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There is movement at Kitchwin Hills for the word has passed around that the dam of a Derby favourite had got away.
She had joined the wild bush polo horses, she was worth who knows what. So all the cracks are invited to gather to the fray. (With apologies to Banjo Paterson.)
Turnitup’s win in Saturday’s Group 3 Grand Prix (2200m) at Doomben has him as one of the favourites for the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday week.
If the Dane Shadow gelding Turnitup wins the Derby, Kitchwin Hills needs his dam No Finding (by Hula Chief (NZ)) back in the breeding barn at the stud.
Last seen in 2007, No Finding is believed to be running with a herd of 100 polo mares and four stallions, who roam like brumbies in more than 1200 hectares of bush in the Upper Hunter Valley. Kitchwin Hills stud manager Mick Malone and staff have scoured the hills to no avail for the mare, whose value has turned in the past four years.
The horseman deemed most responsible for No Finding’s safe return will be rewarded with a 30 per cent stake in the mare, as well as $1000 cash for his troubles.
Kitchwin Hills will put on a damper and stew for all participants at the conclusion of the ride and is most grateful to James Archibald of Glenugie Station for his generous cooperation in the search for No Finding.
When – 1pm Friday, June 10 (Derby eve)
Where – at Kitchwin Hills office, Waverley Rd, Scone, 2337.
Register at – email@example.com or 6545 8065
Registration – all riders will need to register on the day before participating in the ride.
Numbers – limited and restricted to experienced riders.
In the realm of fines, the $750 Lee Freedman will have to fork out for his comments on Twitter on Saturday is nothing more than the cost of an iPad.
But the big picture is totally different – racing has been dragged into the new-age world of social media, maybe not kicking and screaming, but surely a little unprepared for the phenomena and its ramifications, despite the fact that Terry Bailey and the rest of the Racing Victoria integrity department (@racinginsider) are avid uses of Twitter to feed out racing information.
Freedman – Twitter name @freedmanbros – was fined for making a spur-of-the-moment “tweet” minutes after his horse Our Smokin’ Rock was scratched at the barrier before the third race at Caulfield, the sportsbet.com.au Thing Handicap (1200m) for two-year-olds.
Freedman “tweeted”: “World first at caulfield vet scr our smoking rock at gate because he thinks it made a noise!!! What a disgrace” (sic)
Freedman has copped the fine, admitting his choice of words was not in the best interests of racing.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before racing’s officialdom had a conflict with the modern medium of social media. But perhaps one of the most unlikely of persons to cop the first “twitter fine” was Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman, a man who until six months ago would have needed help to turn on a computer. The closest Freedman would have been to a tweet would have been waving away the sparrows raiding the feed bins at his training farm, Markdel, on the Mornington Peninsula.
You could have laid a “London to a brick on” that a young social-media savvy jockey, with his or her Facebook and Twitter accounts an adjunct to every day life, would have been the first to cop the wrath of Racing Victoria’s stewards. (I suspect a recent comment on Daniel Ganderton’s Facebook page will attract some interest from Sydney’s chief steward Ray Murrihy).
Freedman is a recent convert to social media as a tool to increase his profile. Be it an attempt to get his views heard by a wider audience, to attract a younger clientele or merely as a marketing tool, Freedman has embraced the concept with verve.
At the time of his troublesome tweet, he had only 200 followers – by late Sunday that figure had grown to close to 800. So any aim to lift his profile has worked, and on Sunday afternoon he was quick to attempt to cash in on his new-found fame by alerting his followers that he has an attractive Haradasun filly looking for new owners. There is method in his madness.
I believe it is the first time any racehorse trainer in the world has used Twitter to communicate his thoughts while at the coal-face of the action – albeit Freedman was at home and not at the races at the time. Imagine being able to tap into the thoughts of an AFL coach during the match, especially immediately after a horrendous umpiring decision. I want to follow Rodney Eade!
But that’s exactly what Freedman provided his followers on Saturday. It was ground-breaking stuff and enthralling to be part of it. Importantly, the use of Twitter and Facebook is probably racing’s best tool to attract a younger audience – it should be encouraged.
