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Three yearlings closely related to our Bel Esprit-Song Of The Sun filly will be sold at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, which starts at the Inglis sales complex at Oaklands Junction on Sunday, March 1.
Unfortunately, a half-brother to the filly, has been withdrawn by breeder Eliza Park. The striking black colt is by the highly promising first-season sire God’s Own, who has stood at Eliza Park since 2006, after winning the 2005 Caulfield Guineas.
The other yearlings, all colts are by three different sires – Bel Esprit, Reset and Canny Lad.
The first to go through the ring will be lot 313, a bay colt by Reset from Danavia, from the draft of Fulmen Park, Longwood. Danavia is a mare by Danehill from the brilliant mare Scandinavia (by Snippets), a half-sister to Song Of The Sun (by Desert Sun). Both are out of the mare Song Of Norway.
Lot 416 is a bay or brown colt, by Bel Esprit, from another daughter of Scandinavia, the Desert Sun mare Helsinge, an unraced 3/4 sister to Song Of The Sun. This colt is very much in the image of his sire, a powerful individual. The colt, who is a blood brother to our filly, is offered by Swettenham Stud.
Lot 521 is a chestnut colt, by Canny Lad, offered by Fulmen Park, is from Scandinavia’s Stakes-winning half-sister Midnight Sun, who is the dam of the handy Robbie Griffiths-trained filly Midnight Blues.
To view the pedigress and videos of these three colts, or check on the sale results, go to the Inglis website.
As Caulfield Cup placegetter Barbaricus slipped from second to ninth up the long straight at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai overnight, the storming last-to-first run of Presvis (B g 2004, Sakhee (USA)-Forest Fire (Swe), by Never So Bold (GB)) signalled that Luca Cumani has found another big-race stayer.
Whether Presvis has the Melbourne Cup as his target later this year is yet to be determined, but he has given the trainer another Sheema Classic (2400m in Dubai on March 28) contender alongside Cumani’s 2007 Melbourne Cup runner-up Purple Moon.
Purple Moon (Ch g 2003, Galileo (Ire)-Vanishing Prairie (USA), by Aly Sheba (USA)) was second to Efficient in the Cup – he didn’t run at Flemington last year, when Cumani’s Bauer was beaten a nose by Viewed, stepping out instead in the Japan Cup (ninth, Tokyo, November 30) and the Hong Vase (second, Sha Tin, December 14).
He went to Dubai from Hong Kong, with the Sheema Classic as his target and will run next Thursday as his warm-up race.
Hot favourite Presvis was impressive in his first start in Dubai two weeks ago – that race was 2000m, the same as the race overnight, the Meydan Gateway Towers Trophy.
Presvis drew gate 10 in a field of 10 in the Trophy, and English jockey Ryan Moore settled him at the tail. He ran through and past the field with ease up the 600m straight to win by a dominating 3-¼ lengths from the pacesetter, Yahrab.
Barbaricus raced third or fourth on the rails, but fought Irish rider Mick Kinane for his head for several hundred metres. He pushed through to be second in the straight and appeared to close a little on the leader before weakening to ninth, some 14 lengths off Presvis.
It was a disappointing result for Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien after Barbaricus’s promising third at his first start in Dubai two weeks earlier, and must put doubts on him making the Sheema Classic field – stablemate Master O’Reilly will go to Dubai for the Classic if he runs well in the Australian Cup (200m) at Flemington on March 7.
Another stablemate, Valedictum, won at Nad Al Sheba last week and will run again next Thursday.
The Italian-born Cumani, based at Newmarket in England, is represented in Dubai by his daughter Francesca, who came to Melbourne with the stable horses for the past two spring carnivals. She has a team of five at Nad Al Sheba, including German stayer Waldvogel, beaten about four lengths when sixth over 2400m last week.
