100 stakes winners for Kiwi super sire
Champion Kiwi stallion Savabeel notched up 100 stakes winners last month and is already chipping away at his second century.
The Chris Waller-trained Savacool providing the multiple champion sire’s 100th individual stakes winner when winning the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury.
And Savabeel didn’t take long to notch up Black Type win 101 with the promising Mo’unga racing away with the Listed Dulcify Quality (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday. On the same day Savabeel’s son The Chosen One signalled a great Melbourne spring campaign by winning first-up from a 22 weeks’ spell over 1700 metres.
Mo’unga (named after All Black Richie Mo’unga) brought up a winning hat-trick following victories over 1400m at Gold Coast in June then Newcastle last month, and he’s now being set for the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 26 before the Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 10.
Savabeel rules the roost at New Zealand’s leading thoroughbred stud, Waikato Stud on the outskirts of Matamata where he stands for $100,000.
The Cox Plate winning son of Zabeel is in his 16th season at Waikato and he’s been champion New Zealand stallion for the last 13 years.
Waikato Stud is operated by father and son partnership of Garry and Mark Chittick and they acknowledge the significant role played by Savabeel in elevating Waikato Stud to top ranking as the leading vendor at Karaka for six straight years.
Savabeel’s exemplary record of achievement extends to a consistent 70 per cent winners to runners ratio and 10.8 per cent stakes winners to runners ratio – both stats achieved in the 2018/19 season.
Despite Savabeel’s outstanding success, Mark Chittick concedes that the horse’s stud career hasn’t always been plain sailing.
“Obviously, we are all extremely proud of what he has achieved. It’s never been a secret that he was the first NZ$10 million syndicated horse to come to New Zealand,” Chittick said.
“The support we had in purchasing him and getting him syndicated was incredible and all the way through. We’ve all had a great ride with him and continue to do so.
“Being by Zabeel, we knew they were going to be at their best and 3-year-olds and onwards and there was certainly a year when he served well under 100 mares. There was also a year around that stage that we didn’t get a lot of support from the sales company.
“Through that period it was really very tricky and his service went from NZ$30,000 to NZ$20,000, but we always had confidence in Savabeel. There were definitely difficult years, tough times, and I’m very proud that he came out of that.
“Interestingly enough, he’s now up 15 2-year-old stakes winners, which is incredible. He leaves a top 2-year-old and horses that train on with stakes winners over sprint distances up to a Group 1 winner over 3200 metres and leaves fillies and colts,” said Mark Chittick.
The Odyssey continues to fly the flag for Better Than Ready
Queensland stallion Better Than Ready continued his meteoric rise when notching up his first million dollar runner.
Better Than Ready’s son The Odyssey achieved millionaire status at Doomben last Saturday when dominating first-up in the $100,000 Quality Handicap.
A $30,000 Magic Millions purchase from Better Than Ready’s first crop, The Odyssey’s win took his earnings to $1,063,825 from 20 lifetime starts for nine wins and five placings.
Standing at Lyndhurst Stud on the Darling Downs, Better Than Ready is a son of super stallion More Than Ready and was a very fast racehorse who broke the Randwick course record when winning the 1200 metres Brian Crowley Stakes (Group 2).
He went to stud in 2015 and during his first four seasons at Lyndhurst he stood for $9,900, but some spectacular results from his first crop to hit the racetracks of Australia resulted in his fee rising to $33,000.
With the spectacular results from his first racing crops, Better Than Ready served 216 mares last spring and he’s now firmly established as a commercial stallion.
The Odyssey was one of Better Than Ready’s 23 individual winners of 38 races in Australia from his first crop and his progeny have trained on in impressive fashion.
Already this season he has had 15 individual winners to take his career tally to 135 starters for 75 individual winners of 151 races.
But when you compare Better Than Ready’s record against super stallions it’s apparent he’s a serious stallion.
In the 2018-2019 season Better Than Ready’s 23 winners of 38 races compares very favourably with I Am Invincible’s 27 winners of 36 races and Snitzel’s 23 winners of 29 races.
It’s not unusual for a young stallion to start his stud career in a blaze of glory and then fade away, but for Better than Ready it’s been more of the same.
And the 2019-2020 season was no different with Better Than Ready third best sire of two-year-old winners with 17 winners from 45 runners. Snitzel headed the table with 60 runners for 28 winners and I Am Invincible was next with 61 starters for 24 winners.
But contrast the fees that these super stallions attract this spring. I Am Invincible’s standing at $209,000 and Snitzel is $165,000 while Better Than Ready commands $33,000.
Brian Lawlor reflects on blistering track gallops in light of the recent lightning work by star Queensland 3yo Rothfire
by Brian Lawlor
Rothfire’s sizzling times recorded during an Eagle Farm exhibition gallop caused social media chaos and took me back decades to a similar occurrence.
The Rothfire gallop made headlines after he clocked 32 seconds for the final 600 metres and fuelled scepticism about how a horse could run this fast when seemingly under no pressure.
Back in 1977 I was a young racing journalist working for The Evening Post in Wellington New Zealand.
That was a time when newspapers ruled the media and we had a team of four in the racing department. I got a late call advising that I would have to head to Trentham early the next morning and cover for an ill colleague when final gallops would take place in readiness for the final day of the prestigious Wellington Cup carnival.
Good Lord won the Wellington Cup that year and he won the Sydney Cup a year later, but it was a star three-year-old who was the centre of attention at track work that morning.
The filly named La Mer was the champion three-year-old of her time and was at prohibitive odds to add the New Zealand Oaks (2400 metres) to an already imposing record and there was huge interest in her final piece of work before the Group One.
La Mer galloped that Thursday morning with regular rider Des Harris in the saddle and worked with a mate over a round of the Trentham track (2400 metres) before being asked to stretch out over the last 600 metres.
As expected, La Mer ran right away from her companion and there didn’t appear anything unusual about the gallop until I checked the times.
Journalists used two stop watches to get sectional times and both my watches showed La Mer had broken 32 seconds for her last 600 metres.
Panic set in as I looked at the time and wondered how I could have stuffed up so badly.
Things settled down a little when I compared the times with Tony Hilton from The Dominion, who was the only other journalist at the track, and found we had recorded almost identical times for her gallop.
