Untapped Brambles delivers thriller
From their vantage point in the Eagle Farm grandstand watching Saturday’s Queensland Derby unfold, Mark and Lisa Chittick couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
A week after Waikato Stud stallions Fast ’ n’ Famous and O’Reilly had been represented by the first two finishers, Quintessential and Eliza Blues, in the Queensland Oaks, the unthinkable was happening again.
On the home turn in the Derby Brambles, the son of yet another Waikato stallion, Savabeel, was in front and his only threat was the Oaks’ heroine Quintessential.
‘‘I was thinking this can’t be happening, it’s simply not possible but it was just incredible,’’ Mark Chittick said on his return home.
‘‘As they headed up the straight I was actually expecting Quintessential to get past Brambles but he just kept going, nothing was going to beat him.
In fairness, the filly had to do a lot early from her (wide) draw and backing up from her Oaks win you have to say what a big job she still did.
‘‘Lisa and I headed straight down to the birdcage and the thing that struck us most was to see the winner. ‘‘ He was just standing there in his weigh-in stall dead still, not blowing, as if to say ‘that was pretty cool’. He’s obviously a very good galloper and the most exciting thing about him is that he’s still untapped.’’
Brambles went into the Queensland Derby chasing a hattrick after wins in the Rough Habit Plate and Grand Prix Stakes across the Nudgee Road at Brisbane’s other racecourse, Doomben.
There was some speculation that his take-it-to-them style might prove less effective on the roomier Eagle Farm track but it made no difference as he produced another relentless performance.
Last year’s Queensland winter carnival produced Savabeel’s first group one winner, Scarlett Lady, in the Queensland Oaks. Last spring his three-year-old son Sangster joined the list by winning the Victoria Derby and now with a third group one scalp, Savabeel is living right up to his billing as a Cox Plate-winning son of champion stallion Zabeel.
At a fee of $20,000 for his services, broodmare owners queued last breeding season and he ended up covering 190 mares.
An increase to $35,000 has anything but quelled the demand with his 2012 book officially closed by the end of last month.
Quintessential’s sire Fast ’n’ Famous, who has done what the majority of stallions don’t manage with a group one winner from his first crop, was at the other end of the popularity scale last spring as breeders took a wait and see approach and he served one-tenth of Savabeel’s book – that’s right, just 19 mares.
‘‘The numbers are out there after some solid books in his earlier seasons and apart from Quintessential he’s got a good number of other smart performers coming through,’’ said Mark.
‘‘The Oaks’ win has certainly put him back in front of breeders and it was good to hear the phone ringing for him last week.’’
After standing at a fee of $8000 last season, the decision was made to reduce that to $6000 for 2012, which must make the young stallion an obvious target for the breeder seeking real value.
While Savabeel, Fast ’n’ Famous and O’Reilly were all involved directly in the Queensland Oaks and Derby quinellas, their high profile associate Pins also had a part to play.
He is in fact the sire of the dam of Brambles, which is a big pointer to his continuing in the tradition of Waikato Stud stalwart Centaine and more recently, O’Reilly as a major broodmare sire influence.
Not to be outdone through his first-generation progeny, O’Reilly’s flag flew on the home front through an impressive win at Te Rapa on Saturday by his two-year-old son Sacred Falls. The upstanding brown had won his previous start debut and has already been earmarked as one to watch in spring three-year-old features.
Savabeel: The sire of Saturday’s Queensland Derby winner Brambles.