Epaulette and Hood head Darley stakes double

Darley stallions had a lucrative Sunday at the Canberra track with a stakes double. Epaulette, a son of Commands, winning the $250,000 Kamberra Wine Company  Black Opal Stakes and Hood, by Shamardal, leading all the way to win the $100,000 National Sprint over 1400m.

A three-quarter brother to Gr 1 winner Helmet (Exceed And Excel), Epaulette showed plenty of speed to race in second place behind  Later Gator (More Than Ready) in the early stages of the 1200m contest. Later Gator was clear in the straight but Epaulette came with a strong run to wear her down, Faustus (More Than Ready) running on hard in the closing stages to get within a half-head of Epaulette at the finish.

“I know there‚Äôs a good bit of fitness in him,‚Äù trainer Peter Snowden said. “I had him as good as I could today but I‚Äôm sure there‚Äôs still a bit more to go in the horse.There will need to be but all the signs are at this stage are good.‚Äù

“I had him at the head of our two-year-olds and he hasn’t disappointed me. I think he’s a Slipper horse.”

“We had a couple of game plans but he began really well so I was able to use that speed to get across,‚Äù winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy told Sky Racing World.”He wasn‚Äôt really enjoying that ground [slow] from half way, he got on the wrong leg around the bend so I was a little bit worried but he battled it out really well.

“There‚Äôs no doubt he‚Äôs going to have to improve again to be in Slipper contention but there‚Äôs every chance that he could.‚Äù

The Tait family-homebred Hood won his first stakes race with an all the way win in the $100,000 Listed Magnet Mart National Sprint (1400m). Bounced out of the gates and¬†ridden to the front by Blake Shinn, Hood (5 g Shamardal – Whisked, by Whiskey Road) made all the running, clear into the straight and scoring a comfortable win, defeating the fast finishing Onethelookout (Beautiful Crown) by one and a quarter lengths with Alma’s Fury (Refuse To Bend) a half-neck back in third.

Hood  now has 4 wins 18 starts for earnings of $149,680 and is the 34th stakes winner for his sire.

European Group double for Shamardal

Shamardal’s (Giant’s Causeway – Helsinki, by Machiavellian) three-year-old son Amaron (Shamardal – Amandalini, by Bertolini) gained his first Group 1 victory when landing the Premio Vittorio di Capua at Milan on Sunday.

The Andreas Lowe-trained colt was recording his fourth career win and second at Group level, having won the Group 3 Dr Busch Memorial earlier this year.

Bred by Genesis Green Stud, Amaron is the first foal to race out of the Bertolini mare Amandalini, a half-sister to G2 winner and G1 performer Persianlux and a granddaughter of G1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Tropicaro.

Later on the same afternoon, Shamardal’s five-year-old daughter Calipatria (Calipatria – Golden Silca, by Inchinor) completed a Group race double for her sire when sweeping to victory in the Group 3 Preis von Jungheinrich at Hanover.

Settled off the pace, Alex Pantall’s charge came with a magnificent run down the home straight to win the 11-furlong contest by a length and three quarters. Bred by Aldridge Racing Partnership and now running in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed, Calipatria is out of the talented performer Golden Silca, herself a full sister to G1 winner Silca’s Sister.

Shamardal has now sired eight individual G1 winners – three of whom have now won at the highest level this year, the others being Crackerjack King and Sagawara.


Italian star provides Aussie owners with Group 1 return

An Australian syndicator has plenty to look forward to in the spring after Crackerjack King (Shamardal – Claba Di San Jore, by Barathea) took out the Group 1 Premio Presidente della Repubblica GBI Racing (10f) on Sunday.

Victorian-based operation Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock bought a major share of the stallion in recent weeks. Crackerjack King provided his new part owners with an immediate return on their investment with his Group 1 win at Cappanelle.

Crackerjack King stepped out for the first time since his disappointing effort in the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club (11f) in France, which was the grey’s only defeat in seven starts.

The four-year-old settled well off the pace before finishing strongly over the concluding stages to defeat Afsare (Dubawi – Jumaireyah, by Fairy King) and Quiza Quiza Quiza (Golden Snake – Quiz Chow, by Pelder).

Crackerjack King will move from the Stefano Botti stable to the Newmarket operation to continue his campaign, which is geared toward the Melbourne spring carnival.

“Kieren Fallon was very strong on the second horse and took the race by the scruff of the neck, this was a real test for Crackerjack King and he really is a champion,” Stefano Botti said. “

I’m very emotional because he’s going to leave soon – I am broken-hearted.”

Crackerjack King boasts a win over last year’s decisive Arc winner Danedream (Lomitas – Danedrop, by Danehill) in last year’s Group 2 Italian Derby. Crackerjack King finished 4-1/2 lengths ahead of Danedream at the meeting on May 7 last year.


