A trip north reaped the barrier draw Alma’s Fury (Refuse To Bend – Dance Attendance, by What A Guest) needed to record his maiden stakes success in the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Doomben.
Alma’s Fury went down narrowly to All Legal (Al Maher – Azardi, by Desert Prince) from barrier 15 in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at his previous outing seven days earlier while barrier 16 ruined his chances when sixth in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) two starts back.
“He’s had wide barriers at his last three starts and we had to come interstate to draw a good alley,” Alma’s Fury’s trainer Paul Murray said.
“This horse is extremely tough so I didn’t think the trip or back-up would trouble him.”
Alma’s Fury’s luck changed when he drew barrier two for the $200,000 event, giving triple Melbourne Cup-winning rider Glen Boss the opportunity to give the son of Refuse To Bend (Sadler’s Wells – Market Slide, by Gulch) the perfect trail behind the leaders.
Boss produced Alma’s Fury at the perfect moment. The gelding sprinted brilliantly from the 250 metres before digging deep to hold off the well-performed mare Fillydelphia, who rocketed home to make the finish interesting but failed by a half-neck to reel in Alma’s Fury.
Murray said he would spell Alma’s Fury with a view to taking the five-year-old back to Queensland to compete in Brisbane during the rich winter carnival in 2013.
“He’s not a Group One horse but I’ll look around for some suitable races around the mile to 2000 metres range,” Murray said.
Alma’s Fury became the 21st individual stakes winner for Refuse To Bend while his dam Dance Attendance (What A Guest – Verdi, by Showdown) became the fourth daughter of Verdi (Showdown – Hot Rhythm, by Sostenuto) to produce a stakes winner. Alma’s Fury hails from the same family as Group 1 winners Kenvain (Kenmare – Dancelot, by Vain), Charming City (Chief’s Crown – Quarantieme, by Bletchingly) and Mr Murphy (Danehill – Marscay’s Dream, by Marscay).
Bel Esprit (Royal Academy – Bespoken, by Vain) gelding Clevadude (Bel Esprit – Jezeera, by Jetball) ensured he made the Magic Millions 2YO Classic field with a comfortable win in the Sportingbet Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley.
The soft win over three rivals did little to enhance or damage Clevadude’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic credentials but the $48,000 winner’s cheque left the Rick Hore-Lacy-trained youngster safely in the field for the Gold Coast event.
Clevadude jumped cleanly to find the front, ensuring jockey Craig Newitt was able to dictate proceedings throughout the two-year-old’s city debut. Clevadude simply slipped away from his battling opposition to score by 4-1/2 lengths.
“He’s pretty smart,” Hore-Lacy said. “He’s got the perfect temperament for a racehorse and he looks the real deal.
“There will be plenty of opposition (in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic) but this bloke will take some beating, particularly if he is lucky enough to draw a gate.”
Hore-Lacy paid $220,000 for Clevadude during the fifth session of the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. The Caulfield trainer
“He was always a beautiful yearling,” Hore-Lacy said. “To their credit at Eliza Park, he was in the second sale and I was looking at first sale horses and this young fellow at Eliza Park said, ‘Rick, have a look at this one. He’s in the second sale’.
“I thought, ‘my God, what a beautiful horse’, so I hung around for him and got him.”
Clevadude’s dam Jezeera (Jetball – Tolleranza, by Alzao) is a sister to the stakes winner Belle Ball (Jetball – Tolleranza, by Alzao) and a half-sister to the stakes-placed performer Tollesprit (Bel Esprit – Tolleranza, by Alzao).
Sequalo (Rustic Amber – Dash Around, by Bending Away) filly Missy Longstocking (Sequalo – Linyanti, by Thunder Gulch) boosted Queensland’s hopes of regaining the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) trophy with her convincing win in the proven lead-up to the Gold Coast event, the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben.
Sydney filly Driefontein (Fastnet Rock – Follow Gold, by Export Price) and Canberra flyer Karuta Queen (Not A Single Doubt – Card Queen, by Final Card) have taken the last two edition of Queensland’s richest race but the Liam Birchley-trained Missy Longstocking could keep the rich prize in local hands.
The filly won her maiden stakes event when she claimed the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes (1000m) at Eagle Farm but Missy Longstocking relished her first shot at 1200 metres to win the BJ McLachlan Stakes with a neat turn of foot from midfield to maintain her unbeaten record after four starts.
Birchley said he instructed jockey Damian Browne to ride Missy Longstocking off the pace in the BJ McLachlan Stakes in an attempt to determine how she would handle racing among horses in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
“We wanted to try riding her a bit more quietly to cover a few scenarios,” Birchley said.