Malcolm Smith, the trainer of La Mer, was a particularly forthright character and when he asked me what time his filly had run it sparked a tirade that left us in doubts that he didn’t believe we had clocked the gallop correctly.
Given his filly was three days from her grand final, running such a time in a track gallop left him open to criticism that she had a gutbuster and true to his nature he didn’t hold back.
“You’re a f…… idiot,” was the most sympathetic part of his response which was delivered in front of some of the nation’s leading trainers and jockeys watching the champion filly’s work.
Tony Hilton and I were starting to think he might be right but rechecked our clocks and the course markers and we were in no doubt that she did indeed run that startling time.
The problem now was whether to report that time - and allow the rest of the country to share Malcolm Smith’s assessment of us - or to fudge the time in our reports.
In the end we took the coward’s way out and added a couple of seconds to the time we reported in newspapers around the country that day.
But the episode took another twist later that morning when over breakfast a wily old trainer named Walter McEwan sidled up to me and informed me La Mer had broken 32 for her final 600 metres.
You see Wally McEwan, an old school trainer who honed his skills in the depression of the 30s, had quietly clocked the gallop out of sight of prying eyes and agreed we were right about the sensational time we recorded.
He simply said: “You were right.”
La Mer came out on Saturday and won the New Zealand Oaks by a huge margin.
She later raced in Melbourne winning the Coongy Handicap over 2000 metres. She won 24 of 34 lifetime starts but sadly, like so many great race mares, she was a flop at stud after being purchased by Irish breeder Captain Tim Rogers who established Airlie Stud in County Kildare and at one time owned farms in the U.S. and New Zealand as well as Ireland.
Tim Rogers started Grangewilliam Stud near Wanganui in New Zealand and the property is best known through the deeds of Melbourne Cup winner Doriemus and being the birthplace of Vegas Showgirl, the dam of Winx. It’s also home to stallion Zed, sire of multiple Group One winning mare Verry Elegant.
While La Mer was a failure at stud, she features in the background of the pedigree of many good horses including Group One winners Nahrain and Benbatl.
Brazen Force shed his maiden tag with an authoritative Kilmore maiden win on Saturday proving he inherits his looks from dad and his stamina from mum.
Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior at Caulfield, Brazen Beau is a four year old gelded son of Brazen Beau and the Octagonal mare Apocrypha.
“We bought him from the first crop of Brazen Beau to go through the sales ring at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale in 2018,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“He was a black colt much like his dad but he had a fair amount of size and scope as a yearling that suggested he inherited a lot of his mum’s qualities.
“His dam is by Octagonal and his second dam Tributes won the VRC Oaks and was successful up to 2500 metres and the more we did with him the more he told us that he threw to the maternal side.
“He’s had a few issues and has taken time but the stable have always liked the horse and this preparation he’s put things together. The way he ran out what is considered a tough 1600 metres at Kilmore suggests that he is going to get over further ground.
“Experience has shown us that Brazen Beau’s progeny are not speedy squibs and they all seem to be getting better with time and patience and Brazen Force is a perfect example of this.
“He’s only had six starts for Saturday’s win and two minor placings and there’s a lot to suggest that he’s going to be even more effective next time in work and over a middle distance.
“Apocrypha has had eight foals to race and seven winners and her progeny have won up to 2200 metres so there’s plenty of stout blood in Brazen Force’s pedigree and it’s a family of horses that train on and win plenty of races.
“His half-brother Affirmation (Not A Single Doubt) has raced successfully in Hong Kong as Sichuan Dar and won just on a million dollars while a close relation Top Spin (Arena) was Singapore Horse of the Year in 2008 and has won 16 races up to 2000 metres for earnings in excess of $1.8 million.
“Brazen Force is a big, strong gelding who is sound and gives every indication that there’s more in store,” said Grant Morgan.
Congratulations to our owners: Simon Dorrat, Ross Guzzo, Mick Hackett, Mark Kite, Dianne Linnane Stefan Marinkovic, Barry Muller, Damien Pound, Ken Stocks, Ty Wagstaff, Livnthedream Syndicate (Manager Brett Williamson), Marilyn Searles, Robert Corolla, David and Sue Worthley, Leigh Matthews, Ken Gordon, Ricky Kim, Jane and Martin Hellyer, Keating Racing (Manager Shane Keating), Vin Harink, Mark Snowden, Barbara and John Gilbert, Mick Power, Wayne and Paddi Muller, Reg Kim and Scott Anderson.
87yo Lillian Brady is the longest serving female Lord Mayor
Ontrack owner Lilliane Brady is a truly special person and now she’s been recognised by the New South Wales Government.
Lilliane Brady is Mayor of Cobar, a mining town 700 kms north west of Sydney, and at 89 and after more than 19 years in the job she’s the longest serving female mayor in the State’s history.
But at Ontrack she’s one of our most loved owners with an interest in the good mare Arctic Shock and unraced So You Think gelding Pascal.
A straight shooter who calls a spade a ……. Shovel when she feels the need, Lillian is a great supporter and really gets a thrill when her horses perform well.
Lilliane’s been a racing fan for a long time and has had interests in horses all around Australia and this week she got a great thrill to be named the winner of the inaugural Minister for Local Government Award.
The Minsters Awards for Women in Local Government recognise achievements in leadership and innovation in both regional and metropolitan categories.
Local government minister Shelley Hancock said as the state’s longest serving female mayor, Mayor Brady was committed to increasing the participation of women in the sector.
The Minister’s award recognises someone who has delivered quality outcomes in helping women in their local community.
Shelley Hancock said Mayor Brady’s achievements in public life over four decades were “too long to list”, but she was “the epitome of passionate community service, determination, commitment and strength of character”.
Lilliane Brady built the region’s first aged care home, established a mayoral fund for cancer support and helped the community through drought during her years in office, Minister Hancock said.
At Ontrack we salute Lilliane’s many achievements and hope that her horses in the all gold can bring further successes in the months ahead.
Kisukano the latest star for evergreen stallion
Bel Esprit is one of Australian breeding’s elder statesmen but his brilliant filly Kisukano shows he remains a potent force.
