$5,500 Gavelhouse Purchase Romps Home in Adelaide Cup
Mark Smith - Monday March 11

The Paul Preusker-trained Surprise Baby first saw a racetrack last October and five starts later the four-year-old gelding made a one-act affair of Monday's $400,000 Group II Adelaide Cup (3200m) to credit Rich Hill Stud's 2009 Melbourne Cup hero Shocking with the second consecutive winner of the race.

Smashed in the betting ring from $15 to start at $5, Surprise Baby was given a gun ride by Dean Holland who had him settled back midfield, one off the fence, as Fabrizio led the field through sedate sectionals.

Approaching the 600 metres, Georgina Cartwright set the race alight when she circled the field on Exalted Lightning who had a handy break turning for home.


By then Holland had Surprise Baby in clean air and he relished every bit of the 3200 metres, putting a space on his opponents and allowing Holland to sit up and pose for the photo.

Top of the Range (Savabeel) came closest at a safe one and three-quarter lengths with Chris Waller's import Naval Warfare (IRE) (Born To Sea) back in third.

It was the second win in the Adelaide Cup for Holland after Tanby in 2015.

"He (Preusker) is one of the best trainers in the country and I can't thank the Preusker family enough for support," Holland said.

"This horse is still so young and still learning but from the 800m he was never going to get beat.

"Paul said dig your hands on his neck and let him settle, when he switches off, he will just let go and he's a good judge.

"He's a horse that has been difficult along the way, he's had a few good preps underneath him and he was probably ready to run over 2000when he won first-up at Horsham (over 1200m).

"I love this horse he's got a sharp turn of foot, he's very tough and I thought we might like to try and qualify his for the (Melbourne) Cup early."

Advancing his record to 4 wins from 6 starts with earnings of $325,835, Surprise Baby (photo Gavelhouse ) went through the sales twice and could not find a buyer either time.

He went through the 2016 NZB Select Yearling Sale where he failed to make his modest $20,000 reserve and again at the 2016 Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs where could not find a buyer willing to shell out $35,000 before being purchased on Gavelhouse.com for just $5,500 by his owner John Fiteni as an unraced 3-year-old gelding.

This was how he was described on Gavelhouse.

'This lovely and strong athletic gelding has been given the time to mature into a nice staying horse. A good walking type, he's sound and correct, 16.2hh, with plenty of scope. Your inspection at Rich Hill Stud is welcome.

He's has had a couple of preps, has spelled for the last two months, and is now ready to go back into work in preparation to begin his racing career in the new year.

His dam Bula Baby is a two-time race winner by star broodmare sire Kaapstad. Second dam Miss Tessla is a nine-time race winner. A wonderful racemare, her stakes victories include the Gr.2 Sedgwick Classic Stakes, and the Listed VRC Matron Stakes, in addition she was also eight-times placed in Group races.

Bula Baby has a 2yo filly by Proisir who was sold for just $1000 at the NZB Karaka May Sale, and a yearling colt by Super Easy.

Surprise Baby becomes the eighth stakes-winner for Rich Hill Stud's Shocking who sired the 2018 Adelaide Cup winner Fanatic.

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