We can only hope that Freedman’s brother Anthony takes up on the Twitter craze – if anyone is made for this type of communication it is Anthony Freedman. He would soon develop a cult following – and the RV’s coffers would more than likely benefit.
Lee had the final word on that suggestion, with this tweet: “there is a small dishevelled hut on a windswept hill outside Rye that will only ever hear those (Anthony’s) tweets!”
Since Saturday, Freedman has kept up his use of Twitter with eight tweets in the past 24 hours, including this comment on Sunday from his couch while watching the races on TV: “Loved the steeplechase at Casterton. Brush fences how good!”
Footnote: The June issue of Inside Racing magazine has a story, by Mark Harding, on racing’s “marriage of convenience” with social media, titled, Racing goes social. Subscribe
Danny Power is a long-time user of Twitter and he can be followed through @thethoroughbred – he has 1200 followers.
This story is part travel diary, part racing and a lot self-indulgent.
The Kimberley, in Australia’s remote and rugged north-west, is a beautiful, formidable, dangerous place. When it’s not bone dry, it’s soaking wet – and it always is hot. It’s a great place to visit, but a tough place to live.
The Kimberley is currently in its full glory. Following the biggest wet in history, the rivers are flowing to the extreme – the mighty Ord River at Kununurra is rushing 10 metres above the spillway. Waterfalls that haven’t trickled for years have thundered into life, provided some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable.
In April, as a guest of Rod “Butcher” Russell, my wife Glynis and I spent 14 days cruising on Russell’s luxury 80ft boat “Phoenix” in the Kimberley. Russell gets his nickname from the fact he owns the biggest meat processing and export business in the west.
The trip was from Wyndham, in the northern Kimberley, south to Broome, and included visits into all the major rivers, estuaries and gorges along the way. This is a trip of a lifetime. As our skipper, Dave, a Kimberley journeyman, declared at the start – “what you are about to see, only 2000 people get to see each year, except this year (due to the wet) you will see things few people ever see.”
The other guests included Russell’s racing manager Michael Walsh and long-time Broome-based bookie, publican and machine-gun joke teller, Mick “Swindle” Windle – aided by Dave, a guide (Greg), chef (Ashley) and maid/waitress (Sarah).
I first met Russell in 1993 after he bought a share in Doriemus and I was working with trainer Lee Freedman. Two years earlier, Russell was introduced to Keith Biggs, the senior part-owner in Doriemus, who had already built an enviable reputation as an owner. After a long lunch, Russell showed Biggs a valuable football signed by the Hawthorn footballers from the 1989 premiership team – Biggs promptly kicked it onto the roof of a nearby building, never to be seen again. Biggs and “The Butch” have been great mates since.
The Doriemus link also includes “Swindle”, who went to school in Gore, southern New Zealand, with John Corcoran, the man who bred the Melbourne and Caulfield Cup winner at his Grangewilliam Stud in Wanganui.
“Swindle” left New Zealand at the age of 20 for Australia and has hardly been back. He was lived in the Kimberley for 30 years, first as a meat inspector in Kununurra, and since as a restaurateur and publican. Racing has remained a big part of his life, as he is a stalwart of the Broome Racing Club. He is a wonderful character and storyteller – “I was the unbeaten arm-wrestling champion of the Kimberley for 10 years until one night a big Maori shattered by upper arm into splinters. It was three days of agony before they could get me to a hospital,” he said.
Fortunately, the good doctors saved his arm, which is now in overuse in the pursuit of a mid-strength beer or 12.
In some ways this Kimberley trip also was a pilgrimage. Following Doriemus’ 1995 Melbourne Cup win, Russell and I bought another horse from New Zealand to try to win the big race – we paid A$220,000 for Mr Millennium after the chestnut finished fourth behind Danske in the 1998 Group 1 2000 Guineas at Riccarton, Christchurch.
