Best On Breeding - Hawkesbury

Mark Smith - Wednesday August 21

Thursday's Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury features a descendent of a mare that has a truly remarkable story.

Long before the great Shergar and the hugely influential broodmare Fanfreluche hit the headlines after being kidnapped, a filly by the Australian champion Noholme went missing from the stables of Italian trainer Luigi Turner.

This was no ordinary filly. It was the 1975 Italian Oaks and Fred Darling Stakes winner Carnauba owned by the Texan oil tycoon Nelson Bunker Hunt.

Hunt received a ransom note for $300,000 for Carnauba's safe return but he refused to pay and despite the price being lowered the answer was always the same, no deal. Eventually the kidnappers were apprehended but Carnauba was still missing until one day Luigi's son Frank tracked her down to a slaughterhouse.


Apparently, the classic winner had been taken to a riding academy attached to a girl's school. She had her mane cut right down and shoes removed. The ruse didn't work as the flighty 16-hand thoroughbred didn't fit in and she was quickly dispatched by the riding school.

Looking a long way off the sleek thoroughbred she was, Carnauba was only recognised by Frank Turner through her distinctive markings. She was less than 24 hours away from being killed.

Though she never raced again, Carnauba went on to live a long and productive life at Bunker Hunt's Blue Grass Farm in Kentucky.

She had 11 foals, 8 raced and 7 were winners led by the stakes-winner Valid Carnauba who had two stakes winners of her own as did her half-sisters Lyphard's Holme and Rich And Riotous.

The latter is the dam of Group II Prix d'Astarte winner Shaanxi, who placed in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, while Rich And Riotous's stakes-winning daughter Kraemer is the granddam of Group III Jersey Stakes winner Ouqba who ran Paco Boy to a neck in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes.

A winning sister to Valid Carnauba, Carnival Appeal is the granddam of Love Valentine (Fruits Of Love) who is the dam of the Rowley Mile topweight Duca Valentinois (IRL).


A son of the former Coolmore and Aquis shuttler Holy Roman Emperor (IRE), Duca Valentinois (IRL) was originally purchased by Johnny Murtagh from the Drumbaragh Stud draft for €21,000 at Tattersalls Ireland in 2013. Two year's later he was knocked down to John Ferguson on behalf of Godolphin for £190,000 at Goffs.

A two-time winner at the Curragh, Duca Valentinois (IRL) is typical of the type of horse that would be slogging around for a pittance in Europe that can accumulate a small fortune in Australia.

The 8yo gelding has banked over $706,000 with a Group III win in the BRC Lord Mayor's Cup and three Listed stakes.

The spritely veteran won the Listed Munn Stakes (1820m) at Eagle Farm on June 22 and was far from disgraced when beaten less than two lengths in the Listed Winter Challenge (1550m) at Rosehill on July 22.

He should have no problem with the Hawkesbury track having won the Listed Ladies Day Cup (1400m) in 2017.

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