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Redoute's Choice Tops Aussie Sires Championship

Redoute’s Choice (Aus) (Danehill) collected his third Australian general sires’ title when the 2013/14 season came to a close last week. The 18-year-old Arrowfield Stud resident amassed progeny earnings of A$10,287,243. He sired 96 winners of 150 races, headed by triple Group 1-winning sprinter Lankan Rupee (Aus).

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SOLZHENITSYN RETIRED

Summerhill resident sire, St Petersburg, was a prolific source of winners in Asia before his acquisition by Mark Yong of T’men syndicate and perennial Singapore Owner of the Year, Fred Crabbia.

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IT'S A DUNDEEL... DUNDEEL RETIRES TO ARROWFIELD STUD

dundeel stallion
dundeel stallion

Dundeel / Arrowfield Stud (p)

DUNDEEL (NZ)

High Chaparral - Stareel

Saturday’s Group 1 ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes victor It’s A Dundeel (NZ) (High Chaparral - Stareel, by Zabeel) has been retired to John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud to begin his stud career, it was announced Monday. The attractive bay will be known by his New Zealand registered name of Dundeel (NZ) and will stand for a fee of A$27,500.

“Dundeel was a racehorse of the highest class, effective at Group 1 level from 1600 to 2400 meters, with immense natural athleticism, a high cruising speed and a devastating turn of foot,” said Messara. “These attributes, combined with his undaunted toughness and courage, make him this year’s most exciting stallion prospect. We are delighted to offer him to Australian and New Zealand breeders.” added Messara.

Dundeel raced from ages two to four and collected six victories at the highest level in addition to the ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes while carrying Arrowfield silks, including the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes, Group 1 Randwick Guineas, Group 1 Rosehill Guineas, Group 1 Australian Derby as a 3-year-old and the G1 MRC Underwood Stakes last spring. Dundeel tallied 10 wins in 19 starts and over A$5.3 million in earnings.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

therealdeel.com.au

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FIORENTE RETIRED

Fiorente - Melbourne Cup (Group 1) 2013

FIORENTE (Ire)

Monsun (GER) - Desert Bloom (IRE)

Fiorente, who provided trainer Gai Waterhouse with storybook first victory in last year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup, has been retired from racing after suffering a tendon injury.

Bred by Ballymacoll Stud and trained by Sir Michael Stoute during the European portion of his career for Lord Weinstock’s operation, Fiorente was runner-up to Nathaniel (Ire) (Galileo) in the Group 2 King Edward VI Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011 and posted his first victory at the pattern level the following season, defeating Joshua Tree (Ire) (Montjeu) in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes. at Newmarket.

Unplaced behind Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold) in the 2012 Group 2 Prix Foy, Fiorente, purchased by Australian interests for a reported A$1.3 million, made his next start in that year’s Melbourne Cup and immediately made his presence felt, outrunning odds of 30-1 to finish runner-up to Green Moon (Ire) (Montjeu). During a build up to last year’s Cup, Fiorente annexed the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley and was a good third behind Shamus Award (Aus) (Snitzel) in that track’s Group 1 Cox Plate ahead of his 3/4-length conquest over the globe-trotting Red Cadeaux (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux) in the “Race that Stops a Nation” November 5.

“It’s a dream come true,” Waterhouse said following the win. “I’m so thrilled for everyone.”

The 6-year-old entire posted a first-up success in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield February 22 and recorded an ultimate score at the highest level with a half-length defeat of Green Moon in a battle of Melbourne Cup winners in the Group 1 Australian Cup March 8. He was being pointed for either the Group 1 Sydney Cup or Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes during upcoming The Championships at Royal Randwick when the injury bug bit.

Fiorente, who descends from the female family of Ballymacoll luminaries Islington (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) and her full brother Greek Dance (Ire), closes his career with six wins and seven minor placings from 20 starts and earnings of $6,008,400. Stud plans have not yet been finalized.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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RAGS AND RICHES

Trainer Tom Hogan with Gordon Lord Byron
Trainer Tom Hogan with Gordon Lord Byron

Trainer Tom Hogan with Gordon Lord Byron / Daily Telegraph (p)

“We live in a world of contrasts…”

Earlier this week, we penned a piece on Dubai, where nothing is beyond the reach of the rich. Next up was a column on modesty and restraint. Yesterday, we brought you the story of the acquisition of a 50% slice of an English Derby winner by a sheikh from a thoroughbred emperor the good Lord only knows how much for, but if you could get your hands on just 10% of that conversation, you wouldn’t have to work any longer. Meanwhile, try this one about two battlers who’ve seen the world on the back of a horse.

Irish sprinter Gordon Lord Byron has already seen much of the world, having competed in Ireland, England, France, Hong Kong and Dubai, and the 6-year-old recently added another stamp to his passport when jetting to Australia for a series of lucrative races. The dual Group 1 winner will make his debut Down Under in Saturday’s G1 George Ryder Stakes going 1500 meters at Rosehill Gardens ahead of either the A$3 million G1 Doncaster Mile or the A$2.5 million G1 T.J. Smith Stakes, both April 12 at Royal Randwicks The Championships. Gordon Lord Byron has taken owner Morgan Cahalan and trainer Tom Hogan, lifelong friends from Co. Tipperary, on quite the journey.

We knew each other as kids. We knew the same girls and we drank in the same pub. We didn’t marry the same woman, as Cahalan quipped. Perhaps the pairs greatest adventure began when Cahalan picked up Gordon Lord Byron for just €2,000 as a weanling at Goffs November. Reoffered as a Goffs yearling, Gordon Lord Byron failed to meet his reserve when led out at €5,000. Today, Gordon Lord Byron has earned more than $1 million. “I knew he was good, Cahalan said. We had a few quid on him at 100-1 one day and he finished second. The weather turned bad and we kept asking him to win races in heavy ground until we went to the all-weather track and there he really came good. I knew I had a Group 1 horse on my hands, but we didn’t know he was a Group 1 horse until a little bit later. Gordon Lord Byron’s first success at the highest level came in the 2012 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, and he followed up last year with a victory in the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup. Only supermare Moonlight Cloud stood between him and a Prix de la Foret title defense last year.