Mr Millennium (ch g 1995, His Royal Highness–Little Madge, by Tom’s Shu (USA)), despite a narrow loss at Flemington as a 4YO, was no Doriemus. Russell shipped him to race in Perth, where he won races at Belmont and finished second in the Listed Belmont Cup and York Cup. When his Perth form faltered, the much-travelled chestnut was sent north to race in the Kimberley. He competed for a number of years in all the outback cups from Broome to Darwin.
While Mr Millennium couldn’t hold a candle to Doriemus, he proved himself the cups king of the Kimberley. In 2001, Mr Millennium strung together four wins on end, including the Kununurra Cup, Wyndham Cup and Timber Creek Cup. He trained on to finish second in the 2002 and 2003 Wyndham Cups before he was retired to become a station hack.
Our troupe spent some time in Kununurra and Wydham before we set off for Broome. It was wonderful to reminisce about Mr Millennium – more than one local remembered him fondly.
Kununurra is a place worth visiting. It is the major town on the edge of Australia’s food belt; its expansive irrigation system is fed by the massive Ord River and Lake Argyle – nine times bigger than Sydney Harbour. I am surprised that Kununurra, with all its local agriculture and mining wealth, hasn’t blossomed, but it still might.
Wyndham, on the other hand is a forgettable place in many ways. On average, it is the hottest place in Australia (about 36 degrees), and the only things bigger than the mosquitos are the crocodiles, who grew massive in the Wyndham’s Cambridge Gulf when it was fed by the “blood stream” from the now disused meat works. It’s a tough place for humans let alone horses, but for a few years, a little chestnut from New Zealand was the hero.
So big is the 2011 wet that when we pulled into the outskirts of Wyndham, the flood waters had stretched back many kilometres, completely engulfing the Wyndham racecourse. I missed my chance for a memorable photo – and a headline: “cup winning owner’s pilgrimage to Wyndham”. All you could see was the top of the winning post of the 1400 metres circuit. “I’m not sure they will get it ready for the cup in August,” lamented Windle, who recognises that racecourses are the great gathering places for the locals of these remote, harsh communities.
For the record, the cruise was a wonderful experience. Great fishing, awesome sights, memorable food and side-splitting company. And we beat the bookie. In two days of travelling, out of phone/internet range, “Swindle” swung on the satchel to hold our bets – “Butcher” alone turned over $3500 in $10 minimum bets in a relentless two days wagering on races, dogs and trots – and won $289 off the hapless bookie.
“Don’t tell any of my bookie mates, I will be struck off,” said the bagman from Broome.
Photo: Rod Russell, cruise chef Ashley Parnham and Mick “Swindle” Windle on deck of the Phoenix at the King George twin falls in the Kimberley.
When – or if – the much-anticipated clash between Black Caviar and Rocket Man takes place, it should live up to its hype.
If Racing Victoria can pull it off by luring Rocket Man (pictured winning on Sunday) from Singapore for the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington this spring, it will be a beauty.
And there’s no way “our girl”, Black Caviar (13 wins from 13 starts), is “past the post” despite her brilliance – those at Kranji in Singapore last night to see saw Rocket Man’s sensational win in the $S1 million Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m) can vouch for that.
At the very least Peter Moody’s great mare will have to be at the top of her game to hold out Australian-bred Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ)).
The ease of Rocket Man’s soft 4¾-length win showed that Singapore-based South African trainer Patrick Shaw was justified in saying about a potential clash with Australia’s five-time Group 1 winner Black Caviar, “We’re happy to take her on … I’ve seen her and she is a great mare, but Rocket Man is better than she is.”
International handicappers rate Black Caviar the world’s best sprinter by lengths (and the world’s best horse for the sixth months from October to March), but she has met only local opponents in Australia and there is no question that Rocket Man is the best international sprinter – he has won his past two Global Sprint Challenge sprints (the 1200m Golden Shaheen on the Tapeta track at Meydan in Dubai, and the KrisFlyer on turf) and has finished second in his four other international Group 1 attempts, and with luck could have won them all … as it is, his record is a brilliant 16 wins from 20 starts.