“If the situation occurred in the (Magic) Millions where for whatever reason something happened and she ended up back in the field, we wanted to know she would be able to adapt.
“I think she showed today that she can handle being ridden anywhere in the field.
“I had her about 90 to 95 percent fit but she’ll right at her top for the Millions.”
Missy Longstocking qualified for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic when she went through the sales ring as a weanling in the 2011 National Weanling Sale.
Husson (Hussonet – Villa Elisa, by Roy) colt Lucky Hussler (Husson – Talaq Dancer, by Black Hawk) provided an upset when he outfought the odds-on favourite Sizzling (Snitzel – Admirelle, by General Nediym) to claim the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) at Doomben.
Sizzling finished three lengths ahead of Lucky Hussler when the duo resumed in the Listed Gold Edition Plate (1200m) at Eagle Farm but the luck fell the winner’s way in the Vo Rogue Plate.
Lucky Hussler enjoyed a comfortable run behind the leaders for jockey Matthew Palmer while Sizzling was in traffic when attempting to begin his bid for victory at the 500 metres. The winner sailed through a big gap between the front-runners with 250 metres to run but Sizzling was unable to force a genuine passage until inside the 150 metres.
Sizzling hit the line well but failed by a half-head to reel in Lucky Hussler, who became the sixth stakes winner for Husson and the third of the Patinack Farm stallion’s progeny to score at Group 3 level.
The pair is likely to clash again in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 12 but Lucky Hussler’s trainer Kent Fleming is confident his charge would prove his win over Sizzling was no fluke.
“The extra journey in a high-pressure race at the Gold Coast will suit him down to the ground,” he said.
“This is the best horse I’ve trained and he’s only going to get better when he gets over more ground.”
Lucky Hussler fetched $100,000 at the 2011 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale. The colt’s dam Talaq Dancer (Black Hawk – Weekend Beauty, by Helissio) is a half-sister to the brilliant gelding Weekend Hussler (Hussonet – Weekend Beauty, by Helissio).
Weekend Hussler won seven Group 1 races in his outstanding career, including the 2007 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) as well as the 2008 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice – Snippets’ Lass, by Snippets) three-year-old Quick Snitzel (Snitzel – It’s You, by Celtic Swing) continued his impressive summer form when he completed a hat-trick of victories with his success in the City Jeep Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
The three-year-old’s trainer Peter Moody has quickly raised the bar for Quick Snitzel after he broke his maiden at Wodonga, sending him to Adelaide for a win in Rating 75 company before taking on the Melbourne three-year-olds in Benchmark 78 grade.
Quick Snitzel began well from barrier two but jockey Linda Meech restrained him to a midfield position where the gelding travelled comfortably for his rider through the early and middle stages.
Quick Snitzel had little luck when shuffled back when the $100,000 race changed complexion at the 600 metres. The five-start veteran ended up second last with only his stablemate Medvedev behind him at the 400 metres.
Meech switched Quick Snitzel to the outside to make his run rounding the home turn. The promising performer lifted late, swamping the leaders to score by a short head.
“He’s a very, very honest horse and it was a super ride by Linda,” Moody’s representative Tom Brideoake said. “He got the job done well.
“We expected the horse to be a little bit further forward but there was nice speed. He pulled for a little bit but she (Meech) got him across heels and into clear running and he was really strong late.”
Quick Snitzel earned another $60,000 for his latest success, taking his prizemoney tally to more than $90,000 from his short career to date, repaying the $90,000 Slade Bloodstock paid for him at the 2011 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
Oxford Thoroughbreds will offer a brother to Quick Snitzel, who is a half-brother to Listed winner Yourein (Reset – It’s You, by Celtic Swing) at next month’s New Zealand Bloodstock 2013 Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka.
Artie Schiller mare Secret Liaison earned her second stakes success when she outslugged her opposition in the Listed Lord Stakes (1612m) at Mornington.
Secret Liaison went more than 12 months without a win after her Listed Twilight Glow Stakes victory during her three-year-old season but has raced in great heart since returning to the winner’s list at Moonee Valley on November 24.
The four-year-old carried her good form to Caulfield before finishing second at Flemington to earn a shot at another stakes victory.
Co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra booked Group 1-winning rider Ben Melham to partner Secret Liaison at Mornington. Melham subsequently gave his mount a textbook ride to claim the $120,000 event.
Melham parked Secret Liaison just off the speed in fifth spot, about four lengths from the lead, where the mare travelled sweetly until the jockey asked her to improve from the 600 metres.
