Kiwis can fly

A stunning performance by Ruthless Dame (Tavistock) in taking out Morphettville’s Robert Sangster Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Morphettville, is further proof that Kiwi breeders can indeed give their Australian counterparts something to think about when it comes to breeding sprinters.

The numbers still heavily favour the Australian-breds but this season has seen Roch ‘N’ Horse (Per Incanto) bag the VRC Sprint Classic (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington in November, while there was no wishing about I Wish I Win (Savabeel) as he claimed the TJ Smith Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) for Waikato Stud in last month.

Little Avondale’s Per Incanto (Street Cry) features again as the sire of Australian-bred two-year-old Little Brose, who landed the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Sandown in February. He was conceived in New Zealand and foaled in Australia.

On the surface, it may be a bit of a head scratcher that Tavistock (Montjeu) should get a sprinter of Ruthless Dame’s quality. His progeny are better known as middle distance runners and young stayers. The late Cambridge Stud-based stallion has sired six Derby winners, after all, but a little digging reveals a lot.

When you examine Tavistock’s race record, he was named Champion New Zealand Sprinter in 2010 as a result of his two Group 1 1400-metre victories that season. His time when winning Te Rapa’s Waikato Draught Sprint (Gr 1, 1400m) was a slashing 1:21.30 while his 1:22.09 in Hastings’ Mudgeway Parts Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) wasn’t too shabby either.

In both he beat New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame inductee and ten-time Group 1-winning sprinter-miler Mufhasa (Pentire), who was second at Hastings and third at Te Rapa. In both races, Tavistock charged home from well back in the field with a turn of foot that only top sprinters possess.

In Ruthless Dame, he has a filly who is only lightly raced and therefore has huge potential to build on her already top-class record. Saturday’s Sangster Stakes was just her sixth start and third win. In two starts at two she was unbeaten, including a Group 3 1200-metre victory down the straight course at Flemington in March, 2022.

A bout of pneumonia resulted in her being sidelined until January when she returned to finish third in the Manfred Stakes (Gr 3, 1300m) at Sandown. Sent to Sydney, she then performed very well for a close second, just missing in the Surround Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m), followed by the Coolmore Classic (Gr 1, 1500m), where she never saw daylight in finishing tenth. 

She arrived at Morphettville with the option of tackling her own age group in the Tobin Bronze Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) versus the Sangster Stakes. Ciaron Maher explained he and co-trainer David Eustace’s thinking behind their decision to target the Group 1.

“We could have run her in the next race, but we went for this one. She’s already been Group 1-placed and we just thought she could have the last crack at them here,” Maher said. “There was always going to be really good speed on, and she’s got strong form over a bit further than this. She came into this nice and fresh.”

After a good start she drifted back and was trapped out wide with three behind her at the 800-metre mark. John Allen set her alight from the 600 metres, but she was widest into the straight with half the field in front of her. She accelerated quickly to share fourth at the 200-metre mark, levelled up to the leader at the 100 metres and was too good to the post.

Her dam is by Keeper (Danehill), whose most memorable performance on the racetrack was when winning the Goodwood Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) at the same Morphettville track, while her granddam is by Dehere (Deputy Minister), who was very versatile. Among Dehere’s 80 stakes winners is Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) winner, Belle Du Jour, and VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m) heroine, Dear Demi.

The filly has more than paid for herself. A $90,000 purchase out of Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud Book 1 draft of the 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale, her bank account stands at $562,475.

Her immediate future is yet to be determined. Brisbane and the Tatt’s Tiara (Gr 1, 1400m) is a possibility but so, too, is remaining in Adelaide for The Goodwood (Gr 1, 1200m), scheduled for May 20.

She is the third winner from the Listed-placed, two-year-old winner, Ruthless Lady (Keeper), herself a half-sister to three stakes winners including the dual South African Grade 2 winner, Oracy (Zabeel). Ruthless Lady’s granddam, Lady Dehere (Dehere), was one of the top two-year-olds of her crop, winning four at that age including the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m).

Lady Dehere’s half-sister is the three-time Group 1 winner and sprint champion Sea Siren (Fastnet Rock), as well as high-class juvenile and subsequent WA-based stallion Oratorio (Stravinsky). This is a really nice family. 

Not long retired is Entriviere (Tavistock), Tavistock’s only other Group 1 sprinter, who showed similar brilliance yet she is from a mare by Golan (Spectrum). Ruthless Dame, however, has more speed in her bloodlines.

The loss of Tavistock has been well documented. His story is not over. There will be more successes and you can take that to the bank.


Red Letter Day

This time last year, Westbury Stud’s Tarzino (Tavistock) was in the limelight courtesy of two Group 1-winning three-year-olds; Gypsy Goddess and Jungle Magnate.

