colt that was bought as a 'Slipper horse' may find redemption in a Derby win at Flemington
There may have been more impressive winners in the lead up to the Group I $1.5 million VRC Victoria Derby, but there were none that sparked a more emotional return to scale Hvasstan. Read his story here.
Champion sire Fastnet Rock provided the first two over the line in the Group III MRC Norman Robinson Stakes last month with two up and coming three year-olds in Hvasstan and Electric Fusion fighting out the finish to the 2000 metre Derby lead up.
In a rough run race, that ended in a nail biting finish, the Peter Gelagotis trained Hvasstan (pictured Racepix Vic) forced a passage between runners to score a half head win over Electric Fusion, who was later relegated to third with third over the line Honorius elevated to second on protest.
All three place-getters are engaged to run in the Derby, which holds the promise of providing a stirring rematch as they take on the favourite It's a Dundeel.
A $260,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the draft of Supreme Thoroughbreds, Hvasstan was selected by Manny Gelagotis (pictured below with Hvasstan as a yearling) and is the first stakes-winner from Group II placed Snow Hero.
By Fastnet Rock, who sired Mosheen to win the Group I VRC Oaks last year, Hvasstan has proven a good investment winning three races and placing second twice from just six starts.
Already he has earned more than $200,000 in prizemoney for his lucky group of owners with the promise of a big pay day if he can win tomorrow.
"I was never going to leave that sale without him," Manny Gelagotis reflected.
"I really only had $150,000 for him, but I had a mad moment when he was in the ring and just kept going.
"I thought he was the best horse I'd seen at that sale and way above everything else, but I'd be lying if I said it had all been smooth sailing since then."
Given the value of the colt, the Gelagotis family decided to send him to Peter Moody for his initial campaign with a view to aiming him at races such as the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper.
"He broke in really well and looking at him we just thought he'd jump and explode, but the tracks at Moe where we train were in poor condition, so we thought to give the horse the best chance it made sense to send him to Moody, but it didn't quite work out," Gelagotis revealed.
"He had some ability, but lacked concentration and we gave serious thought to gelding him, but I wanted to hold off on that as long as possible.
"He had a couple of trials as a two year-old, but it just wasn't happening for him, so we brought him back home to Moe and Peter (Gelagotis) took over and he hasn't looked back.
"The staying ability has caught us a bit by surprise, but he's very sound and really wants to be a racehorse, so he deserves a shot at the Derby and I wouldn't swap him for the world."
Bred by Supreme Thoroughbreds, Hvasstan is the best of four winners from Snow Hero, a tough and talented racemare by True Hero (USA) from the family of Group I VATC Oakleigh Plate winner Coal Pak.
A relatively new player in Victorian bloodstock, Romsey based Supreme Thoroughbreds has become a familiar name at the Victorian sales in recent years.
Established in 2007, by Brent and Adrienne Grayling and Neil and Sue Shaw, Supreme Thoroughbreds is a boutique broodmare farm offering all the services for breeding stock as well as sales preparation, spelling, pre-training and bloodstock advice.
Supreme Thoroughbreds were the third leading vendor at the 2011 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale selling 21 yearlings for $1.9 million and were prominent again at the Victorian flagship sale this year selling 17 yearlings for $1.4 million.
"I was the manager at Eliza Park and Neil Shaw was a client that I got to know and become friends with," explained Brent Grayling.
"We discovered we had similar views on horses and started buying a few together and one of the first of those was Snow Hero. It got to the point where we had too many horses, so we decided to start our own business involving our wives as well and Supreme Thoroughbreds was born."
Hvasstan is the fifth foal for Snow Hero, who has been a bit unlucky at stud.
"Her first foal Northern Royal showed plenty of ability, but broke his pelvis and another of her winners Spirited Hero, also looked very good early and then went in the wind," said Grayling.
"Hvasstan was the pick of our draft at Premier that year, a real standout on type and a 'Mr Cool' in attitude so we weren't surprised when he sold so well."
Snow Hero has already foaled this spring producing this colt by High Chaparral (IRE).
"He'll be heading to the sales in 2014 and Snow Hero is going back to Fastnet Rock," Grayling said.
Sadly, there is no yearling from Snow Hero for the sales next year, but Supreme Thoroughbreds still expect to consign an exceptional draft for the 2013 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.
"We have a sensational draft with some real stars including a colt by New Approach from Expensively and a filly by Choisir from Smarty Jane that is closely related to a couple of very smart Choisir fillies in Psychologist and Cute Emily," Grayling added.