Inglis Premier Day-2: Record $1.4M For The Quarterback Sibling
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Caulfield-based trainer Ciaron Maher went to $1.4 million to secure the half-brother to Gr1 Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback at yesterday's record-breaking second session of the Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne. The $1.4 million made the I Am Invincible colt (Lot 259) the most expensive yearling ever sold in Victoria, smashing the previous record price of $750,000 set in 2008. With bidding starting at $200,000, Maher outbid fellow Victorian trainer Robbie Griffiths, who ironically trains the colt's Gr1-winning half-brother The Quarterback. The colt is not only a half-brother to top sprinter The Quarterback (Street sense), but also to dual Gr2 winner and Gr1 Australian Derby runner-up Philippi (Host) from the Encosta de Lago mare Soorena. The price also made the colt the most expensive yearling sold in the world this year, and surpassed the previous highest price of $900,000 for the progeny of I Am Invincible. Maher fell in love with the colt when he first saw him almost six months ago at Gilgai Farm. "I thought then he was a lovely type and obviously he's got a stallion's pedigree, is a cracking type and I've loved the way he's developed the past six months. He's a great mover, got a great temperament, he's got what it takes,'' Maher said. At the conclusion of Day 2, the average sits at $126,730 with a clearance rate of 82% and a gross of $33,330,000. Gilgai Farm is the leading vendor for both aggregate ($2,745,000) and average ($274,500) for drafts with three or more sales, while I Am Invincible is the leading stallion by aggregate with $3,505,000. Snitzel is the leading stallion by average (three or more sold, $348,750), while Ciaron Maher Bloodstock and partners have purchased the most Lots with 11.
I Am invincible x Soorena colt (image: Inglis)
Moreira Booked To Ride Artie
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Hong Kong-based superstar jockey Joao Moreira has been booked to ride Flying Artie in the $1.25 million Gr1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday. Trainer Mick Price said connections had chosen to secure the services of Moreira instead of Flying Artie's regular jockey Damien Oliver on account of the latter's inability to ride at the anticipated light weight. "With all due respect to Ollie...we've got to do our homework early and get prepared for these things and Ollie couldn't ride under 53.5 kilograms," Price told Racing.com. "We're thinking [Flying Artie's weight should be] 52.5 kilograms roughly so we got in early and got permission from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to get Joao out here and I'm looking forward to it." Price said it was best to ignore Flying Artie's first-up run in the Lightning Stakes (7th beaten 2.3 lengths) after he endured a messy prelude to the race as well as failing to gain a clear passage in the straight. "The horse didn't have a hard run in the Lightning and we get three weeks between runs and so he's certainly nice and bright and fresh," he said. "He should run really well."
Todman Bound Menari Wins Trial
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Exciting Sydney colt Menari (Snitzel- Isurava, by General Nediym) showed that he is over the injury scare that ruled him out of last Saturday's Gr2 Skyline Stakes by cruising to an easy 5.5 length win in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill yesterday, reports AAP. The Gerald Ryan-trained colt was scratched from the juvenile feature after undergoing treatment for a cut lip which required stitches. Ryan said Menari is likely to clash with stable-mate Chauffeur by running in Saturday's Todman Stakes at Randwick in preference to the Black Opal Stakes in Canberra on Sunday. "I didn't want to run him [Menari] against Chauffeur but the Todman looks a better option for him this weekend and that trial today showed he's going OK," said Ryan. Such is Menari's towering reputation that he is on the second line of betting ($8) for the $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on 18 March. The flashy 2YO with a conspicuous white blaze has looked potentially outstanding in his only two starts to date. He was never out of second gear when posting a facile win on debut at Randwick in early January, before finishing a luckless second to Pariah in the Gr3 Canonbury Stakes, when he should have won by panels. Pariah has subsequently given that form line a tremendous boost by running a close second to Catchy in last weekend's Gr1 Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes in Melbourne. If Menari can win the Todman and then the Golden Slipper, he will join Luskin Star (1977), Marauding (1987), Tierce (1991), Pierro (2012) and Vancouver (2015) as winners of the double. Click here to watch Menari's trial win.
Jukebox Still in Slipper Picture
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Trainer Ciaron Maher is hoping that Jukebox can get the all-clear from stewards and continue his juvenile season after being a controversial scratching from last Saturday's Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield, reports Racing.com. Racing Victoria stewards ordered the withdrawal of the unbeaten colt from the $1.5 million 2YO feature after he failed to pass vet inspection on Friday. Maher has his eye on next month's $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper with the son of Snitzel whom he hopes to run in either the Gr2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday or the Gr3 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on Sunday. "I think the horse is going really well. If they [the stewards] can watch him gallop, that'll satisfy them hopefully," Maher said. Maher added: "Hopefully we can get him spot on and move on towards the Golden Slipper."
Maher Still Has Faith in Jameka
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Meanwhile, Ciaron Maher remains optimistic about star mare Jameka's Australian Cup prospects despite her luckless fourth placing in last weekend's Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, reports Racing.com. Last season's Caulfield Cup winner looked set for a prosperous autumn campaign when resuming with a slashing fourth in the Gr1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, before a poorly judged ride saw her chances go out the window when trapped three wide in the Peter Young. "She didn't get any of the favours. She had to cover ground and did a bit of work up the hill," Maher said. "She was beaten three-quarters of a length, and that [margin] was the extra work she did. So I thought she was pretty good." Maher added: "She normally hits form third-up so I think she's on track, and we're very happy with her." The Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) will be run at Flemington on 11 March.
