Royal Descent Smashes Oaks Rivals

Royal Descent has emerged as one of the country’s most exciting staying prospects with a sensational win in Saturday’s Group One AJC Oaks at Randwick.

A beautifully bred daughter of super sire Redoute’s Choice, Royal Descent notched an incredible 10 length win – one of the biggest winning margins in Australian Group One history.

Trainer Chris Waller and jockey Nash Rawiller were both overwhelmed with the performance of the exciting and untapped filly.

The lightly raced prospect was racing for just the seventh time, notching win four and group race two.

She came into the Oaks after a runaway win in last Saturday’s Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes.

“I am a bit lost for words,” winning rider Nash Rawiller said after the Oaks romp. “Chris has known for a long time he has had something pretty special.”

“I thought the other day was a momentous effort and I thought it was definitely worth a crack at this race,” he added.

Royal Descent was bred by Gerry Harvey and offered through the draft of Baramul Stud at the 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The filly was retained by her breeder after falling $10,000 short of her $350,000 reserve.

From just a handful starts the filly has won at distances from 1200 to 2400 metres and earned about $560,000.

Royal Descent is the 22nd individual Group One winner for champion Arrowfield Stud based sire Redoute’s Choice – who rounded out a massive day’s racing by being the dam sire of the Doncaster winner Sacred Falls.

His Oaks heroine is one of three winners from the former quality race mare Mulan Princess.

A winner of six races, the daughter of Kaapstad won four stakes events headlined by the Group Two STC Hill Stakes. She earned over $327,000 before retiring to stud.

Mulan Princess is a three quarter sister to Group One winner Golden Sword and fellow stakes winner Greta Hall. She is also a half sister to group winning sire Falkirk and New Zealand based stakes winner Luscilla.

Royal Descent’s second dam Madam Valeta, a daughter of Palace Music, was a Group Three winner in New Zealand and a listed winner in Brisbane.

Curtain drawn on Caviar’s career

Peter Moody always vowed he would never be reduced to tears after one of Black Caviar’s wins. He delivered on that pledge, but the champion mare eventually got the better of him.

It was an emotional Moody that today explained why connections took the shock move to end one of the greatest careers in the history of the Australian turf, just three days after stretching her unbeaten run to 25 in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick.

“Twenty-five’s a great number and we thought she did us all proud on Saturday,” Moody said before his voice started to waver.

Once composed, he started again.

“The mare’s in great shape, we thought long and hard about racing on for another season, we thought about (Royal) Ascot, we thought about Brisbane, we thought about Adelaide, but at the end of the day, we believe she’s done everything we’ve asked her to do and she couldn’t have possibly done any more.

“It’s the right time to call it a day on what’s been a wonderful career of maybe one of the finest horses we’ve ever seen.”

The six-year-old daughter of Bel Esprit – who made her debut at Flemington four years ago tomorrow – retires a winner of her only 25 starts and $7,953,936 in stakes.

She came through Saturday’s win, an Australasian record 15th at Group 1 level, in fine style and Moody said that played its part in the decision.

“She’s in such great shape and that’s the way we wanted her to bow out,” Victoria’s premier trainer said.

“It’s always been the owners wish, and I’ve always suggested to them when I felt the job was done… we could bring her back, she could be back in the spring, she could be at Brisbane…but we just thought the time was right.

“It was a hard decision, but why not? She’s done everything we could have possibly asked.”

Neil Werrett, managing part-owner of the group of friends that funded the $210,000 purchase from the 2008 Melbourne Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, said that while it was sad Black Caviar’s career was over, they thought it ended with her dramatic Diamond Jubilee Stakes win at Royal Ascot last June.

“To get three more runs out of her and three more wins was a positive for the whole team and for Australian racing,” Werrett said.

“It was always going to be hard decision, but it would have been a worse decision if you ran on and something happened. Now she can retire and we can look forward to racing her progeny.”

Black Caviar’s racing career may be over, but the mare’s legion of fans will get one last chance to say goodbye when she makes a special guest appearance at her home track Caulfield this Saturday.

Story by Brad Bishop


Black Caviar shows Sydney how great she is

IT’S a story we’ll tell for decades to come: how the great Black Caviar thundered to her 25th straight victory and took her place alongside Phar Lap.

