The Mill Park Raised Waging War missed his big chance at a Group 1 a year ago when he was scratched at the barriers in the South Australian Derby, but few who saw him win first-up on Saturday at Caulfield would doubt that more such chances lay in the horse's future.
Starting at $8.50, Waging War sat second-last in the field of seven in the VOBIS Gold Mile but then extended to run away from his rivals and have a three-length margin over the $3.50 favourite Widgee Turf, with Sword Of Light ($4.40) in third place.
Jockey Ben Allen said felt the horse was in for a big campaign as he too was surprised with the way he let down after turning for home.
"That was huge and to sprint away from a field like that shows he's in for a big prep," Allen said.
Waging War is bred to stay being by co-trainer Leon Macdonald's Victoria Derby winner Rebel Raider out of a Galileo mare. In 15 starts he has now won six times and Saturday's winning prize of $137,500 saw his earnings top $300,000.
Saddling up the four-year-old was Macdonald's former right-hand man Andrew Noblet, who trains in his own right at Caulfield.
He said the SA veteran had told him the horse was going well and that he had a good opinion of him as a stayer but was worried that the weight scale - which saw him carry the same weight as the likes of favourite Widgee Turf and So Si Bon - might play against him.
Anybody who owns a broodmare knows how hard it is to get one that leaves a stakes-winner, let alone four of them!.
The $100,000 Listed Oakbank Stakes on Easter Saturday was won by spritely eight year-old Heart of a Lion, who is prepared at Morphettville by Lloyd Kennewell.
A $42,000 Magic Millions Adelaide purchase for his trainer from the Mill Park draft, Heart Of A Lion has been a good tough consistent sprinter for the stable since he won on debut at Balaklava back in November 2012.
Stakes placed twice earlier in his career, the son of former Coolmore shuttler Lion Heart (USA) dashed clear to win the 1100 metre Oakbank Stakes by a length and a quarter taking his overall record to 11 wins and 12 placings from 35 starts with prizemoney in excess of $400,000.
Bred by Brenton and Liz Parker and raised at Mill Park, Heart of a Lion is from outstanding producer Madame Flurry, who has had seven foals to race for six winners.
Her stellar list of offspring is headed by triple Group I winner and $3.2 million earner Happy Trails (Good Journey (USA), Group III winner Danish Twist (Dane Shadow), who was third in the Group I ATC Coolmore Classic last year and has won nearly $900,000 in prizemoney, this season’s stakes-winning three year-old All Too Huiying (All Too Hard)and now a fourth stakes-winner in Heart of a Lion.
A minor winner by Perugino (USA), Madame Flurry is a half-sister to stakes-winner Lake Villa and stakes-placed Flurry’s Autumn, who has also proven a stakes producer leaving Group III winner Royal Sash, the dam of Group winners Sabatini and Vivi Veloce.
This remarkable mare turns 18 this year and still has some unraced stock to come.
Her Sebring yearling filly was sold at Inglis Premier earlier this year by Mill Park for $210,000 to Kennewell Racing and she has a weanling filly by Shooting to Win.
Madame Flurry was covered again last spring by All too Huiying’s sire All Too Hard.
Young Flemington trainer Levi Kavanagh struck on day one of his his former hometown Adelaide sale for a Eurozone (Northern Meteor) colt who is closely related to seven-time stakes winner, Catapulted (Catbird).
Consigned by Mill Park Stud as Lot 31, the colt is the second foal out of the winning mare Fast And Loose (Fastnet Rock), who is a half-sister to Catapulted, who was trained by Kavanagh’s father Mark.
He also trained Fast And Loose, who won a Ballarat maiden from seven starts and was fourth in the Queen Adelaide Stakes (Listed, 1050m) as a juvenile at her second start.
Fast And Loose’s first foal, a filly by I Am Invincible, was bought by Malua Bloodstock, Spicer Thoroughbreds and Noorilim Park for $150,000 at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.
Levi Kavanagh told ANZ Bloodstock News the Eurozone colt looked a lot like Catapulted, who remains on the family farm near Melbourne in retirement.
“He looks very similar to Catapulted type wise and he is still out at our farm. He was a great racehorse and nearly got to $1,000,000 (in prize money) and he is part of the family down there and this horse likes like he might be able to run early,” Kavanagh said.
Kavanagh said the colt’s Newgate Farm-based stallion Eurozone, whose first crop two-year-olds include stakes winner Krone, was starting to make his mark and was not surprised the yearling made six figures.
“The sire is starting to do some good things, so it is a breed we are happy with,” he said.
“My father also trained his mum Fast And Loose who ran fourth in a Listed race, but she didn’t race for that long.
“We probably wouldn’t have gone any higher for him, but he is such a nice type he stood out, so he was always going to bring good money.”
Australia’s reigning champion sire Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) also proved popular yesterday, with a colt selling for $450,000 and two others making $300,000.
The highest-priced colt was purchased by Darren Weir Racing and John Foote Bloodstock from the draft of Mill Park Stud as Lot 528.