Jameka (image: Mark Gatt)
Dates Announced For MM 2YOs in Training Sale
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Australasia's best performing breeze up style auction, the Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale, will be conducted on October 10 and 11. Officials have confirmed the details and will stick to a proven sale programme to enable vendors to maximise their returns in 2017. "We are proud of the fact that the Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale has produced the highest clearance rate of any Australasian 2YO sale each and every year for the past five years," Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said. "The sale hosts the biggest international and Australian buying bench of any comparable sale and we will be making a concerted effort in attracting an even stronger domestic market. The sale has a great story to tell and the success of graduates around Australia and the world is outstanding - we'll be encouraging everyone in Australia to participate." The 2YOs in Training Sale in 2015 saw a 60 per cent increase in returns to vendors across the board, and the 2016 auction again led the way on clearance - the best barometer to a successful sale for vendors and buyers alike. Breeze up sessions in the lead up to the auction will again be held at Seymour, Warwick Farm and the Gold Coast - these dates will be confirmed soon.
No Dubai For Turn Me Loose
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Plans for trip a to Dubai with Turn Me Loose (Iffraaj-Indomitable, by Danehill) have been abandoned but the multiple Group One winner could still earn himself a trip north for The Championships in Sydney, reports NZ racing Desk. Last season's champion New Zealand sprinter-miler failed to defend his Gr1 Futurity Stakes title at Caulfield last Saturday when finishing second-to-last in the 1400 metre feature won by former WA-trained star Black Heart Bart. "The plan was to go to the front, but he was a touch slow and he ended up trailing third," said Murray Baker, who trains the 5YO in partnership with Andrew Forsman. "He's best in front. When he's there he pushes them out of their comfort zone." Turn Me Loose's unplaced effort ruled out the possibility of heading to Meydan for the US$6 million Gr1 Dubai Turf (1800m) on 25 March, but Baker believes Turn Me Loose can bounce back to his best form. "Dubai's out, but he could still get to Randwick," he said. "He'll probably run in the Blamey Stakes [Gr2 Blamey Stakes at Flemington 11 March] in two weeks and that should suit him better. He's looking for the 1600 now."
Turn Me Loose (image: Mark Gatt)
Sibling to Gr1 Sprinter Set For Debut
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Sebfire, a half-brother to Gr1-winning sprinter Shamal Wind, is set to make his debut in the 2YO Maiden Plate (1000m) at Bendigo today. Trained by champion Victorian trainer Darren Weir, Sebfire was a $700,000 purchase by Darren Weir Racing and John Foote Bloodstock at the 2016 Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Widden Stud. By former Campion Australian 2YO Colt Sebring, Sebfire is the second foal to race from the US-bred Machiavellian mare Firemaid whose best progeny to date is top-class sprinting mare Shamal Wind (Dubawi). Blessed with a brilliant turn of foot, Shamal Wind retired in 2015 with career earnings of $832,975 and four stakes victories, highlighted by a win in the Gr1 Oakleigh Plate. Shamal Wind first foal was a brown colt by Sea The Stars that was born last year.
Eight Confirmed For Country Championships Final
Tuesday, 28th February 2017There are now eight horses confirmed for the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on 1st April following the qualifying heats run at Grafton, Goulburn, Dubbo and Taree, reports racingnsw.com.au. Perfect Dare and Free Standing were first to qualify after running 1-2 at Grafton, before Pumpkin Pie and Steel Frost ran the quinella at Goulburn. Joining them are Stoneyrise and La La Loopsy (Dubbo), and Cogliere and Shotgun Roulette (Taree). Cogliere and Shotgun Roulette have firmed with TAB from $26 to $15 to win the Country Championships Final after qualifying in Sunday's heat at Taree. Scone will host the next Country Championships Qualifier this Sunday (5th March) with an excellent Showcase programme scheduled.
Derby Favourite Thriving
Tuesday, 28th February 2017New Zealand Derby favourite Savile Row is delighting his connections ahead of the $1 million blue-riband classic at Ellerslie on Saturday, reports theinformant.co.nz. The $4.50 Derby favourite, who is coming off successive Gr1 seconds in the Levin Classic (1600m) on 14 January and Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) on 11 February, thrilled co-trainer Pam Gerard when galloping out strongly over 2000 metres on the course proper at Matamata on Saturday morning. "Everything's gone to plan," said Gerard, who trains Savile Row in partnership with Ballymore Stables principal Mike Moroney. "It's worked out well having the three-week gap between runs and the trip up to Ellerslie and a hit-out should top him off nicely for the weekend." Savile Row will take part in this morning's special pre-carnival training session on the Ellerslie course proper. By Makfi from the UK-bred mare Fleece (Daylami), Savile Row hails from the same female family as Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Solemia and triple Gr1-winning English Derby winner Authorized.
Aim Smart Sidelined
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Impressive debut winner Aim Smart (Smart Missile-North Sea, by Hussonet) will be sidelined until the spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Tony Pike-trained juvenile, who races in the colours of the China Horse Club, was sent out the $1.90 favourite for Saturday's Listed Slipper Stakes at Matamata but faded to finish second-last behind the highly regarded Summer Passage. Aim Smart was subsequently found to be sore behind and will not race again this season.
Dee to Ride Rising Red
Tuesday, 28th February 2017Caulfield-based jockey Michael Dee will return to his homeland to partner the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Rising Red in Saturday's $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie, reports NZ Racing Desk. A son of Westbury Stud stallion Redwood, Rising Red proved too good for his older rivals at Sandown last week and previously had finished a closing second to Saturday's impressive Gr2 Autumn Classic winner Farson. The Busuttin-Young team have enjoyed good success with staying 3YOs, having won the Victorian and Australian Derby's with Sangster and Tavago respectively.