Best On Breeding

Mark Smith - Thursday September 10

Group 1 action with the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington where the 'favourite for everything in 2020' Russian Camelot will have the red carpet rolled out, with other highlights being the return of Farnan in a fascinating Group II  Run to the Rose Stakes at Rosehill, and with stakes action and million-dollar babies galore, just buckle up for another magnificent day of racing around Australia on Saturday.

If the first team of three-year-old’s are at Rosehill,  then the second 11 boasts no shortage of expensive yearlings in the Group II Danehill Stakes at Flemington and for those that love an underdog story, there are two Queenslanders primed to take centre stage.

In the De Bortoli Run To The Rose, the $10,000 sales reject Rothfire (Rothesay) takes aim at the $1,400,000 dual Group 1 winner King’s Legacy (Redoute’s Choice), the $800,000 adonis North Pacific (Brazen Beau), the $675,000 Talindert Stakes winner Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon), the $550,000 Golden Slipper winner Farnan (Not A Single Doubt) and two rising starts in the $260,000 Peltzer (So You Think) and the $180,000 Mamaragan (Wandjina).

In the Group II Seppelt Danehill Stakes the sunshine state will be represented by Headwater’s $70,000 flyer Wisdom Of Water who faces off against a couple of toffs down from Sydney, the $1.6 million Pago Pago Stakes winner Prague (Redoute’s Choice) and the $1.1 million Kindergarten Stakes winner Doubtland (Not A Single Doubt) while the locals will serve up the $640,000 Blue Diamond third Personify (Fastnet Rock).

All the million-dollar yearlings mentioned have already done considerably better than the first yearling to make seven figures at auction in Australia.

Can you remember who he was?

If you answered Fortunino go to the top of the class.

Bred by Sir Tristan Antico, the son of Bletchingly out of the top-class racemare Verdi was knocked down to Bart Cummings for $1.1 million at the 1998 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

Sir Tristan commented at the time: "I thought he would bring somewhere between $500,000 and $600,000. This is one of the most exciting times of my life.

"A lot of prominent racing men were impressed by him, particularly Colin Hayes. He thought he was magnificent. We also paraded him for Tom Smith and Paul Sutherland.

"Nobody could fault him, so I really should not be surprised that he bought so much money."

Three years later, one person that could fault Fortunino was his second owner, John Thom, a stablehand at the Bart cummings stable who purchased the then unraced four-year-old for $6,000 at a mixed sale.

“1 don't know why I bought him. It was an impulse. He has got shocking legs and I don't know what I'm going to do with him,” Thom said.

C'est la vie.

One thing that cannot be taken away from Fortunino is his exceptional bloodlines and his triple Listed stakes-winning brother Rigoletto went some way to alleviating the family’s shame.


r dam Verdi (Showdown) was a Group III winner and 3-time Group 1 placed daughter of the wonderful producer Hot Rhythm (Sostenuto) a half-sister to the 1975 VATC Caulfield Guineas winner Sou'Wester (Light Wind).

Hot Rhythm also produced the stakes-winners Hot Diggity and Shannara, as well as the very talented Vain filly Dancelot who would prove her worth at stud as the dam of the Oakleigh Plate winner Kenvain, Breeders’ Plate winner Take Your Partner and multiple Group III winner Imperial Baron who all went on to successful stallion careers.

Now a lot of families can fall from favour as quickly as they rise, however, this family has hit new heights due in no small part to that Western Australian phenomenon Bob Peters.

Dancelot’s great-granddaughter Antique (Metal Storm) has spawned a dynasty that requires a full-time statistician to keep up with.

Third in Bulla Borghese’s 2002 Group 1 VRC Oaks when carrying the cerise with white crossed sashes, Antique never strayed too far away from Redoute’s Choice in the first seven years of her stud career before visiting his champion son Snitzel twice.

The first eight live foals of Antique were all fillies, five by Redoute’s Choice, two by Snitzel and one by Anabaa.

Now that is a big start right there. Still, hail and hearty at the age of 21 at Two Bays Farm, Antique’s first six foals to hit the track were all winners highlighted by the stakes-winners Broadway Belle and Antique Belle, both by Redoute’s Choice.   

The prized Pierro x Redoute’s Choice cross owes a great deal to this family as Broadway Belle is the dam of the Group 1 WATC Railway Stakes hero Regal Power and the Group II WATC Western Australian Derby winner Action, both by Pierro.

Broadway Belle’s year older sister, the stakes-placed Arcadia is the dam of four stakes-winners, the Group II WATC Western Australian Derby winner Arcadia Dream (Domesday), the Group III WATC AJ Scahill Stakes winner Arcadia Prince (Pierro), the Listed WATC Belgravia Stakes winner Arcadia Rose (Kheleyf) and the star of the team, the Group 1 WATC Kingston Town Classic heroine Arcadia Queen (Pierro) who will carry the hopes of “Best On Breeding” in Saturday’s Group II Furphy Let's Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

The 5yo, Grant and Alana Williams-trained mare won five of her first starts in the west earning herself a trip to Sydney for the Everest.

With Chris Waller taking over the training duties temporarily, Arcadia Queen assured herself a top-rank billing in the $14 million feature by winning the Group II Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill at her eastern states debut.

She started the second favourite in the Everest and though she ran into some trouble in the straight she was beaten at the time and defeated only the struggling import Ten Sovereigns to the line as Yes Yes Yes cleared away to earn a spot alongside his father Rubick and Pierro at Coolmore.

Two weeks later Arcadia Queen was sent off favourite for the Golden Eagle at Rosehill where she clocked in fifth, just two lengths behind the winner Kolding.

Off the scene for 41 weeks, Arcadia Queen resumed with an even fifth in the Group II P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 which was won by Godolphin’s near $2 million Street Cry (IRE) mare Savatiano, who she opposes again on Saturday.

We will put our faith in Willie Pike to navigate a path from a tricky barrier.

Arcadia Queen and her brother-in-blood come from the second crop of the champion Pierro who is hands down one of the gamest performers I have seen.

There was no better example of that when he tasted defeat at his final start in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile. On a heavy 10, the 3yo son of Lonhro lumped 57kgs to go down by three-quarters of a length to noted swimmer Sacred Falls who had 53kgs who would win the race the following year under 56.5 on a heavy 9.

Pierro has now cemented his place as one of the best stallions in the nation.   

Pierro (Mark Smith)

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