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ALLEZ LES BLEUS

gai waterhouse
gai waterhouse

Gai Waterhouse / Maggie Alderson (p)

AUSSIES IN FRANCE

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOAbout sixteen years ago, I received a plaintive phonecall from a young man seeking a position on a stud farm. That’s not unusual. The call was strange though, because it came from a French-speaking person seeking employment in an English-speaking world, and it was remarkable for the fact that here was a young man qualified as both an accountant and a solicitor, looking for work at the beginning of his career in the bloodstock world, and he was happy to work for nothing. My immediate thought was that he was either mad or deeply dedicated to the idea of working with horses, and the longer the conversation endured, the more convinced I was that it was the latter. Laurent Benoit arrived in the dead of the 1997 winter for a six month stint in our broodmare division, and it was evident within a couple of months that at his price, he constituted a bargain. So much so that we quickly put him on some sort of subsistence allowance. Buoyed by this, he offered to supplement his services by assisting in the dark hours before work starts in the normal world, with the riding out of the Ready To Run string, at which he proved to be just as adept. We were not alone in our disappointment at his departure at the end of the season: there were more than a few tender young hearts that lamented his leaving, and longed for the fact that one day, “the piper” may return.

A year later, I got the call reminding me that the first time we’d got him “cheap”, that he was now offering his services at a price, but if necessary, he would repeat his toil for the love of it all. We didn’t need any convincing and took him on, this time for an extended stay of more than a year, by which time he was shaping up as a potential CEO of the business. Benoit had other ideas: his head and his training said “law or accounting”, his heart said “horses”, and he followed his heart, headlong into the bloodstock agency business. This coincided with the maturity and the winding up of thirty-seven partnerships we had entered into during the heady tax-driven days of the plantations, the aeroplane and the film schemes, which meant the dispersal of the vast bulk of the broodmare stock on Summerhill. It so happened that we were part-owners at the time of an apparently talented two-year-old daughter of Golden Thatch, who’d won her debut race in good style. It wasn’t so much the fact that she’d won, it was the way she’d won that attracted the attention of a bevy of investors, and the dispersal sale paralleled with the emergence in her pedigree of a new star in the Australian stallion firmament, Danehill.

The sense of enterprise that has made Laurent Benoit one of the world’s most successful bloodstockers was already burning inside him, and he was quick to assemble a string of international players to put their hands up for Lady Broadhurst when she entered the tented arena in our stallion paddocks. On the other side of the contest, we’d aroused the interest of John Messara, whose Arrowfield Stud was the home of Danehill, and needed little more to get him into the fray. In the end, the French connection prevailed, the filly hammered down to a partnership of Lady Chrissy O’Reilly and Charl Henri de Moussac’s Haras du Mezeray at R1million, a record for a horse in training that was to endure for more than a decade. In the event, Broadhurst Agency was born, its early fame enhanced when Lady Broadhurst took out her next five in a row, two of which at Group level. Suddenly, there was international and local interest at around R3million, and for all intents and purposes, Benoit’s new career was on fire.

It’s always been a source of pride to us to see graduates of Summerhill make a success of their lives in other realms, none more so than this young man whom I’ve seen more than a few times occupying lifts with the Coolmore team, and on other occasions, sharing his counsel with the modern day “Napoleon”, Andre Fabre. Small wonder then that M. Benoit is at the centre of the “Aussies in France” initiative announced in the international press Wednesday, a racing club whose interests in Australia will be placed in the charge of that country’s favourite racing daughter, Gai Waterhouse.

The Aussies In France syndicate was originally launched by the Broadhurst Agency with the support of ARQANA Racing Club to promote Australian ownership of racehorses in France under the care of trainer Alain de Royer Dupre. The additional goal of the syndicate is to simultaneously shape future G1 Melbourne Cup prospects who could race with distinction in Australia after their careers in France.

“We are truly delighted and honored to welcome Gai Waterhouse at the heart of our syndicate,” said Benoit. “Her record is particularly eloquent and the recent performances of Fiorente (Ire) in the G1 Melbourne Cup last year and in the G1 Australian Cup just a few days ago show once again her ability to shape and bring out European horses at the highest level. ‘Aussies in France’ Racing Club is proud to have two of the best trainers in both hemispheres.”

Waterhouse has collected over 110 Group 1 victories in Australia.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen as the trainer for this exciting and innovative new venture, the ‘Aussies in France’ Racing Club,” confirmed Waterhouse. “I have had a great deal of success with horses imported from Europe, with the likes of Fiorente (Ire), Julienas (Ire), Glencadam Gold (Ire) and The Offer (Ire) winning time- honored Classics such as the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Cup. I look forward to sharing in the joys and success of racing horses with all of the shareholders involved.”

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BLUE DIAMOND EARTHQUAKE

Earthquake - Blue Diamond Stakes
Earthquake - Blue Diamond Stakes

Earthquake - Blue Diamond Stakes (Group 1) / SMH (p)

BLUE DIAMOND STAKES (Group 1)

Caulfield, Turf, 1200m

22 February 2014

A veil of doubt was cast over G1 Blue Diamond Stakes favorite Earthquake (Aus) (Exceed and Excel) when she drew a hard luck gate 15 of 16 for Melbourne’s juvenile showpiece. No favorite drawn outside gate 10 had prevailed in the A$1-million contest for the past 20 years, including Earthquake’s fellow Sheikh Mohammed homebred stablemate and subsequent four-time Group 1 winner Guelph (Aus) (Exceed and Excel) 12 months ago.

The hulking bay filly silenced the her doubters a few sweeping strides down the Caulfield stretch Saturday, storming to the lead at the 200 meter mark and winning by 1 1/2 lengths in hand under jockey Damien Browne.

It was the likely last Blue Diamond victory for the formidable team of Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Peter Snowden, following on the heels of Champion 2-year-old Sepoy (Aus) (Elusive Quality) in 2011. Snowden will at the end of April hand over the reins of the Darley stable to trainer John O’Shea, when he and son Paul launch their new public training operation.

Snowden revealed after the race that Earthquake would likely attempt to emulate Sepoy by taking in the 5 April A$4 million G1 Golden Slipper, the world’s richest juvenile race.

“I was a bit concerned when she wobbled around the turn, but then she pricked her ears and I thought ‘oh God, here she comes’,” Snowden told Racing and Sports. “There’s still six weeks to go until the Golden Slipper and she’s only had three runs. There’s still some more in her. To me, it’s all there in front of her. She might not be the equal of Sepoy yet, but she is doing things that he did.”

