Best On Breeding

Mark Smith - Friday January 19

Saturday’s opener at Randwick serves up a number of exceptionally credentialed bluebloods whose connections will be hoping to be players in the top two-year-old races this autumn.

Bryce Heys will be hopeful that his $450,000 Snitzel colt Haunting Spirit will prove an able replacement for the talented Spieth who is on his way to Lindsay Park, while Domeland will look to its $625,000 Redoute’s Choice filly Premier Rose to kickstart its return to the Australian scene.

Darby Racing is rarely without a top two-year-old so their $210,000 yearling purchase Dio D'oro will carry the hopes of a throng of owners at his career debut.

Dio D'oro is trained by Gary Portelli who also has the $46,000 ‘cheapie’ Patron Black, a son of Patronize, who has his supports following an impressive barrier trial win.

Another to impress at the trial is the Gooree homebred Ruling Symbol. The son of More Than Ready (USA) is out of the multiple stakes-winner Gamble Me (Rock Of Gibraltar).

The Kris Lees-trained colt is one of two starters for Gooree in the race, the other being the Mark Newnham-trained filly Gentle Persuasion who is a three-quarter sister to Ruling Symbol being by More Than Ready (USA) out of Gamble Me’s half-sister Pay Off Now (Danehill Dancer).


Peter and Paul Snowden will send out two runners, the first starter Saint Antonio Lad, a $100,000 son of Sizzling, and Triple Crown’s $150,000 Exceed And Excel filly Misteed who finished an honourable second to Whiskey Shooter at Canterbury at her first start before that filly ran credibly in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic last Saturday.

Godolphin’s Domesday colt Ligulate is the most experienced in the field with two starts the latest of which was a close second at Randwick.

Another two fillies making their career debut, Jason Coyle’s Epaulette filly River Bird and Matthew Smith’s Your Song filly Tell No Tales have flagged ability in trials.

So, we’re down to one, Emirate Park Stud’s $1.7 million Easter purchase Estijaab (pictured ).

The daughter of champion sire Snitzel will be making her racetrack debut for Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes after winning a trial at Rosehill back on January 8.

A half-sister to the stakes-placed Fastnet Rock filly Alter Call, Estijaab is the third foal of the Charge Forward mare Response who has been nothing but a sheer delight for a quartet of owners.

Bred by Freer Pty Ltd and Andrew and Lasca Bowcock, Response was purchased by Barry Griffiths for $50,000 from the Alanbridge Stud draft at Session II of the 2008 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

She went on to win four races for Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra, three of those came in stakes races highlighted by the Group I Sangster Stakes and Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.

Fresh off the track and with $836,575 prizemoney in the bank, the Griffiths' consigned Response to the 2012 Australian Easter Broodmare Sale where she was knocked down to SF Bloodstock for $840,000.

Her first foal by Fastnet Rock, Alter Call, sold for $1,050,000 to China Horse Club at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale.

A few months later, Response followed her daughter into the same ring at the National Broodmare Sale where she was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida for $1.5 million.

She was carrying the $1.7 million filly Estijaab at the time of her sale but back home she had an Exceed And Excel colt named De Gaulle who was destined never to race.

Put in training with Peter and Paul Snowden, De Gaulle defeated the future Group II Skyline stakes winner Diamond Tathagata in one trial and the Group I Blue Diamond runner-up Pariah in another.

Sadly, a tendon injury brought an end to his career before it started, however, De Gaulle, who had just turned three, covered 22 mares at John Pratt’s Brooker Park in Darnum, Victoria in 2017.

At the recent Magic Million Yearling Sale, Arrowfield Stud consigned a Snitzel filly out of Response who was purchased by Moody Racing for $350,000.

There is plenty to look forward to as Response has another filly foal by Snitzel and was bred back to the champion son of Redoute’s Choice last spring.

Response came from the first crop of Charge Forward as did another Group 1 winner Headway.

From his second crop came the dual Group III winner Solar Charged who is the dam of last weeks Magic Millions 2yo Classic heroine Sunlight (Zoustar) while another filly from the second crop was Courgette the dam of Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and Group 1 Moir Stakes winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain).

Response is a daughter of the Match Winner (FR) mare Live It Up a winner of three of her 15 starts and runner-up in the Group 1 Flight Stakes. Live It Up is also the dam of Disco Girl (Marauding) the dam of Group 11 winner Returntosender.

The black-type becomes a little more scarce for a few generations but the fourth dam of Response is Loyalty, a three-quarter sister to one of the greatest mares to grace a racetrack, the champion Wenona Girl.

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