Another former Melbourne Cup visitor, South African Mike De Kock (he had Greys Inn run unplaced in the 2005 Cup), makes plundering Dubai riches a habit, and he had two wins overnight – Archipenko (B h 2004, Kingmambo (USA)-Bound (USA), by Nijinsky (Can)), who won the Queen Elizabeth 2 Cup in Hong Kong last April and is headed there again this year, beat a strong field in the Zabeel Mile on turf; and JJ The Jet Plane (B g 2004, Jet Master (S. Af)-Majestic Guest (S. Af), by Northern Guest (USA)) won the 1200m sprint on dirt. Irishman Kevin Shea rode both.
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had his usual share of collects, too, with Godolphin winning two races: the UAE Oaks (1800m, dirt) with Devotee (Ch f 2006, Elusive Quality (USA)-Danuta (USA), by Sunday Silence (USA)); and the Dubai Racing Gold Cup, the first-ever 3200m turf race in Dubai, with Veracity (Ch h 2004, Lomitas (GB)-Vituisa (GB), by Bering (GB)). Frankie Dettori rode both.
Footnote: an omen, perhaps – Presvis ran second to Australia Day, over 2000m at Sandown in England last July after missing the start by eight lengths. He was beaten just under three. The gelding has won four of nine, all at 2000m.
The ins and outs on Australian racing’s ‘team sheet’ have become very lopsided all of a sudden. Horses, and jockeys, are going missing at an alarming rate.
So much so, that one of the opportunistic nominations for Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (WFA 1600m) at Caulfield was the one-win bush rookie Keikogi, trained by Alan Pateman from Wangaratta. Pateman saw a decline in the big names (only five original noms), and nominated his gelding in the hope snatching some of the $10,000 prizemoney – paid down to eighth. Pateman declined to make the final acceptance payment ($4125) with Keikogi when eight better prospects paid up to run.
The talent exodus started not long after Christmas when Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien packed off two of his stable stars – the promising Barbaricus and proven Group 1 contender Valedictum – to Dubai for a series of races leading into the World Cup meeting at Nal Al Sheba late in March. Valedictum already has pocketed close to AU$100,000 for his win last week, and Barbaricus is expected to go close to winning at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night.
Barbaricus, a revelation in the spring when he came from obscurity to finish second behind All The Good in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m at Caulfield) and second behind Theseo in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m at Flemington), was a big loss to the Melbourne and Sydney autumn carnivals. The grey was an ideal candidate for the Group 1 Australian Cup (WFA 2000m) at Flemington and the Group 1 The BMW (WFA 2400m) at Rosehill, but the lure of US$5 million on the table for the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (WFA 2400m), alongside stablemate Barbaricus – plus lucrative lead up money – was too great for O’Brien and the gelding’s owners.
O’Brien is planning to run his 2007 Caulfield Cup winner Master O’Reilly in the Australian Cup – a race he is using as a stepping stone for the $5 million Sheema Classic (WFA 2400m) at Nad Al Sheba rather than attacking the The BMW ($2million) in Sydney.
There was a touch of irony at Caulfield last Saturday when O’Brien lamented the lack of likely competitive pace in the Australian Cup on March 7 that could a) upset the favourite Theseo, and b) aid the chances of his back-runner Master O’Reilly. Barbaricus is just the horse to have tested Theseo.
And in the last few days we have been faced with the loss of stars Maldivian and Samantha Miss to possible career-affecting tendon injuries, and Weekend Hussler’s campaign is in shatters because of a niggling back injury, and a dose of the sulks.
First to go was Maldivian. The big horse has a small tear in a suspensory ligament. Trainer Mark Kavanagh said the injury is on the lower scale, and he expects Maldivian to be back in the spring. The sceptics are worried that any sort of ligament injury that supports a massive frame the size of Maldivian is of great concern, and is possibly career threatening.
Then came the terrible news that Samantha Miss, a champion filly that could make it to the Hall Of Fame, also had damaged a tendon after trackwork at Newcastle. Time will tell if trainer Kris Lees can get the valuable young mare back to the races. What a shame it will be if it is the last we have seen of her on a racetrack. Lees is shattered, we all are shattered. Her likely suitor, Encosta De Lago is the only one with a smile on his face.