Secret Liaison worked into the race from the 600 metres before digging deep over the final furlong to score by a half-neck to post her third win from her past four starts.
“Just getting her confidence back at Moonee Valley helped her and confidence is a wonderful thing,” Zahra said. “She has held her condition really well.
“She normally gets back a bit but these last couple of runs, she has raced a bit closer and just towed into the race like she did again today.”
Secret Liaison is one of a multitude of stakes winners Ellerton Zahra Racing has prepared for long-time stable supporter, Contract Racing’s David Moodie.
“David is a breeder and that is what you have got to target when planning her preparations and Mathew should take a lot of the credit for finding the right race for her,” Zahra said.
The win was Secret Liaison’s fifth from 22 starts and the $72,000 winner’s cheque took her prizemoney tally to more than $338,000.
Click here to see a replay of Secret Liaison’s Lord Stakes success.
The Epsom Derby winner New Approach got off to the perfect start when his first Australian runner sailed home an impressive winner.
The Darley-homebred Montsegur (New Approach – Chatoyant, by Flying Spur) broke sharply and then led her rivals a merry dance to win the Joe Brown Plate over 1000m at Caulfield, running a slick 57.72 seconds.
Montsegur is out of the three-times winner Chatoyant, a half-sister to G3 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Legally Bay. Montsegur has a 2011 filly by Street Sense and visited Street Cry in 2012.
New Approach made a dazzling start to his stud career with his first runners in Europe in 2012, making history when Dawn Approach, Newfangled and Tha’Ir all won juvenile stakes races at Royal Ascot.
The Champion Two and Three-year-old Colt in Europe of his year, New Approach will be represented by three yearling’s at January’s Magic Millions yearling sale; lot 429, a bay colt out of the Listed-winning Jetball mare Belle Ball to be consigned by Eliza Park (as agent), as will lot 482, a bay filly out of a winning half-sister to the Listed-winning, G1 placed The Big Chill.
The final New Approach yearling to be offered at the sale will be lot 651, a chestnut filly out of the Listed-winning Fuji Kiseki mare Just A Kiseki.
Fix (Iffraaj – Destined, by Danehill) became the ninth stakes winner for Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic – Pastorale, by Nureyev) with her dominant performance in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.
The filly finished third in the Group 1 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in mid-November but the five weeks between runs had little effect on the three-year-old.
“She hadn’t raced for six weeks and missed the Paeroa trials because the ground was too hard,” Fix’s trainer Ken Kelso said. “She had an exhibition gallop at Matamata and after that I thought we were back on track.”
Fix settled behind the pace for jockey Vinnie Colgan but raced a touch ungenerously for the rider in the middle stages of the race before settling into her work from the 800 metres.
Fix sprinted quickly from the top of the straight to score stylishly by a length to record her maiden stakes success at her fifth attempt for Kelso.
Fix was a $NZ220,000 purchase at the 2011 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale. Her dam Destined (Danehill – Prophecy, by Warning) is a sibling to three stakes winners, including her three-quarter brother, the Group 3 Coongy Handicap (2000m) winner Foreteller (Dansili – Prophecy, by Warning).
Iffraaj stands his northern hemisphere seasons at Darley’s Kildangan Stud property in Ireland.
Ekraar’s (Red Ransom – Sacahuista, by Raja Baba) best daughter Shez Sinsational (Ekraar – Original Sin, by Shinko King) tasted defeat at the Boxing Day meeting at Ellerslie but unbeaten three-year-old filly Habibi (Ekraar – Danny Holiday, by Danasinga) provided the stallion with a stakes win in the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas (1600m).
Shez Sinsational was unable to catch the leader Veyron (Thorn Park – Over The Limit, by Centro) in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) but Habibi turned in a brilliant performance that suggested she is capable of winning another Group 1 race for the sire this season.
Habibi was never closer than three-wide in the Great Northern Guineas but the deep run failed to stop her producing an electrifying sprint to crush her opposition in the final 300 metres of the $NZ100,000 event.
Co-trainer Donna Logan said she and training partner Dean Logan accepted to run the unbeaten filly in both the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic among her own sex and the Great Northern Guineas before opting to start her against the colts and geldings.
“I was sweating this morning when the phone started ringing and I didn’t know which way to go,” Donna Logan told The Informant. “We got the sex allowance against the boys and I didn’t think the track would worry her or the draw.
“We’ll see how she pulls up and she could come back next week or we might put her out and then concentrate on the (NZ) Derby or the Oaks.”
Habibi became the seventh stakes winner for Ekraar with her explosive success.