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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BLACK CAVIAR BROTHER EUTHANISED

Lot 131 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale
Lot 131 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale

Watch Jimmy, Redoutes’s Choice half brother to Black Caviar, on parade at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale

(Image and footage : Thoroughbred News)

“At approximately 11 a.m. this morning the Redoute’s Choice - Helsinge 2-year-old colt known as Jimmy was euthanized on humane grounds at the Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital in Werribee Victoria.” - Mark Webster Inglis CEO

The Redoute’s Choice (Aus) 2-year-old half-brother to superstars Black Caviar (Aus) and All Too Hard (Aus), purchased for an Australian yearling record of A$5 million at Inglis Easter and affectionately known as ‘Jimmy,’ was euthanized yesterday at the Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital in Werribee, Victoria. The colt had developed laminitis that is believed to have stemmed from an adverse reaction to antibiotics used to treat a spider bite in November.

Jimmy was purchased by BC3 Thoroughbreds at Easter earlier this year, however the sale company held security over the colt as a result of BC3’s failure to pay for him. BC3 Thoroughbreds crumbled just weeks ago after its CEO Bill Vlahos resigned amidst bankruptcy and multi-million dollar charges stemming from member losses from a punting club he operated.

Inglis CEO Mark Webster revealed the news this morning on his blog, stating: “As a lover of all horses, but in particular the magnificent Thoroughbred, it is with a heavy heart that I write this post. At approximately 11 a.m. this morning the Redoute’s Choice - Helsinge 2-year-old colt known as Jimmy was euthanized on humane grounds at the Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital in Werribee Victoria. Jimmy was suffering from laminitis, a painful hoof condition that impacts on the mobility of horses. It is believed the laminitis developed after suffering an adverse reaction to antibiotics, which were being used to treat his swollen leg when admitted to the Hospital in early November. Jimmy became a household name after setting a new record price as yearling at the 2013 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, reaching $5 million to the bid of BC3 Thoroughbreds. As the younger sibling to Champions Black Caviar and All Too Hard [Aus], we all had great expectations for Jimmy on the track and in the breeding barn. This is a very sad outcome for all involved. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff at the Werribee Hospital for their dedicated care, in particular to Dr Chris Whitton and his colleagues who monitored Jimmy throughout the Christmas period.”

Jimmy is out of the 12-year-old Helsinge (Aus) (Desert Sun {GB}) who, in addition to producing world champion sprinter Black Caviar, is also the dam of four-time Group 1 winner All Too Hard. Helsinge’s 3-year-old filly, Belle Couture (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), purchased by BC3 for A$2.6 million at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale, finished a narrow second on debut at Bendigo in Victoria a week ago.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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THE NEW ZULU WAR CRY

tom and sophie mangier and Fastnet Rock
tom and sophie mangier and Fastnet Rock

Tom and Sophie Magnier with Fastnet Rock - Video of Fastnet Rock/Dream Play Trial

(Image: Summerhill Stud - Footage : Lindsay Park)

The news that Tom Magnier was to be a keynote speaker at our Winter School in July caused something of a stir in local circles. As a family, the Magniers are about as low profile as they come, and as a son of the greatest visionary the world of thoroughbred breeding has ever known, and as the head of Coolmore Australia, his presence in our valley was something of a coup for the racing and breeding industries in South Africa. The longevity of any enterprise of Coolmore’s ilk constitutes a preoccupation for its founder, and all of us have to be concerned with issues of succession. Tom Magnier’s lecture in July was the best signal, if ever one was needed, that John Magnier’s legacy is in good hands, remembering that in Ireland and America, he has a natural deputy in another son, “M.V.”.

Securing the legacy however, in the context that Coolmore is justifiably classified as the premier stallion operation in the world, and the only one in history with the simultaneous distinction of housing the champion sires on three different continents (Galileo in Europe, Giant’s Causeway in the United States and Fastnet Rock in Australasia), demands the unveiling of the successors to these giants of the genetic world.

As any student of international sales will tell you, the Coolmore group have not been shy in putting their hands up at auctions across the world in their attempt at acquiring the best stock of their very best stallions, a pattern which emerged decades ago and guaranteed them their supremacy in every aspect of the stallion business. Together with John Magnier’s father-in-law, Vincent O’Brien, and the football pools’ magnate, Robert Sangster, the trio cornered the international market for sons of the world’s greatest stallion of the era, Northern Dancer, and subsequently identified his most prolific sire-producing son, the Claiborne stallion Danzig, as another enduring source of stallion material. This process netted them among several other outstanding stallions, the all-time record-breaking services of the immortal Sadler’s Wells, together with those of Danehill, the only stallion in history to secure sires’ premierships in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The former is represented by the offspring of Galileo, the world’s outstanding stallion of the current era; Europe’s most successful Classic sire of modern times, Montjeu, and the firmament’s rising star, High Chaparral, while Danehill’s gift to breeding, is best expressed in his astonishingly dominant son, Fastnet Rock, “Down-under”.

Naming horses is a taxing business, as all of us in this game know, and we like to believe that Coolmore’s latest “prospect” in Australia, Zululand, is a compliment to the pleasures unearthed in this neighbourhood by Tom and Sophie Magnier during their winter sojourn with us. A $1.5million yearling, Zululand trialled for the first time this past week, and while it’s early days yet, it looks like the Coolmore boys can sleep easy for a while.

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A SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE CHAMPIONSHIP?

royal-randwick-racecourse.jpg

Royal Randwick Racecourse

(Photo : Royal Randwick Facebook page)

“THE CHAMPIONSHIPS” AT ROYAL RANDWICK

Racing New South Wales in conjunction with the Australian Turf Club have announced a significant change to the autumn racing calendar with the creation of “The Championships” at Royal Randwick. The series, to be conducted over consecutive Saturdays April 12 and 19, 2014, is expected to attract horses from across Australia and the world.

Through the support of the New South Wales government, over A$18 million in prize money will be on offer. “The NSW government is pleased to have contributed A$10 million to the event,” said Minister for Racing George Souris. “The Championships will generate more than A$41 million to the economy of NSW, increasing further as the event gains momentum. We have chosen this path to help ensure funds accumulated from race fields fees are preserved for use in country and provincial areas.” The highlight of the first of the two programs is the G1 The Star Doncaster Mile H., which will assume the mantle of the world’s richest race at the distance with purse money of A$3 million.

