BRISBANE-based front running champion Vo Rogue and the Cairns-born Williams brothers - Sir Edward and Sir Sydney - headline the 2019 inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame formal ceremony held in Brisbane last Friday, May 17.
Racing Queensland, in conjunction with the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and Racing Australia, officially unveiled the six-time Group 1 winner who thrilled crowds in the late '80s with his front-running feats as one of 10 inductees alongside Balmerino, Hall Mark and So You Think.
Hugh Bowman, the jockey synonymous with piloting Winx to her world record accomplishments including 25 consecutive Group 1s, is also an inductee after delivering one final victory lap aboard the wonder mare in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick last month.
Four-time Cox Plate winner Brent Thomson is the only other jockey to be inducted in 2019, while leading trainers Des McCormick and John Meagher also had the prestigious honour bestowed upon them. Former VRC Chairman of Stipendiary Stewards, Pat Lalor, rounds out the class of 2019.
The Williams brothers' legacy lives on in Far North Queensland with Sir Sydney the driving force behind the two-day Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival which continues to thrive to this day. While Sir Edward was also a major contributor to the success of the Cairns Amateurs, he served as Queensland Turf Club chairman from 1980 to 1991 and sat on the committee from 1966 to 1993.
A two-time Australian Cup winner, Vo Rogue electrified crowds across the nation like few before - or since - with his catch-me-if-you-can brand of racing. After a modest start to his racing career, the bay gelding went on a three-year run as he secured 20 wins at Group 1 and Group 2 level including a Futurity Stakes, three Orr Stakes, two Turnbull Stakes, two Blamey Stakes and two St George Stakes. In all, Vo Rogue recorded 26 wins and 23 placings from 83 starts. Vo Rogue, who died in 2012, outlived his battling trainer Vic Rail, who was a victim of the Hendra virus in 1994.
"He had a big heart and just had a lot of natural ability. His front-running tactics sparked people up. I think racing needed that at the time," Cyril Small, who rode Vo Rogue to 22 wins, said.
Winner of the 1976 Brisbane Cup and runner-up in the 1977 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France, Balmerino (NZ) (Trictrac (Fr)/Dulcie (NZ) was trained by Brian Smith who now trains in Brisbane.
Formerly based in New Zealand and then in Sydney, Smith achieved international acclaim with Balmerino who won 16 stakes races in four different countries. Balmerino then had an equally illustrious stud career leaving 30 stakes winners including seven Group 1 winners and the dams of another 19 stakes winner including Golden Slipper winner Belle De Jour. A former jockey who rode Sea Hornet in the 1959 Sydney Cup, Smith believes Balmerino's best offspring he trained was Kessem who won the 1990 Hong Kong International Cup.
While Bowman's name will be forever linked with Winx, the 38-year-old has long been regarded as one of the world's best riders with 88 Group 1 wins across Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.
A four-time Cox Plate winner in his own right, Bowman was awarded the Longines World's Best Jockey Award in 2017 after scoring in 10 of the top-100 races across the globe. Bowman was also aboard So You Think, a fellow 2019 inductee, when the 10-time Group 1 winner secured his first black-type win in the 2009 Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill.
Gladstone BOB is good form-line
THE recent Battle of the Bush heat held at Gladstone on April 20 has provided a good form- line for subsequent heat winners.
The Gladstone heat was won by Fab's Cowboy with Malibu Affair second and Stellar Knight unplaced. Four weeks later on May 18 Malibu Affair and Stellar Knight have also qualified by winning the 1200m Charleville Newmarket and Burdekin Open at Home Hill respectively.
While Malibu Affair has made the BOB final in Brisbane in June, Australian Racing Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes has VRC Derby plans this spring for Malibu Affair's 2YO half-brother Independent Day who scored a last to first win in a 1400m 2YO race at Flemington the same day, May 18.
A 5YO gelding by Smart Missile from the Malibu Moon (USA) mare Malibu Road (USA), Malibu Affair is trained by Roma-based Craig Smith who also prepared last year's winner Timetus. In fact, Smith has won the Charleville Newmarket six times. A $30,000 buy at the 2015 Inglis Easter yearling sale, Malibu Affair is a half-brother to three winners including Independent Road and Pacific Coast - a $500,000 yearling at the 2016 New Zealand Premier yearling sale. Malibu Affair began his racing career in Victoria with a sole Ballarat maiden win in 10 starts before moving north to the Brisbane stables of the late Kelso Wood. However that stay only lasted four starts before he was acquired by Craig Smith who's won four more races with him at Roma and Charleville.
Stellar performance at Home Hill
"A STELLAR performance by Stellar Knight winning the 1180m Battle of the Bush Qualifier open handicap at Home Hill in far north Queensland on Saturday, May 19, has gained him a slot in the Battle of the Bush final to be held in Brisbane on June 23."
That's what I wrote in my column last year. Change the respective dates to May 18 and June 22, 2019 and the same applies to this year's Home Hill heat. In fact Stellar Knight joins Kakakenny and Fab's Cowboy as repeat qualifiers for this year's final.
Trained by Mackay-based Olivia Cairns, 6YO gelding Stellar Knight now has 11 wins and 10 placings from 38 starts. His first three wins came at Toowoomba where he was trained by Ben Currie before he moved north to Mackay.
By Chosir's stakes winning son Choistar, Stellar Knight is from the Kaapstad (NZ) mare Intangible (NZ) which makes him a half-brother to four other winners. Choistar demonstrated his class by winning the 1600m Listed Fernhill Handicap at Randwick as a 2YO before running fifth in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick and fourth in the Group 1 TJ Smith 2YO Plate at Eagle Farm. Later that year he then ran third in the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben behind Graceful Anna - who won the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy at her next start - and subsequent multiple Group 1 winner Shoot Out.
The other feature race on the Burdekin Race Club's seven race program was the 1830m Burdekin Cup (Benchmark 70) won by Shiranda - a 3YO gelding by Bernadini (USA) from Permeate (GB) by Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe winner Rail Link. Originally trained in Victoria by Darren Weir, Shiranda is trained at Mackay by John Manzelmann who also prepared last year's winner Captains Way.
Group 3 win ticked off Hedley's bucket list
CAIRNS racing devotee Tom Hedley has ticked off another race from his bucket list - namely a Group 3 win which has given him his greatest thrill in racing.
It happened last Saturday when Tyzone won the 1350m Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben giving the 5YO gelding his second black type success this year having won the Listed Goldmarket at the Gold Coast in March. Tyzone's win also provided his sire Written Tycoon his second black type success of the day with Despatch winning the Group 1 The Goodwood.
President of the Cairns Jockey Club for the past two years and a former president in a previous eight years stint, Hedley has raced 'hundreds of horses' over some 45 years and has maintained a continuous owner/trainer relationship with Tolga-based Roy Chillemi since 1984.
Tyzone began his racing career in North Queensland after being sold for $60,000 through Kenmore Lodge, Dulacca at the 2015 Magic Millions 2YOs in Training sale at the Gold Coast after earlier being withdrawn from the Inglis Premier Yearling sale in Melbourne.
The buyer was a North Queensland syndicate headed by Tom Hedley so the 2YO was sent to Hedley's regular trainer Roy Chillemi. The combination 'clicked' immediately with 2YO gelding starting six times in Townsville for four wins and two placings - his most important win being the $100,000 Villa Resort-Casino Classic in July 2016.
Although racing predominantly in North Queensland with a further six wins at Townsville, Cairns and Gordonvale, Tyzone faced the prospect of increasing weights so he was sent south to Toby Edmonds in March last year. Since then he has won a further six races.
Four states mentioned in despatches
FOUR states - South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland - all have links with 4YO gelding Despatch - impressive winner of South Australia's premier sprint race, the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), held at Morphettville, Adelaide, on Saturday, May 18.
Trained in SA by Tony McEvoy, Despatch was foaled in Victoria however his sire Written Tycoon and dam Zoccoletta were both bred in Queensland. In fact, Despatch becomes Written Tycoon's first SA Group 1 winner having already sired Group 1 winners in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and New Zealand.
Extending his unbeaten run this campaign to four, Despatch provided local jockey Todd Pannell with his first Group 1 success. The win was the third straight at black type level for Despatch following a win in the listed Oakbank Stakes and then Group 2 DC McKay Stakes.
Bred by Paul Dillon, Despatch was pin-hooked for $40,000 through the Woodside Park Stud draft at the 2015 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale, at the Gold Coast. The buyers were Baramul Stud manager Paul Thompson and wife Amanda, Widden, NSW, who then sold him for $195,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale to McEvoy Mitchell Racing.