While Shaw has indicated he is keen to come, and that he will inspect the Werribee quarantine facility at Racing Victoria’s invitation in a couple of weeks, a decision won’t be made for some time – after the July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket, England and/or a spell, connections can choose between Japan’s Sprinters Stakes (1200m) at Nakayama in October, Melbourne in November and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific International Sprint in December, all legs of the Global Sprint Challenge.
(England’s recruiter Nick Smith was in Singapore to offer Rocket Man’s connections assistance in getting to Newmarket, as were Racing Victoria’s Leigh Jordon and the Victoria Racing Club’s chairman Rod Fitzroy for Melbourne.)
The VRC has arranged a $600,000 sweetener as a bonus on top of the first prize if Rocket Man wins the $1 million sprint at Flemington, and it would be a wonderful boost to the spring carnival if connections take up the challenge to provide a match for Black Caviar, who thrilled race fans in Melbourne with wins in the Lightning, the Newmarket and the William Reid, in Sydney (a win in the TJ Smith) and Brisbane (a win in the BTC Cup) before going to the paddock.
Last night Rocket Man ($6 favourite for a $5 unit, or 1/5 in old terms) won the KrisFlyer by almost five lengths from Eclair Fastpass and Perfect Pins, also Singapore-trained. He jumped well, raced three wide as others booted up under him, settled third, went to the front on the turn and made the race a one-act affair in the straight. His former KrisFlyer conquerors, Hong Kong’s Sacred Kingdom (2009) and Green Birdie (2010), finished sixth and seventh.
Melbourne jockey Steven Arnold, who finished eighth on Capablanca, said: “Rocket Man was in a league of his own.”
Felix Coetzee, on the winner, said: “These champions help you, they tell you what to do … I’m just the guy who sits on top.”
The win was a South African bonanza. Shaw, of course is from there, as is Coetzee, who was the great Silent Witness’ partner in Hong Kong when he won 17 races straight. And the owner is Johannesburg-based businessman Fred Crabbia.
For most on course at Kranji, the win overshadowed the major Group 1 of the meeting, the $S3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m), also a South African bonanza and also a race of huge significance for Victoria this spring with the winner, Gitano Hernando, a probable runner in the Melbourne Cup.
Gitano Hernando is trained by South African Herman Brown and was ridden by Sydney-based South African jockey Glyn Schofield – the pair combined to finish third behind Shocking in the 2009 Melbourne Cup with Mourilyan, owned by controversial Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who bought the Hernando five-year-old recently.
Last night, Gitano Hernando ($73, or almost 14/1) beat Another South African, the mare River Jetez, with Hong Kong’s Irian (Darren Beadman) dead-heating for third with Singapore’s Waikato.
Brown said the Melbourne Cup was an option for the winner, but his father, Herman Brown Snr, a former champion trainer who was representing Kadyrov at the meeting, said Australia’s greatest race was firmly on the agenda.
Schofield was to have ridden Gitano Hernando when he was unplaced in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong earlier in the month, but broke his collarbone in a fall in the Sydney Cup the week before and Damien Oliver filled in.
Grateful that Brown put him back on, Schofield said: “He travelled really sweetly and then he showed a lovely turn of foot when I asked him … I knew my horse was tiring but he was brave all the way to the finish.”
Brown said he thought the 2000 metres would have been a bit short for him – sounds like a Melbourne Cup horse in the making.
Peter Moody’s decision to abandon Black Caviar’s Brisbane campaign caught a few people unawares, but it is typical of Moody, the trainer, not the Moody the reluctant PR agent – the horse comes first, no if, no buts.
Despite the fact Moody has embraced the media fervour in Black Caviar – “for the good of racing” – he knows that there is a limit to how much he, the owners and the mare owes the racing industry when it comes to the crunch.
In wasn’t surprised Moody has abandoned plans to go to the well one more time in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m, Doomben) on Saturday week. Three things that concerned me about Black Caviar’s Group 1 BTC Cup win –
Firstly, the mare looked “tight” before the race, as light as she has been all year. I suspect Moody was conscious of that fact even going into the race.
