Kiwi Chronicles

Joint effort

This week’s edition leads with a shameless plug on behalf of the publication itself. ANZ Bloodstock News sponsored The Roses (Gr 2, 2000m) at Doomben on Saturday and the winner encapsulates a joint Australia-New Zealand theme.

The winner, Scarlet Oak, is a daughter of Kermadec (Teofilo), a dual Group 1 Randwick winner. Kermadec was conceived in Australia yet foaled in New Zealand and stands in Victoria, Australia at Darley’s Northwood Park.

Kermadec’s Doncaster Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) and Weight-for-Age George Main Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) victories were his premier race performances and he added a Group 3 at Flemington as a three-year-old. His placings included four at the elite level with earnings of $2.9 million.

From five crops of racing age, half of Kermadec’s eight stakes winners have succeeded at Group 1 level. His first crop features star mare Montefilia, a four-time Group 1 winner and $4.5 million earner. Another Group 1 winner is Toorak Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Tuvalu, who has banked $2 million, is also from that first crop as is Singapore Horse of the Year, Lim’s Kosciuszko, the winner of 20 races, nine stakes and more than S$3 million.

His second crop produced VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m) winner Willowy and his third includes Queensland Oaks (Gr 1, 2200m) winner Amokura, which should provide a strong level of confidence in the Waller stable regarding Scarlet Oak’s chances in the 2024 version of the Queensland Oaks, set for June 8.

Scarlet Oak was also conceived and foaled in Australia but came to New Zealand with her dam, Tactless (Commands) in 2020. The Smithies of Monovale Farm entered her for the 2022 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale but had her withdrawn. In their ownership, her sole run in New Zealand, from Ken and Bev Kelso’s stable, over 1400 metres was just ten weeks ago and she could not have won much easier, clearly catching the attention of major player Ozzie Kheir.

The length and three-quarters margin flattered her rivals that day and in her first run from her new quarters was jumped straight to Group 3 level in the James HB Carr Stakes (1400m) five weeks back. Her second placing was much better than it looked as the filly ran about at the 200m but when righted by Zac Lloyd was not asked to chase hard with the winner well clear. At Newcastle over 1600 metres earlier this month Scarlet Oak scooted through along the fence then cleared out and was eased down to score in a canter.

The Roses win impressed new rider James McDonald: “It’s scary how good she could be,” said the New Zealand champion jockey who had to find a narrow gap soon after straightening but the filly was up to the task and shot to the lead at the 200m. At the 100m the race was hers to lose, rallying when challenged but looking pretty comfortable at the line, taking her record to three wins and a second from four starts.

Scarlet Oak is the fifth winner from five to race from her dam Tactless, herself a four-time winner including in Melbourne and Sydney. Tactless ranks as a half-sister to Mapperley Stud’s Complacent (Authorized) whose five wins included the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and three Group wins along with a second in the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m).

Her granddam is a Sydneywinning sister to champion Australian two-year-old Dracula (Quest For Fame) and to the dam of New Zealand Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Miss Sentimental (Reliable Man). Combining her ability to settle then accelerate when needed with her bloodlines, it is no wonder she is the Queensland Oaks favourite although McDonald stated that to him, she feels like a miler.

A couple of shocks

Two of the six stakes winners on the Doomben card were conceived and foaled in New Zealand. One was a shock to punters while the other is by Shocking (Street Cry).

Maracana (Shamexpress) caused an upset in the Drinkwise Mile (Gr 3, 1600m) for her fifth win in 18 starts. She put herself in the race from the jump and took up a handy third past the 1200m. The leader tried to slip them at the 600m but Maracana was right there when they straightened. She levelled up at the 250m, took over at the 200m then did well to hold on over the last 100m when challenged hotly.

In five previous attempts in black-type she placed third on two occasions, at three, some two-and-half years ago in the Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (Gr 2, 1600m) and TAB Trophy (Listed, 1800m). Her third win was a year ago and prior to Saturday’s breakthrough stakes victory she was coming off a 1600-metre win at Cranbourne earlier this month.

Windsor Park’s Shamexpress (O’Reilly) is building an interesting record. Maracana is his 11th stakes winner, headed by dual Group 1 winner Coventina Bay, who is also one of seven females to score at stakes level. Of Shamexpress’s nine stakesplaced performers, five are female.