Also on the April 12 program are the A$2.5-million G1 Darley T. J. Smith S., a race won twice by Black Caviar (Aus) and now the world’s richest open turf sprint race; the A$2-million G1 BMW Australian Derby; and the A$1-million G1 Sires’ Produce S., the second leg of the Australian 2-year-old Triple Crown. The following Saturday will feature the G1 Queen Elizabeth S., and will be the world’s richest turf race over 2000 meters at A$4-million.

Randwick will also host three other A$1-million races: the Schweppes Sydney Cup at 3200 meters; the Australian Oaks and the Queen of the Turf S. “We have identified 10 Championship races across various age and distance ranges which are the highlight of these two days,” explained Racing NSW Chairman John Messara. “Some of these races become the richest of their category in Australia and the world. Eight of those races are already Group 1 events and with the injection of almost A$10 million, this program will lure the finest horses from Australia and New Zealand and from other countries across the globe. Our goal is for this to become the greatest event for racing in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Noble enough, and a spectacular initiative, but in the light of the overwhelming superiority of South African performances over their counterparts from Australasia in Dubai over the years (sadly, the only place we’ve been able to compare one another), how can any tournament be dubbed a “southern hemisphere championship” without meaningful participation from here? It’s rather like the Rugby World Cup before we emerged from our isolation to win the very first one we contested.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News (includes a note from us at the end)

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THE NEW BUCCANEERS

Bart Cummings
Bart Cummings

Bart Cummings

(Photo : News.com.au)

“RACING IS ABOUT AS ORDERLY AS AN EARTHQUAKE”

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOOur story “A certainty, whatever the odds” has attracted a good bit of comment, much of it involving two masters of the Australian turf, Bart Cummings and Tommy Smith, and the trouble they found themselves in during the heady days of the late 80s, when tax schemes and racehorse investment syndicates were the rivals to the plantations, airplane and film “fantasies” dreamed up by local accountants at the time. I don’t know about Tommy Smith, but I do know of at least two books about Australia’s “Cup’s King”, Bart Cummings, one by his official biographer, Bruce Montgomerie, the other by my personal “pick” of racing’s scribes, Les Carlyon. To give you a brief idea of the man Cummings, he’s won no fewer than 12 Melbourne Cups, a record which is not only likely to stand the test of all time, but defines Cummings as the outstanding horseman of his era, if not in the history of the game. This is a legend in the proper sense of a word which has been much debated in recent times, but a man about whom very little is still known.

Cummings has never courted the media, never employed a public relations man, never taken on affectations, and he’s never taken himself too seriously away from the training tracks and stables. Yet he doesn’t do a sports babble, he doesn’t throw tantrums, there is nothing contrived, nothing theatrical. They tell us he is just the same today as he was almost sixty years ago, when he first took out a license, much the same away from the camera as he is in front of one. He has won hundreds of Group One races, yet he seldom leads in his own horses after a big race, one exception being his exquisite colt Beau Zam, after he’d won the St Leger at Randwick in 1988 by ten lengths. Cummings has never been about show, and he never will be. It is as though too much show is a form of bad manners, and anyway, post-race hysteria tends to frighten the horses, and the horses are the real heroes. Cummings belongs to the era of Don Bradman, when it was thought proper for sports heroes to be humble, and when they didn’t use social networking sites and a forest of exclamation marks to tell us about their trip to the supermarket. Modern fame, you suspect, still baffles Cummings. He is a man formed in another era. And like us, he understands that there is a danger to victory. Being gracious in defeat, as in victory, is not a characteristic that defines the modern sports era. I’m sure he often asks, what happened to being a good sport?

To get back to the tax schemes, by the time Bart and Tommy found themselves in hot water, our local Minister of Finance, Barend Du Plessis, had already shut ours down, just about a year before. The premier New Zealand yearling auction takes its place in the international racing calendar in January every year at Trentham, just outside the harbour city of Auckland. The Wrightson’s Bloodstock sales in an earlier generation, were the stomping grounds of Chris Smith, Cyril Hurwitz, John and Mary Liley and Herman Brown Senior, from the loins of which sprung the likes of Sledgehammer, Sun Monarch and Frisky, the latter winding up at Summerhill as a foundation mare for our long serving management team, Greig and Michele Muir.

That day at Trentham, money didn’t seem that important to Cummings, his purchases accounting for a quarter of the day’s takings. It was all about beating the other fellow and getting the right horses. Cummings was buying for his new Cups King Syndicate, and Cummings, the peerless horseman, had become a financier, a “packager” of horseflesh. He had strayed from the place he knew so well, the racecourse, into the world of men in suits, leveraged buyouts, debt and tax-effective deals. This new place was much more dangerous than the racecourse, and the rules were different. A handshake didn’t mean much here. By the time of the New Zealand sale, it had become commonplace to call racing an “industry” rather than a sport, and people were said to “invest” in it. In one sense this was absurd. Industries are rational and ordered, or at least try to be, so it’s possible to draw up a business plan, to make a list of reasonable expectations and assumptions, even to predict a likely yield or dividend. Racing isn’t like this, never has been, and never will be. That’s why it’s interesting. Whoever saw a piece of share scrip maim itself on a fence, then stand bewildered and uncomprehending, as the vet pushes the stitches through with plyers and bloodied fingers, and says, yes, there’s a chance this particular investment might make it to the races?

Racing is about as orderly as an earthquake. You breed the best to the best with the intention of selling the offspring, and the resulting colt comes out with misshapen forelegs and straight away, you’re out a couple of hundred thousand Rand. You breed an unfashionable stallion to a non-descript mare, and out comes Politician. Racing is proof that two plus two, doesn’t always come up as four.

There was another factor at work which had nothing to do with racing. The 80s was the era of deregulated money markets, of entrepreneurs, merchant bankers, company raiders and all manner of paper shufflers. They stalked the land trailing huge lines of credit. They were audacious and hungry and all over the business pages of newspapers, the new buccaneers.

Above all, this was an era when, as an American writer put it, the financial system slipped loose from its moorings, just as the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago, served as a bit of déjà vu about the frailties of humankind. For centuries, debt was considered something to be avoided, or at least entered into modestly. These days, debt is fashionable, and those who don’t embrace the idea are considered passé. What have been called the four most dangerous words in the English language were being spoken again “It’s different this time”. The new financiers of racing, or more specifically, the buying of yearlings, racing’s raw material - were accountants, lawyers, the young and brash movers and shakers of the new financial world. They were not necessarily steeped in the language of racing and horses. Oh, yes, they thought horses chic, but for reasons that had to do with leverage and tax avoidance.

