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Bargain buy Fully Lit to continue Waterhouse and Bott juggernaut

Hellbent colt on track to claim $2 million Inglis Millennium to strengthen stable’s juvenile dominance

He may be a little down the batting order among his stable’s two-year-olds and may have a horror gate, but Fully Lit (Hellbent) will be “extremely” hard to beat in Saturday’s Inglis Millennium (RL, 1100m) at Randwick, co-trainer Gai Waterhouse has declared.

If Tulloch Lodge’s phenomenal list of two-year-old winners this season were a cricket XI, bargain buy Fully Lit – despite his slashing recent debut win at Rosehill – would come in only around the top of the tail, according to Waterhouse.

A $60,000 purchase for Tracey Rook’s nascent syndicator RedFox Racing at Inglis Classic Yearling Sale – the same auction where a half-sister by first-season sire North Pacific (Brazen Beau), also bred by Glenlogan Park, will be on offer next week – Fully Lit was last night favourite at around $3.60 for the $2 million feature.

The son of Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) mare Sunlit, who was a winner of two of her five starts, Fully Lit made his bow with a sterling two and three-quarter length victory, in the all-the-way Waterhouse-Bott style, under this Saturday’s partner Regan Bayliss in a Rosehill two-year-old handicap on January 20, becoming the stable’s eighth juvenile victor of 2023-24.

Three more have followed since. While Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) winner and $3 Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) favourite Storm Boy (Justify) is the obvious “captain” of the XI after going unbeaten in three starts, other positions may be harder to determine.

Lady Of Camelot (Written Tycoon) became the 11th on the list – and just the second filly after Too Darn Lizzie (Too Darn Hot) – when she won at Rosehill last Saturday first-up at her second start, and was quickly shunted to $4 favouritism for the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m). She was also made $9 equal third-favourite for the Slipper alongside yet another stablemate Shangri La Express (Alabama Express).

Fully Lit, currently around $15 for the Blue Diamond and $34 for the Slipper, may thus be struggling for some limelight among his stable’s host of young stars. But Waterhouse is confident that despite – or perhaps because of – drawing gate 15 of 16 after emergencies, after Saturday his name will be just as it sounds.

“He’s fabulous. A very talented colt, a beautiful looking colt who’s beautifully put together, and he’ll be extremely hard to beat in this race,” Waterhouse told ANZ Bloodstock News in the same week Storm Boy was sold to Coolmore and partners.

In the same breath the expert two-year-old conditioner gave an insight into the stable’s juvenile dept when asked where he’d rank in the XI.

“Probably sixth or seventh,” she said. “It just shows we’ve got a particularly good group of colts this year.

“But, he may be like Storm Boy. Every time Storm Boy’s gone out he’s improved lengths. This horse could be the same.

“He’s the favourite for Saturday, and he deserves to be, but Millenniums are restricted races of course. But if he can make the sort of leap that Storm Boy made from his first start to his second and then to the Magic Millions, he’ll jump straight up the list.”

Fully Lit fetched a disappointing price for Glenlogan Park’s Steve Morley at last year’s Classic sale, with the breeder conceding the late October foal was “on the small side”. Waterhouse, having inspected the then-yearling with Rook, concurred, but said the colt had quality.

“He wasn’t the biggest horse in the world, but he was very nicely put together and very athletic,” Waterhouse said.

Apart from an open field of 15 rivals, one apparent obstacle to Fully Lit’s chances of becoming Waterhouse-Bott’s first Millennium winner is his wide barrier. However, noting Fully Lit’s blistering speed from gate six to win over the same trip at Rosehill on debut, Waterhouse not only sees the draw as no handicap, but says the space it will afford the colt is a plus.

“The barrier is a huge advantage to the horse. Our horses have got great gate speed, and you’ve got Mr Lightning on the horse – Regan Bayliss. There wouldn’t be a faster jockey out of the gates than Regan Bayliss,” she said.