Maracana is one of three winners from Rita Moreno (King’s Chapel), a half-sister to two stakes winners, namely Eight Carat Classic (Gr 2, 1600m) winner Natalie Wood (Yachtie) and three-times Listed winner Richard Beymer (Volksraad). Natalie Wood foaled Maluckyday (Zabeel), a Flemington Group winner who also ran second in the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m).

The mare is to be offered at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale this week as Lot 490.

The BRC Sprint (Gr 3, 1350m) went narrowly to Here To Shock (Shocking) who was lining up for the 29th time for his ninth win, a third at black-type level.

After a good beginning he was gradually shuffled back to midfield at the 600m but rounding into the straight had plenty of galloping room and drove forward to be a couple of lengths behind the leaders at the top of the straight. With a strong run between runners he kept driving and was third at the 200m, second at the 100m, led at the 50m then clung on in a head-bobber.

Similar to I’m Thunderstruck (Shocking), Here To Shock has sufficient brilliance over the shorter distances to cause breeders to scratch their heads. A Melbourne Cup winner is not supposed to sire sprinters but the versatile Shocking can do just that.

Here To Shock’s previous win was two starts back in the Victoria Handicap (Gr 3, 1400m) and his maiden stakes victory took place in the Bendigo Golden Mile (Listed, 1600m) in April last year. This latest win takes his bank account to $885,180 and maybe he has dug into his bloodlines to discover that his dam, a producer of two stakes winners, is a three-quarter sister to Group 1 Flemington sprinter Mental (Lonhro).

His granddam is a three-quarter sister to the versatile Freemason (Grand Lodge). Freemason was Group 1 winner at 1600 metres as well as twice over 2400 metres. Granddam Sunbeam (Grand Lodge) is also a half-sister to three Group-winning sprinters, namely Sashed (Sir Tristram), Bradshaw (Last Tycoon) and Asarka (Crown Jester). All three were from the brilliant champion two-and-three-year-old Shaybisc (Biscay).

Winning everywhere

Due to lack of interest Belardo (Lope De Vega) did not shuttle to Haunui Farm in 2023. As often happens, activity seems to increase when such a decision is made. This is no reflection on the stud whatsoever. Business is business and with the cost of horse freight from the Northern Hemisphere so enormously high, that decision was a necessary one.

Belardo’s stock over the last month have gone on a roll. At the end of April his premier performer, Gold Phoenix, added a fourth Grade 2 win, the Charles Whittingham Stakes (Gr 2, 10f) at Santa Anita to add to his Group 1 victory a year ago. Gold Phoenix has now earned US$1.3 million.

In Hong Kong, his Red Lion placed second in the Champion’s Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) and between May 1 and May 23 he sired 22 individual winners around the world, two of which, Bague D’Or and Maxi King won big prizemoney races at Newmarket.

To top off a great month, on Saturday he not only sired his tenth stakes winner, Southern Warrior, in the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m), but also Golden Path, winner of the PP Civil Equipment Handicap (2000m) at Randwick, the third New Zealandbred winner on the card following Miss Jennifer (Sacred Falls) and Casual Connection (Complacent).

Historically, the Champagne Stakes can be a guide to better things. A previous winner was Quick Thinker (So You Think) who went on to land the Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) in 2020. He is now at stud in Tasmania at Motree Thoroughbreds.

Southern Warrior had mediocre opposition in the Listed race for two-year-olds. Of his eight opponents only one had broken its maiden, but he still had to put up a good performance to get the win as he sat last to the 600m. From there he was widest into the straight and second last at the 400m.

With a strong run, although a tad green, he kept finding to be second at the 200m but the leader had a decent break. Showing real tenacity he chased hard and got his nose in front right at the line. The first two were more than five lengths clear of the third horse.

Like Here To Shock’s dam, Southern Warrior’s dam, Melbourne winner Cape South (Cape Cross), has foaled two stakes winners. Her first was Apostrophe (Tavistock), a dual Group winner of seven including last month’s Travis Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m).

Cape South, a half-sister to Moonee Valley Group 2 scorer Pure Harmony (Stravinsky), foaled an Ace High (High Chaparral) filly last spring and should the breeder decide to offer her at Karaka, she is certain to make Book 1 of next year’s sale. Southern Warrior was offered and sold out of the NZB National Online Yearling Sale for just $2200.

Recent Group winners from this family are Annavisto (Reliable Man) and Polygon (Highly Recommended). It is a family on the move.

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