The horse “packages” they came up with were different to what had gone before. The syndication of yearlings was not new: people like Wayne Alridge and Robin Bruss of Delta Bloodstock and Peter Youell of Equine Management, had been putting together syndicates in South Africa for some time with great success. These were the classic old-fashioned deals: one horse, one cash payment, no overt considerations of tax. Half a dozen people wanted to race a horse and have a bit of fun: if they also made money, that was a blessing. Neither was there anything new in trainers buying yearlings on “spec” in the expectation of passing them onto stable clients. That’s how Ever Fair was picked up by Johnny Nicholson for a “grand” and became the hero of the Johannesburg Summer Handicap, and how the diminutive “galloping goldmine” Grand National, found herself in the hands of a brotherhood of Lebanese racecourse “battlers” and wound up in the history books. In the Australian context, that’s how Tulloch, bought by Tommy Smith, came to be owned by an eighty-year old grazier from the little country town of Bathurst, in New South Wales.

What was new here was that the packages being fashioned in 1989 were about dozens of horses and millions of dollars, and were not aimed at traditional racing folk so much as business people, who wanted to trim their tax bills. The horses were simply the vehicles, just as oil exploration companies, (and as we’ve already said, films, aeroplanes and plantations) had been in earlier tax schemes. It was all about business and numbers: any fun was incidental.

By the late 80s, Cummings knew he could no longer sneak into New Zealand and pick up a potential Melbourne Cup winner for a couple of thousand dollars, as he’d done so often. He might pick one up for a couple of hundred thousand, if he was lucky, but he would more likely need half a million. He decided if he was going to compete, he needed to tap into all this deregulated money that was looking for a home. He got up the scheme with two well-known accounting firms. “I thought you couldn’t go wrong with such conservative, powerful names behind you”. And so the Cups King Syndicate was born, offering tax advantages to investors. In 1989, Cummings bought close to 90 yearlings for some $22 million at sales in Australia and New Zealand. He didn’t have to pay for them at once; the auction houses would extend credit until Cumming’s syndicate had sold their units to investors. A few months after the sales, however, it was clear to many that Australia’s wild boom, its love affair with debt and paper shuffling, was coming to an end, choking on its own excesses. Some, and they were not in the Federal government, saw a recession coming.

Supplies of speculative money were drying up, interest rates were high, big companies were crashing. The share market was skittish. The auction houses gave Cummings a final deadline for the end of June that year. After that, the horses had to be paid for. When the deadline came, Cummings still had 64 unsold yearlings on his books. He thought the risk was being shared by him and the two accounting firms. They told him though, that he was on his own. “I’d shaken hands with them” he wrote, “and made certain agreements which I believed we all understood together, but when they brought out the fine print on the contracts, they argued that when I thought I’d been doing this in a sophisticated risk-spreading way, I was actually doing what I’d been doing all along, putting up my money, taking all the risk myself”.

Cummings now had to sell 64 yearlings and, as he put it, he was caught in no-mans-land. People like to buy yearlings, fresh, untouched by saddles and riders. They also like to buy older horses with good racetrack form, but the horses Cummings was trying to sell, now rising two-year-olds, fell between these two poles, neither one thing nor the other.

William Inglis and Sons, who host the sale that spawned the likes of Igugu and Hollywoodboulevard for us, put the yearlings up at their Sydney stables in September 1989. It was a fire sale: no reserves. Someone with a black sense of humour came up with a title for the sale, “The Night Of The Stars”. Cummings sat in the auditorium, hunched in his overcoat with his wife Valmae beside him. For him it was the night of purgatory. The horses brought $9 million. At the end of the night, Cummings still owed three auction houses around $11 million. He took the accounting firms to the Federal court, and the hearing endured for six weeks. Some months later, the court ruled that no joint venture existed, and the debt was Cumming’s alone.

A five year repayment scheme was eventually worked out. Cummings conceded that it was at least better than bankruptcy. He sold his home in Vaucluse and Prince’s Farm at Castlereigh, which he’d bought only a few years earlier. The loss of the farm hurt him more than the loss of the family home, and anyone who’d savoured its beauty, would understand why. People were even beginning to think he was mortal. Bart was now 63, an age when most men are thinking about retirement, and when the one thing they’re certainly not thinking about, is starting over again. He’d won seven Melbourne Cups, made a lot of money and now with one wrong move, one that had nothing to do with horsemanship, he’d lost a great deal of it. Many in the sport at this point said, softly and without malice, that most of his future was behind him. He couldn’t come back to what he had been after a setback like this, not at his age, not with all that debt hanging about him like coils of a chain.

It’s a measure of the man that he’s since bounced back to win another five Melbourne Cups in less than two decades since this mess manifested itself, he’s overcome grave illness and recovered his beloved farm, and to this day, he’s at his yard before the sun rises and most days, leaves it when it’s almost set again.

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LEGENDS : PART THREE

Geoff Murphy
Geoff Murphy

Geoff Murphy

(Photo : Racing Victoria)

“The trick was to get the progeny

into the hands of the best men…”

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOSelf-belief is a critical ingredient in the horse business. Kipling taught us to trust ourselves “when all about us” were in doubt, and I have to say, it was comforting to have my brother Pat, share my faith in Northern Guest in our naïve days in the game. Our Kiwi pal, Patrick Hogan, was tested by similar doubts on the arrival of Sir Tristram at the Auckland docks.

Hogan believed in this horse when hardly anyone else did. When it comes to selecting stallions, there are three main criteria; blood, race form and conformation. And maybe two lesser ones: temperament, and whether the horse looks properly “masculine”.

Sir Tristram appeared to fail on just about everything except blood. But Hogan had always believed that it was blood that truly mattered: you could compromise on looks and racing ability, but blood - that was everything. If there was “mongrel” in the pedigree, it would come out. Hogan’s “specifications” said his choice of stallion couldn’t have any second-rate sire in the first five generations. Nor could there be any mares who failed to produce worthwhile foals. Sir Tristram’s pedigree bristled with stallions and crack mares. Judged by his criteria, it was a dammed-near faultless piece of paper - yet, for all that, it wasn’t really fashionable, as the $160,000 price tag suggested. Hogan had seen something no-one else had. He’d hit on just about the perfect genetic formula for Australia.

