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In the spring of 2006, about 10 weeks and 50 kilometres apart, two leggy, brown fillies took their first tentative steps, but each looking every bit a thoroughbred racehorse.
The fillies, cousins by Bel Esprit, would go on to take vastly different paths: one was sold for $210,000 at the 2008 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale; the other didn’t make it to a sale because she was considered too immature.
The expensive yearling became the outstanding Black Caviar, while the immature filly, with an almost identically pedigree, generated her own publicity … but not through her deeds on the track. It just goes to show how tough and indefinable the breeding game is – two horses with the same blood running through their veins, both well reared and well trained, but at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to racetrack success.
In 2008, Slattery Media Group boss Geoff Slattery leased from Eliza Park’s owner Lee Fleming a blood sister to Black Caviar. The filly, named Belleluia, raced for a syndicate formed through The Thoroughbred magazine. The purpose was to give the magazine’s subscribers the opportunity to get a “behind the scenes” in racing a horse.
Like Black Caviar, Belleluia is a daughter of Bel Esprit from a Desert Sun (GB) mare, but the pedigree is a lot closer than that. Belleluia’s dam, Song Of The Sun, is a half-sister to Scandinavia, the dam of Black Caviar’s mother, Helsinge. We always knew it was a good pedigree, but we didn’t know at the time that she was so closely related to greatness.
Like Black Caviar, Belleluia is a big mare, but nowhere as powerfully built as her “sister”. Song Of The Sun, a grey, was a good racehorse, Stakes-placed as a 3YO, but she was more of a stayer, finishing fifth behind Dowry in the 2004 Group 1 South Australian Oaks (2500m, Morphettville). Belleluia had her mother’s leggy and lightish frame, and the family’s long stride.
Trainer Robbie Griffiths liked her, and she eventually got to the races as a 3YO to win her debut in impressive style, by 3.5 lengths, at Traralgon in October 2009. Her next run, at Mornington, also was expected to be a win, but the big filly slipped at the start and hurt her back. Griffiths couldn’t get her right after that, and she was retired.
Belleluia has since been sold as a broodmare, in foal to Bushranger (GB), a fast son of Danetime (IRE), to breeder Stephen Whitling, of Whistling Park, Chintin, near Romsey, where “she’s the pride and joy of the farm. We are lucky to have her.” It may be through her progeny that her close relationship with greatness will shine through.
This story appears in the latest issue of the Inside Racing magazine
Photo: The leggy Belleluia pictured after trackwork at Cranbourne.
Glen Boss, one of the highest-profile jockeys to take up a Singapore contract in recent times, starts his three-month stint at Kranji tomorrow.
It will be a busy opening night with rides in all nine races, including the G2 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) on Risky Business for last season’s champion trainer, the Victorian Steven Burridge.
Boss, one of the world’s leading G1 jockeys, made a flying visit last November to win the G1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on Risky Business (b/br g 2004, Danehill Dancer (IRE)-Sky Watch, by Star Watch), and he gave racegoers a preview of what to expect whenever he wins a big race, standing high in the irons and waving his whip as he reached the post, for which he was fined $1000.
The Singapore Turf Club races on Fridays and Sundays, and this weekend Boss will back up his first meeting with rides in eight of the 11 races on Sunday.
Overall, the triple Melbourne Cup winner (on Makybe Diva, 2003-05) will ride for six trainers – Australians Brian Dean (six mounts) and Burridge (five), New Zealanders Stephen Gray (two), Bruce Marsh (two) and Laurie Laxon (one), and South African Basil Marcus (one).
Boss doesn’t have a ride in Sunday’s main race, the G1 Lion City Cup (1200m), in which sprint champ Rocket Man (Barend Vorster) will have only five opponents, including the Michael Freedman-trained Better Be The One, to be ridden by another Australian, Danny Beasley.
Better Be The One (b g 4, More Than Ready (USA)-Common Smytzer, by Snippets) raced as Common Interest in Australia. He ran third to J J The Jet Plane in Dubai last month, and is regarded as the only (albeit slight) threat to Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ)) on Sunday.
Rocket Man won the G1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) in Dubai on World Cup night and the Lion City Cup is his lead-in race to the international G1 KrisFlyer (1200m) at Kranji on May 22.
Australian Damien Oliver has been confirmed as the replacement rider for the injured Glyn Schofield on Gitano Hernando in the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Gerald Mosse, will ride Mr Medici in the QEII Cup – Mosse rode Mr Medici when sixth in the Caulfield Cup in October, but was on Americain when he won the Melbourne Cup and Mr Medici was 10th for Darren Beadman.