Kisukano was brilliant winning at Eagle Farm last Saturday taking her record to six wins and two placings from eight starts when sizzling over 1200 metres in 1:08.69s - breaking the mark set by then-five-year-old Isaurian (1:08.76s) in December last year.
The daughter of Bel Esprit and Kiss For Gran comes from the stallion’s 14th crop and at the time home for Bel Esprit was Eliza Park’s Queensland stud at Innisplain.
Bel Esprit stood in Queensland for three seasons before Sun Stud’s lease on the Sunshine State property ended in 2018 and the decision was made to return the stallion to Victoria.
A brilliant racehorse, Bel Esprit was prepared by John Symons at Mt Macedon for a group of mates that just happened to include AFL legend Kevin Sheedy.
The syndicate was being put together by one of Kevin’s great mates from his Essendon days, Brian Donohue. It included the former Federal Minister, Michael Duffy, another Essendon supporter.
When Brian and Michael were just about to finalise the syndicate, Brian said: “I think there’s someone missing, we should ask Kevin Sheedy if he’d like to come in”.
So Kevin got a share, one seventh, of the overall cost of around $13,000. The return on that investment has been enormous for all the investors.
Bel Esprit won two Group Ones – the Blue Diamond and the Doomben 10,000 – but he was second in four Group Ones, including his three-year-old season when he was second in three consecutive Group One, the Manikato, Dubai Cup and the Caulfield Guineas.
At stud he’s been nothing short of spectacular and he’ll never get a better one than his perfect daughter Black Caviar, winner of all her 25 starts.
But Bel Esprit is more than a one trick pony.
Bel Esprit is an eight-time champion Victorian sire, having 100 individual winners annually for seven seasons, Australian champion sire by winners, the sire of more than 700 winners in 11 countries and has a 70 per cent winners to runners and more than $73 million in progeny earnings.
These days he stands for $7,700 in Victoria and last spring served 60 mares.
Go back to 2007 when equine flu hit Victoria, Bel Esprit was one of the few quality stallions in Victoria. Woken up at all hours of the morning, he set a record for most coverings in a season – 266 mares.
But one thing Bel Esprit has continued to do is leave good tough horses who are winners.
He’s sired 1048 runners around the world for 726 winners of 2550 races so he’s produced – on average – 130 winners a year world-wide for the past 10 seasons.
With the new season only a month old the record is only going to get better because he’s already had 10 Australian winners.
Shampoo the latest prohibited substance
by Brian Lawlor
Hardly a month rolls by without racing getting unwelcome headlines because of the controversial Prohibited Substance rule.
We’ve already seen Alligator Blood disqualified from the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas after a substance that would have no impact on the horse’s performance was detected in a swab, but the latest case provides an even starker example of the absurdity of the rule.
Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli was charged after his horse Lord Zoulander returned a positive swab to a product called Minoxidil.
The owners lost the race and the trainer copped a $3000 fine, but examine the case a closely and the absurdity of the rule is fully exposed.
Minoxidil is a substance used in medicated hair growth shampoos.
Now the author of this piece is probably a candidate for such a product, but I’m pretty sure Lord Zoulander didn’t need it to win at Kembla Grange in May.
In the stewards report into the case it was established that a stable hand employed by Gary Portelli utilised such a medicated shampoo.
More importantly, the stewards reported that he estimated levels of Minoxidil detected by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory were considered low and most likely to be consistent with contamination and not administration.
And therein lies the problem. Testing of blood and urine samples are getting so sophisticated that minute amounts of chemicals are being picked up.
Horses licking coffee cups or coming into contact with a drug using stable hand can result in a positive result on race day.
The Rules Of Racing have no discretionary powers so that any horse with a prohibited substance simply has to be disqualified, even if the substance doesn’t improve the performance of a horse or if it’s in minute quantities that have no effect on speed or stamina.
Harness racing has seen a number of trainers charged after horses produced swabs with arsenic detected and that’s because that chemical is used to treat timber posts and is also contained in pine shavings used as bedding.
These trainers are losing races and fined a nominal fee simply because the rules of racing provide no discretion in dealing with prohibited substances.
This is a complex issue, but natural justice is not being served by the rigidity of this rule and it’s time a solution was found.
47% Winning strike rate is an impressive figure
Ontrack’s decision to increase horse numbers with Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke looks timely.
David Vandyke is starting his fifth season in the Sunshine State and as the first month of the new season draws to a close, he’s made a flying start.
A double at Doomben last Saturday sees Vandyke second on the trainers’ premiership to Tony Gollan thanks to an incredible winning strike rate of 46% so far in 2020-21.
He’s lined up 17 starters so far for 8 wins and 4 placegetters and that gives him a winning strike rate of 47% and a place strike rate of 70%.
Ontrack’s Grant Morgan said when David Vandyke relocated from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast in 2016, he was keen to have horses with the trainer.
“We have supported David from day one and the partnership has been fantastic for both parties.
“Like all associations, it had taken time to gather momentum but we are increasing our numbers with David and this season we will have four gallopers in the stable.
“David was a premiership winning trainer at 23 when he started out at Kembla Grange and he was a Group One trainer at Rosehill before moving north in 2016.
“It’s interesting to note that he started with two barns at the Sunshine Coast but after the first season he cut back his team significantly because he wanted to be able to give each horse in his care individual attention.
“The patient and meticulous approach to training by David is evident when you see how he kept Alligator Blood racing so well during an incredible three-year-old season.
“That attention to detail and horsemanship is what Ontrack likes and we are confident of some good times ahead with the young horses David will be preparing for us,” said Grant Morgan.
Figures reveal that last season was David Vandyke’s best since arriving in Queensland as his boutique stable philosophy started to pay dividends.
He trained 33 metropolitan winners from 139 starters for the best strike rate in the state of 23.4%.
The two seasons previously produced 23 wins at 20% (2018-19) and 28 wins at 23% (2017-18) and judging by the results so far this month, the stable is poised to blow these figures out of the water.
Arctic Shock re-fuels before Moonee Valley return
Ontrack’s talented mare Arctic Shock is having a well deserved break.
The daughter of Shocking went to the paddock after a campaign which saw luck desert her.
She had eight starts for Chris and John Meagher’s Mornington stable and while not able to win she recorded seven minor placings. The only failure came on a heavy Flemington track.