But he didn’t know this in 1977. While others mocked his horse, Hogan moved onto the next stage of his plan. He’d give Sir Tristram all his best mares for three years, and when the yearlings were ready to leave, he’d make sure they went to the right places. As he’d told me before, “the trick was to get the progeny into the hands of the best men, the Murphys, the Tommy Smiths and the Bart Cummings, even if we didn’t get any money for them”. Somehow or another, all of Sovereign Red, Gurner’s Lane and Grosvenor ended up with Geoff Murphy at Caulfield, Melbourne. From then on, Sir Tristram sold himself. He became the modern equivalent of an ATM. His stud fee soared from NZ$1250 upwards to $100,000, and then into the stratosphere.

By Easter 1987, a nomination made $205,000 at auction in Sydney. Here was proof that nothing makes money like a “hot” stallion; he proceeded to generate millions upon millions in stud fees. His sons at stud long ago passed the 100 Group One winners measure, and he’s since become the doyen among broodmare sires Down Under. Tally it up, and you’re looking at hundreds of millions, if not a billion, by now.

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ST PETERSBURG CONTINUES GROUP SUCCESS

Solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn

Solzhenitsyn

(Photo : News Australia)

ST PETERSBURG (AUS)

Nureyev (USA) - Miss Bold Appeal (USA)

Solzhenitsyn (NZ) won the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup over 1600m in Australia last week for the second year running. The son of St Petersburg (AUS) who stands at Summerhill Stud in South Africa’s picturesque KZN Midlands, is out of Tri Victory (NZ) by Victory Dance (IRE). A 12-time winner, Solzhenitsyn also won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m at Caulfield in Australia and placed twice in Group 1’s and a Group 2 down under.

Named after a Russian novelist and activist, Solzhenitsyn won by a short neck from Commands colt Transporter, with Epic finishing one and quarter lengths off the leader in third position.

In South Africa, Blushing Peter (out of Elegant Blush by Jallad) placed third in the Grade 3 Protea Stakes as well as placing fourth in the Grade 1 South African Nursery. He is trained by Sean Tarry and bred and owned by Fred Crabbia. St Petersburg’s other Bold Black Types from Australia and Macau include Chartreuse, Barlinnie, St Peters Gift, Russian Conquest and Fantasticprivilege.

St Petersburg is the sire of 167 progeny to race to date, producing 85 winners (50.0%) with earnings of over $6.6 million which include five Stakes Winners and two Stakes places.

St Petersburg is the only son of Nureyev standing in KwaZulu-Natal, out of the mare Miss Bold Appeal by Valid Appeal. A good-looking dark bay stallion with an outstanding temperament, he is a half-brother to Triple Grade 1 winner in the USA, Jersey Girl as well as 8-time winner Partition and sire Bold Expectation in Australia. He belongs to the immediate family of Two-Year-Old USA Champion sire Foolish Pleasure, Beldale Lustre, Valid Expecations and Little Expectations.

A stallion that stood privately prior to relocating to Summerhill Stud, St Petersburg has produced winners (and Stakes Winners) in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

St Petersburg won three races in Australia at age 3, 1000-1200m and placed twice. His wins include the Group 3 VRC Chivas Regal Stakes (1200m) and the SAJC Fraar Handicap (1000m). He placed fourth in the Group 1 VRC Lightening Stakes (1000m) and Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes (1200m) before a tendon injury prematurely ended a career that promised great heights.

Extract from KZN Breeders

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RIDING HIGH AT NEWMARKET

Toronado wins the Craven Stakes
Toronado wins the Craven Stakes

Watch Toronado winning the Craven Stakes (Gr3)

(Image : The Telegraph - Footage : Almaged KSA)

CRAVEN STAKES (Group 3)

Newmarket, Turf, 1600m

19 April 2013

You can either look upon this as a commercial punt, or you can read it for its historic value. We know we’re biased about High Chaparral and his progeny by reason of his presence here of his highest-rated Northern Hemisphere son, Golden Sword, but in the space of four days, we’ve witnessed two world class performances that demand a mention.

When It’s A Dundeel crushed his rivals by a growing six lengths in last Saturday’s Australian Derby (Gr.1), he wrote a new chapter in the history of their Triple Crown. His winning margin was the biggest since Prince Grant in 1965, and he became the first Triple Crown winner since Octagonal, as celebrated a racehorse as Australasia has known, and in Timeform’s opinion, his 127+ made him the top-rated Australian Derby ace in the past 20 years.

Just last week, his unbeaten son, Toronado, paralysed his opposition in England’s principal Guineas trial, the Craven Stakes, giving notice that Golden Sword’s reign as the best of his sire’s stock in those parts, is on the brink of extinction.

Racing Post’s Mike Riley was overcome to the degree of saying: “It wouldn’t be a surprise if Toronado goes on to have a race named in his honour, such was the impression he created. It was the sort of performance that oozed class, Richard Hughes motionless throughout, until gently pushing his mount out to the line inside the final furlong with no need to even consider the whip for an authoritative romp.

“He’s a machine. He quickened, and he quickened again. He’s a very good horse. He’ll come back here for the Guineas and whatever beats him will win,” said a delighted Richard Hannon, his trainer.

“The second [Havana Gold - also trained by Hannon] is no mug either. I said to Hughesie if it got messy let him run as we know he stays.” Hughes added: “I’d have been gutted if he hadn’t won like that. He quickened away, and when he got into the Dip he went away again up the hill. Not many do that.” Toronado piled the pace on, and blew his rivals out the back door, and then, when asked to quicken, the response was impressive. He confirmed he was comfortably better than very good horses. Nothing he has met so far has been able to live with him.

On the prospect of Toronado staying the Derby trip, Hannon added: “I’ve no doubt he’ll get a mile and a half, and he’s got the speed to go round Epsom, and if he does that, I might retire.” While Hughes added: “He’s bred to get the Derby trip, but now he’s stronger, he’s got a bit more pace.”

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BLACK CAVIAR RETIRED

Black Caviar - 25 Wins
Black Caviar - 25 Wins

Watch Black Caviar’s 25 wins…

(Image : The Breed - Footage : TonKa)

BLACK CAVIAR

Bel Esprit (Aus) - Helsinge (Aus)

Black Caviar will exit racing unbeaten from 25 starts after connections elected to retire the champion mare following her TJ Smith Stakes success at Randwick last Saturday.

