First Win for Pirapala

The most expensive filly from the first crop of Sepoy, Pirapala cast off maiden status at her first run for a new trainer at Tatura on Monday.

Four year-old Pirapala started her career in Sydney with Gerald Ryan placing twice at Wyong and Warwick Farm last year.

She had one unplaced run at Randwick in February and was subsequently transferred to the Hayes Dabernig training partnership.

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Sent out a short priced favourite, Pirapala powered to the line from back in the field to win the 1100 metre maiden by two and a half lengths.

An $850,000 Magic Millions purchase for China Horse Club from the Mill Park draft, Pirapala is the first winner for stakes-winning Starcraft mare Celebrity Girl, a half-sister to the dam of Group III winner Generalife and daughter of stakes-winner Dashing Granada.

Mill Park sold an I Am Invincible colt from Celebrity Girl at Magic Millions this year for $300,000 to Sun Bloodstock and she was covered last spring by Not a Single Doubt.
 

Snitzel Flyer Salutes

With the favourite Miss Vista finishing out of the money in the Ladbrokes 55 second Challenge heat on Friday night it was left to speedy Snitzel mare Modern Wonder to claim victory.

A stakes-winner on debut at two and then Group III placed last season at three, the Leon and Troy Corstens trained mare was fit and ready to fire at her third run back from a spell.

She stalked the leaders from gate one for Ben Melham and surged clear to win the 955 metre dash by three quarters of a length.

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A $175,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Mill Park draft for Malua Bloodstock/ Bahen Bloodstock, Modern Wonder has two wins and four placings from 11 starts with prizemoney topping $160,000.

Bred by Mill Park and partners, Modern Wonder is from the stakes-placed winner Elusive Wonder, a half-sister by Elusive Quality (USA) to stakes-winner Tantra and to the dam of stakes-winner Oak Park.

Elusive Wonder has a yearling filly by I Am Invincible and has foaled this spring producing another filly (pictured below) by Modern Wonder’s sire Snitzel.

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Filly Bookends Memorable Weekend

Swings and roundabouts … peaks and troughs … highs and lows.

The thoroughbred industry is littered with good/back luck stories and if you stick with it long enough you’re assured of experiencing both.

Take Barrie and Midge Griffiths for instance. They’ve had a lot of success over the years and are grateful for it : Melbourne Cup winner, Tawrrific, Caulfield Cup winner, Mannerism, 3-time Group One winner, Northwood Plume. A Thousand Guineas winner in Azzurro as well.

Lots of winners, but when the coin flips to racing’s setbacks, they’ve seen that movie too.

On Friday night at Moonee Valley, the Griffiths’ owned, Heatherly – one of the leading sprinting mares in Australia – lined up in the Group One Moir Stakes, only to finish last of 13.

Turns out she had bled from both nostrils (for the second time) and according to our rules of racing, was immediately retired from the track: a sizeable blow when you consider the well bred Lonhro mare was a multiple stakes winner and finished second behind Extreme Choice in last year’s Moir.

Yet, less than 48 hours later, the highly promising Written Tycoon filly, Booker – carrying the Griffiths’ light blue, yellow checks and red cap – raced right into Group One Thousand Guineas contention with a thrilling victory in the Group Two Thousand Guineas Prelude over 1400m at Caulfield.

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It was some win too with Booker lowering the colours of the previously unbeaten, Shoals, along with last start Group Two Danehill Stakes (and Group One Blue Diamond) winner, Catchy.

“It was definitely a ‘weekend’ to remember,” Barrie Griffiths admits. “It’s tough when a horse like Heatherly bows out that way, but she should have a promising future in the breeding barn. We’ve certainly had a lot of interest from prospective buyers who clearly think so.

“As for Booker, her performance was outstanding, particularly against that field. Mat (Ellerton) and Simon (Zahra) will decide over the next few days as to whether she presses on for the Thousand Guineas, or stick to the shorter courses where the (Group One) Coolmore Stakes over 1200m on 4 November could be an option.”

Leading into Sunday’s race, Booker had been placed in the National (as a 2YO), the McNeil and Danehill – all at Group level – and has now raced on five occasions for two wins, three placings and $286,000 in stakes.

Griffiths is a familiar presence at yearling sales and says that Booker was a real “stand out” when he first clapped eyes on her at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. One of the features of the Mill Park Stud draft, the filly was eventually knocked down to Griffiths for $230,000.

(It was the equal fourth highest price paid for a Written Tycoon yearling in 2016 who, at the time of Booker’s conception, stood for just $13,750).

“I thought she (Booker) was the best filly in the sale,” Griffiths points out. “Some times they just really appeal to you … they have this great presence about them. Heatherly was the same.

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“Anyway, Booker was bred by Tony Fairburn and Bill Rigg who have both been mates forever and they also decided to keep a share and race her with Midge and I. After Sunday, it’s fairly safe to say that they’re glad they did.”