Weekend Hussler didn’t make it to Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield. Track jockey Les Beer waved the white flag after working the gelding this morning. The Hussler moved like a shuffler. The result is that the planned overseas foray to Dubai and Hong Kong has been shelved, and more than likely a spell will be preferred to a tilt at Sydney. Marg McDonald, wife of trainer Ross, said Weekend Hussler “is depressed” most likely at not being top dog any more. If she wants to see depression, tune into the faces of Australia’s racing officials as the stars go west. Recession followed by depression.
Then, there’s no show without Singo. Owner John Singleton has contacted his travel agent for accommodation arrangements in Dubai and France – he wants to win the Duty Free and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp with his wonderful mare Tuesday Joy, who by name alone was destined for another go at the Melbourne Cup. And, of course, Takeover Target is gearing for his annual trip to meet the Queen.
And the jocks are also on the move. The grass is greener – read the notes are crisper – on the other side.
No sooner had Sydney-based South African Jeff Lloyd announced that he had taken a contract to ride in Hong Kong, than Melbourne’s Vlad Duric declared he was off to Singapore for four months. Sydney’s Ronnie Stewart also has been given a ticket to return to Singapore where he had so much success in 2007. Already in Hong Kong is James Winks, who announced his arrival with a 50/1 Group 1 winner at Sha Tin last Sunday.
Lloyd, aged 47, has made a name for himself in Sydney in the last two years, especially with his association with fellow South African, trainer David Payne. Last autumn, Lloyd scored his biggest win in Australia when he steered Nom Du Jeu to win the Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick. He was to have partnered the 4YO through this autumn carnival in Sydney, but trainer Murray Baker is grizzling that he now must find a replacement. Lloyd will ride in Hong Kong from March 16 to the end of the Hong Kong season on July 1.
Duric, 31, will ride in Singapore from April 1 until the end of July. The Cranbourne-based rider’s career peaked in the spring of 2007 when he won the Caulfield Cup on Master O’Reilly and the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on Bon Hoffa. His professionalism and consistency will be Singapore’s gain.
Thankfully, we have an exciting batch of three-year-olds coming together over the next two months. All the attention will be on the likes of Northern Meteor, Whobegotyou, Mic Mac, Time Thief, Desuetude and company. Racing needs them.
Weekend Hussler has a sore back, a sore leg and he is depressed – yes, depressed. For him, the three problems add up to no Futurity Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, no Dubai trip next month and no Hong Kong trip in April.
Margaret McDonald, the “extra caring” member of Team McDonald, who probably spends more time with the horse than does her husband Ross (the trainer) and son Clinton (also a trainer and heavily involved in the Hussler’s preparation), faced the media today to tell them of the horse’s problems; or, in her words, the problems the Hussler was trying to tell the McDonalds that he had. She put on a brave face at the Melbourne Racing Club’s launch of the Asian Mile Challenge that begins with the Futurity (1600m) and continues with the Dubai Duty Free (1777m, March 28, Nad Al Sheba) and the Champions Mile (1600m, April 26, Sha Tin), and winds up with the Yasuda Kinen (1600m, June 7, Tokyo) – the last race was never on the agenda for Weekend Hussler (B g 4, Hussonet (USA)-Weekend Beauty, by Helissio (Fr)).
McDonald talked about the horse’s physical and mental state: “At the moment he is going through a few difficulties with his back and he has got some pain in his off front joint.
“The two happened in the race (the Group 1 Australia Stakes, 1200m, at Moonee Valley on February 14 when Weekend Hussler, second up, finished a disappointing fifth to Apache Cat). Brad (Rawiller, the jockey) said he actually jumped something, he could feel him do it.
“He’s got the two (problems) that are becoming too much for him to overcome mentally as much as physical(ly) … Because he’s such a fluent-going horse, he’s finding now that because he’s got this pain barrier that it’s starting to make him feel, ‘I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to stretch out.’
“He runs off his confidence, probably more than other horses, and it’s just knocking him around mentally as much as physically. We’re concerned as much about his mental state.”
McDonald said the foot abscess Weekend Hussler had before running second to Light Fantastic in the Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in August was minor compared to the back injury, which is being treated by a chiropractor.