“Our lovely, wonderful horse has never looked better,” owner Neil Werrett said. “I would like to thank the Australian public for supporting us, supporting Black Caviar and supporting Moody Racing over the past few years while Black Caviar has performed. Today we want to announce she is retiring.”

Owners and trainer Peter Moody made the announcement in front of Black Caviar’s Caulfield base.

“The owners and myself have had a long chat over the last couple of days and decided around lunchtime this afternoon 25 was a great number and she did us all proud on Saturday,” Moody said. “Collectively, we decided the mare is in great shape, we thought long and hard about racing on for another season. We thought about Ascot, we thought about Brisbane, we thought about Adelaide but at the end of the day we believe she has done everything we’ve asked her to do, couldn’t possibly have done anymore and it is the right time to call it a day on what has been a wonderful career of arguably one of the finest horses we have ever seen.”

The decision to retire the champion mare followed her three length success in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.

“She has probably never looked better in her career,” Moody said. “She has got a few aches and pains like she always does, you don’t expect her to go through an effort like that and not feel it. We always wanted to make sure she was going to be alright. We’ve got three more runs than we thought we were ever going to have, we thought she would be retired post Ascot. We were fortunate enough to bring her home here and I think the owners should be congratulated on allowing me to race her on and give the Australian public three more chances to see her.”

Black Caviar exits racing unbeaten from 25 starts with prize money earnings closing in on $7million.

When asked what was her most memorable victory was, Moody was unable to single one out. “I think it would be very hard and unfair to come up with any one performance,” Moody said. “Some people will say her last run, the issues she overcame at Ascot were phenomenal and for me personally the day she backed up after the Orr Stakes to win the Lightning and defeated Hay List. Each one of them has been memorable for their own reason.”

Black Caviar’s Group 1 Wins :

Year

Race

Distance (m)

2010

Patinack Farm Classic

1200

2011

Lightning Stakes

1000

2011

Newmarket Handicap

1200

2011

William Reid Stakes

1200

2011

TJ Smith Stakes

1200

2011

BTC Cup

1200

2011

Patinack Farm Classic

1200

2012

CF Orr Stakes

1400

2012

Lightning Stakes

1000

2012

Robert Sangster Stakes

1200

2012

The Goodwood

1200

2012

Diamond Jubilee Stakes

1207

2013

Lightning Stakes

1000

2013

William Reid Stakes

1200

2013

TJ Smith Stakes

1200

Extract from Racing and Sports

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HIGH CHAPARRAL RIDING HIGH

James McDonald celebrates aboard It's A Dundeel
James McDonald celebrates aboard It's A Dundeel

James McDonald celebrates aboard It’s A Dundeel following an emphatic victory in the Australian Derby

(Photo : Jenny Evans/The Age)

“THE AUSTRALIAN TRIPLE CROWN”

Let’s be frank, no Triple Crown is ever a piece of cake, because wherever you are, you have to take on the best of your contemporaries. It’s even tougher in a place like Australia, which today is as competitive a racing jurisdiction as any. The Aussies last witnessed a Triple Crown winner in 1996 when the mighty Octagonal managed it, and for Australian-breds theirs is probably all the more elusive because their producers have spent much of the last century and before, breeding the five and six furlong steeds for which they’re famous. That meant that if ever there was going to be a contender, it was more likely to come from the sturdy beasts across the Tasman than Australia.

The Australian Triple Crown is a big ask, rivalling both the American and English versions in its demands, and arguably outpointing both in the tightness of its schedule. As opposed to the American’s, the range of its distances (1600m to 2400m,) is broader too, comprising the Randwick Guineas (over 1600m), the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and the Australian Derby (2400m), demanding not only loads of versatility, but buckets of durability, squeezed as it is into a matter of four weeks.

This past weekend, new Triple Crown history was made by a son of High Chaparral, It’s A Dundeel, who completed the third leg with an annihilation of his rivals by a growing six lengths, suggesting his class and stamina could make him competitive in Europe later in the year for  the likes of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr.1) at Ascot, or Longchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr.1). While the stamina profile of Aussie-breds has changed somewhat in recent times, it says something for the skills of New Zealand breeders that both Octagonal and It’s A Dundeel are from the Land of the Long White Cloud, perpetuating a decades-long tradition of producing some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best stayers.

It’s A Dundeel’s sire High Chaparral, who kicked off life very much in the shadows of his illustrious paternal siblings, Galileo and Montjeu, has climbed to the pinnacle of his profession through a tally of no fewer than six individual Group One winners from his first year at stud (four in the Southern Hemisphere and two in the Northern Hemisphere), and he now has this standout in his second crop. Its A Dundeel is not isolated in his class though; among his fellow candidates in Saturday’s production were a further three in the ten horse field (Kingdoms picking up the third place cheque) while his unbeaten son Toronado is a strong Epsom Derby fancy in the UK.

His highest rated Northern Hemisphere product is the Summerhill resident, Golden Sword (Timeform 122), who might’ve been a Derby winner in any other year; it was his misfortune to be born in the same era as the World Champion, Sea The Stars, and Fame And Glory.

Summerhill Stud Logo
Summerhill Stud Logo

Enquiries :

Linda Norval +27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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AUSTRALIA COMES OF AGE

Australian Horse Racing
Australian Horse Racing

Australia Comes Of Age

(Image : Travel Australia / ABC)

“An inborn fetish for the horse game, extraordinary purses,

and some remarkable strategizing and marketing, has positioned racing as the glamour industry of the new millennium.”

Mick Goss
Mick Goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill Stud CEOEvents under the Morton Fig tree at Inglis’ Newmarket Sales complex in Sydney drew to a close on last week. You need only look at the strength of their currency to know that Australia is one of the economic success stories of the modern era. While nobody has been untouched by the global financial meltdown of the past five years, Australia is one of the few countries to have emerged stronger than before. This is no more reflected in any sector than in the racing world, where an inborn fetish for the horse game, extraordinary purses, and some remarkable strategizing and marketing, has positioned racing as the glamour industry of the new millennium.

Twice last week, the A$3million record set by Markus Jooste and Charles Laird at the same sales ring seven years ago, was not just passed, but smashed, with Black Caviar’s half-brother by Redoute’s Choice scaling the heights at A$5million (getting on for R50million) and a son of Fastnet Rock banking A$4million on the final day.