Secondly, I believe it was probably the first time jockey Luke Nolen has found the bottom of Black Caviar under pressure. He asked her to do a lot, coming three wide from the 600m, and she had to dig deep when he asked her to run down Hay List, who was in full flight. Nolen didn’t cane her with the whip, Black Caviar is not that type of horse because she gives her best at her top, but in the case, I doubt she had any more to in the tank – she carved out her final 600m out wide in 34.5 seconds
Finally, and more importantly, Black Caviar, who in the past has recovered from her wins as though she has just been on a canter in the park, was still blowing heavily 10 minutes after the race. Moody, despite all the euphoria post-race, wouldn’t have missed that point. It’s a sure sign that the mare was coming to the end of a long campaign.
Black Caviar, who had a protected early racing life due to a few niggling problems, has been asked to do a lot in season 2010/11. She has been in work for nearly months, with only one break in between – about a month late in 2010, some of which she spent on the walker-walker at Peter Clarke’s Murchison rehab farm.
It’s been a long, tough campaign, mainly because she has been competing at the highest level. She kicked off in the 2010 spring carnival with a Group 2 win in the Schillaci Stakes (1000m, Caulfield, October), and two weeks later she won the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley before embarking on a Group 1 winning spree of six races in three states.
Moody said recently it is the first time in Black Caviar’s career that she has been injury-free. His decision to stop her campaign now rather than run in Saturday week’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m, Doomben) is the right call. It give him an extra two weeks – valuable at this time of the year – to rest her before she starts on her spring preparation.
It’s likely that Black Caviar will have around five weeks in the paddock in the warmth of Queensland. At this stage the Moody camp are protective about whether the mare will remain in Queensland to spell or return to Victoria – or somewhere in between. Obviously, the last thing Moody wants is for the mare’s rest to be disturbed by prying media and eager public.
As tempted as Moody might be to be sitting on his back porch whittling away on stick, watching over his great mare in a back paddock of his Belgrave farm, at the foothills of the Dandenongs, near Melbourne, the choice of warm over cold is an option rejected by few Melbournians at this time of the year.
The rule of thumb with most trainers is for horses that spell for a month usually take 10-12 weeks to get back to racing fitness. Black Caviar is likely to be back in light work by July 1, and it’s my guess she will be at Moody’s stables at Caulfield by August 1. Moody will follow a similar path to last year – Schillaci at Caulfield in mid-October, Schweppes at Moonee Valley at the end of October and the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington. After that a decision will be made on her running in the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint at Sha Tin in December.
Next year I suspect that the boffins at Royal Ascot will be opening their cheque books to entice a reluctant Black Caviar camp to their famous meeting in June. Sometimes being reluctant to travel can have its rewards.
Connections of Singapore’s champion sprinter Rocket Man are keen to consider the chance to race against unbeaten Black Caviar in Melbourne in the spring for the bonus offered by the Victoria Racing Club on top of increased prizemoney, but the real import of a clash depends on Rocket Man winning handsomely at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday.
Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount (AUS)-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ)) is odds-on to win the G1 KrisFlyer Sprint (1200m) and net his second Global Sprint Challenge win for the year (after Dubai’s G1 Golden Shaheen in March).
He doesn’t have to win the KrisFlyer to be eligible for the $600,000 bonus to a horse who already has a GSC win, but to give “world No. 1 credibility” to the possible contest in the now $1 million (formerly $750,000) Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington in November, he can’t afford to drop his home race – Black Caviar already has won her GSC race, the G1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Festival of Racing.
Singapore locals and those who follow the international circuit can’t see Rocket Man losing on Sunday, and in early markets he is odds-on, despite drawing poorly in barrier nine in the 10-horse field.
Trainer Patrick Shaw said: “He drew nine in Dubai and still won. So it doesn’t worry me where he will jump from.”
Asked if his horse was the world’s best sprinter, or whether Black Caviar, who has raced only in Australia but is rated higher by the world’s major handicappers, Shaw said: “Obviously it’s very hard to judge because I’ve been international, she hasn’t been international.”