“When you’ve got pain in your back it affects every other part of your body,” she said. “I think that the horse is just finding it’s all a bit too hard for him at the moment.
“There’s no point in pushing him on. OK, we’ve lost Dubai, we’ve lost Hong Kong, but he’s a four-year-old.” Weekend Hussler indeed has it all ahead of him if he can get himself back in shape. Already he has 12 wins, including seven Group 1s, from just 19 starts and has earned $3.1 million.
“This is a horse that can race until he’s seven or eight,” said McDonald. “Why persecute him?”
Margaret said the team had discussed taking him for beach work, but no R&R place had been determined. “If we do that, (track rider) Les Beer will go with him; he’ll just stay with him.”
Depending on Weekend Hussler’s physical and mental healing, the Doncaster Handicap (he is entered) in Sydney on April 18, or the Brisbane carnival in winter, or Melbourne in the spring remain options this year.
“It (planning) is all irrelevant because all we’ve got to do is get him better,” McDonald said.
The decision to abandon the Asian Mile Challenge was made after Weekend Hussler had a light trot and canter, with Beer riding, this morning.
“He (Weekend Hussler) is just not happy … he’s not himself,” McDonald said. “He was telling them ‘Please don’t do this to me’.”
Beer was back in the work saddle this week after a shoulder injury. Neighbouring trainer John Salanitri filled in for Beer, and McDonald said Salanitri provided amazing help. She said Beer was back on because they needed another opinion on why Weekend Hussler had lost his spark. “Les knows the horse inside out and back the front,” she said.
The temporary demise of the Hussler, Australia’s reigning horse of the year, overshadowed the launch of the rich series of international Group 1 races, despite MRC chief executive Warran Brown saying the Futurity lineup - even without Weekend Hussler, Samantha Miss (injured but never a runner anyway) and Maldivian (also injured) had “some great champions running”.
There are four Group 1 winners in the field of eight, but of those only El Segundo has won a ‘major’ (the 2007 Cox Plate), and he is just making his steady way back from stem cell therapy on an injured foreleg.
The Futurity is the poor relation of the series that began in 2003 and, New Zealand candidates aside, has not yet attracted an overseas runner. Saturday’s winner will be invited to Dubai all expenses paid – last year’s winner Niconero (a starter again this weekend) and the 2006 winner Fields Of Omagh failed when they made that journey, but Elvstroem, who did not compete in the Futurity, did win the Dubai Duty Free in 2005.
This year’s Futurity is worth $500,000, which is about $US325,000 with the Australian currency so weak. Dubai’s race is $US5 million and attracts worldwide attention; Hong Kong and Japan get most runners in their legs from each other and provide prizemoney of more than $US1.5 million.
Champion test cricketer Glenn McGrath, on behalf of the McGrath Foundation, today launched Australia’s newest racing partnership, NewStar Racing Club.
NewStar Racing Club is the the brain-child of former leading racecaller and successful syndicator Bryan Martin, who has been able to source some outstanding bloodstock to race, on lease, by the club and be trained by some of Australia’s leading trainers, including Gai Waterhouse, David Hayes, Mick Price and Danny O’Brien. Hayes and jockey Clare Lindop also spoke at the NewStar launch.
These horses include the promising Regimental Hero, who is trained by Gai Waterhouse, and already is a twice winner from only four starts. Regimental Hero was an unplaced $2.10 favourite in the opening race at Canterbury today, although he was stepping in distance from 1550m to 1900m.
The prized pick-up for NewStar is a beautiful yearling filly by leading young sire Commands from the outstanding Group 1 winning mare Bonanova. The filly, who is in-bred to the family of the great Octagonal, is valued at approximately $400,000. She is a half-sister to the Stakes-winners Prima Nova and Bonaichi.
NewStar also will race a 2YO half-sister, by Royal Academy, to the 2007 Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks winner Arapaho Miss. The filly is owned by breeder Tony Santic, and she will be trained by Hayes.