Twelve months on, Tarzino’s barnmates, Redwood (High Chaparral), Reliable Man (Dalakhani) and El Roca (Fastnet Rock) have upped their game. All three can look back on the current season with very satisfying results.

“Satisfying” is more than likely the adjective that Westbury’s Russell Warwick would use as he is not prone to getting too far ahead of himself. He has seen it all before. Thirty-plus years at the helm of a major bloodstock establishment creates an understanding of the realities of thoroughbred breeding.

When Tarzino was making his splash, Warwick’s observation was as follows: “It is not where one starts but where one finishes that is important.”

Nevertheless, this past Saturday would have to rank alongside some of Westbury’s better days. Reliable Man sired two stakes winners in Queensland while, here at home, Redwood looks to have a simile of Sharp ‘N’ Smart, in Solidify, who was so impressive in the 2YO stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Te Rapa.

As well, at Riccarton, the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1200m) went to a Westbury graduate in Illicit Dreams (Vancouver), a filly they sold for not much out of Book 2 of the 2022 NZB Karaka Yearling Sales.

Recently, Kiwi Chronicles detailed the success of Redwood during Sharp ‘N’ Smart’s superb run of form when he took on and beat all comers in the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) then added the New Zealand Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) for good measure.

The sire-son of High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) has also been represented by Auckland Cup (Gr 2, 3200m) winner Platinum Invador and now Solidify, who may well follow Sharp ‘N’ Smart’s 2022 path and head to Brisbane for the backend of his two-year-old preparation.

“Ryan Elliot thinks he is every bit as good as Sharp ‘N’ Smart which is pretty exciting,” said Sharp ‘N’ Smart’s trainer, Graeme Rogerson.

Currently fifth on the New Zealand sire standings, Redwood is certain to record his highest position, his previous best being 11th in 2020.

A $140,000 purchase by Rogerson late in the 2022 NZB Ready to Run Sale, Solidify impressed at Te Rapa, winning like a professional. In just his third start after a seven-day back-up from his maiden win, he soared from the rear of the field and looked to have plenty in reserve at the line.

He is the third winner from his dam, The Warrior Woman (Redoute’s Choice), herself a Sydney-winning sister to the fine racemare Royal Descent (Redoute’s Choice), winner of the 2013 Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m), who racked up an exasperating eight Group 1 placings on the way to banking $2.7 million.

Both Solidify’s granddam, Mulan Princess (Kaapstad), and third dam, Madam Valeta (Palace Music), were Group winners. Mulan Princess took out the Hill Stakes (Gr 2, 1900m) as well as three Listed races, while Madam Valeta’s best effort was in winning the Lion Brown Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) at Rotorua and a Listed race at Eagle Farm.


Relying on fillies

Reliable Man is proving to be a good sire of fillies and mares. Of his 21 stakes winners, 13 are females. Two of his three Group 1 winners are Oaks winners. Are studmasters paying attention? Could these be top broodmares of the future?

Reliable Man has also sired a further 38 stakes performers. His winners-to-runners ratio is 59 per cent; 399 winners from 671 runners.

His three Australian stakes winners this season are all females. Saturday’s Gold Coast Bracelet (Listed, 1800m) winner, Renaissance Woman, landed the Ethereal Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m) at Caulfield last spring, while Annavisto took out her second Frances Tressady Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) at Flemington in February.

Reliable Man’s latest black type winner, Essonne, was bred and is raced by Westbury Stud’s Gerry Harvey and is assembling a healthy race record of six wins from 12 starts. Her win in the Silk Stocking (Listed, 1400m) was her first attempt to gain black type and she represents an Australian family, despite being foaled in New Zealand.

Like Solidify, she is from a Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) mare. Her dam won twice in Melbourne and ranks as a half-sister to Caulfield Sprint (Gr 2, 1200m) winner First Command (Commands) and to Hong Kong Group 2 winner Oneworld (Danehill Dancer).

Danehill (Danzig) features strongly in the immediate family. Four further closely related stakes performers are all by sons of Danehill. Essonne’s granddam is a sister to the Oakleigh Plate (Gr 1, 1100m) winner River Dove (Hurricane Sky).

And, talking of Danehill, Westbury’s El Roca, a grandson of the stallion, is riding high on the New Zealand sire list, sitting fourth, one place ahead of Redwood.

He, too, is making some noise and, identical to Redwood, has three stakes winners for four stakes wins this season, his premier performer being Romancing The Moon, winner of the Levin Classic (Gr 1, 1600m) in March. His White Noise landed the Easter Handicap (Gr 3, 1600m) at Pukekohe two weeks ago.

By some coincidence, Westbury Stud announced their roster line-up and fees yesterday. A full report was featured in yesterday’s ANZ Bloodstock News, and sees El Roca, Redwood and Tarzino all rewarded with fee rises, to differing degrees.