The colt is the third foal out of the Group Two-placed mare Miss With Attitude (Galileo), who is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Oui Si Attitude (Bianconi).
Miss With Attitude’s only foal to race, Plagiarist (Dalakhani), is a Sydney metropolitan-placed colt trained by Chris Waller.
Foote bought the colt for a Hong Kong-based client of Weir’s, with the horse to remain in Australia at least in the short-term before a decision is made on whether to race him in the Asian racing capital.
“He will stay here and he then might possibly go to Hong Kong, but the owner races quite a few here as well,” Foote said.
“It is hard to buy the nice horses here. People are saying the sale is down, but if you line up to buy the nice horses it is not easy.
“If you go to buy a horse like that at Easter he will make that and probably more. He is nicely bred. Yulong were the under bidder’s, so you have got to be strong to beat them.”
Mill Park Stud’s Chris Watson was pleased that the colt was going to the leading Victorian stable of Weir.
“It is an absolutely fantastic result. We were thrilled for that colt to go to that combination in a great judge in John Foote and trainer in Darren Weir,” Watson told ANZ Bloodstock News.
A mare bought in foal to current leading first season sire Zoustar (Northern Meteor) paid an immediate dividend for her owner when the colt sold for $340,000 yesterday to China Horse Club.
Consigned by Mill Park Stud as Lot 26, the colt is the first foal out of five-time winner Ravenous Lass (Stratum) who is a half-sister to the juvenille winner and MRC Autumn Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) winner San Nicasio (Hard Spun).
Ravenous Lass was purchased in foal to Zoustar by Hancock Quality Bloodstock for $210,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale from the Laceby Lodge Stud draft.
“He was raised on our farm for a client of ours, Brenton Parker, who have been long-time supporters of us,” Mill Park Stud’s Chris Watson told ANZ Bloodstock News.
“He has bred horses like Danish Twist, All Too Huiying and Happy Trails, so he has been a great breeder in the past and hopefully this colt can do something similar.”
Watson was delighted with the price the colt made yesterday.
“It was a fantastic result and being by a lovely up and coming stallion in Zoustar we expected him to sell very well,” Watson said.
“He certainly sold beyond our expectations and has gone to a terrific home in China Horse Club who have been great supporters of ours in the past.”
Ravenous Lass has a weanling filly by Zoustar at Mill Park Stud and is in foal to Darley-based first season sire Astern (Medaglia d’Oro).
China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace said the Super Vobis-eligible colt was likely to be trained in Victoria. He was bought wholly by China Horse Club as opposed to by the colts syndicate that includes Newgate Farm and other parties.
Only last week, the syndicate retired dual Group One winner Russian Revolution (Snitzel) to Newgate Farm.Wallace said the colt was the only horse on his list at this week’s Melbourne sale.
“He is a China Horse Club horse who fits the mould of what we are trying to do, being a shorter coupled two-year-old type,” Wallace said, “We are being pretty selective about what we are trying to buy this year and he is the horse who fitted out mould here.
“We are not too worried about price and historically $340,000 is about where most good horses come from. That is around the average we try to work off and that is a formula that is working.”
Wallace said the introduction of the $1,000,000 The Showdown (1200m) for two-year-olds by Vobis-nominated Victorian stallions to be run for the first time next year made it an attractive proposition to have the colt trained in Victoria.
“We are undecided about a trainer but he is a Melbourne horse and there are some incentives involved around that now,” he said.
Zoustar, who stands on rotation at Woodside Park Stud in Victoria and Widden Stud in New South Wales, averaged $223,333 yesterday from three lots sold and ended the day with an aggregate of $670,000. China Horse Club has one Zoustar two-year-old in training with Chris Waller and has also bought a number of yearlings by him so far this year.
News: ANZ Bloodstock News
The build up to the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale might be in full swing, but for leading South Australian nursery Mill Park it's just the start of a busy two weeks with the Magic Millions Yearling Sale in Adelaide to follow hot on its heels on March 13 and 14.
The Watson family run Mill Park is a name synonymous with quality and the list of superior runners raised on their vast paddocks is a virtual who's who of Australian racing.
Fawkner, Southern Speed, Happy Trails, Rebel Raider, Serious Speed, Captain Sonador, Go Indy Go, the list goes on… with the current star performer being exciting three year-old filly Booker.
A $230,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Mill Park draft, Booker was a Group II winner in the spring and ran a game fourth last Saturday in the Group I MRC Oakleigh Plate behind Russian Revolution beaten less than half a length.
The daughter of Written Tycoon has already won over $400,000 in prizemoney and promises to be the next Group I winner to fly the Mill Park flag.
Mill Park will offer a draft of 15 at Magic Millions Adelaide with highlights below:
Lot 30 Colt Master of Design x Fartoo Flashy, by Galileo (IRE)
Half-brother to Group III winner Waging War.
Lot 31 Colt Eurozone x Fast and Loose, by Fastnet Rock
Second foal of a winning half-sister to Group II winner Catapulted, from the family of Group I winner Ihtsahymn and Group III winner Jukebox.
