Mishani team Ross, Crooks prepare for warfare with Spartan
Trainer Les Ross will be leading the Queensland team in next weekend’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) after Mishani Spartan (Husson) produced what, to their eyes, was an unbelievable victory in the Aquis Gold Nugget (1100m) yesterday.
Ross, whose primary client is Mishani Enterprises, now has three runners in the $2 million feature, all in the same ownership: Eagle Farm winners Mishani Warfare (The Mission) and Mishani Persuasion (Heroic Valour) and now Mishani Spartan.
Ross has 69 named horses on his books, with 57 of those prepared for Mishani Enterprises principal Mike Crooks. Among those 57, 43 carry the Mishani prefix, including the three contenders for Ross and Crooks next Saturday.
Mishani Spartan (2 c Husson – Monicelli by Flying Spur) had few admirers in yesterday’s Aquis Gold Nugget, despite having defied the odds on debut to score a $51 upset at Ipswich on New Year’s Eve.
Sent out at $23 yesterday, that price would have multiplied dramatically in the early stages after the colt bombed the start and then could not muster despite the desperate urgings of Brett Prebble.
An early speed battle, though, may have exaggerated the extent to which he was outsped, while he was also making the drop back from 1200 metres to a more testing 1100 metres at the Gold Coast.
However, there is little doubt that, when the race dramatically changed shape at the 500 metres and the field began to spread out, he didn’t appear to be picking up.
When the early leaders Hell I Am (Hellbent), Allude (Spirit Of Boom) and Swiss Exile (Pariah) began to empty, it was Mishani Spartan who had built up momentum nearer the inside.
Bursting to the lead, he was able to comfortably hold Flemington debut winner Stupendo (Supido) to land the spoils by three-quarters of a length. Allude held on best of the pacesetters, two lengths from the winner in third.
It was a similar win to Mishani Spartan’s debut performance, where he was slow to begin, managed to make ground as the leaders were stopping before sprinting through along the rails to take the victory comfortably over odds-on favourite Even Now (Better Than Ready).
“He showed really good finishing speed and I love that in a horse,” Prebble said. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s doing it on raw ability.
“He mightn’t be ready for the Magic Millions but they are going to have a ball of fun with him in the future.”
Prebble is due to partner Kiwi filly Bright Blue Sky (Fastnet Rock) next week and James Orman and Jackson Morris have been touted as potential replacements if required.
Crooks has had pre-Classic juveniles before, including 2014 B J McLachlan Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Mishani Honcho (Jet Spur) and one-time Magic Millions fancy Mishani Spirit (Jet Spur), but only had his first Classic runner last year when Mishani Scandal (Jet Spur) finished second last as a rank outsider.
With Mishani Spartan, though, he has potentially struck gold with a $2,000 buyback from last year’s Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.
The colt’s third dam, Aim For The Top (Irish River), was a stakes winner in both the UK and Italy, and she has proven herself a good producer, being the dam of Group 1 placegetters Polar Bear (Polar Falcon) and Dance To The Top (Sadler’s Wells), while she is also the grandam of Bankable (Medicean) and Mizaal (Mehmas).
Mishani Spartan’s dam Monicelli, who was acquired by Crooks from Patinack Farm at the Magic Millions National Racehorse Sale in 2012 for just $26,000, was a three-time winner for Crooks and Ross and Mishani Spartan becomes the mare’s fourth winner, joining Mishani Ruler (Charge Forward), Mishani Desire (Real Saga) and Mishani Epic (Real Saga).
Monicelli has a yearling colt by Top Echelon (Umatilla), a filly foal by The Mission (Choisir) and was covered by the Aquis Farm stallion again in October.
Of his three runners next weekend, Mishani Spartan is now considered the best chance with TAB at $17, which ranks him as the leading local contender alongside the Bryan and Daniel Guy-prepared Golden Artie (Artie Schiller). Mishani Warfare is at $101, while Mishani Persuasion is considered a $201 outsider.
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