The Aussies have come to believe in themselves, and especially in their domestic products, and here we speak not only of racehorses, but in virtually every realm in which they operate. Witness the confidence with which their sportsmen confront the world, at the faith Australians have in their own judgment and the confidence they invest in their home-grown stallions, and you know that they can live on their own resources without any complex of inferiority in any sphere. Indeed, revisit the top twenty prices on the sale, and you’ll find that whilst the list is punctuated by the odd son or daughter of a foreign-based stallion, the bulk of the big achievers descend from their own “Colonial” bred stock, and in particular, Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice. It’s true that Australians owe the presence of these two stallions to the remarkable shuttle sire Danehill, who singlehandedly changed the entire face of Australasian breeding in the 1990s, but who is handsomely succeeded by these two outstanding sons, the one the rage of the 2000s, and Fastnet Rock peerless in his current dominance.

There are a couple of things that have conspired in favour of Australian racing and breeding, the first of which is their genetic predisposition for, and their love of, the game. It is palpably apparent on any Australasian racecourse, whether it takes place at what they call “in town”, or at one of the more than a hundred country racecourses. I’ve been to a “picnic” race meeting in South Australia, where some 40,000 pack into a place which looks more like a meadow in the days before and after, but which has been the focus of its community for well over a century now. The second is that the Australian government appreciates the value and the contribution racing makes to the economy, knowing that it’s not only the greatest job creator they have and a significant contributor to state coffers, but that the modern Australian thoroughbred is an enormous generator of foreign investment. To be frank, while the Aussies are pretty darn good horsemen themselves, they have nothing like the natural reservoir of talented stockmen we have.

All we need is for government to appreciate what we can do for the economy and for job creation; all we need is for the playing fields with the casinos and bookmakers to be levelled, a little help in getting our exports sorted and a bit of encouragement, and we can all dream.

That’s all we need; because Mike de Kock has already shown the world how good our horses are.

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BLACK CAVIAR EXTENDS UNBEATEN RUN TO 25

Black Caviar wins TJ Smith Stakes
Black Caviar wins TJ Smith Stakes

Watch Black Caviar winning the TJ Smith Stakes

(Image : The Daily Telegraph - Footage : Racing Victoria)

T J SMITH STAKES (Group 1)

Randwick, Turf, 1200m

13 April 2013

Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit) took Sydney by storm with a facile victory in the T J Smith Stakes at Randwick, extending her unbeaten run to 25 and setting a new Australian record with a 15th Group 1 victory.

Tracking the leader Rain Affair in the early stages and sitting just off the pace in third, Black Caviar was momentarily asked to move up on the turn by Luke Nolen in order to maintain her position as challengers threatened her clear passage. Switched wide, her superiority was never in doubt as she cruised past Rain Affair in the straight under her motionless jockey to win unextended by three lengths from the fast-finishing Epaulette (Aus) (Commands) with recent Group 1 Galaxy Stakes winner Bel Sprinter (Aus) (Bel Esprit) back in third.

An eighth successive Group 1 triumph for the Peter Moody-trained mare, which took her overall tally of top-flight wins to 15, means Black Caviar has now moved past the Australian record set by Kingston Town.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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ST PETERSBURG CONTINUES GROUP 1 SUCCESS DOWN UNDER

St Petersburg / Summerhill Stud (p)

St Petersburg / Summerhill Stud (p)

 

ST PETERSBURG (AUS)
Nureyev (USA) - Miss Bold Appeal (USA)

St Petersburg continued his Group 1 success in Australia this past weekend when his son Solzhenitsyn ran third in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes in Rosehill over 1300m for trainer Rob Heathcote.

Running on good going on turf, Solzhenitsyn was just a length short of the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner, Pierro (Aus) (Lonhro), who made it 10 in a row with this win. More Joyous (NZ) (More Than Ready) squezed home for second.

Already a Group winner, Solzhenitsyn hit the headlines last year after winning the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap and Group 3 Lord Mayors Cup. He has also placed in a Group 1 and Group 2.

St Petersburg, a son of Nureyev, stands at Summerhill Stud.

Enquiries :
Linda Norval +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email linda@summerhill.co.za

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BLACK CAVIAR SCINTILLATES IN WILLIAM REID STAKES

Black Caviar wins William Reid Stakes
Black Caviar wins William Reid Stakes

Watch Black Caviar winning the William Reid Stakes (Group 1)

(Image : Adelaidenow - Footage : At The Races UK)

WILLIAM REID STAKES (Group 1)

Moonee Valley, Turf, 1200m

22 March 2013

Melbourne’s Moonee Valley burst at the seams as fans flocked to bid farewell to the immortal Black Caviar and she cantered off the local stage with a typically effortless victory in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes.

The race itself amounted to little more than an exercise gallop for the seven-horse field but Black Caviar’s Melbourne swansong was always about the event rather than the race, as it has been for most of her epic 24 straight wins, which include 14 Group 1s.

The packed house crowd of 25,000 burst into wild applause as jockey Luke Nolen allowed Black Caviar to surge past stablemate Karuta Queen approaching the home turn. Salmon and white streamers burst across the public lawn moments after Black Caviar crossed the line four lengths clear; a tickertape finale to a night of celebration never before seen on a Melbourne racetrack.

Trainer Peter Moody, who paraded before the race like a rock star, said Black Caviar’s impact on sport, let alone racing, had been “second to none”. “She put on a wonderful show,” he said.

While the Black Caviar story is probably just two runs from reaching its end - one start in Sydney, another in Brisbane - Moody declared her at the peak of her powers.

“She’s going super - it’s scary how well she’s going,” he said. “Just the way she let down and quickened. What do you say. I’m lost for words.”

Nolen said his associaton with Black Caviar “has been a wonderful ride the whole time”. He added: “It’s amazing to be part of not just a wonderful racing story but a (wonderful) sporting story.” “Thank God she didn’t let anyone down tonight.”

Like Moody, Nolen said Black Caviar had never been in better shape. “She felt amazing to me,” he said, adding he gave Black Caviar a gentle tap with the whip turning for home “just to keep her balanced and happy and she took care of the rest”.

Moody said “you never say never” about Black Caviar racing again in Melbourne - a crack at a fourth straight Patinack Farm Classic in November would be the logical option, if any - but his strong sense last night was that she had run her last race in Melbourne.

Extract from The Telegraph

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