Lot 78 Colt Dream Ahead (USA) x Jungfrau, by Commands
Full brother to a winner and is fourth foal of an unraced half-sister to stakes-winner Court Connection and daughter of stakes-winner Imperatrix from the family of Group I winners Curata Storm and Voile D'Or.
Lot 82 Filly Uncle Mo (USA) x Kissable, by Exceed and Excel
From a winning daughter of Group II winner Regal Kiss from the family of Group I Blue Diamond winner Undoubtedly.
Lot 101 Colt Declaration of War (USA) x Livia, by Galileo (IRE)
Half-brother to smart Adelaide winner Galaxy Gazer from the family of this season's stakes-winning juvenile Nomothaj.
Lot 174 Colt Rebel Raider x Reliability, by Kurofone (Jpn)
Full brother to stakes-winner Pretty Punk, who has since won the Group III Hobart Cup since the catalogue went to print.
Lot 268 Colt Dalakhani (IRE) x Amalgamate, by Zenno Rob Roy (Jpn)
First foal of Oakbank Onkaparinga Cup winner Amalgamate from the family of stakes-winners Mowglii and Kipling.
Lot 276 Filly Foxwedge x Anley, by Snaadee (USA)
Half-sister to 2010 Macau Horse of the Year Golden Star, from the family of Group III winner Friday Creek.
A weekend of success for Mill Park graduates continued on Sunday with a brave victory in the Group III Hobart Cup for tough staying mare Pretty Punk, a daughter of dual Derby winner Rebel Raider.
Her trainers Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas won Friday's Bow Mistress Trophy with Gogo Grace, who earned a $90,000 winner's cheque, before Pretty Punk banked $150,000 for her connections with her Hobart Cup victory.
Apprentice Ben Allen made the most of a pick-up ride that become available whenCraig Williams was suspended at Sandown last Wednesday.
Allen allowed Pretty Punk to roll forward to sit second, handy to a slow speed set by Earl Da Vinci, before midrace moves from other runners gave the mare some cover in the back straight.
Allen let Pretty Punk stride forward to join the leaders in the home turn, easing the four year-old to the outside part of the track while she defied the challengers to score by a short neck over the $3.40 favourite Andrea Mantegna.
Macdonald said Allen's ride was the difference between winning and losing.
"We brought her down here to win obviously, but when you get here races obviously get harder, and it looked a pretty even race between three or four horses I thought," Macdonald said.
"I know all jockeys ride well when they win but that was a superb ride by Benny Allen. I couldn't get over the run he gave her. If he had been beaten he had still made all the right moves."
Macdonald said he and Gluyas needed to decide whether to take Pretty Punk home for the Adelaide Cup next month or remain in Tasmania for the Launceston Cup on Wednesday week.
A homebred for Harry Perks that was raised at Mill Park as was last Friday's Bow Mistress winner Gogogo Grace, Pretty Punk has the overall record of six wins and six seconds from 24 starts with prizemoney topping $430,000.
Now a two time stakes-winner, she is the best of three winners from Reliability, who has a yearling colt by Pretty Punk's sire Rebel Raider that will be offered by Mill Park at the 2018 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale as Lot 174.
Pretty Punk was the third weekend stakes-winner raised/ sold by Mill Park joining Gogo Grace and also exciting prospect Booker, winner of the Group III MRC Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield. Click here to read about them.
Mill Park graduates enjoyed a stakes double over the weekend with progressive mare Gogo Grace taking out the Group III Bow Mistress Stakes in Tasmania on Friday, while exciting three year-old filly Booker returned from a summer break to score a dominant win in the Group III MRC Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield.
The Group 1 MRC Oakleigh Plate is in the sights of the big-hearted Booker after the three-year-old daughter of Written Tycoon defied all challengers to win the 1200 metre sprint by a length and a half.
Racing for the first time since finishing unplaced in the Group I MRC Thousand Guineas over 1600m last October after winning the Group II MRC Thousand Guineas Prelude at her previous start, Booker advanced her record to three wins and three placings from seven starts with earnings of $393,750.
"Today was a terrific win and the Oakleigh Plate is the aim," said co-trainer Matt Ellerton, who prepares the filly with Simon Zahra.
"She should get in with no weight, the problem will be getting a run.
"Dwayne (Dunn) was able to control the race from the front today and she cornered terrific.
"She's strengthened from the spring and is an impressive filly now, she's like a colt."
A $230,000 purchase by part-owner Barry Griffith from the Mill Park Stud draft at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling sale, Booker is the first foal of the winning Flying Spur mare Noondie who is a half-sister to stakes-winner Tranquillity out of stakes-winner Creatrix from the family of Group I winner Umrum.
Mill Park sold the yearling full brother (pictured below) to Booker at the recent Magic Millions for $600,000 to Bruce Perry Bloodstock. She foaled a Starspangledbanner colt last spring and was bred back to Written Tycoon's Golden Slipper-winning son Capitalist.