Arctic Shock went to the paddock after a game third at Moonee Valley where she was three wide the trip after drawing the outside barrier.
Ontrack’s Grant Morgan said the Moonee Valley run confirmed a couple of things that will be useful when the mare races next.
“I think we have finally landed firmly on how this mare should be trained and raced.
“I am of the strong view that she is essentially a 1600m horse who appreciates being ridden a bit quiet off a good tempo.
"Whilst she has won over 2000m, I think she is better trained as a 1400m-1600m horse and kept on the fresh side.
Morgan has top jockeys Craig Williams and Ben Melham in his corner, with both riders sharing this view.
“I think training her to try and get 2000m-2400m takes the speed out of her and she becomes a bit of a 'grinder'.
“I also feel she is clearly at her best at Moonee Valley. Her top three career ratings are now all at Moonee Valley which is a 'speed' track,” said Grant Morgan.
Arctic Shock will have a few more weeks in the paddock before returning to work with some spring targets at Moonee Valley and Caulfield on the radar.
Nature Strip shapes strongly for rich sprint
The career of ever reliable stallion Nicconi is poised to reach unprecedented heights off the back of one very special horse this season.
Nicconi has always been a steady supplier of winners and from eight racing crops his record is 491 runners for 343 winners of 1034 wins.
Last season his progeny around the world surpassed the $10 million mark for the first time and that record looks under threat even though the Southern Hemisphere season is only weeks old.
And the reason for that sits squarely on one horse.
Nature Strip is Nicconi’s pin-up horse and the brilliant sprinter looks set to catapult Nicconi to the top of the Australian Sires’ Premiership in the weeks ahead as he builds to the $15 million The Everest.
Given the ridiculous ease of Nature Strip’s barrier trial on Tuesday it’s going to take a good horse to deny him in The Everest.
Last season Yes Yes Yes captured the richest sprint in the world and that victory was enough to make his sire Rubick the champion sire of Three-Year-Olds.
The Everest is run at Royal Randwick on October 17 and should Nature Strip win he will bank $6.2 million to add to the $5.14 million he’s already earned.
Given that Nicconi’s progeny won $9.1 million in Australia last season, an Everest win would promote the stallion to the head of the premiership table and with plenty of other nice horses running around he will be a major player for champion stallion bragging rights.
Nicconi has covered 669 for the last four seasons so he’s got plenty of fire power yet to hit the racetracks of Australia so Nature Strip will have plenty of support this season.
Pride of Dubai records impressive Group winner
Breeding giant Coolmore looks to have another star stallion in Pride Of Dubai.
The talented galloper is the only horse to win the Group One double of the Blue Diamond and Sires Produce Stakes and stands at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley and Irish studs and his first crop of Australian horse raced last season.
Pride Of Dubai had 12 first crop Southern Hemisphere winners for earnings of $1.1 million to make him the Champion Australian First Season Sire for 2019/2020.
The horse is travelling just as well in the Northern Hemisphere with his first Northern Hemisphere stakes-winner in the UK with a strong finishing victory in last weekend’s Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes (1400m) at Newmarket for Star of Emaraaty, a two-year-old filly from the Ad Valorem mare La Grande Elisa.
Pride Of Dubai has now sired two Northern Hemisphere winners and he has plenty more ammunition to come with over 100 two-year-olds to run for him up there.
A gorgeous looking son of champion sire Street Cry (sire of Winx), Pride OF Dubai is an athletic horse with a great walk and when first paraded to the Ontrack Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour in 2016.
Breeders were obviously impressed because the horse hasn’t lacked support with books of 177 (2016), 171 (2017), 146 (2018) and 176 (2019).
He is the fastest son of Street Cry and is closely related to two of the world’s most influential stallions in Invincible Spirit and Kodiak.
Pride of Dubai stands at Coolmore Australia this spring at a fee of $38,500, the same service fee as 2019.
He has had a strong year in the sale-ring with four yearlings selling for $500,000 or more and his overall average price up markedly from 2019 indicating the high regard in which his progeny are held.
Ontrack purchased a Pride Of Dubai filly at the March Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast and she was the highest priced lot at the sale fetching $170,000.
A half-sister to the talented Group performer Looks Like The Cat, the filly has been broken in by talented horseman Greg Bennett at Fenwick Farm, Canungra, and is currently spelling at Waverley Park before another pre-training session that will have her ready to join trainer David Vandyke’s Sunshine Coast stable.
Consistent sprinter reunites with Michael Cahill
Ultra-consistent sprinter Dream Master is ready to return to the fray.
Dream Master was pencilled in for a race last month but a wide draw and a wet track saw the good looking gelding scratched.
Instead, Dream Master trialled at the Gold Coast on Monday morning and he showed he was ready to race with a pleasing effort leading and then being nosed out on the line.
Dream Master is down to run in a Class Six Plate at Eagle Farm tomorrow and has drawn perfectly in gate 4 over 1000 metres.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan believes Dream Master finds himself in a winnable race for a change.
“He is probably the unluckiest horse we’ve ever had in terms of drawing wide barrier draws.
“The last time he drew inside was six starts ago when he scored a dominant win at Doomben back in September last year.
“His Eagle Farm is good with two starts for two placings and drawing an inside gate means he can either lead without doing any early work or settle just behind the speed.
“Michael Cahill has ridden him in three trials this time in and he retains the ride. Michael has only ridden the horse once and that was when he scored that Doomben win.
“He’s a very genuine horse who always gives 100 per cent and Michael’s got great hands and balance and he suits this horse.
“Having a third trial has been beneficial in getting the horse close to peak fitness and while these older horses often take more racing to heat form, we are pretty happy with the horse heading to Eagle Farm,” said Grant Morgan.
Master of Wine, North Pacific & Masked Crusader head talented team
When it comes to moulding young horses into stars John Hawkes has few peers and along with sons Michael and Wayne he’s poised for a fantastic start to the new season.
Hawkes Racing has stables at Rosehill and Flemington and earlier in the week they gave a sneak preview of what lies ahead when they trialled a number of horses on the Rosehill track.
In typical understated Hawkes fashion most were there for a quiet hit out designed to lift fitness levels, but all shaped up well.
