Santa Monica’s Railway surprise caps fine 2018 for Per Incanto

When five-year-old mare Santa Monica (Per Incanto) scored a surprise victory in the ARC Railway Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) on New Year’s Day she became the tenth black type winner to trace back to her third dam, New Zealand import Vedo Bay (Orange Bay), a British-bred mare born in 1980 who raced in her adopted country before retiring to stud.

Santa Monica’s Railway win by under a length over Princess Kereru (Pins) and favoured Melody Belle (Commands) was a surprise for punters as she paid $81, but it was not a fluke result, providing trainer Stephen Ralph, veteran rider Trudy Thornton and the mare’s owners with a well deserved reward. The winning time was 1:09.47 with the last 600 metres covered in 34.81.

Bred by Protech Design Trust, Santa Monica is the winner of four other races at 1200 metres and also has two stakes placings to her credit.

For Santa Monica’s sire Per Incanto (Street Cry), her Group 1 triumph, the second for the stallion, topped off the excellent run enjoyed by his progeny throughout 2018 in both New Zealand and Australia. Other stakes winners for him were Amanaat and Lanciato in Australia as well as Casaquinman, Indecision, Magnum and Shadows Cast  adding to the New Zealand achievements by others of his stock headed by Group 1 winner Dal Cielo and multiple Group 2 winner Saracino.

Per Incanto stood at a NZ$15,000 fee last season at Little Avondale Stud after retiring there in 2011. Bred in the United States by the celebrated sire of Winx, Street Cry (Machiavellian), Per Incanto has nicked well with daughters of O’Reilly (Last Tycoon), Centaine (Century) and Danasinga (Danehill) and should now attract more mares of quality.

The now 14-year-old stallion raced in Italy, where he was judged joint-champion three-year-old sprinter. He won twice over 1200 metres as a two-year-old then won three more races, among them the Rome Premio Tudini (Gr 3, 1200m), at three before completing his racing career in the United States with a victory at Aqueduct as a five-year-old.

Santa Monica is the first foal out of her dam Monarch (Volksraad), a winner in New Zealand of two races at 1150 metres and 1200 metres and a consistent placegetter in metropolitan company. Her 2014-foaled brother Monaco (Per Incanto) has been placed, while Monarch has since produced an unnamed 2015 filly by Cape Blanco (Galileo) and sisters to Santa Monica, yet to be named, in 2016 and 2017.

Balmacara (Bassenthwaite), the second dam of Santa Monica, is a three-time stakes winner up to Group 2 level and has six black type placings, most notable of them a second in the ARC Easter Handicap (Gr 1,1600m).

At stud, Balmacara has produced nine winners from ten foals to race, among them Jamieson Valley (Desert Prince), whose three victories included the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m).

Balmacara’s half-sister Vedodara (Kreisler) won the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Listed, 1400m) before foaling no fewer than 11 winners headed by Group 1 winner Sharvasti (Montjeu) and other Group winners in Shastri (Stravinsky) and Bhandara (Zabeel). However, another unraced half-sister to these high class winners, named Melrose (Sun and Shine), added considerably to the deeds of the family by producing five winners, one of which, Our Heather (Centaine), became the dam of versatile six-time stakes winner Linton (Galileo), a $2 million earner whose greatest success came in the 2013 QTC Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) defeating Buffering (Mossman) and Streama (Stratum).

Our Heather’s unraced daughter Dancing Heather (Danzero) has further added to the family’s reputation as dam of three-time stakes winner Heatherly (Lonhro), twice placed in Group 1 contests.

Fountainhead of Santa Monica’s family is the Railway Stakes winner’s third dam Vedo Bay, a winner of three races in New Zealand at 1200 metres and 1600 metres.

Closely related to former Widden Stud shuttler Barathea (Sadler’s Wells), Vedo Bay is by the obscure sire Orange Bay (Canisbay), whose stout background should have added some stamina and class to Vedo Bay’s pedigree.

Out of a mare by Italian champion Molvedo (Ribot), Orange Bay won the Derby Italiano (now Gr 2, 2400m) in 1975 and the following year in Britain captured the Hardwicke Stakes (now Gr 2, 1m4f) at Royal Ascot and the Jockey Club Stakes (now Gr 2, 1m4f) to earn a peak Timeform rating of 129 for the year.

Santa Monica carries a 5m x 5m double of Northern Dancer (Nearctic), a 5m x 5f cross of Petingo (Petition) and a 5f x 5f double of Sir Ivor (Sir Gaylord).