Black Heart Bart’s strong win in the Memsie Stakes
The now six-year-old won decisively by a length and a quarter from ATC Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Rising Romance (Ekraar) with Mahuta (Flying Spur) another two and a quarter lengths back in third place. Race time was 1:23.93.
This was the much travelled Black Heart Bart’s first appearance since his narrow defeat when a somewhat unlucky second in the BRC Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) in June and his second run since recording his first Group One success in The Goodwood (Gr 1, 1200m) on 21 May.
Since coming from Perth in the early weeks of 2016 to join the Darren Weir stable in Victoria, Black Heart Bart immediately showed he was able to match it with the best when a first up second in the Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) before winning the Victoria Handicap (Gr 3, 1400m) and then in Sydney finishing second to English (Encosta De Lago) in the All Aged Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) before capturing The Goodwood.
In his home state of Western Australia Black Heart Bart had won eight stakes races up to Group Two level and he must now rank as the best Western Australian bred to come east since Northerly (Serheed).
Black Heart Bart was bred by Durham Lodge Thoroughbred Stud which was dispersed in 2012 after selling him cheaply as a weanling out of the paddock. The then colt was offered by his new owner at the 2012 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale where, after initially being passed in for $16,000, he was sold to managing part owner Kim Renner for the reserve price of $20,000. He has so far returned his owners $2,280,950 in prize money.
For such a moderately priced yearling, Black Heart Bart has a strong pedigree on both sides.
His sire Blackfriars (Danehill) who stands in Western Australia at the former Durham Lodge property at Muchea, now named Scenic Lodge Thoroughbred Stud, has been the state’s leading sire for the past six seasons after retiring in 2001.
He now has to his credit two Group One winners (the other is Playing God), three horses which have each earned more than $1,000,000 on the racetrack and a total of 33 stakes winners, other notables including God Has Spoken, Black Tycoon, Rohan, Shining Knight, Kerrific and Pop Culture.
Progeny of Blackfriars tend to be durable and versatile, often with the speed to win over 1000 metres and 1200 metres and able to carry that speed to 1600 metres and in some cases to 2000 metres and up to 2400 metres.
Blackfriars himself won races as a three-year-old in Melbourne over 1450 metres and 1800 metres with his two stakes successes coming in the Norman Robinson Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m) and the 1999 VRC Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) in which he defeated Group One winners Shogun Lodge (Grand Lodge) and Diatribe (Brief Truce).
Bred and raced by the late Robert Sangster’s Swettenham Stud, Blackfriars is one of the long line of sons of Danehill (Danzig) to have achieved great success at stud but his Group One-placed, New Zealand-bred dam Kensington Gardens (Grosvenor) also deserves some credit for his quality as her matings with Danehill also resulted in a second Group One winner, Larrocha (South Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m)) plus three other stakes winners in Manton (sire), Waterford Road (sire) and Lions Gate.
The late Queensland breeder Colin McAlpine of Eureka Stud developed the family behind Black Heart Bart after buying in the 1960s his fifth dam Hildegarde (Better Boy), a sister to outstanding performers Craftsman (Better Boy) and Shorengro (Better Boy).
Black Heart Bart’s dam Sister Theresa (At Talaq) was a good winner of six races, four as a two-year-old, in Brisbane and Queensland from 1000 metres to 2100 metres and she finished fourth in the 1998 Queensland Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) behind Zacheline (Zabeel). While Black Heart Bart is by far the best of her three winners her unraced daughter Rebel Sister (Falbrav) has strengthened his immediate family by producing Rebelson (Snippetson) and Rebel King (Universal Ruler), both stakes winners in Perth.
Sister Theresa’s sire, 1986 Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winner At Talaq (Roberto), has proved a very influential broodmare sire in Australia as other daughters have bred such major winners as Mummify (Jeune), Above Deck (Bianconi), Rewaaya (Singspiel) and Bel Mer (Bel Esprit) and his best racing daughter Skating figures as second dam of champion juvenile Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro) who has just begun a stud career at Coolmore in NSW.
Alma Mater (Semipalatinsk), the stakes winning dam of Sister Theresa, has previously brought this family to prominence by producing New Zealand Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Savannah Success (Success Express) whose multiple Group One-winning son Savabeel (Zabeel) has been New Zealand’s champion sire for the past two seasons. Another of her sons, Group One placegetter Arlington (Red Ransom), is at stud in NSW and recently had his first winner.
Sweetie (Without Fear), Alma Mater’s dam, is out of a daughter of the brilliant Todman (Star Kingdom) and brings quality speed to Black Heart Bart’s female background.