Takedown Triumphs In Perth’s Winterbottom Stakes
In a driving finish Takedown won by a long head from five-year-old mare Sheidel (Holy Roman Emperor) with Rock Magic (Redoute’s Choice) a half-length away in third place. Time was 1:10.27.
Gary Moore, established again as a trainer in Sydney after being champion trainer in Macau, has done a superb job with the 17.0hh Takedown considering the 620kg gelding has been on the go since early two-year-old days and is now in the best form of his career following a successful wind operation after the Brisbane Winter Carnival. He now goes to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Sprint (Gr 1, 1200m) on 11 December.
As a two-year-old Moore sent Takedown to the provincial Kembla Grange track south of Sydney for his first start but ran into subsequent Group One star Exosphere (Lonhro) but the big gelding quickly atoned by winning a two-year-old maiden at Hawkesbury in February 2015, which proved a springboard for two stakes successes in the Black Opal Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) in Canberra (in which he set a race record) and then the Schweppervescence Quality (Gr 3, 1400m) at Rosehill.
A win in the Gold Coast Guineas (Gr 3, 1200m) was the highlight of Takedown’s three-year-old season but since resuming as a four-year-old he has also won the The Shorts (Gr 2, 1100m) and the Premiere Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m).
Takedown follows Crystal Lily, Streama, Stratum Star and Southern Lord (in New Zealand) as the fifth Group One winner for his sire Stratum (Redoute’s Choice) who sadly died suddenly at Widden Stud in September. A Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner and Australia’s champion two-year-old colt of the 2004/05 season, Stratum is a big loss to Australian breeding as his 26 other stakes winners include a number of others of high level ability, among them Divine Calling, Egyptian Symbol, Enquare, Running Tall, Unpretentious and Va Pensiero who retired to stud this season at Jindera Park in NSW.
Bred by Widden Stud Australia and Robert Anderson’s RMA Bloodstock Trust, Takedown was retained to race for his breeders and is the fifth foal of his imported dam Apamea (Zafonic), a winner in France and in Adelaide and third in the Prix Ronde de Nuit (Listed, 1400m) at Maisons-Laffitte.
Apamea was a 160,000gns buy for Tasman Bloodstock at Tattersalls December Sales in 2006. Of her four foals to race three have been winners including Takedown’s brother Spirit Forever (Stratum) and her first foal, Sea Diamond (Anabaa), five times successful in Hong Kong.
The mare has an unraced three-year-old filly, Orontes (Redoute’s Choice), but has since slipped to Redoute’s Choice (Danehill), missed to Shamus Award (Snitzel) and slipped to Zoustar (Northern Meteor).
Apamea’s pedigree credentials are excellent as her dam Angelina Ballerina (Nureyev) is a stakes-winning sister to former Queensland sire Alex Nureyev (Nureyev), remembered as the father of the very good galloper Oliver Twist. Importantly she traces in tail female to foundation mare Best In Show (Traffic Judge) via Sex Appeal (Buckpasser), dam of dual classic winner El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer) and Try My Best (Northern Dancer), both sires of note in international breeding with Try My Best the father of Last Tycoon.
Best In Show has proved a tremendously beneficial influence on Australian breeding over the past 20 years as from her descend Redoute’s Choice (Danehill), Manhattan Rain (Encosta De Lago), Umatilla (Miswaki), Hurricane Sky (Star Watch), Al Maher (Danehill), Domesday (Red Ransom) and Coolmore’s young sire Rubick (Encosta De Lago).
Takedown carries a double of Best In Show through different daughters in his sixth remove and he is also distantly linebred to two other famous females, Natalma (Native Dancer) and Flaming Page (Bull Page).
Genetically Apamea’s pedigree is particularly powerful one with a 3 x 4 cross of Northern Dancer (Nearctic) and a 3 x 4 double of Secretariat (Bold Ruler) through daughters.
Some readers may recall that Takedown’s maternal grandsire Zafonic (Gone West) was brought to Australia by Arrowfield for the 2002 season but tragically broke a leg after covering only four mares.
Winner of the 2000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m) plus of three Group Ones at two years, Zafonic was Europe’s Horse of the Year in 1993.
During his relatively short stud career Zafonic sired 53 stakes winners, among them Group One-winning sire Xaar and leading shuttler Iffraaj, and has made an even greater contribution as maternal grandsire of 63 black type winners including promising New Zealand shuttler Showcasing (Oasis Dream) and Domesday, now standing at Aquis Farm in Queensland.