Full details of the NewStar Racing Club are on their website www.newstarracingclub.com.au.
Stephen Howell’s washup from a big weekend in racing, and a look towards the next one – whether you’re seeking reasons/excuses or some mail from left field, read on …
THEY SAID IT
“I spent most of my juvenile delinquency in Dalby and Jondaryan.” - Reward For Effort’s jockey Luke Nolen, the Victorian half of the Blue Diamond winning team, on his youthful Queensland experiences. The other half, or course, is true-blue Queenslander Peter Moody, the trainer, now based at Caulfield. It was their first Group 1 together since Moody plucked Nolen from bush tracks about five years ago and, in the jockey’s words, “shook some of the talent out of me”. It was their first Group 1 win together – Moody has eight others, Nolen two (Wonderful World, 2006 Caulfield Guineas; and El Segundo, 2007 Cox Plate).
“I copped a few good sprays … a couple of Group 1 sprays.” - Nolen on Moody.
“When he has copped a Group 1 spray, he’s been back the next morning. A few others haven’t.” – Moody on Nolen.
WE SAW IT
Dwayne Dunn’s Diamond luck ran out after four straight wins (2005-08) in the million-dollar Group 1. He rode this year’s winner Reward For Effort to win the Preview, and said at the time the colt was a top-five hope in the Diamond. Dunn was warming the saddle for Luke Nolen, who was suspended. Come Saturday and Dunn was on Darley and trainer Lee Freedman’s second choice, Maka Ena ($21), who flew home for third – Kerrin McEvoy rode the stable elect, Come Hither ($8.50), who came last.
Looking back on last month’s Preview, Dunn said of Reward For Effort: “He gave me a feel like Undoubtedly (his first Diamond winner).” And of Reward For Effort’s future, which is likely to include a shot at the Golden Slipper: “Hopefully he can win another race.” (Dunn’s four winners have not won again.)
Swiss Ace was last in to the barrier and was first out from the widest gate (18) to cross and lead the field in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. Run down in the straight, he fought back to win. No wonder Sunshine Coast jockey Ken Pope, with his first Group 1 win, responded thus when asked if he was the most famous Pope in the world for a day: “Well, I would hope so … in Melbourne and Queensland anyway.”
Pope will stick to the established pattern as trainer Mick Mair, also a Queenslander, leaves Swiss Ace in Melbourne for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap up the straight 1200m at Flemington on March 7 – he’ll be down to ride the Secret Savings entire fast work on the Tuesday before the race, as he did with the Lightning Stakes seventh and Oakleigh Plate win.
Lightning winner Scenic Blast was fifth without luck in the Oakleigh Plate – he was buffeted and galloped on - and will be better suited back at Flemington in the Newmarket.
WE’LL WATCH IT
The Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1600m), headline race at Caulfield next Saturday, is the Redemption Stakes for three of racing’s biggest names – Weekend Hussler (he has to win to justify his Asian Mile Series trip to Dubai and Hong Kong), Light Fantastic (he has to get to the line to justify owner Bob Scarborough’s insistence on stretching him past sprint trips) and El Segundo (who has to run nicely and with no sign of soreness to show he can have another crack at the Cox Plate in the spring). Alamosa and Niconero complete the handful of Group 1 winners nominated.
The racing pattern and the wind will be talking points at Caulfield next Saturday, after leaders and on-pacers dominated all bar the last race.
Rostova’s preparation for the Sires’ Produce Stakes, a Group 2 race over 1400m at Flemington on March 7, is under the microscope with the fallen filly likely to get the chance to redeem her Blue Diamond fifth when $2.70 favourite after, apparently, swallowing her tongue. Plans are to run her with her tongue tied and with a crossover noseband on.
Rosehill this Saturday puts forward the filly with her reputation intact, Sydney’s Group 1 Golden Slipper favourite More Joyous (B f 2, More Than Ready (USA)-Sunday Joy, by Sunday Silence (USA)), in the Group 2 Silver Slipper. And it has a swag of super three-year-olds running in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) – noms include Youthful Jack, Mic Mac, Rebel Raider and Darley’s Desuetude, Caymans and Sousa.