If you want to imagine how the spring will play out for Hawkes Racing, look at the mouth-watering list of horses they trialled on Tuesday morning: Master of Wine, Kingsheir, Wild Planet, Angel Of Truth, Zebrowski, Masked Crusader, North Pacific, Ole Kirk and Rock.
And don’t forget that potential superstars such as Supernova, Mount Popa, Doubtland and Greyworm were back in their boxes.
Over the last 12 years John Hawkes and his boys have developed the dual state stable operation into a slick enterprise.
John, Michael and Wayne were the first three-person training partnership in Australian racing. They were the first training partnership to saddle up a runner in Sydney racing, winning with their first ever runner – Real Saga in the 2008 Listed Breeders Plate.
They also prepared the first Group One winner by a training partnership in Sydney racing when Fiumicino won the 2009 The BMW on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill Gardens.
Team Hawkes has enjoyed unbridled success, producing more than 700 winners, 15 at Group One level, a total of 95 stakes wins and stable earnings exceeding $50 million.
Ontrack has placed some nice young horses with the Hawkes Racing operation in the last few years and is impressed with the setup.
“We are a fan of multi-state operations because they make it simple to target races when trainers have a dual state operation,” said Grant Morgan.
“The first horse we placed with Hawkes Racing has had preparations in Sydney and Melbourne and won a Flemington jump out and is spelling.
“He’s got used to working right and left handed, has travelled between both centres and will be ready to slot into whatever stable they chose when he’s next in work.
“Ontrack is very keen on training partnerships because in today’s seven day a week business it’s very tough for a sole trainer and in our experience there’s no better way to operate a partnership than a family business,” said Grant Morgan.
Always On Show shapes well for spring
Ontrack’s promising filly Always On Show is gearing up for a spring return.
The attractive daughter of Showcasing showed plenty of promise during a short racing campaign during the winter and three runs showed she has plenty of talent.
In her first preparation with Kris Lees at Newcastle, Always On Show was beaten narrowly when racing as a two-year-old against older horses and then ran fourth in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial before finishing a luckless eighth in the Bill Carter Stakes beaten less than two and a half lengths.
“It’s fair to say that Always On Show showed enormous talent in what was her first racing preparation,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“She went from pre-training at Fenwick Farm in Queensland to Kris’s Newcastle stable and after trialling nicely she was able to get to the races and perform with distinction in that first preparation.
“Very few young horses can go through their first preparation and get to the races so it’s fair to say she over-achieved in that campaign.
“The beauty of having her race in Queensland over the winter carnival was that we could turn her out in the warm conditions and she has really grown and strengthened.
“She is currently in the early stages of pre-training with Greg Bennett at Fenwick Farm and then is likely to head to the Newcastle stable once again for a fresh campaign.
“Being able to compete in black type races in that first campaign suggests she could prove a very nice filly in the spring.”
The Kris Lees stable has notched up another fantastically successful season with the stable recording a total of 215.5 wins on tracks around Australia.
That puts the Lees stable fourth out of all trainers in the country and he’s likely to build on last season now that his dual state operation with stables at Newcastle and the Gold Coast is now operating at peak efficiency.
Pride of Dubai, Better Than Ready & Bel Esprit fillies impress
Ontrack’s last batch of yearlings have completed their breaking in with flying colours.
The trio of fillies came out of the March Magic Millions QTIS Sale and have just completed their initial education with master horseman Greg Bennett at Fenwick Farm, Canungra, in South East Queensland.
Ontrack’s Grant Morgan said the three fillies were broken in later than usual because of issues with the Covid 19 situation.
“We like to give our yearlings a spell after their sales preparations but these girls had a little longer than usual in the paddock as the Covid situation played out.
“The extra time wasn’t really an issue and the three all came through their education with Greg in great style and he is very happy with how they came through the process,” said Grant Morgan.
The fillies are the Pride Of Dubai-Fiery Dee who topped the Magic Millions Sale, a Better Than Ready filly from Spritely Girl and a Bel Esprit-Flamenco youngster.
The Pride Of Dubai and Better Than Ready youngsters are heading to the Sunshine Coast stable of David Vandyke and the Bel Esprit filly will be trained by Toby and Trent Edmonds at the Gold Coast.
Breaker Greg Bennett was impressed with all three fillies and here’s his summation of the trio:
Pride Of Dubai-Fiery Dee filly: “Arrived from Waverley Park in great order and proved to be a lovely filly to work with. Took to the groundwork without any issue and everything proved a good experience. Continued under saddle without any problems and quickly built up confidence as she prepares for the track.”
Better Than Ready-Spritely Girl filly: “She arrived in good order and settled in well. She's been a good learning filly undergoing the groundwork stages and moving easily to being ridden. All went well during her breaking in which was a positive and quiet experience.”
Bel Esprit-Flamenco filly: “She settled straight into her new routine and was quickly underway with the daily groundwork. She's a lovely filly and she was going around nicely before turning out for a spell. She’s a pleasure to work with and is a quick learner.”
Grant Morgan said the three fillies will have a month at Waverley Park with the Queensland sun on their backs before heading back to Fenwick Farm for another period of pre-training.
“The next pre-training preparation at Fenwick Farm will reinforce their breaking in education and add to their fitness and strength but they’re all very nice young horses and being QTIS fillies they have the potential to earn some lucrative bonuses during their two and three-year-old seasons,” he said.
Sunlight farewelled by tearful companion
In these days where nearly every phone owner carries a camera, a professional photographer has shown all his skills to capture a rare gem of a picture.
Queensland photographer Michael McInally is regularly used by Ontrack to photograph our young horses and he was working at this week’s Magic Millions Sale when top racehorse Sunlight went through the broodmare sale and made $4.2 million.
Michael was aware that the mare’s regular strapper Sarah Rutten was looking on and he told Racenet’s Ben Dorries how his special pic came about.
"Sunlight came out early before she went into the ring and Sarah was full of emotion then, she might not have been crying but you could see that a couple of hours later when the horse was going to go through the ring she was going to be very upset,” McInally said.
“She has had such an incredible bond with that horse.
“I just knew I had to be here after the horse went through the ring.
“It was only two minutes after - Sarah walked back from the ring into the stall, Sunlight was in a barn right next door to the ring.
“I literally took a picture of Tom Magnier and then ran straight over to take a picture of Sarah.