Mosse went back to France from Hong Kong only at the beginning of April to resume riding for Americain’s trainer Alain de Royer Dupre, who is the Aga Khan’s retained trainer.
Like Oliver, Mosse flew in to ride in Monday’s Champions Mile – he was fourth on Beauty Flash. ‘Ollie’ was 13th on Able One, and the ride cost him a suspension that will run from Monday until May 19.
So You Think, third to Americain in the Melbourne Cup after four straight G1 wins in the spring, is expected to have his first start in Ireland on Monday (early Tuesday morning Melbourne time).
Coolmore bought a controlling interest in the horse after the Cup, and its trainer Aidan O’Brien has him among five stable entries in the G3 Mooresbridge Stakes (2000m) at The Curragh.
Leading English jockey Ryan Moore and Irishman Seamus Heffernan, a stable rider for O’Brien, have been mentioned as possible riders for So You Think, top weight with 60kg.
Photo: Glen Boss
Leigh Jordon, Racing Victoria’s international scout, is in regular contact with trainers and owners of overseas horses. He lists potential travellers to Melbourne for the spring carnival –
Wigmore Hall was an unlucky third in the G1 Dubai Duty Free (1800m) at Meydan at the end of March and will run in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday. Trainer Michael Bell said Wigmore Hall would go to Singapore for the G1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) at Kranji on May 22 and then take a break.
He ran second at Arlington (in the G1 Secretariat Stakes for 3YOs over 2000m on turf) last year and the owner’s keen to go to the US again (in August). I wouldn’t rule out the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley after that.
River Jetez ran second in the Duty Free for South African trainer Mike De Kock. Dubai-based De Kock has been here before with Greys Inn (unplaced in the 2005 Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup) and is up for coming if quarantine allows – Dubai has not signed the quarantine protocols with the Australian Government and they need their quarantine facilities approved, the old facilities having been bulldozed (with the move from Nad Al Sheba to Meydan).
One option would be to come on from Hong Kong (after the QEII Cup), or if Mike goes to Europe and has a team there he could bring one of two through Newmarket. Perhaps River Jetez or Musir (by Redoute’s Choice and seventh in the World Cup and third in the Champions Mile in Hong Kong on Monday) for the Cox Plate, or Irish Flame (a Group 1 winner in South Africa who was seventh to Godolphin’s Rewilding in the G1 Sheema Classic at Meydan) and is a possible Melbourne Cup horse.
Others looking to Melbourne include:
South African Herman Brown, who had Mourilyan, third in the 2009 Melbourne Cup, is keen to bring Mikaal Glinka (winner of the G3 Queen’s Vase, 3200m, at Ascot when trained by Aidan O’Brien, and a runner in lead-up races at Meydan) for the Melbourne Cup and/or Gitano Hernando (sixth in the World Cup when prepared at Newmarket by Marco Botti, and racing in Hong Kong on Sunday) for the Cox Plate, although he may be a Melbourne Cup horse. Damien Oliver will ride Gitano Hernando in Hong Kong.
Englishman Brian Meehan is interested in the Melbourne Cup with Dangerous Midge, who ran down the track in the Sheema Classic.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, is very supportive of the whole Melbourne carnival and said Godolphin would definitely be here, but was not exactly sure what they’d bring.
And Singapore’s sprinter Rocket Man is a big chance for the Patinack Farm Classic and a clash with Black Caviar up the straight at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
The issue is prizemoney – Japan has the Sprinters Stakes in early October as part of the Global Sprint Challenge. It’s worth $US2 million, the travel time is less, quarantine isn’t as strenuous, and the opposition is less.
Here the prizemoney is $750,000, quarantine is a problem … and there’s Black Caviar. If we can get prizemoney up to $1 million and some other incentive such as a bonus we could entice him – I’m quietly confident.
Read the full interview with Jordon in Inside Racing, out now.
Photo: Wigmore Hall parading before the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington. (Deans Kitten photo).
This week’s Group 1 previews, produced by The Thoroughbred, for Betfair.
Danny Power is tipping Sepoy to become the fifth 2YO to win the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double, and he believes at a short price, Descarado could be a good lay on Betfair in the Group 1 The BMW.
Michael Sharkie has concerns about the last start Group 1 winners Aloha and Ilovethiscity in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes at Randwick.
These quality previews feature a market ratings, a recommended betting play, speed map, top-six selections and detailed comments on all starters. Agree or not agree, it’s a coverage too detailed not to read.
All yours courtesy of Betfair: