Best On Breeding
Mark Smith - Thursday October 17

Five Australian-breds will line up in Saturday’s $5million Group 1 MRC Caulfield Cup (2400m), which is just two more than Frankel has supplied from his first two crops.

There has been much debate on the merits of the number of overseas runners in Australia’s top staying races but for pedigree buffs, it is a veritable smorgasbord.

Of the five Aussie bred runners three are by shuttle stallions while Shamus Award (Mr Quickie) and Not a Single Doubt (Qafila) hold the hopes of the Australian side although the Chris Waller import Brimham Rocks (GB) is a son of the great Fastnet Rock.

Most of the overseas runners are coming in here in fine form including the Japanese representative Mer de Glace who will be out to emulate the deeds of the 2014 Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti (JPN) (Heart's Cry).

The son of Rulership has won his last five back at home including three consecutive Group IIIs and they don’t give them away in Japan.

Another Japanese-bred is Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s admirable tough Novellist gelding Wolfe who forced his way into the field at the last minute with his win in Wednesday’s Coongt Handicap.

Frankel has three runners in the Caulfield CupBut let’s get back to the three starters by Frankel.

Among the 133 mares the undefeated son of Galileo covered were 38 grade/group I winners and 25 dams of grade/group I winners.

Saturday’s Caulfield Cup hopefuls Mirage Dancer (IRE) and race favourite Finche were among that crop of 108 foals while Rostropovich (IRE) came from his second crop.

While none of the three have won at the elite level, they all performed with distinction in Europe before emigrating.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained 6yo entire is the most intriguing runner in the race.

He is peak Juddmonte, being a son of their masterpiece out of Heat Haze (Green Desert) who was one five Group 1 winners in addition to the champion sire Dansili (Danehill) out of Juddmonte’s blue hen Hasili.

Purchased by bloodstock agent Mark Pilkington for a syndicate including Seymour Bloodstock and Mark Casey, Mirage Dancer has not raced since finishing second in the Group III Glorious Stakes at Goodwood on August 2.

He seems to bit one-paced but has hit the board in 12 of his 16 starts when trained by Sir Michael Stoute. He loves the distance and a firm track won’t worry him.

Darren Thomas’ Seymour Bloodstock also owns part of Rostropovich (IRE) who performed with distinction in Australia last year for Aidan O’Brien. He finished fifth behind Winx in the Cox Plate and was fifth again in Cross Counter’s Melbourne Cup. He was then taken to Hong Kong where he finished seventh in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

Now in the Lindsay Park stable, finished a 3-length seventh in the Makybe Diva Stakes and ninth of 11 after a troubled run in the Turnbull Stakes.

Winner of the Group II Futurity Stakes at the Curragh and placed in the Group 1 National Stakes at two, Rostropovich (IRE) split Latrobe and Saxon Warrior in the Group 1 Irish Derby while earning wins in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester and the Group III Club Stakes at Leopardstown.

The 5yo gelded son of Frankel out of the Machiavellian mare Tyranny was purchased by Coolmore partners and Markus Jooste for 1,100,000gns from the Epona Bloodstock draft in Book 1 of the 2016 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

As can be gauged from his purchase price, Rostropovich (IRE) boasts some well-performed relatives. He is a half-brother to Phoenix Stakes winner Zoffany who finished a hard-charging second to Frankel in the St James's Palace Stakes and is now a well-performed stallion in his own right.

Lindsay Park will have another very interesting runner in the Galileo enter Constantinople (IRL) who has been a model of consistency in Europe this season at three but is making his first start since finishing second to Logician in the Group II Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 21.

The Chris Waller-trained Finche is sure to be among the top chances at Caulfield and he hasn’t put a foot wrong in his adopted homeland.Finche opens his Australian account in the Kingston Town image Steve Hart

Purchased privately in a deal brokered by Avenue Bloodstock, the French Group II and Group III winner made two starts in Australia last spring, finishing third in the Group III Geelong Cup under a big weight before a fine fourth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.

Carrying the colours of his breeder, Prince Khalid Abdullah, who now shares ownership with some of Chris Waller's leading clients Neil Werrett, Peter Tighe and Frank and Christine Cook, Finche (GB) began his spring campaign with an eye-catching fifth in the Group II Chelmsford Stakes before breaking his duck in Australia with a fighting win in the Group III Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

At his most recent start the son of Frankel defeated all bar Kings Will Dream (IRE) in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.

The Juddmonte bred is a half-brother to five winners including the 4-time US Grade 1 winner and multiple European Group 1-placed Proviso (Dansili) and Byword (Peintre Celebre) the Champion Older Male Miler in France in 2010 whose 7 wins included the Group 1 Royal Ascot Prince of Wales's Stakes.

It’s interesting to note that a daughter of Proviso named Adviso (USA) is at stud in Australia.  The daughter of Street Cry (IRE) has a 2yo filly by Sebring, a yearling colt by Animal Kingdom (USA) and was covered by Shalaa (IRE) last spring.

Rosemont Stud is likely to be in the corner of Mirage Dancer (IRE) as they have purchased two half-sisters, Rare Virtue (Empire Maker) and Bellwether (Three Valleys).

Rosemont purchased Rare Virtue for just 23,000 gns at the 2016 December Sale. She has a yearling colt by Tarzino but missed to Starspangledbanner.

Bellwether was purchased off Juddmonte last December for 50,0000 gns carrying a positive test to New Bay.