But he did say Rocket Man, at five, is at his peak and he did say that if Black Caviar is No. 1 there was no way the other top Australian sprinter Hay List is No. 2 in the world – ie, he is not better than Rocket Man.
“That (claim), I definitely don’t go along with,” he said. “I’ve watched his form and I can’t buy that – he’s a nice horse but not in her class. I think he’s the best to race against her in Australia at the moment.”
Whatever Rocket Man’s next campaign target, the gelding will go for a spell after the KrisFlyer. Caulfield trainer Peter Moody has aborted a “tired” Black Caviar’s Queensland campaign and sent her for a spell.
The KrisFlyer can be seen on Australian pay television on Sunday as part of a big program that includes the G1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m).
KrisFlyer: Rocket Man 1, Green Birdie 2, Sacred Kingdom 3.
SIA Cup: Irian 1, California Memory 2, River Jetez 3.
Better Be The One is one of many examples of good horses put back on the right track when they return to racing “two stone lighter”, the gelding operation turning a talented but inconsistent sprinter in Australia into a consistent money-earner in Singapore.
With the cut came a name change, from Common Interest to Better Be The One (pictured), and for now at least BBTO is the best horse in the Singapore stable of trainer Michael Freedman, who ‘inherited’ him from elder brother Lee in Victoria.
With his mind of the job, BBTO, the winner of five races in Australia (including two up the Flemington straight) before losing form has won three of six in Singapore and Dubai, with a third behind JJ The Jet Plane (in the G2 Al Quoz Stakes, 1000m, at Meydan in Dubai) and a second to Rocket Man (in the G1 Lion City Cup, 1200m, at Kranji) in Singapore at his past two starts.
With Rocket Man likely to start at “Black Caviar odds” in the Group 1 KrisFlyer Sprint (1200m) at Kranji in Singapore on
Sunday, BBTO appears to be fighting for a placing again, this time against Hong Kong duo Green Birdie and Sacred Kingdom, the conquerors of Rocket Man in the past two KrisFlyers – the pair have Australian connections, too, with NZ-born (but Australian-bred) Green Birdie winning in Melbourne as a 2YO way back in 2006 when trained by Brian Jenkins and Sacred Kingdom bred and sold in Victoria.
And Australian jockeys Glen Boss (Sacred Kingdom) and Brett Prebble (Green Birdie after being sacked after three seconds on end on SK) will ride them.
Another Australian, Danny Beasley, one of Singapore’s leading jockeys for several seasons, will ride BBTO.
Beasley, who rides probably 60 per cent of Freedman runners, knows he faces what is almost ‘mission impossible’ to get to the line ahead of Rocket Man, who beat him by five lengths in the Lion City Cup, but he is still putting a good spin on his chances.
He spoke of Rocket Man in Black Caviar terms, calling him a freak and saying his barrier trial at Kranji last week was just phenomenal.
“But my horse has really trained on since his Lion City Cup run,” Breasley told www.turfclub.com.sg. “To be honest, he lost his coat after the Dubai run, but he is a different horse now, a lot like how he was in Dubai.
“His appearance looks better, he is light on his feet, he’s sharp, looks around at everything and walks around with a purpose. Michael’s done a great job with him. He’s as good as he’s ever been.”
Breasley said the speed map for the KrisFlyer gave BBTO some hope. “(Rocket Man) had things his way in the Lion City Cup. Hopefully fast horses like Perfect Pins can put a bit of pressure on and make it less cushy for him this time.”
Freedman gets a chance to make a mark at the ‘prelim’ meeting on Friday night with his 2YOs Mr Big (Breasley) and Cash Luck (Boss) to run in the rich Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) final – there’s a snag there, too, with local trainers suggesting the Dark Matter, trained by another Australian, Steven Burridge, pretty close to a good thing.
The Friday and Sunday meetings will be shown live on Australian pay television. Sunday’s card is headed by the G1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m).
Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount (AUS)-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ))
Sacred Kingdom (b g 7, Encosta De Lago-Courtroom Sweetie, by Zeditave)
Green Birdie (b g 7, Catbird-Mrs Squillionaire, by Last Tycoon (IRE))
Better Be The One (b g 4, More Than Ready (USA)-Common Smytzer, by Snippets)
Singapore’s big weekend of international begins on the turf at Kranji on Friday with the Group 1 Singapore Guineas meeting that has a highlight event for Australia – the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) for two-year-olds, in which Australian-breds aim to complete their dominance of the seven-race series.
Australian-breds have won all six races run, underlining the diversity and value offered at Australian sales with their purchase prices ranging from $11,000 to $140,000.
Joint sponsors of the Golden Horseshoe with Aushorse are Inglis and Magic Millions, whose sales are always well-attended by buyers from Singapore and those who have Singapore in mind.
Series winners have been –
Race 1: Kaiser, by Seidnazar (2 wins, $137,890 prizemoney). Sold: Inglis Classic Yearling Sale for $11,000 and on-sold as a 2YO at Magic Millions for $80,000.
Race 2: Cash Luck, by Bradbury’s Luck (1 win, $62,741). Sold: Magic Millions Gold Coast for $12,000.
Race 3: Dash For Win, by Dash For Cash (1 win, $41,805). Not offered as a yearling.
Race 4: Dark Matter, by Stratum (2 wins, $91,034). Sold: Magic Millions Premier Sale for $140,000.
Race 5: Kaiser.
Race 6: Dark Matter.
Singapore-based Australian trainer Michael Freedman (pictured), younger brother of champion Victorian trainer Lee Freedman, has been a key player in the series with Cash Luck and Dash For Win, and he may have a late entry in the final – Mr Big, an impressive debut winner in a Maiden 2YO last Friday. The Elusive Quality gelding won by just under nine lengths in just a tick outside the course record for the 1000m on the Polytrack surface.
On Sunday, Freedman will run Better Be The One (b g 4, More Than Ready (USA)-Common Smytzer, by Snippets) in the Group 1 KrisFlyer Sprint (120m), with Danny Beasley riding. Better Be The One won in Australia as Common Interest.
Freedman has had more than 140 wins since arriving in Singapore since April 2008. His best performance on the international stage was at Meydan in Dubai in March when Better Be The One, was third to J J The Jet Plane (since injured) in the Group 2 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m).
KrisFlyer favourite Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ)) won the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) at the same Dubai meeting.
South African Felix Coetzee won on Rocket Man in Dubai and will ride on Sunday. After a scintillating 1000m track gallop, covering the final 600m in 34.5 sec. under a tight rein at Kranji yesterday, the veteran jockey said: “You just can’t believe it. He just flies underneath you and you don’t know you’re running those sorts of times.
“It is the first time I have seen him since Dubai. He looks terrific and his coat is much better than what it was in Dubai. He is feeling terrific in himself also and I can’t ask for any more than that.”
The major headline at Kranji on Sunday is the $2.27 million Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m).
The barrier draw for both Group 1 races will be held tomorrow. The Golden Horseshoe field will be settled later today.
Woodside Park Stud has announced a fee reduction on its stallions for 2011, including the exciting Foreplay (pictured).
Foreplay, who has had his stud career rejuvenated after stem cell treatment, will stand for $13,750 (inc. GST), a drop of 17 per cent from last year’s fee of $16,500.
“We were delighted with the results from Foreplay last year,” Woodside Park’s bloodstock manager Dean Harvey said. “He was only announced as standing commercially late, yet he attracted 61 mares – we are pleased to say that of the non walk-in mares he covered, which is a majority of his book, he got 82 per cent in foal.
“We are now offering Foreplay at a price that is hard to beat when compared with young stallions with a similar record.”
During last spring, Foreplay, an imposing son of Danehill, raced to the top of the second-season sire list after a trio of exciting Group winners – Decision Time (Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes), That’s Not It (Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes) and Playcidium Mint (Group 3 Lee Steere Stakes).