Just a month into his first riding stint in Hong Kong, Melbourne’s James Winks has won his first Asian Group 1 race – on 50/1 chance Dim Sum in Sunday’s Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
The 1200m dash at Sha Tin is a $HK4.5 million (about $900,000) race, and Winks will pocket some $50,000 from the purse to go with the glory.
But the 25-year-old’s win on Dim Sum is not the sum of Australian Group 1 success on the day – John Moore, son of the great jockey, the late George Moore, trained the winner, and he also trained the other, bigger Group 1 winner.
Moore’s major success was with Viva Pataca, Hong Kong’s best 2000m-plus horse, in the Citi Hong Hong Gold Cup (2000m), worth $HK8 million (about $1.6 million). And Darren Beadman, one of Australia’s established riding stars in Hong Kong, had the mount. The victory, and the way he went about it signalled that Beadman is back on top of his game after missing several weeks with a debilitating back/hip injury.
While Moore and Beadman are used to elite success in Hong Kong, Winks was over the moon when Dim Sum (B g 5, Kyllachy (GB)-Heckle (GB), by In The Wings (GB)) held off a strong field that included sprint champion Sacred Kingdom, an unlucky third.
Winks raised his whip high in the air to salute his third win in Hong Kong, and the end of a mini-drought; after two early wins he had ridden at several meetings without success.
Breaking through in the tough Hong Kong arena can involve a lot of luck, and with Dim Sum staying out of trouble up on the pace, Winks was able to push him to the lead in a war up the straight. Enthused (Douglas Whyte), who raced in Australia as Let’s Migrate, was a head away second and Sacred Kingdom (Olivier Doleuze) was a only a neck from the winner in third place, just ahead of Sunny Power, ridden by another Australian, Brett Prebble.
“This is just amazing,” Winks told the South China Morning Post’s Murray Bell after the trophy presentation. “Just being here is a great experience, but to win a race like this so soon is way beyond anything I had expected.
“I got those two early winners here, but then the last few weeks have been a struggle. But they tell me that happens to everyone when they get to Hong Kong, and to just keep going and something will happen.
“Well today something incredible happened and I can’t thank John (Moore) and the owners, the Pong family, enough for giving me this opportunity.”
Bell reported that Winks fielded congratulations from a number of jockeys, but the one with the best parallel story was Brett Prebble. “This will be the turning point for you,” Prebble told him. “In my first season, I fluked picking up the ride on Precision and we won the Group 1 Champions & Chater Cup, but that one win was the difference between me staying here and going home.”
Winks was licensed late last month for the remainder of the season, with July 1 the last race day. He said his performances in Hong Kong would determine whether the Jockey Club gave him another season. As Prebble said, a Group 1 win can be just the push a rider needs.
The Chairman’s Sprint is Winks’s third Group 1 win overall. He won the Yalumba Stakes (2000m) all the way on Douro Valley (at 40/1) at Caulfield last spring, and the Winter Stakes (1400m) on Absolut Glam on at Eagle Farm in Brisbane last June.
Moore said Winks gave the sprint winner a great ride. “He had him settled in third or fourth and then Dim Sum showed great heart,” the trainer said.
HKJC stewards weren’t impressed with Beadman’s ride on River Jordan, another Moore runner in the sprint. They severely reprimanded him when probing early interference to Sacred Kingdom. They said they accept competitive riding, but warned Beadman he must exercise care to ensure his riding does not place him in breach of a significant Rule of Racing.
River Jordan, an outsider, finished last. Beadman’s winner, Viva Pataca (B or br g 7, Marju (Ire)-Comic (Ire), by Be My Chief (USA)) was sent out at $1.30. He repeated last season’s success in this event.
Moore leads the trainers’ premiership with 47 wins from 273 runners. Enthused’s trainer John Size, also an Australian, is second with 36-246.
Beadman is third on the jockeys’ ladder with 27-186. Whyte is well clear with 62-364 from Prebble 37-303. Winks is 3-43.