Late strike gives Shamardal a Friday double

A win to Cosmic Causeway (Shamardal – Cosmic Beam, by Geiger Counter) in the last race anywhere in Australia on Friday completed a double for Darley resident Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway – Helsinki, by Machiavellian).

Earlier in the day, the Nigel Blackiston-trained Auriegirl recorded her second straight win when the four-year-old mare won the Hoaks Racing Handicap (1424m) at Sale. Cosmic Causeway raced close to the pace before the gelding proved too strong in the Fields Of Omagh Marquee Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

Cosmic Causeway is one of two winners from as many foals to race out of Cosmic Beam (Geiger Counter – Royal Filou, by Norfolk Air). Cosmic Beam is a half-sister to the stakes winner Egyptian Ibis (Straight Strike – Royal Filou, by Norfolk Air), who is the dam of the former Hong Kong Horse of the Year and Australian Group 1 winner Desert Eagle (Hurricane Sky – Egyptian Ibis, by Straight Strike).

Egyptian Ibis also produced the 2008 Champion Older Horse of Malaysia, the eight-time winner Mighty Chic (Langfuhr – Royal Filou, by Norfolk Air).

Auriegirl fetched $27,500 at the 2009 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale while Cosmic Causeway’s breeder, the Contract Racing Syndicate, retained the gelding to race.

New Gr 1 winner for Shamardal

Darlet shuttle stallion Shamardal sired a new Gr 1 winner overnight when his daughter Lyric Of Light (2 f Shamardal – Suez) won the Shadwell Fillies Mile at Newmarket.

Held up in last in the early part of the race by Frankie Dettori, Lyric Of Light came with a real charge to go past the entire field bar front-runner Samitar (Rock Of Gibraltar) but she kept coming to get up and score a thrilling head victory. Firdaws (Mr Greeley) was four lengths further back in third place.

Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni said Lyric Of Light won the race despite not appreciating the good to firm ground at Newmarket.¬†”I don’t think she liked the ground – Frankie felt she wasn’t happy on it and it was only because she is a good filly that she won,” he said.

A trip to the Breeders’ Cup could be on the cards for Lyric Of Light, although Al Zarooni said the decision rests with Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed.¬†”I cannot say whether she’ll run again [this season]. She could go for races like the Breeders’ Cup but we will see what the Highness thinks.”

Shamardal is standing at Darley Kelvinside for $88,000 (inc GST) in 2011.

New Gr 1 winner for Shamardal

Darley-stallion Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway – Helsinki, by Machiavellian) sired his fifth Gr 1 winner at the weekend when Zazou won the Gr 1 Premio Roma (2000m) in Rome on Sunday.

Settled close to the moderate early pace by Derby winning jockey Mickael Barzalona, ran to the the front with 300m to go and then held off Godolphin’s Rio Del Plata (Rahy), who won this race in 2010, to score by a short-head.

Third in the Gr 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a juvenile, Zazou returned in 2010 to win the Gr 3 Dr Busch Memorial at Krefeld in April and the Gr 2 Oppenheim-Union-Rennen at Cologne two months later. Runner-up in the Gr 1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg in July, the bay ran third in the Gr 1 Rheinland-Pokal back in Cologne the following month.

Shamardal’s other Gr 1 winners are Faint Perfume and Captain Sonador in Australia with Zazou, Lope de Vega and Casamento in Europe. Both Captain Sonador and Lope de Vega are covering their first books of mares in Australia this season.

Puissance De Lune bolts in with PB Lawrence Stakes

Irish-bred entire Puissance De Lune (Shamardal – Princess Serena, by Unbridled’s Song) showed it was merely a matter of time before he became another Group 1 winner for Darley stallion Shamardal with his wonderful first-up win in Saturday’s Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.


Shamardal no longer shuttles to Australia after completing the last of his five seasons in 2010 but Puissance De Lune continued to show the sire’s capabilities with his Lawrence Stakes win, which was his fourth straight stakes victory and second at Group 2 level after dead-heating in the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in March.


Vets removed bone chips from Puissance De Lune’s knees after his sole autumn run but an unseasonal good track stood in front of the six-year-old in his first run for five months. The grey’s trainer Darren Weir walked the track before confirming Puissance De Lune as a starter just hours before the $220,000 contest.


An adhesive Glen Boss has not been far from Puissance De Lune through his build-up to his first-up run, even travelling to Ballarat to ride him in a jumpout on the Saturday morning to the Lawrence Stakes, leaving nothing to chance in his chase for a fourth Melbourne Cup crown after winning three with the champion mare Makybe Diva.


Boss was content to let Puissance De Lune settle at the back of the field but a light slap on the shoulder was enough for the grey to improve quickly to be close enough to the leaders at the top of the straight. The jockey did more steering than coercing in the final 200 metres as Puissance De Lune rolled home over the top of the front runner Ajeeb (Al Maher – Destiny, by Bureaucracy) to win easily.


There were no Group 1 winners in the 2013 edition of the Lawrence Stakes but a jubilant Boss was keen to hand out the accolades to the budding star.