Waterhouse said she’d be “having a good look” at Glenlogan’s half-sister to Fully Lit, who’ll be presented on the third and final day of the Classic sale next Tuesday, as Lot 750. Echoing the Fully Lit cross of Hellbent (I Am Invincible) over Sunlit, the filly is from the first crop of Newgate Farm’s $22,000 sire North Pacific, by Brazen Beau, by I Am Invincible.

She’s the third foal of Sunlit, with the previous two also at Tulloch Lodge. The Novelist (Written By), a $110,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale buy for the stable, is unbeaten in two starts, the latest being Doomben’s BJ McLachlan Stakes (Gr 3, 1000m) in December, 2022. Should Fully Lit also claim black-type success this Saturday, Glenlogan’s filly should provide a late highlight among the 808 lots at this Classic sale.

“She’s [North Pacific, filly] a beautiful filly, with lots of quality, great balance, good substance, a lovely hip to tail, and she moves well,” Morley said.

“The Novelist and Fully Lit were both athletic but not imposing. This filly’s got a bit more size and substance and length to her. On physical appearances, she’s actually the pick of the three.”

Should Fully Lit not win, Waterhouse-Bott still have a strong chance of taking the race – and adding a 12th two-year-old winner of the season – with a colt from the other end of the price spectrum, Yulong Stud’s $1.3 million Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale buy, Trunk (Snitzel).

The colt, sold by Highgrove Stud, made an early splash as just the fifth lot sold last Easter, and the first to hit seven figures. He’s a brother – out of the seven-time winning, triple stakes-placed mare Acquired (O’Reilly) – to triple Group-wining sprinting stallion Splintex (Snitzel), and is a half-brother to Listed-winning mare Invictus Salute (Exceed And Excel).

Trunk, who’ll jump from gate three [after emergencies] for Tim Clark was last night a $6 third-favourite for the Millennium behind after Fully Lit and Ciaron Maher’s resuming Inglis Nursery (RL, 1000m) winner Odinson (Night Of Thunder), at $4.60, who’ll spring from barrier two.

Waterhouse was also glowing about the chances of Trunk, who debuted with a two-length second over 1100 metres at Geelong’s metro meeting of January 6 behind Stay Focused (Cosmic Force), Phillip Stokes’ colt who’s now an $11 Blue Diamond chance.

“I’ve been extremely pleased with Trunk this week. He worked very nicely on Tuesday,” Waterhouse said. “He’s a beautifully bred horse, and his big advantage is he’s had a trip away. He went to Geelong, and was a little bit green but ran second to a horse who’s right in the betting markets for the Blue Diamond.

“So it’s great for a two-year-old that he’s had that travelling experience. He’s got a good barrier for Tim Clark, plus he’s come back and had a nice barrier trial since,” said Waterhouse, referring to the colt’s one-length fourth over 850 metres at Randwick on January 22, behind another member of the stable’s top XI in Prost (Snitzel).

Meanwhile, another Millennium runner with a sibling offered at Classic is Nymphadora (Yes Yes Yes), who ran third, beaten just over a length, in the Inglis Nursery at her second run on December 9, behind Odinson and Beer Baron (Cosmic Force).

Nymphadora, a $51 chance last night, was a $30,000 Classic buy for young Hawkesbury trainer Stephen O’Halloran, from Tyreel Stud’s draft. Tyreel offers her half-sister by So You Think (High Chaparral) on Monday as Lot 479.

The pair are half-sisters to the Listed-winning filly Coco Sun (The Autumn Sun), out of the Sydney city-winning Miss Hufflepuff (Encosta De Lago), who’s a sister to Hong Kong’s Champion Stayer of 2011-12 Liberator.

Nymphadora, Fully Lit, Beer Baron and Cerons (Street Boss) are the Millennium runners gunning for an Inglis Pink bonus, for horses at least 75 per cent female owned. The first one home earns connections an extra $400,000.

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