Pedigree Page

Inference Shows Champion’s Potential In The Randwick Guineas

At the line he arrived just in time to defeat the much improved filly Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible) by a short neck with Criterion’s (Sebring) half-brother Comin’ Through (Fastnet Rock) another length and three quarters back in third place.

Having only his ninth start, Inference has come a long way since his first win at Ballarat as a two-year-old in May 2016, but last spring gave a pointer of things to come with several good performances in stakes company culminating in an unlucky third placing behind Prized Icon (More Than Ready) and Sacred Elixir (Pour Moi) in the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m).

Raced by his breeders Lindsay Maxsted, Greg Ingham, Greg Hayes, Peter Allen and Simon Tuxen, the colt is now expected to add more honours to his record when he contests the Rosehill Guineas (Gr 1, 2000m) on 18 March and the ATC Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) at Randwick on 1 April.

The Randwick Guineas was run on an extremely heavy track as indicated by Inference’s winning time of 1:40.91 and only a week earlier we had witnessed another of So You Think’s (High Chaparral) progeny, Group One-winning filly La Belle Diosa, relish similar conditions at Randwick to take out the Surround Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m).

So You Think, who served 188 mares last spring at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley farm, is currently Australia’s leading second season sire. Now that his first Australian crop of three-year-olds have the opportunity to race over longer distances with maturity we should see more of them come to the fore as the stallion has never lacked big numbers of foals or support from broodmares of quality as would be expected of a horse whose 2016 fee was $49,500 (inc GST).

One of the best of the many outstanding horses trained by the late Bart Cummings, So You Think is a stunning individual standing just under 17 hands and even as a two-year-old had great presence.

He won as a juvenile over 1400 metres at Rosehill Gardens but improved to be acclaimed a champion at three years after a brilliant victory against older horses in the W S Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m), a feat he repeated a year later along with other major successes which led to him being transferred to Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable in Ireland to take on Europe’s best middle distance horses.

New Zealand-bred So You Think proved well up to the task over two seasons of competition and retired to stud respected as a racehorse of world class after adding five more Group One wins to the five won earlier in Australia. Although best suited at distances of around 2000 metres, he stayed well enough to be third in Americain’s (Dynaformer) 2010 Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m).

Trained by Team Hawkes, Inference is the first foal of his dam Pontiana (Redoute’s Choice), a mare they also prepared to win in Sydney and to place in four stakes races up to Group Two level.

Pontiana is proving to be a wonderful breeder, conceiving in each of her first five seasons at stud. Following Inference are Ponterro (Pierro), an as yet unraced two-year-old filly, another So You Think, this time a filly born in 2015, a Pierro (Lonhro) weanling colt while she is due to foal this spring after her 2016 mating with Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro).

Inference comes from a powerful classic family developed by the late Robert Sangster descending from the colt’s fifth dam Lady Liberty (Noble Bijou), purchased by Robert Sangster as a yearling in New Zealand to win for him the 1988 SAJC South Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) and the Adrian Knox Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m) before her second in the ATC Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m).

Pontiana’s dam Liberty Rose (Royal Academy) was a Listed winner and stakes producer while her second dam Cherry Garden (Sir Tristram) is a daughter of the speedy two-year-old stakes winner Freedom Fields (Bluebird).

Inference is one of 53 stakes winners to date produced by daughters of multiple champion sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) and follows Sacred Falls (O’Reilly), Zoustar (Northern Meteor), Pasadena Girl (Savabeel) and Stay With Me (Street Cry) as the fifth to capture a Group One race. Key features of his pedigree are three crosses of champion Nijinsky (Northern Dancer) plus a fourth line of Northern Dancer through his great sire son Sadler’s Wells.