Speed counts and Whittington has it in spades

published: 27 Jul 2015 in Freshman 2015

CLEVERLY named Whittington, a son of Tale of the Cat (USA), won the historic Breeders’ Plate-LR (1000m in 58.46) at two, a season where trainer Gai Waterhouse rated him so highly, he started in the Golden Slipper. In an industry where speed is of the essence, Whittington looks perfectly placed to make a success of his stud career, following a path set by previous Breeders’ Plate winners like Luskin Star, Baguette, Choisir and Snitzel.

  It’s little wonder he lined up in our toughest juvenile test, for after that three-length debut win, he collected two Sydney trial wins at Randwick before a second in the Canonbury Stakes-LR behind Never Can Tell (Criterion third) and a win in the 1100m Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm, beating Va Pensiero.

  Although this $145,000 Star Thoroughbreds buy at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale was unplaced in the Slipper, he showed he had lost none of his speed at three when third in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Randwick, beaten less than half-a-length by Barbed and then won the GCTC Magic Millions Sprint (1100m in 1:01.77) in January 2014, beating Emmaline and Steel Zip, breaking the track record.

  That win prompted Waterhouse to comment, “He won the Breeders’ Plate in dominant fashion and today he has shown you just what an outstanding sprinter he is.” Whittington was also fifth in the Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 behind Villa Verde and fifth in The Galaxy-Gr.1 behind Tiger Tees at three.

  Whittington was transferred to Chris Waller for the start of his four year-old season and then moved to John Thompson following his sale to Queensland interests. He showed his customary dash with a two-length win in the $100,000 BRC Lightning-LR (1050m in 59.50) at his penultimate start on May 30, beating Rocky King. 

  He retires to Grandview Stud, Peak Crossing in Queensland at a fee of $8800 with a record of four wins, a second and a third in 18 starts for earnings of $389,550. Grandview principal Michael Grieve followed Whittington’s exploits on the track and was very interested when the horse’s owners expressed interest in standing him as the inaugural stallion at his property. 

  “We have had people approach us in the past to stand stallions and we knocked them back as our plan was to one day get a stallion, but he needed to be a horse we thought suited the market and that we would want to support ourselves,” he said. “This fellow ticked all the boxes and we think he is the ideal horse for the rejuvenated Queensland market because he was a precocious juvenile, was very fast and is such a lovely type.” 

  John Thompson called Whittington “a great style of horse with plenty of presence,” when he took over the entire’s training. “He is very well put together and possesses size and strength, one of those horses who grabs your attention when you see him. I can honestly say he’s one of the nicest types I have trained.” 

  Whittington, who stands 16 hands, is by one of the most successful Storm Cat sons in Tale of the Cat (ex Yarn by Mr. Prospector), who has the winners of more than $140m and whose 98 stakes winners include $7m earner Gio Ponti (USA) (dam by Alydar), CCA Oaks-Gr.1 and Alabama Stakes-Gr.1 winner Stopchargingmaria (Montbrook), Salinger-Gr.1 and Goodwood-Gr.1 winner Glamour Puss (Centaine), dual Gr.1 winner, Kentucky Derby-Gr.1 runner-up and sire Lion Heart (USA) (Mr Leader), Tale of Ekati (Sunday Silence), NZ 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 winner Tell a Tale (Sir Tristram), Railway Stakes-Gr.1 winner Gathering (Peintre Celebre) and She’s a Tiger (Cahill Road).

  His sire sons with runners include Lion Heart (690 winners of $58m), the Gr.3 winner Purrealist (sire of Gr.1 winner Hawkspur) and the Queensland-based Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 runner-up Real Saga (Air Express), also a Breeders’ Plate winner, Real Saga who stands at Glenlogan Park on $15,400 and was an instant success upon entering stud in 2009 with runners like Candleara, Real Surreal and Real Good among his 80 winners.

  Whittington’s dam, Maha Chakri, won in Melbourne at two and took the Tasmanian Oaks-LR (2100m) the following season. She is a daughter of the very fast Beautiful Crown (Chief’s Crown (USA)-Beautiful Glass by Pass The Glass) who ran the fastest 6.5f in the US in 1996. He won a 6.5f Allowance at Santa Anita by two lengths in 1:14.3 and a Claiming Race at Del Mar by six lengths in 1:14.1 among six victories and also won a 6f Allowance at Santa Anita by five lengths in 1:08.3 and was stakes placed at 7.5f at Hollywood Park.
  He is a half-brother to Gr.1 winner Jeanne Jones (Nijinsky) and to stakes placed sire Avenue of Flags (Seattle Slew). Their dam Beautiful Glass is a Gr.3 winner by the Buckpasser son Pass the Glass whose second dam is top class performer Lady Sybil (NZ) (Count Rendered), winner of the VRC Oaks, Caulfield Guineas and dam of Nelson Bunker Hunt’s Gr.2 winner Brigand (Noholme), who stood successfully in NZ.

  Beautiful Crown left the winners of more than $28m (11SW including Gr.1 winner In Top Swing) and his daughters have already produced eight stakes winners including Salade (Snitzel), Hallowell Belle (Starcraft), Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom) and Zoutenant (Zizou). Maha Chakri’s dam Thai Lunch is by the successful Widden Stud sire and Dewhurst Stakes-Gr.1 winner Lunchtime (GB) and from city-winning sprinter Thaiuette, a daughter of the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner Baguette (Rego-Dark Jewel by Star Kingdom (IRE)) and the stakes-placed Thai-Silk by Romantic from Countess Kerry (NZ) by Pharamond (FR).

  Thaiuette is the dam of Ta Ta Tatiana (Carry The Crown (CAN)), winner of 15 races including the QTC Dane Ripper Handicap-LR and $360,000, among seven winners, while Thai-Silk’s eight winners include Listed winner Thai Jewel. She is also dam of Lilac Silk (Dalmacia), second dam of stakes winners Bardego (Barathea (IRE)) and Delago Bolt (Delago Brom). 

  This is family 14b and it arrived in NZ with the importation of Drax (GB) (Spearmint-Suncroft by Sunstar) in the 1920s and she is Whittington’s ninth dam. Suncroft’s dam Miramonde (Desmond-Admiration by Saraband) is a half-sister to top class performers Pretty Polly (fifth dam of Nearctic), Adula and Admiral Hawke (all by Gallinule). Drax’s son Spiral (Limond), a NZ St Leger winner and brother to Whittington’s eighth dam Drawl, was at stud in NZ until the early 1950s and his runners included NZ Oaks winner Sublime. 

  Whittington’s five generation pedigree shows inbreeding to Northern Dancer 4m,6mx5m (Storm Bird, Nijinsky and Danzig) and Secretariat 4fx5f (Terlingua and Six Crowns) and he should do well with daughters of Bel Esprit (by Storm Cat’s close relative Royal Academy), mares from the Danehill line, daughters of Snippets (by Lunchtime) or Canny Lad (Bletchingly-Lunchtime) and mares by Lonhro (and others from the Sir Tristram or Halo lines). n