“She just burst into tears and that’s when that picture was taken,” said Michael.
A regular member of the OnTrack content team, Michael documents the progress of our yearlings from sale day, to breaking, spelling and pre-training.
He is a regular visitor to our Queensland farms including Kilto Park, Waverley Park and Fenwick Farm at Canungra.
“Michael is a terrific photographer and nothing is ever a problem for him," said OnTrack CEO Gant Morgan.
“I’m still a big believer that a picture can tell a thousand words.
"Whilst many people have congregated to video content, I still prefer good still images to really display how a horse looks and is developing," said Morgan
Calcareous shapes well for season opener
The change of a racing season is always keenly anticipated and for Ontrack there’s plenty to look forward to.
The first new horse to step on to the track may be the well named grey colt Calcareous, down to debut at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday or next Wednesday.
The colt has drawn an awkward gate for his debut so a decision on a start will be delayed until the final field can be assessed. He is also a late nomination for the Sunshine Coast meeting next Wednesday.
Purchased by Grant Morgan from last year’s Magic Millions QTIS Sale on the Gold Coast, Calcareous is one of the few greys by super stallion Not A Single Doubt.
His colour stems from Linamax, the sire of this colt’s grand-dam Only Vanda and the name Calcareous means containing lime or being chalky as in the White Cliffs of Dover.
A stylish grey horse, Linamax died in 2016 at the age of 29 after a distinguished career at stud for The Aga Khan and during his career, he was France's leading sire in 1998 and in 2004. He was the country's leading broodmare sire in 2012.
Calcareous is a full-brother to the speedy filly Rotator (stakes placed at two) and the ultra-consistent sprinter Positive Peace who has won 8 of her 18 starts.
The colt is prepared by Toby and Trent Edmonds at the Gold Coast and he heads off to the races on the back of an impressive trial win on his home track two weeks back.
“The colt has come through the system we have in place in South East Queensland,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“He spells with Trevor Bailey at Waverley Park and was broken in and pre-trained by Greg Bennett and the team at Fenwick Farm at Canungra.
“It’s great to have such talented horsemen doing the background work on our horses and this colt is a great example of what such a system can achieve.
“While this colt is going to be better with more time, he has gone to the Edmonds stable and not put a foot wrong,” said Grant Morgan.
“We have a nice crop of three-year-olds who have either raced sparingly at two or who are yet to race but they will step out during the new season and we reckon there’s plenty of talent in that group,” he said.
The majority of the Ontrack three year-old team are eligible for the $10 Magic Millions Race Series, including Calcareous.
Many of these three year-olds will begin their build up to the rich Gold Coast Raceday which will be held in January 2021.
Ontrack’s Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour seemed to move significantly closer with this week’s arrival of a number of shuttle stallions in Australia.
The Tour takes place October 11-15 and it seems a lot closer now that the big gun stallions have touched down.
On the flight were tens of millions of dollars worth of horse flesh, including Exceed And Excel, Fastnet Rock, Justify and American Pharoah.
These stallions will be on display for the Ontrack tour with Exceed And Excel joining Lonhro as the stars at Godolphin while Fastnet Rock and the US Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify are headline acts at Coolmore.
Moving these super stallions between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is always a delicate act, but COVID 19 has increased the degree of difficulty by significant margin.
Transporter IRT, which oversees the majority of equine imports into Australia, began working with Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Racing Australia and the federal government as soon as the COVID crisis emerged to help smooth the passage of stallions into Australia for the new season.
TBA chief executive Tom Reilly said that getting horses into the country was never a major hurdle, but the issue was around how to co-ordinate the travel of humans with those horses.
That’s been achieved and we look forward to getting up close to the super sires and the new prospects in October.
Trainers Tony Gollan and Kris Lees have enjoyed break out seasons with a flurry of winners in 2019/2020.
Queensland’s No 1 trainer Tony Gollan is knocking over records in style this season while in NSW Kris Lees brought up a rarely achieved mark.
Fresh from setting new figures for the most metropolitan victories when he became the first to train 100 Brisbane winners last month, Gollan also set a new record with Solar Star’s win in the Gai Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich last Saturday.
The win provided with 152.5 winners in Queensland.
Gollan is now the most successful trainer in Queensland racing history, eclipsing Ben Currie's record of 152 winners on all Queensland tracks set in 2017-18.
Another Ontrack trainer to make the highlights reel was Kris Lees who prepared winner number 2,000 when Killin won at the Kensington track.
It has been another successful season for Lees, who has topped 200 winners for the second year in a row and is front-runner for a NSW premiership title with 187 wins, ahead of Sydney maestro Chris Waller (174.5), with only 13 days remaining.
Killin was his 210th for the current season, following on from a benchmark 249 last season.
It was only a few seasons ago that his own record was 161, and he quickly erased that with 192 the following season (2017-18).
Lees took out his training licence in 1996 and won his first race in September that year on his home track at Broadmeadow with Cherokee Lass, raced by his good friend Ed Throsby.
He prepared only a couple of horses at the time as a side to his main role as foreman for his father Max, who died in August 2003.
Though unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight taking over his father’s big stable at 32 years of age, he hit the ground running, earning $2.25m prizemoney for his owners in his first full season and clinching a Group 1 breakthrough with County Tyrone only 13 months’ after his father’s death.
When it comes to developing young horses there’s few better than Hawkes Racing.
John Hawkes and sons Michael and Wayne have run a factory line turning out stakes winning colts and they appear to have another in Brazen Beau’s good looking son North Pacific.
Pundits should have twigged how good he was when Hawkes Racing elected to debut the colt in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes in February.
He ran third behind subsequent Golden Slipper winner Farnan and then the Hawkes reverted to type by putting the colt in the paddock for a lengthy spell.
The preparation was very similar to the way the Hawkes family has handled another promising colt in Doubtland, winner of his two race day starts including the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes.
North Pacific was back at the races last Saturday and overcame a heavy 8 track to score a dominant win over 1100 metres at Rosehill.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes had plenty of praise for the colt and was adamant that in spite of the classy win on a deep track North Pacific will be better on top of the ground.
Ontrack purchased and managed Brazen Beau through his sparkling career and Grant Morgan believes the horse’s progeny share Beau’s dislike of rain affected footing.
