Upon This Rock gave champion horsewoman Gai Waterhouse an early Christmas present from the west when she scored a deserved stakes success in Saturday’s listed Starstruck Classic (1600m) at Ascot.

The Fastnet Rock mare sat on the speed throughout before racing to the lead and holding off the challengers strongly to beat favourite Rantorini by about a length.

Waterhouse’s travelling foreman Dave Meijer was impressed with the performance of Upon This Rock and also the ride from local star Daniel Staeck.

“It was an outstanding win,” Meijer said. “An eleven out of ten ride by Daniel.”

“With rides like that he’s a real Waterhouse rider. We’re very impressed with what we’ve seen.”

“Gai rang this morning about the ride and used two words – positive and aggressive – and Daniel Staeck summed it up a treat.”

“Her two runs here have been full of merit. Today seeing daylight and ridden like a tough fit horse and she was able to show her true colours.”

Meijer originally thought after the race that Upon This Rock, but it was confirmed on Sunday that Waterhouse had lodged an entry for the La Trice Classic at Ascot on New Year’s Day.

The win was the second at stakes level for the blue blooded mare after her success in the listed Dark Jewel Classic at Scone.

All up she has six wins and 10 placings from 29 starts and earnings of almost $400,000. She would also rank as one of the country’s most commercial mares currently racing.

A graduate of Willow Park, Upon This Rock was purchased by leading bloodstock agent James Bester for his good friend Laurie Macri for $225,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Upon This Rock is one of four stakes performers produced by the well related and grand producing Bite the Bullet mare Joleur.

A winner over 1400 metres, Joleur is a full sister to group winner Mica’s Pride, the dam of stakes winners Varenna Miss and Silently. Joleur is also a half sister to recent stakes winner Amah Rock.

As a producer Joleur has been a leader. From five to race, of which all have placed, she is the dam of four city winners and stakes performers.

As well as Upon This Rock she is the dam of Sydney stakes winners Gaze On and Bhutane Dane and the Sydney stakes placegetter Rogue Warrior.


Bargain buy Adebisi could be making more trips south after scoring a solid all the way win in Saturday’s listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm.

Courtesy of an outstanding front running ride by Hugh Bowman, Adebisi was able to lead from barrier to box in an impressive performance.

Trainer Desleigh Forster had Adebisi entered for stakes races in both Brisbane and Sydney but decided on the latter earlier in the week – deciding the Harbour City race suited his racing style best.

“It’s nice to come down here and take some money,” a delighted Forster told TVN after the race.

“It was a good win and it was a good ride. He’s a good horse and does great most of the time.”

“It’s just the weight gets him in Queensland all the time and we know weight can stop trains.”

“Chrissy Munce said he was one of the quickest horses out of the machines he’d ever ridden so I told Hughy that he would lead them.”

“He’s not weak the horse,” she added. “He’s brave.”

“He will probably make some trips back here to keep out of (high) weights from handicapper at home,” Forster added.

Adebisi, a son of leading Queensland sire Shovhog, was purchased by Forster for $15,000 from the Raheen Stud draft at the 2009 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

He has quickly established himself as one of the state’s best short course performers with nine wins five placings from 32 starts and earnings of over $640,000.

The win was his fourth black type success but his third outside his native Queensland. He’d already won a Group Three George Moore Stakes and listed Gold Edition Plate and listed Bribie Handicap.

He is one of two named foals for the former smart Sanction racemare Hell for Leather.

A winner of seven races, including two in Brisbane, Hell for Leather is a 100 per cent winner producer with her other named foal, The Gingermeister a Brisbane winner as well.

The mare’s latest yearling, a neat, running style filly by Jet Spur will go under the hammer at January’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

A member of the Raheen Stud draft, the chestnut filly is catalogued as lot 878 and she will be up for grabs during the fifth session on January 13.


Bargain filly Assail will hunt Queensland’s richest race after a stunning on speed win in today’s $200,000 Magic Millions Wyong 2YO Classic (1100m).

In a most impressive performance, Assail was able to cross from an outside gate before racing clear in the home straight.

Entitled to weaken after using so much petrol early in the race, Assail was strong to the line, cruising clear to beat her rivals by three lengths.

The performance was so impressive that jockey Peter Robl virtually declared the $2 million Jeep Magic Millions 2YO Classic as over.

“That was a blistering win,” Robl told Sky Racing World. “She jumped from 12 and was blistering from the start.”

“She wanted to over race in the middle stages but then straightened up and put paid to them.”

“She’s a very exciting filly. She’s done it at both ends of the race today and run good time doing it and she’ll improve off it.”

“It’s always good to ride a winner for Clarry. But this is special to win a Magic Millions for Clarry who is arguably one of the best two-year-old trainers in the land.”

“I’ll be back from suspension a week before the Gold Coast and I’m really looking forward to get up there and she’ll put paid to them up there as well,” Robl summed up.

Clarry Conners paid $40,000 for the Charge Forward filly from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at January’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

He said the filly, who is unbeaten in two starts, was a quality youngster who looked right up there with some of his former star juveniles.

“She’s raw this filly,” Conners said. “She had two trials and now two starts and that’s it.”

“One of the journalists asked me the other day to compare her to Mirror Mirror who won the Magic Millions and she’s a better horse than Mirror Mirror.”

“She’ll go to the Gold Coast. We’ll carry her up there so she doesn’t get hurt. I saw a limo earlier – we might send her up in that.”

“I bought her for $40,000 and got left with 30 per cent of her,” Conners said.

“She’s always been smart. She’s not big, but she’s always shown the ability.”

“I was a bit worried (about the outside barrier) and I thought about not running her, but Peter (Robl) said run her and she’ll win.”

Conners said should the filly run to expectations in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and she pulled up well – she could also target the Golden Slipper.

“It can be done. Gai’s had one or two that have done it. And Belle Du Jour ran second in the Magic Millions and came out and won the Slipper.”

“It depends on the horse,” he summed up.

Assail, a graduate of Arrowfield Stud, is by former star Magic Millions graduate Charge Forward and becomes his 11th stakes winner with the Classic this year carrying restricted listed status for the first time.

She joins stakes performers Rockford, Moroccan Rose and Zaragoza, other Arrowfield graduates from the same draft in January.

Hailing from one of the finest family’s in the stud book, Assail is the first named foal for the unraced Redoute’s Choice mare Emanday.

Emanday is a full sister to Group One winner and young Swettenham Stud sire Master of Design and is a half sister to South African Group One winner Suntagonal.

It is therefore the same family as Group One winners including Typhoon Tracy, Danasinga and Tracy’s Element as well as last Saturday’s Christmas Cup winner Cantonese.

Emanday’s latest yearling, a Charge Forward full sister to Assail, is catalogued as lot 542.

G1 Championship unveiled

A brush with greatness awaits Australasian racing participants from 2013 after Racing Victoria (RV) today unveiled an exciting and lucrative event known as the G1 Championship.

To be held in late summer/early autumn during the Melbourne Festival of Racing, the $5.5 million Championship will become a focal point for Victorian racing outside the Spring Racing Carnival.

Four big meetings and six classic races define the G1 Championship, which is designed to stimulate greater public interest, whilst offering a life changing opportunity for participants.

It will showcase the sport’s elite sprinters and middle distance performers across two series, with lucrative bonuses on offer for those connections who can claim a unique place in racing history.

Each G1 Championship comprises three legs and offers a lucrative TAB $1 million bonus to any horse that can win all three races, culminating at Flemington on Super Saturday.

There are no field size restrictions on the cash bonuses which will be split as follows – 70% to the owner, 20% trainer and 10% jockey.

The races showcased within the 2013 G1 Championship are as follows;


LEG 1 – $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) – Flemington, 16 February 2013

LEG 2 – $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) – Caulfield, 23 February 2013

FINAL – $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) – Flemington, 9 March 2013


LEG 1 – $400,000 Sportingbet C.F.Orr Stakes (1400m) – Caulfield, 9 February 2013

LEG 2 – $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) – Caulfield, 23 February 2013

FINAL – $1 million Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) – Flemington, 9 March 2013

Points will be allocated to the first five placegetters across each G1 Championship race on 12-6-4-2-1 basis. Should the TAB $1 million bonus not be won, the highest points scorer in each series will be awarded a $50,000 international travel subsidy to showcase their talents abroad during 2013.

“We’re excited to launch the G1 Championship and we’re looking forward to developing the concept over coming years into one that captures the interest and imagination of the community and participants alike,” RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said.

“For our sport to maintain community relevance we must continue to reach out and stimulate the public’s imagination and we’re excited to do that with the G1 Championship.

“The G1 Championship provides an outstanding opportunity for racing to re-engage with our fans, and create a focal point to command their attention, outside of the Spring Racing Carnival.

“The G1 Championship takes inspiration from American racing’s famous Triple Crown and we’re issuing the challenge to Australasia’s elite sprinters and middle distance performers to create a unique place in history.

“The inaugural G1 Championship provides a platform for growth and over the coming years we expect that it will only grow in profile and help to shape trainers’ and owners’ programming decisions.”

Saundry said the G1 Championship adds greater prestige to the races showcased within whilst providing a further incentive for owners and trainers to compete over the Melbourne Festival of Racing.

“The TAB $1 million bonuses are a wonderful incentive to take up the G1 challenge and each bonus will be shared amongst the owners, trainer and jockey, all of whom can define their careers with success in the G1 Championship,” Saundry said.

“The Melbourne Festival of Racing is renowned as a launch pad for Australian horses to compete abroad. The international travel subsidy for the top point scorer in each G1 Championship presents an opportunity for our horses to test themselves on the world stage and continue that tradition,” he added.

The on-course experience for fans will be a focal point of the concept too with each G1 Championship meeting to feature a G1 Lounge Enclosure.

Situated amongst the action, the marquee and outdoor lounge setting will encourage fans to dress more casually, in a style more appropriate for the weather conditions.

“Together with the host Clubs, our focus is on creating meetings that are a destination for fans and that’s why we’ll be introducing the G1 Lounge Enclosure as part of the G1 Championship,” Saundry said.

“Early in the New Year further details will be released around the G1 Lounge Enclosure, in which the public can take in the action in a stylish, yet relaxed environment for less than $100,” Saundry said.

Mutual decision to put Trust in Sam

Sam Pritchard-Gordon is excited about the opportunity presented by Mutual Trust’s arrival at his Mornington stable.

Mutual Trust is a Northern Hemisphere four-year-old who has been purchased by an Australian syndicate, including prominent owners Andrew Ramsden, Adam Sangster and Peter Barnett, with a view to tackle Australian features.

A Group 1 winner at three, the son of Cacique disappointed in a three-start American campaign earlier this year and Pritchard-Gordon is looking forward to being given the chance to revitalise the entire in what are still the early stages of his training career.

“I shouldn’t necessarily be getting horses like this yet, but hopefully I can rejuvenate his career, which has come to a bit of a standstill,” the Englishman said.

“He’s a ripping good horse with a fantastic pedigree and looks to match. He’s a striking black horse, but he’s more Australian than he is European in his physique. He’s all muscle and there’s very much a lot of Danehill about him.”

Pritchard-Gordon suspects 1600m will be Mutual Trust’s ideal trip, but is hopeful of him running a strong 2000m.

After winning his first four starts for legendary French trainer Andre Fabre, culminating with the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat (1600m) in July last year, Mutual Trust was unplaced at the final start of his three-year-old season before sent to the United States for his four-year-old season.

Bill Mott oversaw Mutual Trust’s American campaign, but he failed to place in three starts at distances ranging from 1400m to 1800m.

The Australian syndicate acquired Mutual Trust early in spring at what Pritchard Gordon described as a “very realistic price” and he landed in Melbourne at the weekend after completing three weeks quarantine in New Zealand.

“I put him under saddle and he was everything he was described as in the vetting and the pre-sales purchase,” the trainer said. “He’s a beautiful animal with a lovely temperament.”

Mutual Trust is likely to be nominated for the $1 million Dubai Australian Cup, to be run at Flemington on 9 March, but Prichard-Gordon said Sydney or Brisbane might be a more realistic aim for his initial Aussie campaign.

“We’ve got a horse that is probably a very genuine miler, but I would like to think he’ll get out to 10 furlongs,” he said.

“Whether we’ll be aiming for an Australian Cup remains to be seen, I’d like to think he could do, but then again he’s a colt that has only been doing light work in the last four to five months as opposed to racing, so it could take a lot longer to get him fit.”

Story by Brad Bishop