The crowd at Randwick – and the many thousands more cheering from afar – knew history was being made.

As the gates flew open, the atmosphere was electric, every hair on end.

In less than 70 seconds, Black Caviar proved herself yet again a once-in-a-century racehorse.

“She’s still pretty unbelievable, isn’t she?” said jockey Luke Nolen.

“If there are any knockers after that, come see me, I’ll sort you out.”

About 26,000 fans flocked to watch, the course speckled with salmon and black. Confidence in the wonder mare was so great, most of those who bet against her only did so to souvenir the ticket.

But victory wasn’t guaranteed, it never is, even for champions, so there were nerves, too. And the stakes were high.

A win in what had been touted as possibly her last race in Australia would outnumber Kingston Town’s Group 1 wins and confirm Black Caviar’s extraordinary infallibility: 25 wins from 25 starts.

A loss would have destroyed her perfect record and tarnished her champion’s halo.

But Black Caviar didn’t disappoint.

“What do we say?” said her trainer Peter Moody. “She’s going every bit as good as she ever has.”

The grounds of Randwick were a sea of Derby Day black and white, although a break with tradition was tolerated for those who had put together an outfit in salmon and black spots.

Black Caviar

Luke Nolen and Black Caviar pull away in the straight to win the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick. Picture: Cameron Richardson

But there was really only one woman the crowd had come to see.

She arrived, all 600kg of her, fashionably late, soon after 3pm.

She left her float for the stalls, where she walked around the warm-up area, her head down in concentration, her muscly, veiny hide shining in the sun.

The crowd’s reaction was fit for a real queen, and not just a queen of the track. Well-wishers, cameras in hand, waved Black Caviar flags, wore Black Caviar masquerade masks and shouted “you’re beautiful”.

Half an hour before the race, the crowd at the rails was six deep.

Ten minutes before, it stretched all the way back to the grandstand.

There was brief quiet as the race began, then a deafening roar.

Not everyone was certain she would win. In the recent weeks, there were nasty whispers from her rivals that Black Caviar’s recent wins had been “soft”, and that her latest opponents would be real competition.

She had only run in Sydney once before – when she won the same race, the T.J. Smith Stakes, back in 2011.

Black Caviar’s odds for the race were at one point yesterday her longest in two years – although long for her is tiny for any other horse.

By the start of the race, all other runners were in double-figure odds and some in triple.

Trainer Peter Moody knew the pressure was on. Was it one start too many?

“You know, that aura of invincibility is what makes her so interesting to people away from racing,” he said last week.

“So you’d hate to lose that.”

But it was a brilliant ride from Nolen. Black Caviar had drawn barrier 1 and the inside of the track was slow.

But Nolen got her off the fence and by halfway down the straight, had the race sewn up.

“She had to earn it,” said Nolen.


Story by Jordan Baker

Courtesy superracing


The ever impressive three-year-old It’s a Dundeel has made light work of his well qualified counterparts in today’s feature race on David Jones Australian Derby Day at Royal Randwick this afternoon.

In claiming today’s feature race, It’s a Dundeel became the first horse since Octagonal in 1996 to win the three-year-old triple crown and the first to do so in the modern set.

It’s a Dundeel, trained by NZ trainer Murray Baker claimed the Group 1 David Jones Australian Derby (2,400m) by five-and-a-half lengths.

“He’s got that great acceleration, he seems to just pick them up easily,” Baker said after the race.

“To win three Group 1 races in Sydney, it’s a very big effort. He’s the best”.

The winning jockey, James McDonald, could barely contain his delight at the win. McDonald saluted the crowd as he crossed the line and followed it with a Franki Dettori-style jump from the saddle in the parade ring.

“I don’t think I have ever won a race so easily and that was a Group 1 Race in Australia, the Derby,” McDonald exclaimed.

“He’s an incredible horse and he’s got a fantastic future.”

A sold-out crowd have basked in the autumn sun this afternoon, witnessing the stars of the turf from the new Theatre of the Horse parade ring which was officially opened this afternoon.

Australasia’s premier product in high demand at Easter

Over $90 million was spent on Australia and New Zealand’s finest bred and conformed yearlings offered at the 97th Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale  that concluded in Sydney on Thursday.