“The horses we have by Brazen Beau and the ones I’ve watched closely can get away with wet ground but they’re much more effective when the footing is firm.
“Also I don’t subscribe to the theory that they are two-year-olds,” said Grant Morgan.
“Beau made significant progress from his two to three-year-old season and his sons and daughters are doing the same.
“I’m confident that they will train on and North Pacific is a prime example of this.
“He had the one educational run back in February and appeared a much stronger colt when Hawkes Racing stepped him out last weekend.
“There’s no doubt he will be much stronger in the spring and he’s going to be very hard to beat in the Group Ones for three-year-olds next season,” said Grant Morgan.
North Pacific was purchased by Hong Kong’s Orbis Bloodstock at the 2019 Inglis Premier Sale for the sale topping $800,000. Orbis purchased Doubtland from the 2019 Inglis Classic Sale for $1.1 million.
The fourth foal of his dam, North Pacific is out of an O’Reilly mare who was unraced and had not produced a winner until North Pacific.
Interestingly the Brazen Beau cross with O’Reilly is the same breeding at last week’s impressive maiden winner Brazen Princess for Ontrack.
North Pacific continued a great run of form by Brazen Beau’s progeny and he was also represented by Dubai Station who ran third in a Group 3 for three-year-olds over 1200 metres at Deauville.
In Australia he’s had winners North Pacific, Brazen Princess, Hypersonic and Marine Belle in recent months to give him 69 individual winners from two crops.
Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke has few peers when it comes to placing horses in the Sunshine State.
As the 2019-2020 racing season comes to an end, statistics show that Vandyke is clearly the best strike rate trainer in the state.
He’s lined up 131 starters at metropolitan meetings in the last 11 months for 33 winners and 40 placings.
Last week was just another example of why Ontrack has used Vandyke’s stable since he relocated to Queensland in 2016.
He had horses running at three meetings during the week and from five starters he netted three wins, a second and a fifth.
And that’s been the same all season for David Vandyke as his win rate on metropolitan tracks is sitting at just under 25%. That’s nearly 5% better than his nearest rival on the strike rate table in another Ontrack trainer Edmonds Racing.
And David Vandyke is just as successful when it comes to placing his horses away from metropolitan racing with a provincial strike rate of 25.4% thanks to 16 wins from 63 starters.
David Vandyke is a dual Group 1 winning trainer who moved from Warwick Farm, Sydney in 2016 to train on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Ontrack was quick to use his services and had success with the Star Witness filly Kolstar. Currently we have an unraced Brazen Beau gelding with the stable and also purchased fillies by Pride Of Dubai and Better Than Ready at the March QTIS Sale on the Gold Coast to go to him.
“Ontrack is focused on horses that can win at Saturday metropolitan class and David shares that vision,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“When he first started training on the Sunshine Coast, he had two barns and a large team but soon realised that he could not give individual attention to each horse with these sort of numbers so he went back to a single barn and cut his horse numbers right back.
“That sort of attention to details is now resulting in the exceptional strike rate David has been achieving and at Ontrack we like stables where our horses get individual care.
“The smaller team also allows for accurate assessment of the potential of young horses because we like our trainers to make a call as soon as possible about the ability of our horses to succeed at city level,” said Grant Morgan.
Kingman colt wins down under
Hawkes Racing unveiled a rare commodity when Kingsheir made an impressive debut at Newcastle this week.
Backed into short odds, Kingsheir ran to a domineering win over 1300 metres and provided UK stallion Kingman with a perfect Southern Hemisphere record.
Kingman has had two runners in Australia with Neptune’s Fortune and Kingsheir both successful.
That’s a long way behind his Northern Hemisphere career which had been nothing short of phenomenal.
A son of super stallion Invincible Spirit, Kingman stands at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor in the UK where Frankel is the most expensive resident sire at 175,000 pounds.
However Kingman is not far behind after Juddmonte doubled his service fee for 2020 to 150,000 pounds.
Stud director UK Simon Mockridge said: “We are very privileged to stand two of the most exciting sires in the world in Frankel and Kingman.
“Kingman has had an outstanding start, with Group One winner Persian KIng from his first crop as well as Group 2 winners Calyx and Headman, Musidora Stakes winner Nausha and Hampton Court Stakes winner Sangarius.
"In 2019 the only sire in Europe to have had more three-year-old stakes winners than Kingman was Galileo. Kingman has had four stakes winners from his second crop, including Prestige Stakes winner Boomer, and his third crop proved incredibly popular at the yearling sales.
"Kingman averaged £317,933 for 59 sold, including colts sold for 2.3 million guineas and 1.8 million guineas at Tattersalls Book 1,” said Simon Mockridge.
The Newcastle winner Kingsheir is prepared by John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes for Hong Kong based Orbis Bloodstock which paid 110,000 euro for him at the 2018 Arqana Deauville Yearling Sale.
He’s the second winner from Rose Memory, a half-sister by Elusive City to Group II winner Hard Dream.
The colt had a typical Hawkes Racing preparation with three trials spread over 10 months and he raced straight and true to record a perfect start to his career.
Bridget Grylls back in the winners circle
Kiwi rider Bridget Grylls returned to winning form in the Ontrack all gold silks when steering Brazen Princess to an emphatic win at Pakenham.
Bridget was a regular in all gold silks when riding in South East Queensland a couple of seasons back and she is hoping the Pakenham win proves a springboard to greater opportunities in Victoria.
Brazen Princess was Grylls' second winner since relocating across the Tasman with partner Joe Waldron, who trains at Mornington.
"When my partner moved to Melbourne from New Zealand, I just followed and I didn't want to give up riding because I enjoy it too much, so I thought I may as well give it another crack in Victoria," said Bridget.
"It is quite hard just with the number of jockeys and how competitive it is, but it is good to be here and I'm enjoying the racing.
"I'm just trying to ride as much work as I can. It's just so competitive. You've just got to do the best that you can and the opportunities I am getting I'm trying my hardest on."
Brazen Princess provided further evidence that the progeny of her sire Brazen Beau improve with age when scoring a gritty maiden win at Pakenham.
Brazen Princess is from Brazen Beau’s first crop to race and the rising four-year-old was having only her third race start when she handled the synthetic track to win over 1200 metres fresh up.
