Clarken has a spring in his step
Dan Clarken is content. The South Australian Group 1-winning trainer is more than happy in the sanctuary of his 400-acre property, located just minutes from the Murray Bridge racecourse, after years of working in Adelaide racing’s epicentre of Morphettville.
In recent seasons, Clarken and training partner Oopy MacGillivray have plied their trade from the provincial track of Murray Bridge and they have enjoyed success with the likes of Mileva (Headwater) and, this year, the Port Adelaide Guineas (Listed, 1800m) winner Harleymoven (Foxwedge).
Mileva won four of her first nine starts for Clarken and MacGillivray, one of her victories at stakes level, before the Headwater (Exceed And Excel) mare went on to enhance her value for Phillip Stokes in Victoria with a further three stakes wins so far.
Tomorrow, Clarken and MacGillivray will saddle up SAJC Spring Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) contender Quietly Discreet (Exceed And Excel), ironically previously trained by Stokes until owner-breeder David Peacock elected to pull the five-year-old mare out of retirement for at least another preparation.
A sister to the Group 2 winner Serenely Discreet and a daughter of Listed winner I’m Discreet (Elusive Quality), Quietly Discreet joined the training partnership earlier this year and won first-up on the Morphettville Parks track before finishing fifth last season, beaten a head, in a blanket finish on her new home track.
“She was left exposed and into the wind on the corner, which didn’t do her any favours at all, but she stuck to her guns right to the line. I think she’ll get the 1200 metres, so I threw a nom in for the Spring Stakes. Take Behemoth out and it’s a Benchmark 82 race,” Clarken said this week.
“Before we got her, she’d actually been retired by her owner David Peacock, but then he had another think about it – they’re broodmares for a long time – so he put her back in work with me.
“David’s got some nice horses and it’s good to build a relationship with him and hopefully we can train a few more horses for him as well.”
No stranger to unearthing a talented young horse, Clarken is best-known as the trainer of Miracles Of Life (Not A Single Doubt), who won the 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) under unheralded jockey Lauren Stojakovic.
Clarken hopes two-year-old Harry Angel (Dark Angel) colt Apache Discreet can be his next city-class horse.
“I’ve got a Harry Angel, one of David Peacock’s actually, who is a nice horse. I had him in and I had to put him back out because he was becoming too advanced too quickly on me,” the trainer said.
“I’m sending a mare to Harry Angel this year in his fourth season because of this horse.”
The new season juvenile is out of Peacock’s two-time stakes winner Just Discreet (Exceed And Excel).
Confirmation also came this week that Gary Moore will return to Macau after eight years training at Rosehill in Sydney to continue his career.
The son of champion jockey George and brother to champion Hong Kong trainer, John, Moore was candid in his assessment of his time at Rosehill, in particular watching Chris Waller up close go about running Australia’s most successful stable.
Moore believes Nature Strip’s (Nicconi) condition and his subsequent electric performance in winning the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr 1, 5f) at Royal Ascot in June demonstrated what a master trainer Waller is.
“He is so dedicated to his worth ethic, but as he’s pointed out in numerous interviews that he’s done, he has fantastic backing behind him and now he’s proven that he can train on the world stage,” Moore told us.
“I looked at Nature Strip when he paraded (at Royal Ascot) and it was amazing the amount of muscle definition that he had compared to when Chris was training him at Rosehill because he was working him on an uphill surface.”
Moore said Waller deserves to be ranked as one of the world’s best trainers.
“What he did to take a horse from Australia and win at Royal Ascot, that for me, having ridden for some of the greatest trainers in the world when we go back to Alec and Criquette Head, Sir Michael Stoute and trainers like that, it showed that Chris has got the right ‘knack’ that not many do.”
Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett was left rueing what could have been in the Missile Stakes last Saturday when he went the early crow as Wandabaa (Wandjina), Gem Song (Your Song) and Enchanted Heart (Shamus Award) all loomed up to fill the trifecta in the Group 2, 1200-metre race at Randwick.
The only problem was the Toby and Trent Edmonds-trained outsider Hard Empire (Hard Spun) spoiled the party for the owners and trainer Kris Lees to land the Missle.