Despatch is one of three winners produced by the Sydney winning Fasliyev mare Zoccoletta who has strong Argentine links. The Australian Stud Book indicates that both Zoccoletta and her dam Vita were bred by Queensland-based Sue Suduk. There are several black type winners in the family as Vita won the Group 3 Fernhill Handicap while her dam Penita was a dual Group 1 winner in Argentina before being imported to Australia. In addition to Zoccoletta, Vita also produced Tawafeej who was exported back to Argentina where she produced Tahanee - a dual Group 3 winner in Argentina who was then imported back to Australia and subsequently became a Flemington winner and runner-up in the Group 2 Queen of the South Stakes.
Tahanee is catalogued at the upcoming Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. She heads to the sale after a September cover by Pride of Dubai and will be presented in the draft of Segenhoe Stud Australia. She is a member of a quality supplementary catalogue and is Lot 1935.
MM Up and Coming Stayers Series update
MACKAY trainer Hohn Manzelmann remains on top of the 2019 Magic Millions FNQ Up and Coming Stayers Series as the half-way mark approaches.
Manzelmann (8pts), who won the series in 2017, is three points clear from defending champion Trevor Rowe (5pts).
Developed by the FNQ race clubs, the series is a group of races with above standard prize money, specifically programmed to cater for racehorses rated less than Open Class. The series does not culminate in a final, but there is an owners and trainers bonus based on points accrued across the eight races.
Manzelmann has won two heats of the series, including the opener at Einasleigh with Sirius Witness and the Gordonvale heat with Shiranda who subsequently won the Burdekin Cup at Home Hill last Saturday. Wanderson D'Avila leads the jockeys' title, while Sirius Witness, The Fox Effect and Shiranda share the lead for the horse's title with three points apiece.
Outback Series final looms
WITH one heat remaining in the 2019 Outback Racing Showcase Series, all roads lead to Richmond for the $30,000 Final on June 15.
The Henry Forster-trained Heroism is leading on points ahead of the final heat at Mount Isa on May 25. Sitting closely behind in second is the Bob Burow-trained Good Job Bro.
Heat winners are exempt from the ballot for the final. For horses to be eligible for the great prize money on offer in the final, horses must have earned points in a minimum of one heat.
High quality for MM Broodmare supplementary
THE catalogue for the star-studded 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale has been enhanced with a quality-packed supplementary released.
Featuring 51 lots, the supplementary catalogue includes 20 race fillies and maiden mares, one stallion, seven stallion nominations and 20 broodmares. Highlights among the newly catalogued lots include Erato - young dam of this year's Blue Diamond Stakes winner Lyre (covered by Russian Revolution) - as well as the dams of Group 1 winner Leicester (Fastnet Rock) and explosive sprinter Invincible Star (I Am Invincible). Among the new race fillies and maiden mares are stakes performers I'll Have A Bit, Ellicazoom, Prom Queen, Everyday Lady, Snogging, Marcellina, Million, Problem Solver, Bubbles'n'troubles, Indrabeel and Plucky Girl. The seven stallion nominations to Capitalist, Dundeel, Encryption, Hellbent, Mendelssohn, Press Statement and Sidestep are being sold with all proceeds to injured jockey Tye Angland. All of the new lots are now included in the online catalogue and via Equineline for iPad users.
The Taj Mahal joins MM National Sale
ONE of the best bred stallion prospects in the world has joined the supplementary catalogue for the 2019 Magic Millions National Sale.
The impeccably bred The Taj Mahal, a multiple Group 2 winner and member of one of the world's best and most current families, will join three other stallion prospects to go under the hammer at the conclusion of Day 1 of the National Broodmare Sale on May 28.
Winner of the last two runnings of the Group 2 Zipping Classic at Sandown, The Taj Mahal is by world champion sire Galileo and from the group winning champion producer You'resothrilling. The Taj Mahal is a full-brother to Group 1 winners Gleneagles, Happily and Marvellous, and a brother in blood to fellow Group 1 winner Decorated Knight.
Gleneagles, a champion at two and three in Europe, is standing at Coolmore Stud in Ireland and his first runner Highland Chief was a winner.
"The Taj Mahal was a tough, genuine horse who was unlucky not to win a Group 1 in Australia. He ran in some of the biggest Group 1 races in both hemispheres. It's not often a horse with such an incredible pedigree has the looks to match," part-owner Nick Williams said.