Buildup stars many lo­cal win­ners

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

It’s not easy writ­ing this col­umn be­fore the main event, es­pe­cially know­ing that my words will be read af­ter the Mel­bourne Cup has been run and won by the next horse to etch its name into Aus­tralian rac­ing folk­lore.

Ques­tions abound as to who might be the one – favourite So You Think, the Kiwi-bred whose run of spring form has him be­ing hailed as the new cham­pion, or the other trained by Cups King Bart Cum­mings, Mata­mata-bred Prece­dence; one of the Euro­pean raiders that have made Aus­tralia’s holy grail their sought af­ter global tar­get; last year’s win­ner Shock­ing; Caulfield Cup win­ner Descarado; maybe one of the Kiwi run­ners Har­ris Tweed, Monaco Con­sul or rank out­sider Red Ruler.

Be that as it may, from a New Zealand per­spec­tive there was still much to take out of the dress re­hearsal to Mel­bourne Cup day at a rain-soaked Flem­ing­ton on Satur­day.

Cox Plate win­ner So You Think took his win­ning se­quence to five with an­other romp in the Mackin­non Stakes.

Cam­bridge-trained Lion Tamer was an even eas­ier win­ner of the A$ 1.5 mil­lion Vic­to­ria Derby, Maluck­y­day emerged from the Lexus Stakes as the lat­est stay­ing star by su­per sire Zabeel, and Mike Moroney sad­dled up for­mer Mata­mata filly Brazil­ian Princess to win the Wake­ful Stakes and se­cure favouritism for Thurs­day’s Vic­to­ria Oaks.

In com­mon with many Bal­ly­more Sta­bles mem­bers, Brazil­ian Princess un­der­went her early ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment from Mata­mata and then was trans­ferred to Moroney’s Flem­ing­ton sta­ble af­ter late sea­son tri­als pro­vided some as­sess­ment of her po­ten­tial.

She lived up to that rat­ing by win­ning her first two starts be­gin- ning with a 1200-me­tre maiden at pro­vin­cial Bal­larat in early Septem­ber and a re­peat at Sandown when tried for the first time in town.

That form was good enough to jus­tify tak­ing on black-type com­pany in Oc­to­ber, re­sult­ing in a close sec­ond in the Gr 2 Ed­ward Man­i­fold Stakes, fol­lowed by a third in the Gr 1 One Thou­sand Guineas at Caulfield.

Thus she was hav­ing just her fifth start go­ing into Satur­day’s Gr 2 Wake­ful Stakes, her first test at a mid­dle-dis­tance but de­spite be­ing forced wide from a dif­fi­cult draw she proved too classy and drew out to win by more than a length.

As a trial for the VRC Oaks five days later, Moroney could not have wished for more and Brazil­ian Princess will go to the start as favourite for Thurs­day’s A$1 mil­lion clas­sic.

Suc­cess in the VRC Oaks will seal the pow­er­fully built bay’s sta­tus as yet an­other bar­gain sales ring pur­chase by Paul Moroney.

At $26,000 at the Se­lect ses­sion of the 2009 Na­tional Year­ling Sale at Karaka, she has al­ready proven a bar­gain with stake-earn­ings in ex­cess of $ 300,000 plus even greater resid­ual value.

Paul first spot­ted the filly dur­ing the early rounds of his pre-sale in­spec­tions and kept tabs on her there­after be­fore be­ing able to se­cure her in a price bracket that has pre­vi­ously achieved some out­stand­ing re­sults.

Her sire Cap­tain Rio

is

best known as a sire of sprinter-mil­ers, amongst the for­mer high class lo­cal filly Il Quello Ve­loce but Brazil­ian Pulses’s pedi­gree is bal­anced on the bot­tom half as a mem­ber of one of renowned breeder HH Agha Khan’s best stay­ing fam­i­lies.

Third dam Sha­paara is a half­sis­ter to none other than the great gal­loper Sher­gar, who is per­haps best re­mem­bered as the young stal­lion who in the early 1980s was spir­ited away in the dead of night from Bal­ly­many Stud in cen­tral Ire­land and never seen again, re­put­edly the vic­tim of an IRA-spon­sored heist that went hor­ri­bly wrong.

Sher­gar’s race­track abil­ity was where he made his true mark, how­ever, el­e­vat­ing him to Euro­pean Horse of the Year hon­ours in 1981.

While on my OE work­ing in Ire­land I had the plea­sure of wit­ness­ing Sher­gar at his peak, can­ter­ing home un­der Lester Pig­gott at the head of the Ir­ish Derby field, and later that north­ern sum­mer when he beat all-com­ers in the King Ge­orge V1 and Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes at As­cot.

Nearly three decades later he still be­longs on my short­list of best race­horses ever seen. While some lev­els be­low that cham­pion gal­loper and oth­ers that made the head­lines at Flem­ing­ton on the week­end, there were some per­for­mances worth not­ing at last Fri­day’s Rac­ing Mata­mata meet­ing.

Lo­cal train­ers An­drew Scott, Wayne and Vanessa Hil­lis and Kara­piro-based Steven Ramsay and Ju­lia Ritchie all scored dou­bles, while Lance Noble and Michael Cole­man com­bined to win one.

That was with Astro­gal, who shared with the Scott-trained first starter Fire­side the hon­our of be­ing most im­pres­sive maiden grad­u­ate on the day.

Astro­gal is an O’Reilly filly raced by Auck­land cou­ple Alan and Colleen Jack­son, whose heavy in­vest­ment in rac­ing has ex­tended through their Broad­way Rac­ing and Breed­ing Part­ner­ship to the un­der­write of the maiden three­year-old se­ries of races whose stakes have been boosted from $5000 to $8000.

Auck­lan­ders also fea­ture in the own­er­ship of Fire­side, in­clud­ing the Chief Jus­tice Dame Sian Elias and her hus­band Hugh Fletcher, who com­mented af­ter­wards that it was a great re­lief to break an eight-year drought since be­ing on track to see one of his horses win – ‘‘ and that’s not for want of horses ei­ther,’’ he added.

There were also some happy own­ers in­volved in Scott’s sec­ond and even more im­pres­sive win­ner, Sworn To Se­crecy, when she took her record to two wins from four starts with a smart per­for­mance in good time.

She is raced by a team Weal­leans Syn­di­cate, whose blue jacket with the large red W will next be seen in the Gr 1 New Zealand One Thou­sand Guineas at Ric­car­ton on Satur­day week.

Scott has con­firmed a start in the fil­lies’ clas­sic, for which Sworn To Se­crecy is now on the third line of bet­ting at $ 8, and she is booked on a char­ter flight in the mid­dle of next week.

Vic­to­ri­ous: Team Weal­leans prin­ci­pals Gavin and Ken Weal­leans flank suc­cess­ful rider Michael Cole­man fol­low­ing the im­pres­sive win by their filly Sworn To Se­crecy at Mata­mata last Fri­day.

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