Purchased by Ontrack Thoroughbreds’ Grant Morgan from the 2018 Inglis Premier Sale for $150,000, Sistine Princess has only had three starts and showed considerable benefit from a patient programme.
Brazen Beau was a talented juvenile but showed significant improvement at three to win two Group Ones (Coolmore Stakes and Newmarket Handicap) in Ontrack’s all gold silks.
“While many of Brazen Beau’s sons and daughters show form at two, history shows that they train and he’s leaving plenty of winners from his first crop,” said Grant Morgan.
“Brazen Beau showed significant progress from his two to three-year-old seasons and there’s plenty more in store for his progeny as they turn four.
“This filly is a prime example of a horse benefitting from plenty of time. She’s a big girl and she’s strengthened significantly from her first racing preparation and she demonstrated how much better she’s been with time with her winning return at Cranbourne,” said Grant Morgan.
Trained by Chris and John Meagher at Mornington, Brazen Princess is a full-sister to a colt purchased at the 2019 Inglis Melbourne Sale for $560,000 by the Hong Kong based Orbis Bloodstock.
The colt has been named Imposing Beau and is an unraced two-year-old being trained by Hawkes Racing.
Brazen Princess is a daughter of super broodmare sire O’Reilly and is closely related to some hardy gallopers including Jukebox, but her toughest relative has to be the big grey Ihtsahymn who was a Group One winner of the Kingston Town Classic in Perth before a stunning run of wins last winter which included the Darwin Cup carrying 60.5kg.
Congratulations to our owners: Ontrack Thoroughbreds No 1 (Syndicate),Meagher Racing Syndicate, Bill and Glenys Knobel, Vin Harink, Mark Zeller, Geoffrey and Lesley Moar, David and Sue Worthley, Geoff Farren-Price, M Farren-Price, J Fitzpatrick, David Fitzpatrick, S Randle, Ted Randle, Peter Ivanovski, Erin Barclay, Michael Hackett, P Hinton, Barry Menzies, Peter Miles, Joe Oltvanyi, Gerald and Antoinette Pacholec.
Charm Spirit on the rise for leading New Zealand nursery
New Zealand’s Windsor Park Stud has long been home to leading stallions and it’s shuttle sire Charm Spirit is enjoying great success in both hemispheres.
Windsor Park has been a leading New Zealand nursery for 30 years and the Schick family are always great hosts on the Ontrack New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour each November.
Their shuttle stallion Charm Spirit recently sired his 8th Black Type winner when Time Scale proved a cut above her rivals in the Listed Betway Empress Fillies’ Stakes (1200m) at Newmarket in the UK last Sunday.
Time Scale races in the familiar claret and gold colours of Qatar Bloodstock and looked a very smart prospect when winning her maiden by 6 lengths mid-June and took the step up to black-type company in her stride, scoring by nearly 4 lengths in the Empress Stakes.
As well as leaving 8 stakes winners in his young career, Charm Spirit is also Australasia’s leading NZ based First & Second crop sire in all categories.
Founded by Nelson and Sue Schick, and home to champion stallions such as Star Way and Volksraad the farm is these days managed by son Rodney and in the 2020 breeding season Windsor Park will offer seven stallions.
While young guns Charm Spirit and Shamexpress are the stars of the Windsor Park roster, this season has seen the resurgence of and old boy in Rip Van Winkle, sire of Group One winners Te Akau Shark and Jennifer Eccles.
Rip Van Winkle shuttled from Coolmore in Ireland since 2011 before making Windsor Park his permanent home 2017 and the form of horses such as Te Akau Shark, Jennifer Eccles and Sydney filly Subpoenaed mean his career is back on track after some quiet seasons.
Ontrack’s Grant Morgan said the team at Windsor Park always provide a memorable day on the New Zealand tour.
“The Schick family are great people and great horse people and they’ve got wonderful support from people such as General Manager Steve Till and Marketing Manager Michael Moran.
“Might And Power and So You Think are two of the many great horses to come off Windsor Park and guests on our New Zealand tour love the enthusiasm Rodney, Steve and Michael bring to their roles.
“Another feature at Windsor Park is always a basket of magnificent strawberries grown across the road which Rodney always provides for the Ontrack party.
“It comes as no surprise to see Charm Spirit leave nice horses as he’s a son of Invincible Spirit and there’s no hotter stallion line in world racing at the moment with another of his sons I Am Invincible dominating in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Grant Morgan.
Charm Spirit's female pedigree also links back to our own Brazen Beau, adding further appeal given the nick with I Am Invincible's own sire Invincible Spirit.
Listed victory within reach for Price/Kent sprinter
Ontrack’s speedster Tavisan is looking for his first win at Headquarters tomorrow.
The $125,000 Victorian Sprint Series Final over 1200 metres is Tavisan’s target at Flemington and it will be his third run on the track.
As a three-year-old he had his first run down the straight when a brave third in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes, beaten a length by Encryption and Thorondor.
His only other run at Flemington was during last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival when he ran sixth in the Listed Century Stakes behind Soothing over 1200 metres.
Tavisan heads to Flemington tomorrow in good form with Ben Melham again in the saddle.
He won on him two starts back when Tavisan was the only horse to lead and win at Caulfield over 1100 metres at the end of May.
Since then he ran a brave third over 1200 metres at Moonee Valley when he was pressured in the lead and faded late to be beaten by just over one length.
Trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior have followed a well worn path with Tavisan, sending him to Monomeith Stud on the South Gippsland Highway.
“He had a week at Monomith where he goes on the aquaciser each day, spends his days in the paddock and is boxed at night,” said Mick Price.
“It freshens him up and keeps him ticking over without having to put any concussion on his joints and the breaks do him the world of good.
“He’s fit, sound and healthy and the three weeks since that Moonee Valley run should prove ideal.
“The Flemington straight suits the horse and he ran well down the straight when placed in the Danehill Stakes so this race should suit perfectly.
“He did a super job at Moonee Valley and Flemington will suit him as they tend to sit up a bit early and then sprint.
“There’s not likely to be a lot of early pressure, so it looks a nice race for him and he’s fit and happy so we are confident he will run well,” said Mick Price.