Foreplay sits fourth – behind Stratum (2011 fee $55,000), Snitzel ($27,500) and Starcraft ($44,000) – on the second-season sires’ list with 23 winners from 44 starters and $1,225,000 in prizemoney. His strike rate of 52.5 per cent winners to runners is the highest of any of the top 20 second-season stallions.
“An indication of how well Foreplay is doing is the fact he sits fifth on the Australian sires’ table for Stakes winners to runners – the third active stallion – and that list includes the great Danehill, who is third. Foreplay has an exceptional strike rate of 6.8 per cent Stakes winner to runners,” Harvey said.
Caulfield Guineas winner Econsul, who on Monday recorded his first winner, also has had a fee reduction – from $7700 to $4400 (inc. GST) – that makes him one of the best-value young Group 1-winning stallions in the country.
“Logically, this will be Econsul’s toughest year as his first-crop 2YOs are only just starting to hit the tracks. He is tremendous value for a Caulfield Guineas winner whose first two crops were quite commercially accepted by the market at the yearling sales, particularly with the trainers who liked their strength and bone,” Harvey said.
“The reports from the trainers on his two-year-olds are such that we are extremely confident that Econsul will prove himself to be yet another Caulfield Guineas winner to make it as a stallion. We have a few in our Wadham Park stable that we haven’t produced as yet – our confidence in the horse remains high.
“Econsul has 191 foals from his first three crops to represent him, so he is poised to make an impact. Now is a really good opportunity for Victorian breeders to get on board.”
Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow also will stand for $4400 (inc. GST) in 2011. There is a growing demand for staying horses in Australia, and Grey Swallow ticks a lot of boxes, as he was a tremendous stayer with a wonderful turn-of-foot. Grey Swallow’s oldest progeny are two-year-olds.
“We have some very nice young horses in training by Grey Swallow, and like him, they are very well-balanced, lovely-moving horses. I think as a stallion, he’s a bit of a sleeper, because he was a world-class racehorse,” Harvey said.
To discuss your mare and the use of any of Woodside Park’s stallions Dean Harvey can be contacted on 0408 641 424 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Woodside Park is a client of the Slattery Media Group.
Racing Post’s description of Australian champion So You Think’s debut win at The Curragh in Ireland last night was that it was fuss free, and all who watched the weak Group 3 High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes (2000m) live on Sky2 overnight or on youtube this morning would have to agree.
With stablemate Windsor Palace setting a slow pace, the 2/13 favourite So You Think (b or br h 2006, High Chaparral (IRE)-Triassic (NZ), by Tights (USA) settled third and merely lobbed along until Seamie Heffernan gave him his head turning for home and he smoothly accelerated away on going termed “good to firm” to win without effort and without the whip.
The time was slow (2 min. 12.85 sec) and the five-horse opposition was weak, but Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien said all the right things about Coolmore’s new headliner – the breeding/racing giant bought a controlling share from Dato Tan Chin Nam after the horse’s super Group 1 spring in Melbourne for Australian training legend Bart Cummings.
“He’s an incredible horse and we’re privileged to have him,” O’Brien told At The Races.
“He’s a progeny of Australasian breeding and racing and we’d heard how special and incredible he was and when you see him you’re never surprised by him because he’s a unique specimen.
“He was just ready to start today and that was the first time we asked him to do anything.
“This horse came to us with a different aura about him than any horse that had come before (including European Group 1 winners Haradasun and Starspangledbanner), with everyone talking about him. When you see the physique of him you think they could be right.
“He’s a total professional, he travelled and he quickened and he went to the line like he was going to the start. It’s exciting for us to have him. He’s in different zone altogether.
“The plan is that he’d come back here for the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.”
The 2000m race on May 22 could bring a clash with Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Workforce, a 2400m specialist trained by Sir Michael Stoute.
Where to after that only Coolmore knows, but a soft kill was a great start as the stud tries to build a northern hemisphere breeding career for the stallion who won eight of 12 starts in Australia, including two Cox Plates in his five Group 1s.