Best On Breeding

Mark Smith - Thursday October 21

The former outstanding racemare Better Draw possibly holds a unique place in breeding history, and she had her fourth foal sixteen years after her third.

Many fans will recall Better Draw fondly. She was one tough filly. And I mean tough.

The daughter of Better Boy made six starts at two without missing a place. She won twice and was second to what proved an old nemesis, Denise's Joy, in the Bloodhorse Breeders' Plate. How Now was back in third.

At three, Better Draw raced 18-times without a break from September 1975 to April '76.

After a slow start, she won three consecutive races, starting with the Sandown Guineas (defeating Denise's Joy and Toy Show) and culminating with the Caris Diamond Stakes in Perth (defeating Denise's Joy, Galena Boy and Ngawyni).

Back in Melbourne, she won the Tranquil star Stakes before reeling off placings in the Kewney Stakes (to How Now), Alister Clark Stakes (to Leica Show) and Tulloch Stakes (to Balmerino and Lord Dudley).

Following a fifth in the Champion Stakes, Better Draw rounded out her classic season with a second to How Now in the AJC Oaks with Denise's Joy third, followed by Purple Pride, Visit, Calera, and Maybe Mahal.     

The following season at four, Better Draw was even busier. She started 20-times without a break and won just three, including her final start in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Cup, defeating Think Big.


But it was her series of near misses that told the real story. They included the Turnbull Stakes, WS Cox Plate (behind Surround and Unaware), Sandown Cup, Lightning Stakes and Australian Cup.

It did not take long for Better Draw to make her mark at stud.

Her first foal Full On Aces won the 1981 Golden Slipper and AJC and VRC Sires' Produce Stakes.

It was good news for the colt's breeders Charlie and Vince Tobin, who sent a full brother to Full On Aces to that year's Easter Yearling Sale.

Tommy Smith went to $500,000 to secure the Better Draw colt. That price doubled the previous highest price paid for a yearling. That came twelve months earlier when Neville Begg wen to $250,000 for the Showdown x Vain Queen filly.

 "He has everything to make him a top racehorse, and later on a champion sire," Smith said.

Named Top Of The Pack, he was neither a top racehorse nor a champion sire. The winner of four races and runner-up in the Ascot Vale Stakes, Top Of The Pack returned a tenth of his purchase price on the track and was little more than a useful stallion.

The third foal of Better Draw was the Vain filly Proud Draw, who did not race.

That could have been the end of the story for Proud Draw. After a long sequence of misses and failing to be covered, Proud Draw, against all odds, produced a filly, at the age of 26, by the little-known Sir Tristram stallion Veritable.

Named Honest Draw, she placed twice from ten starts in Victoria and left four winners.

But back to the Vain filly Proud Draw, who produced eight winners, the best of which was the stakes-placed Perfect Draw.

The daughter of Whiskey Road was a 4-time winner in Melbourne and placed in the Blue Diamond Prelude. She had six winners from seven foals, including the Canny Lad mare My Juliet.

The family took a big upturn through the deeds of My Juliet's recently departed daughter Mnemosyne.

Mnemosyne with her future stakes-winning son Forget

Purchased by Woodlands Stud for $400,000 at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, Darley inherited the daughter of Encosta De Lago following the purchase of Woodlands in 2008.

 John Hawkes had trained her to win five Group races at three headed by the Group 1 MRC One Thousand Guineas and Group 1 STC Queen of the Turf Stakes. At two, she won at Rosehill on debut and was runner-up in the Group 1 AJC Sires' Produce Stakes, Group II Reisling Stakes, Group III Kindergarten Stakes and was fourth in Stratum's Golden Slipper.

At stud, Mnemosyne has left the Group 1 BRC Stradbroke Handicap and Group 1 BRC Kingsford - Smith Cup winner Impending (Lonhro), Group III NJC Cameron Handicap winner Forget (Exceed and Excel) and Listed BRC Helen Coughlan Stakes winner Epidemic (Lonhro).

Mnemosyne's daughter Erato (Street Cry) is the dam of Group 1 MRC Blue Diamond Stakes winner Lyre (Lonhro). 

Erato's Group II-placed sister Memorial began her stud career in Europe but is now back in Australia. Her 2yo Exceed and Excel colt, Contemporary, finished second to Cavalla at Flemington in Victoria's first 2yo race of the season and backs up in Saturday's Kirkham Plate (1000m) at Randwick.

 Godolphin has five of the 14 acceptors, with four making their racetrack debut.

From the first crop of Mnemosyne's son Impending is Romeus, a half-brother to Group II Danehill Stakes winner Encryption out of 4-time Group 1 winner Guelph (Exceed And Excel).

Rakomelo (Lonhro) is a brother to dual Listed winner Athiri and a half-brother to Group 1 winner Savatiano (Street Cry).

The filly Ojai (Exceed And Excel) is out of Matillia (Medaglia d'Oro), a stakes-placed daughter of Romneya.

Making up the Godolphin five is Troach (Epaulette), a daughter of the Group III ATC Kindergarten Stakes winner Anise (General Nediym).


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