Demand was high for the cream of the regions’ yearling sale crop, with the sale average and median up 32% and 25% respectively on corresponding figures from last year.

“A huge congratulations to all vendors who brought top quality yearlings to the sale,” said Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster

“The fantastic results recorded are a clear endorsement of the strength in both the local industry and the respect that the international community has for our product,” Webster said.

Fireworks from the first two days continued this morning with strong competition on a number of lots, including Kitchwin Hills’ filly by Redoute’s Choice from Group 2 winning dam Vormista (Lot 399)  which was purchased for $900,000 by James Harron Bloodstock.

Shadwell Stud’s racing manager Angus Gold added Willow Park Stud’s colt by Redoute’s Choice from Zarzuela (Lot 416)  to his list of Session One purchases. Shadwell Australia finished as the leading buyer of 21 yearlings for $8,270,000.

Champion stallions Redoute’s Choice and Fastnet Rock had super Easter sales. 65 yearlings by the pair accounted for $38,990,000 in sales in Session One.

The Liston family’s Three Bridges Thoroughbreds finished at the top of the vendors list by average, highlighted by the record breaking sale of Black Caviar’s half-brother for $5,000,000.

“On behalf of Inglis I would like to thank the Liston family for the manner in which they carried themselves through the entire process of selling the Helsinge colt. There was a lot of pressure placed upon them and they displayed true  professionalism,” said Webster.

“Much thanks must also go to Rick Jamieson who has entrusted Inglis to sell all of Helsinge’s outstanding progeny over the past five years,” Webster added.

Cressfield Stud drew plenty of praise from buyers, which spent an average of $1,360,000 on the stud’s 5 yearlings sold, highlighted by the Fastnet Rock colt from Group 1 winner River Dove (Lot 295)  purchased by Emirates Park Stud for $4,000,000 yesterday.

Coolmore Stud finished at the top of the vendors list by aggregate having sold 33 yearlings for $9,645,000 in Session One.

Alex Kingston accepted Kia-Ora Stud’s prize from Luxbet for the best prepared draft at this year’s Easter Sale. Kia-Ora brought 11 to the sale and sold 9 at an average of $536,667, with the highlight being the Fastnet Rock x Dream Play colt (Lot 82)  which was sold for $1,500,000 to Tom Magnier for Coolmore / China Horse Club.

Complete sire, buyer and vendor statistics for Session One and Two can be viewed at

Photos of the week’s top lots and leading buyers can be viewed on Inglis’ Facebook page InglisBloodstock

Easter Session One statistics

2013 2012 Change :
Lots Catalogued 422 451 -6%
Offered 372 398 -7%
Sold 290 (78%) 331 (83%)
Gross $84,444,090 $72,880,000 +16%
Average Price $291,187 $220,181 +32%
Median Price $200,000 $160,000 +25%
Top Price $5,000,000 $2,600,000

Session Two rises again

Session Two of the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale continues to grow its following, with this year’s session recording 18% and 31% increases in average and median prices attained for vendors.

74 yearlings were sold in Session Two on Thursday for $6,452,000, with a new record price set when Haunui Farm’s colt by Street Cry from Fashionable Lass (Lot 557)  was purchased by Mark Kavanagh for $380,000.

27 yearlings were sold for $100,000 or more in Session Two this year, compared to 20 last year.

Group 1 winning Easter graduates have ranged from sale topper All Too Hard to $27,000 purchase Fat Al this current racing season and Inglis Bloodstock Director Jonathan D’Arcy believes Easter’s record of rewarding buyers throughout the buying spectrum will continue with this year’s crop.

“I’ve got no doubt there will be a high number of stakes winners come from yearlings of Easter 2013 given the outstanding level of pedigree and type that the breeders entrusted us with,” said D’Arcy.

Horses passed in during the 2013 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale are available for sale via the Inglis Make-An-Offer  Service.

Easter Session Two statistics

2013 2012 Change :
Lots Catalogued 147 128 +15%
Offered 112 106 +6%
Sold 74 (66%) 88 (83%)
Gross $6,452,000 $6,481,000 +0%
Average Price $87,189 $73,648 +18%
Median Price $72,000 $55,000 +31%
Top Price $380,000 $360,000