World at his feet

Whenever a racehorse is unbeaten in four or more starts, interest is usually piqued. This much could be said of Globe (Charm Spirit), who looked like something special when bagging his fourth win in Saturday’s King’s Coronation Cup (1800m) at Sandown.

A trial winner as a three-year-old at Taupo last April, Globe transferred to the Cranbourne stable of Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, but didn’t have his first start until March 16, winning easily at Pakenham over 1400 metres. Third that day was last week’s Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2000m) victress, Affaire A Suivre (Astern).

Returning to Pakenham two weeks later, he won again, just as easily, over 1600 metres. Next was a midweek trip to town and the result was identical. The four-year-old son of Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit) ran them into the ground despite being a little wayward over the final 200 metres, to win by four lengths.

Going through the grades quickly, Globe lined up, back at Sandown but this time on a Saturday, over 1800 metres. From the outside barrier he shot to the front from the outset and controlled the race to the top of the straight. From the 300-metre mark he put space between himself and the field and inside the 100 metres was able to jog home, still four lengths in front. This fellow could be something else.

“I think he’s got a good motor on him,” said Price. “He’s learned a lot this preparation and he’s settled, but he is a four-year-old, not like a three-year-old where we’re waiting for him to grow up. So I wouldn’t say he necessarily has to go to the paddock.”

His dam, Bonnie Doon, never raced but she is a Don Eduardo (Zabeel) sister to dual Group 1 winner Booming. His third dam is Syrian Sea (Vice Regal), a Trentham Group 3 winner, whose half-sister is dual Group 1 winner Electronic (First Norman), herself the granddam of Galaxy Stakes (Gr 1, 1100m) winner Sweet Idea (Snitzel).

Pier (Proisir), the 2022 New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) winner, is also a member of this family. His fourth dam and Globe’s fourth dam are sisters.

Don Eduardo is making quite the name for himself as a broodmare sire. Current star Prowess (Proisir) is from a daughter of Don Eduardo, as is Seabrook (Hinchinbrook), winner of Randwick’s Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m). Another is Aromatic (Sacred Falls) who is in rare form of late, landing last week’s Travis Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m) at Te Rapa.


Recognition at last

The New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame celebrated ten new inductees on Sunday evening. Of the three racehorses, two – Verry Elleegant (Zed) and Melody Belle (Commands) – are quite recent and therefore fresh in our memories.

The third is Beau Vite (Beau Pere) who was bred in 1936 from the fourth of 16 crops in England, New Zealand, Australia and USA by his sire, Beau Pere (Son-in-Law).

Beau Pere was a sensation at stud, twice topping the earnings list in New Zealand, where he stood for three seasons, and earned three Australian titles, where he spent four seasons.

He was whisked off to the USA when movie magnate, Louis B Mayer, of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, bought him as an older stallion for US$100,000 to stand in California where his $2,500 service fee in 1946 was the highest in the country.

Beau Vite must have been tough. He was tried as early as September as a two-year-old but didn’t find winning form until start five, finishing his first season with three wins, including the North Island Challenge Stakes (7f), from 11 starts.

His first 11 starts at three were all in Australia, resulting in two wins before heading home after an eighth in the 1939 Melbourne Cup (2m). Did you catch that? He was barely three years old.

Ten more starts at home brought successes in the Great Northern Derby (12f), the New Zealand and Great Northern St Legers (14f), plus the prestigious Awapuni Gold Cup (10f), his sixth win in succession to complete the season.

At four, he returned to Australia, winning third-up in the Hill Stakes (9f), followed by another sequence of six wins; the Colin Stephen Stakes (12f), the Metropolitan Handicap (13f), the WFA Craven Plate (10f), the WFA WS Cox Plate (9.5f) and the WFA LKS Mackinnon Stakes (10f).

Under topweight of 9st 7lbs, he ran a creditable fourth in his second attempt in the Melbourne Cup, took a short break back home and won the Auckland Cup (Gr 1, 2m) with 9st 6lbs, followed by his last race in New Zealand, a win in Ellerslie’s Clifford Plate (10f).

Over the next 13 months he continued at the peak of his powers, running 17 times for ten wins and five placings against the best that Australia could offer. Among his wins were a second Cox Plate and a second Mackinnon Stakes. His worst performance was an unplaced run under 9st 12lbs in the Caulfield Cup (12f) but with 9st 10lbs ran third in the 1941 Melbourne Cup.

He retired with 31 wins and 14 placings in 60 starts and returned to New Zealand for the final time to stand at Rosswood Stud in Masterton, where he sired 111 winners from 185 runners. New Zealand Derby (12f) winner Liebestraum and New Zealand Oaks (12f) winner Chula Vista were two of his 12 stakes winners.

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