Nevertheless, the Group 2 didn’t do any harm to the value of Wandabaa and the fourth-placed Enchanted Heart, who along with Lunakorn (Puissance De Lune), will be offered for sale through an Inglis Digital bespoke auction next week.
Lovett predicts the owners will receive a nice financial farewell windfall when the auction closes on Wednesday.
“They’ve been very well received. I was there for three inspections last Friday morning when a lot of the Hunter Valley breeders and buyers came down to inspect them,” Lovett said.
“They don’t disappoint on inspection, so I would be very surprised if we don’t get well paid in the sale ring and they should all sell well.”
Jarred Magnabosco made a statement with his fledgling Best Bloodstock business when he purchased a controlling 80 per cent stake in the Ger Lyons-trained last-start Curragh Cup (Gr 2, 1m 6f) winner Camorra (Zoffany) to run in this year’s Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m).
Ben and JD Hayes will train the horse when he touches down in Melbourne after the Caulfield Cup.
Magnabosco’s grandfather is Tasmanian Hall of Fame jockey Fred Riley while his uncle Mick Riley rode Butternut to run fifth in the 1985 Melbourne Cup, a race won by What A Nuisance.
Despite a jockeys’ pedigree, Magnabosco worked for corporate bookmakers prior to founding Best Bloodstock about 18 months ago.
“I have been going to the sales for the good part of ten years. I live on the Gold Coast, so I started buying shares in horses with syndicators and walking around with various people and I guess I’ve just taken a leaf out of a lot of people’s books,” Magnabosco says of his bloodstock education.
“I got around with some good quality people. Brian McGuire has been a good person to help me understand the physical and conformation of a horse, as has people from the Lindsay Park stable including Ben Hayes and the vet they have there (David McKellar).”
Best Bloodstock bought into six yearlings in 2021 and four of them won at two, including the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Jamarra (Duporth) and the Lindsay Park-trained Tijuana (American Pharoah), the winner of the Anzac Day Stakes (Listed, 1400m).
“I have also got shares in Laws Of Indices (Annabel Neasham) and El Padrino (Maher-Eustace), so it is coming along well.”
Racing Wagering Western Australia and Perth Racing’s Pinnacles carnival was mentioned by this columnist last week but it deserves more publicity. After last week’s roadshow in Sydney and Melbourne by Perth racing representatives, it’s a sure bet there will be eastern states representation at the rich carnival, particularly with equine charter flights already locked in.
You’d be taking short odds that Godolphin will be sending a horse or two over this year after the 2020 excursion was the turnaround in form for the one-time stallion turned gelding Kementari who won the AJ Scahill Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m).
The race was worth $200,000 when Special K won it but this year connections will be running for a slice of $1.5 million in the rebranded Gold Rush (Gr 3, 1400m), on top of the $1.5 million purses for the Railway Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m), Northerly Stakes (formerly the Kingston Town Classic) (Gr 1, 1800m) and the Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m).
Darren Dance’s yellow Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock silks have been synonymous with the Melbourne Spring Carnival, and that will be no different this year with South Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) third Detonator Jack (Jakkalberry) and two-time winner Tobaysure (Cable Bay) back in work and looking to make their mark in stakes grade.
The syndicator also has homebred Frankel (Galileo) mare Steinum, winner of the Summoned Stakes (Gr 3, 1600m) at Caulfield last November, and this foaling season Dance has already welcomed a full sister to the five-year-old, with dam Thai Noon (Dansili) sent back to the British champion stallion to be covered to southern hemisphere time.
She forms part of a growing interest for Dance in the breeding industry, with mares spread far and wide across the globe.
“Our headline horses will be Steinum with Maher and Eustace and then we’ve got Detonator Jack who’s back in work. We also think Tobaysure is in for a big spring with Phillip Stokes,” Dance said to my colleague, Alex Wiltshire, earlier this week.
“We’ve got something like 20 foals to deliver in the next four weeks. We’ve already had a Frankel filly, a full to Steinum, and we’ll look forward to getting that home next year.
“We’ve got more mares than we’ve ever had. We’ve got mares in Australia, Ireland, England and Japan, but we’ll concentrate on quality. And on the racing side too, we’ll probably have less runners, but we want to focus on those city-type runners.”