Valedictum, a veteran campaigner in the team of one of Australian racing’s most progressive trainers, Danny O’Brien, has given the stable its first win overseas – the eight-year-old won the Mustaqbali Handicap (1500m, 95-110 rating) at Nad El Sheba in Dubai overnight.
Just as Mornington trainer Tony Noonan made the leadup carnival to the megarich World Cup meeting pay with Benedetti and Smart And Mighty two years ago, O’Brien has collected cheques with his two pacesetters, Valedictum and Barbaricus (third, last Thursday night).
Valedictum (Ch g 8, Umatilla (NZ)-Wunderschoen, by Twig Moss (Fr)) earned $US72,000 (about $110,000) when Ted Durcan urged him past the leader Echoes Rock (Frankie Dettori) in the straight.
With Barbaricus’s $US15,000 and Valedictum’s “pocket money” when sixth at his first start on February 5, the raiders have netted $US89,400 (about $140,000). And the collect comes on top of the Dubai Racing Club paying all expenses.
O’Brien (38), impressed by Noonan’s trail-blazing excursion in 2007, went to Dubai last November to look at the facilities and “get his head around” how to train horses there – he has entrusted travelling foreman Paul Koumis with the task until after the Australian Cup at Flemington on March 7, after which the 2007 Caulfield Cup winner Master O’Reilly (B or br g 6, O’Reilly (NZ)-Without Remorse (NZ), by Bakharoff (USA)) is to fly out for the Group 1 Sheema Classic (2400m) on Dubai World Cup night (March 28).
O’Brien, content with Valedictum’s win and the ease of travelling horses to the UAE – he said it was easier than floating gallopers to Brisbane – took a swipe at Australian racing administrators over stagnant local prizemoney.
“We’ve gone there with a couple (of horses); we might send more next year,” he said. “Our prizemoney – unfortunately racing is so badly administered here – it hasn’t moved for 10 years, and we have to look further afield.
“In my time in racing I don’t think there’s been a mainstream sport in Australia as badly mismanaged … we are losing market share every day, losing value in real dollars every day.”
O’Brien said the US dollars available in Dubai – and their value enhanced by the falling Australian dollar – were a salve, but one participants should not have to use “given the way the public supports racing in this country”.
Although Valedictum, at eight, is no longer capable of winning at Group 1 level, (he won the 2005 Emirates at 25/1) he has been a terrific horse for O’Brien with a dozen wins from 56 starts and about $1.25 million in prizemoney, despite missing almost a year from late in 2006.
The trainer said Valedictum would step up to Group 2 company at his next start. “He’ll probably run next on that ‘Super Thursday’, March 5. We’re going to step him up to 1777m. It’s a jump up in class from last night.”
Barbaricus (Gr g 4, Lion Hunter-Light Of Erin, by Palace Music (USA)) will have his second start in Dubai next Thursday, over 2000m, as he, like Master O’Reilly, tries to get to the Sheema Classic on World Cup night.
O’Brien had campaigned two horses overseas – the sprinter Glamour Puss ran seventh (to Takeover Target) and 10th (with TT third) at Royal Ascot in England in 2006; and the stayer Douro Valley was ninth to France’s Doctor Dino in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin last December.
Buoyed by Valedictum’s breakthrough, O’Brien said: “With the right horses, Australian horses can compete anywhere – it’s been proven.”
NOTE: there is no betting in Dubai, but Valedictum was quoted at 10/1 in England.
The Thoroughbred can show you the way to quadrella success, as the analysis above for Ascot in Perth shows – the circled horses won, and if you put them all (Nos. 1, 2, 1 and 6) in your combinations you would have collected $520 or $680 or $850, and change, depending on which of the TABs you bet with.
The Thoroughbred has completed a detailed analysis on the Quaddie for this Saturday’s meeting at Ascot, and on the Big6 that covers races at Caulfield and Rosehill: all the form assessed, all the work done, to make your quaddie and Big6 punting a breeze; and, we hope, profitable.
To download the Ascot quadrella summary CLICK HERE
To download the Big6 summary CLICK HERE