pre race jousting before tomorrow's Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington. Both Flying Artie and Star Turn are taking turns to swap leads at the head of a market that can't settle on a favourite. The duo is around the $4.80 mark, although both of them have the year older Spieth nipping at their heels at $5. With Terravista, Flamberge, The Quarterback, Supido and Heatherly also among the main chances, this year's renewal is expected to be a thriller right down to the wire. Adding to the intrigue is Illustrious Lad, who has not finished out of the first two in his past seven starts. It could be a big day for Vinery Stud, co-owners of Star Turn who will stand at their Hunter Valley property at the end of his race career. Vinery's icing on the cake could come earlier in the Listed Talindert Stakes where four 2YOs by resident stallion and Champion 3YO All Too Hard are among the chances to provide their high profile sire with his first winner.
Lightning Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $750,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) to be run at Flemington this Saturday, 18 February. Star colt Flying Artie, a brilliant winner of the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in the spring, is the current $4 Tab favourite, ahead of fellow 3YO and Coolmore Stud Stakes third placegetter Star Turn at $4.40, and progressive sprinter Spieth at $6. The only other runners under double-figure odds are Supido at $8, as well as Heatherly and veteran sprinter Terravista at $9. The final field is:
- TERRAVISTA (Joseph Pride-Corey Brown) 58.5kg (9)
- FLAMBERGE (Darren Weir-Brad Rawiller) 58.5kg (1)
- THE QUARTERBACK (Robbie Griffiths-Matthew Allen) 58.5kg (12)
- COUNTERATTACK (Chris Waller) 58.5kg (6)
- ILLUSTRIOUS LAD (Peter Gelagotis-Anthony Darmanin) 58.5kg (8)
- FAATINAH (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-Regan Bayliss) 58.5kg (11)
- SPIETH (Bryce Heys-Hugh Bowman) 58.5kg (5)
- SUPIDO (Michael Kent-Luke Nolen) 58.5kg (10)
- ORUJO (Shawn Mathrick) 58.5kg (13)
- HEATHERLY (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-D Lane) 56.5kg (3)
- FLYING ARTIE (Mick Price-Damien Oliver) 55.5kg (4)
- STAR TURN (Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-D Dunn) 55.5kg (2)
- MISSROCK (Robbie Laing-Craig Williams) 53.5kg (7)
Supido On Target For Lightning Return
Mick Kent says exciting sprinter Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time) is ready to resume in Saturday's weight-for-age Gr1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington. A winner of 6 of his 9 starts, the son of Sebring has not raced since finishing an excellent third to top-class galloper Black Heart Bart in the Gr1 Goodwood Stakes in Adelaide in May. "He's definitely thickened and strengthened up," Kent told AAP. "He'll have a piece of work on Tuesday [today] and that should see him right." Kent said Supido was likely to start in the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on 11 March, before heading to Sydney for the $2.5 million Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on 1 April.
Black Heart Bart Wins Gr1 Goodwood
At Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide, Scenic Lodge's VRC Derby-winning sire Blackfriars (Danehill-Kensington Gardens, by Grosvenor) celebrated an elite success when 5YO gelding Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars-Sister Theresa, by At Talaq) scored by 0.6-length for trainer Darren Weir in the $500,000 Gr1 Goodwood (1200m) for 3YO+, over 5YO entire Under The Louvre (Excellent Art-Barcelona Girl, by Noverre) & 4YO entire Supido (Sebring-Lady Succeed, by Brian's Time). This was a thoroughly deserved maiden top-flight success for Black Heart Bart after finishing a narrow second in both the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap and Gr1 All Aged Stakes in the autumn. "All his runs for me have been terrific. It's great to see him win a Group One because he deserves it," trainer Darren Weir told Sky Racing. "When he first arrived at the stable I thought he was a big gangly bugger who would be better over a trip, but he's just the perfect horse to train. He eats well, he works well, he's very sound and he's just a very good racehorse." Weir confirmed that Black Heart Bart will now head to Queensland for the Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on 11 June. "The plan all along was to target this race and then its three weeks to the Stradbroke which is ideal," he said. Black Heart Bart improved his record to 12 wins (including the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes, Gr3 Victoria Handicap, Gr3 WATC Northerly Stakes, Listed Birthday Stakes, Listed Bunbury Stakes, Listed Pinjarra Classic, Listed Cyril Flower Stakes, Listed WATC Carbine Club of WA Stakes & Listed WATC Summer Scorcher) and 10 placings (including the Gr1 Newmarket Handicap, Gr1 All Aged Stakes & Gr3 WATC Asian Beau Stakes) from 30 starts for $1,698,950 earnings. Black Heart Bart, who was sold for $20,000 at the 2012 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale, is out of a half-sister to New Zealand Oaks winner Savannah Success, dam of Cox Plate winner and outstanding young stallion Savabeel and Gr1-placed Tamalee Farm stallion Arlington.
Gr1 Goodwood Field & Barrier Draw
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $500,000 Gr1 Goodwood (1200m) to be run at Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide on Saturday. Race favourite is the former West Australian-galloper Black Heart Bart ($4) who has drawn well in barrier 2, whilst his main market danger, the Mick Kent-trained Supido ($5.50), has drawn midfield in gate 9. The only other horse under double-figure odds, Under The Louvre ($8), has come up with barrier 11. Last year's winner Flamberge will find it tough to defend his title after drawing barrier 17. The final field is:
1. FLAMBERGE (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-D Lane) 59kg (17)
2. THE QUARTERBACK (Robbie Griffiths-Matthew Allen) 58.5kg (1)
3. BLACK HEART BART (Darren Weir-Brad Rawiller) 57kg (2)
4. CHURCHILL DANCER (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-N Hall) 57kg (15)
5. GRIANTE - scratched -
6. BIG MONEY (Rodney Northam-Robert Thompson) 56.5kg (14)
7. SMOKIN' JOEY (Wez Hunter-Craig Newitt) 56.5kg (5)
8. NOSTRADAMUS (Phillip Stokes-Dom Tourneur) 56.5kg (20)
9. FAST 'N' ROCKING (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-S Baster) 56kg (16)
10. DAYTONA GREY (Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-C Lindop) 56kg (18)
11. UNDER THE LOUVRE (Robert Smerdon-Dwayne Dunn) 55.5kg (11)
12. ADMIRAL (Barry Campbell-Brendon McCoull) 55.5kg (6)
13. FAATINAH (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Dylan Dunn) 55.5kg (10)
14. SUPER ONE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-D Moor) 54.5kg (13)
15. SUPIDO (Michael Kent-James Winks) 54.5kg (9)
16. SIRBIBLE (Russell Bell-Wayne Kerford) 54.5kg (19)
17. CASHED (Ryan Balfour-Todd Pannell) 54.5kg (4)
18. MISS PROMISCUITY (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-L Meech) 54kg (8)
19. SHEIDEL (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Matthew Neilson) 53.5kg (12)
20. SOOBOOG (Darren Weir-Dean Yendall) 53kg (7)