13th Group 1 Winner for Savabeel

Mark Smith - Saturday November 4

Trying to follow the form of Savabeel's daughter Shillelagh could drive you to drink, however, there is no denying her class and she was at the top of her game when downing stablemate Tom Melbourne in Saturday's $1 million Group 1 Kennedy Mile (Cantala Stakes) at Flemington.

The 6yo mare has certainly tested the patience of trainer Chris Waller after she had won four of her six starts in New Zealand for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.

Winner of the Group III 2017 Godolphin Crown (1300m) at Hawkesbury in April, Shillelagh came out to trail the 15 horse field home in the Group III Dark Jewel Stakes at scone three weeks later.


Cardiac arrhythmia was blamed for that performance and she had 21 weeks off before reappearing with an even seventh over 1400 metres at Randwick on October 7.

That earned her a trip south for the Group II Tristrac Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield where she charged home to finish third behind Global Glamour and Cool Passion. (photos Grant Courtney).

Settled back midfield by Michael Dee, Shillelagh moved up to a challenging position on the home turn.

When it looked like the much-maligned Tom Melbourne was going to breakthrough, Shillelagh would not be denied. She reeled in Tom Melbourne to win by a short-neck with Wyndspelle two and a quarter lengths back in third.

"Never once in the race did I think she was going to get beat. She just tugged me everywhere I wanted to go, she was too good," Dee said.

"I was able to get on the back of the right horse, and he took me far enough into the race, and she just let down very good and was too tough in the end."

Shillelagh was also entered for the Group 1 Myer Stakes where she was made the fourth reserve.

"We might have won both races, that's the problem - she's a good horse that's gone to a new level this preparation in my opinion," Waller said.

"She came to me from New Zealand in good form owned by Mr. Grace and his wife. It's a fantastic story, they're only an hour up the road from where I'm from (in New Zealand), one of my cousins actually works for them so it's a very special win."

Shillelagh was bred by her owners Christopher and Susanna Grace and she is a sister to the Group II Brisbane Cup winner and Group 1 Caulfield Cup placegetter Tullamore as well as the Listed winner Grazia.

They are out of the winning Flying Spur mare Trocair a half-sister to Nautique (Pins) a dual Grade III winner in North America.

A full-sister to Shillelagh was purchased by BBA Ireland / Lindsay Park Racing for $340,000 out of the Little Avondale draft at the NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka.

Trocair has a yearling colt by Ocean Park and was covered by Savabeel again last year.

Shillelagh becomes the 13th Group 1 winner for Waikato Stud's flagship stallion Savabeel.

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