Semillion wins Inglis Banner as Icebath claims $2m The Invitation

Media Release - Saturday October 23

Leading Victorian nursery Blue Gum Farm’s recent affinity with the Inglis Banner continued when exciting colt Semillion (Shalaa) scored a strong win in the $400,000 Listed feature at Moonee Valley.

On a big day for Inglis graduates and clients, Semillion’s victory was one of several feature race wins that also included Icebath in the $2m The Invitation, Forgot You in the G2 The Vase and Mazu in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes.

$300,000 Inglis Premier purchase Semillion - image Racing Photos.

Trained by Team Hawkes, the Premier Yearling Sale graduate Semillion was sent straight to the front by jockey Jye McNeil and never looked like surrendering, racing away for a two-length win in the Banner.

He defeated the Easter Yearling Sale duo of Lady Harlem (Sebring) and Nobel (Exceed And Excel).

Semillion’s win gave Blue Gum their third victory in the race from the past eight runnings following previous successes with Fontiton (2014) and Ideas Man (2019).

“He’s a colt we always rated very highly but to be brutally honest, he’s probably one I didn’t have pegged as an early 2YO so the fact he’s come out and won the Banner on debut in October really goes to show how much natural ability he has,’’ Blue Gum’s Phil Campbell said.

Semillion is out of the Bel Esprit mare Sistonic, a two-time winner for Dorrington Farm’s Robert Crabtree, who bred with her following her six-start racing career and whose third foal is Semillion.

Crabtree offered Semillion through Blue Gum’s draft at this year’s Premier Yearling Sale at Oaklands, where Mark Player of International Thoroughbred Solutions purchased him for $300,000 and sent him to Team Hawkes to train.

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Semillion as a yearling.

“He was very popular at Oaklands during the Premier Sale inspections but Mark actually opened the bidding on him at $300,000 and blew everyone else out of the water, something he’s been known to do before too,’’ Campbell recalled.

“He’s a very shrewd judge of a yearling and he can be very shrewd with his bidding approach too.

“This colt was part of a fantastic sale for us this year, we ended as leading vendor for the fourth time in seven years so we’ve been at the top of the tree for a while now and we look forward to continuing that at Premier in 2022.’’

Crabtree added: “He was always a lovely looking colt from that family and it’s no surprise it was someone like the Hawkes’ who were astute enough to see that and be involved in the purchase of him.

“When you look at what Shalaa has done early on here, he’s such a quality stallion and while the mare has a superb Blue Point colt on the ground, she’ll be going back to Shalaa next year.’’

Also at Moonee Valley today, impressive 3YO Forgot You (Savabeel) retained favouritism for next weekend’s G1 Victoria Derby with a gutsy victory in today’s G2 The Vase.

The win was another fabulous result for the Inglis Ready2Race Sale, as Forgot You was a $330,000 purchase for his trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young out of Ohukia Lodge’s draft at last year’s 2YO auction.

Forgot You, bred by Waikato Stud’s Garry Chittick, remains a $3.50 TAB favourite for the Derby, ahead of fellow Inglis Ready2Race star Gunstock – also offered last year by Ohukia - at $4.

Interestingly, Forgot You remains in the pay-ups for the $8.5m Melbourne Cup and should he win the Derby and back up and claim the Cup three days later, he would become the first 3YO since Skipton in 1941 to win the coveted double in the same year.

“He always leaves us with our hearts in our mouths but he’s an Inglis Ready2Race horse so we’ll go back to the sale on Tuesday and put our hands up with even more confidence,’’ winning co-trainer Young said.

Inspections for Tuesday’s Ready2Race Sale at Riverside continue tomorrow and Monday ahead of the auction, which begins at 11am Tuesday.

To view the catalogue, CLICK HERE.

In Sydney, Icebath put a year of bad luck behind her to score the most deserving of wins in the inaugural $2m The Invitation.

The win was sweet revenge for trainer Brad Widdup and Icebath’s connections, who have sat through luckless performances in races such as this year’s G1 Doncaster Hcp and Epsom Hcp and last year’s $7.5m Golden Eagle.

“Twelve months is a long wait for a bit of luck but I’ll take it every day of the week,” a thrilled Widdup said.

“She does deserve it. It’s great to see, it has been a long wait, not only me but for the owners and staff.’’

The Waikato Stud-bred Icebath is a $100,000 buy for Widdup from the Classic Yearling Sale, where she was offered by Sledmere Stud.

And untapped colt Mazu (Maurice) scored a deserving first black type success when winning the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes at Randwick.

Mazu is a $180,000 Classic Yearling Sale buy for Triple Crown Syndications, from the draft of his breeder Parsons Creek Pastoral for Marc and Lindy de Stoop.

“I’m so happy he’s produced what he has today. It’s certainly a shandy of what he has to offer but we’ll take it anyway,” winning co-trainer Paul Snowden said.

“I think racing is going to get it out of him. But look, he’s a strong enough character and he’s got plenty there to give.’’

Mazu capped off a big day for Triple Crown and their Classic Sale graduates after Exoboom – who placed in this year’s Listed Inglis Guineas – also won at Randwick for them.

Exoboom will now likely back up in next Saturday’s $7.5m Golden Eagle at Rosehill.

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