“Besides that mare (Makybe Diva) and So You Think, this horse is right up there with the best horses I’ve ever ridden,” Boss declared. “He’s a genuine superstar.”


“These are fit racehorses who are very capable of running quick sectionals, but he passed them with ridiculous ease. Over the last 100m he got tired and he’s had a huge blow.”


Puissance De Lune’s trainer Darren Weir was his usual circumspect self after the Lawrence Stakes with the country horseman keen to get his prized galloper back to the peace of his Warrnambool satellite stable before making any decisions on his immediate future.


“I’m just glad to get over today,” Weir said. “I just want to see how he pulls up tomorrow, but you would think the ease of it and the way he did it he should go home and have a wade at the beach tomorrow be a really well horse.”


An ownership group, led by prominent Victorian owner Gerry Ryan, who is the part-owner of the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, sourced Puissance De Lune out of France in 2011 for an undisclosed sum.


Puissance De Lune has returned more than $590,000 to his owners in his 10 Australian starts with the promise of millions more to be earned in races such as the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup if he continues to improve and become the 11th Group 1 winner for Shamardal.

Shamardal colt tops National Yearling Sale

A colt by leading international sire Shamardal (USA) topped the first session of the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast yesterday when selling to Hong Kong based bloodstock agent George Moore for $180,000.

“Actually we have bought two other colts earlier (in 2011), by Shamardal that cost $410,000 here at the Premier sale in January and another for $550,000,” Moore said. “We are just trying to buy them as we are giving his stock a big chance this year.”

Shamardal - Running Jeans colt

Shamardal - Running Jeans colt

“We have a couple of good ones in the stable, Leading City and Able Charm.¬†They have great temperaments and they are doing well for us. So we are taking a couple of extra chances and, this colt, was a lot cheaper than the other ones.”

The Shamardal colt was one of 10 yearlings to sell for $100,000 or more during the opening session of the yearling component of the National Sale.

A colt by Fastnet Rock offered by Newhaven Park was snapped up the Lucky Racing Syndicate for $150,000, while Sydney based agent James Bester parted with $145,000 for the Redoute’s Choice colt out of Paraca colt for a South African client.

The top priced filly for the session was the Encosta de Lago half sister to Group One winner Aqua D’amore purchased by Andy Williams’ World Wide Bloodstock.¬†Williams signed for nine youngsters during the day as he chases another champion. It was at the 2007 auction that he paid $60,000 for the international sprinting champion Rocket Man.

132 lots sold on a day of patchy trade that saw the clearance rate of ¬†64 per-cent. $4.4 million was grossed at an average price of $33,771 – an increase on last year’s record breaking opening session.

“It’s what you’d call a sticky market,” Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox said. “There are a lot of buyers here at the sale from around Australia and overseas.”

“A positive of the sale has been the significant buying bench that has participated so far and we’re hoping this continues tomorrow.”

Shamardal Gr winner

Amaron (2 c Amandalini) became Shamardal’s first juvenile European Group winner of 2011 when winning Tuesday’s Zukunfts-Rennen (Gr 3) over 1200m in Germany.

Having got the Derby Italiano (G2) victor Crackerjack King, the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial (G3) winner Dunboyne Express as well as the further German Group 3 winners Elle Shadow and Zazou earlier this season, Amaron is the first juvenile Group winner of the year for Shamardal who has four Group 1 winners РRacing Post Trophy winner Casamento, the dual Classic winner in France Lope De Vega who is standing at Patinack Farm in NSW and Faint Perfume and Captain Sonador in Australia. Captain Sonador is standing his first season at Raheen Stud in Queensland in 2011.

Shamardal stays home

Darley confirmed yesterday that Shamardal (USA) will not shuttle to Australia for the 2011 season. Not all is lost for Australian breeders however as his Group 1 winning sons Captain Sonador and Lope de Vega will be at stud this season.

Veterinary advice was that the nine-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway would required six months off to fully recover from an injury sustained in Australia last year.

“Shamardal had surgery late last year and then covered a full book of mares in the UK, but veterinary advice indicates the horse needs a good break to complete his rehabilitation and the horse’s long term future is always our main concern.” said Darley Nominations Manager Alistair Pulford.

“He was our most popular horse when fees were announced, so it‚Äôs disappointing not to have him coming, however the six months off is in his best interest and we look forward to him returning to Australia in the future.‚Äù

The oldest Australian progeny of Shamardal are four year-olds. He has no two year-olds here this season following the EI outbreak in 2007 and covered 79 mares last year at a fee of $66,000.

His best runners to date in Australia include the Group 1 winner Captain Sonador, scheduled to stand at Raheen Sud in 2011, Happy Hippy, Marquardt and No Evidence Needed. His dual French Group 1 winning son Lope de Vega will stand his first Australian season at Patinack Farm’s Hunter Valley base in 2011.