The Griffiths’ originally owned Darley’s Northwood Park property at Seymour in Victoria, selling the property to Sheikh Mohammed in 2006, but keeping 2,000 acres next door where they run mainly cattle but a few horses as well.

“We’ve cut right back on our breeding but still race and sell a couple here and there,” Griffiths adds. “We usually race around three or four at a time and mainly fillies and mares, but we’ve also got a couple of colts which are both siblings to Booker – a 2YO Helmet half brother and a yearling colt by Written Tycoon.

“I love that family … Booker’s dam, Noondie, is a winning Flying Spur mare and a three quarter sister to Perth stakes winner Tranquility, while she’s also related to dual Toorak winner, Umrum, Danehill winner, Tan Tat De Lago and that good horse who won the Classic Mile and Classic Cup in Hong Kong, Sun Jewellery.”

Mill Park’s Chris Watson fully concurs with Griffiths assessment of the filly and believes she was the real stand out of his Melbourne draft.

“It’s easy to see why Barrie liked her so much,” Watson recalls. “Right from the word go she was a ripping specimen … very strong, just had a real presence about her. You naturally hope that everything coming off your farm does well, but let’s put it this way, she’s definitely one that hasn’t surprised me with her ability on the track.”

But is she in the same mould as other notable Mill Park ‘graduates’ such as Fawkner, Go Indy Go, Happy Trails, Mummify, Gold Guru and Divine Madonna?

“Well, it’s a bit early to tell, but based on her run on Sunday, against that opposition, she’s definitely heading in the right direction."

Story from Aushorse

Guineas Prelude Winner Sold by Mill Park

The Group II MRC Guineas Prelude for fillies at Caulfield on Sunday was won with a tenacious performance from talented filly Booker, a $230,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Mill Park draft for Barry Griffiths.

Sitting up on the pace set by Mahlani, Dwayne Dunn set the Written Tycoon filly alight coming around the home turn and had enough in hand to fend off the challenges of the favoured Fastnet Rock fillies Shoals and Catchy.

Under the set weights with penalties conditions of the 1400 metre race Booker had the advantage of carrying 55kgs while runner-up Shoals had 57kgs and Catchy 58.5 kgs.

In recording her first stakes success, the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Booker defeated the previously unbeaten Shoals by a long-neck with Group I Blue Diamond Stakes heroine Catchy doing her best work late for third a short-head further back.

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Placed behind Catchy in the Group II VRC Danehill Stakes at Flemington and behind Merchant Navy the Group III MRC McNeill Stakes at Caulfield, Booker advances her record to two wins, two seconds and a third from just five starts with earnings of $286,000.

"She got a bit of a speed pedigree, but she's got a lot of stamina there as well," Dunn said.

"Getting to the bend I was under a little bit of pressure, she came back under me good and she wanted to lay out a little bit like she did the other day, but it was a good effort against some really top-quality fillies.

"Today we wanted to take the race by the scruff of the neck and try and try and be there, we're going to the mile next time so make sure that she could run it.

"It is a really good box to tick and hopefully she can win the Thousand Guineas."

Matthew Ellerton saidBooker will likely press on to the Group 1 MRC Thousand Guineas at Caulfield in a fortnight.

"She did a bit of work early, we were always going to be positive and she was good enough to hold on," Ellerton said.

"She is a filly that doesn't get under much pressure at home so she is probably still learning to let down. Both starts here she's wobbled around the bend, she is just getting used to that race day pressure I think.

"She probably didn't want much further today, but she did do a little bit of work early and she does have a bit of improvement to come."

Booker is the first foal of Noondie, a three-quarter sister by Flying Spur to stakes-winner Tranquility from stakes-winner Creatrix.

Noondie has a yearling full brother to Booker and has foaled this spring producing a colt by Starspangledbanner.
 

Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude To Mill Park Sold Booker

Sitting up on the pace set by Mahlani, Dwayne Dunn set the Written Tycoon filly Booker alight coming around the home turn and had enough in hand to fend off the challenges of the favoured Fastnet Rock fillies Shoals and Catchy in Sunday's $200,000 Group II Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield.

Under the set weights with penalties conditions of the race Booker carried 55kgs while runner-up Shoals had 57kgs and Catchy 58.5 kgs and that may have been the story of the race.

In recording her first stakes success, the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Booker defeated the previously unbeaten Shoals by a long-neck with Group I Blue Diamond Stakes heroine Catchy doing her best work late for third a short-head further back. (photo Darryl Sherer).

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Placed behind Catchy in the Group II Danehill Stakes at Flemington and behind Merchant Navy the Group III McNeill Stakes at Caulfield, Booker advances her record to 2 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third from 5 starts with earnings of $286,000.

"She got a bit of a speed pedigree, but she's got a lot of stamina there as well," Dunn said.

"Getting to the bend I was under a little bit of pressure, she came back under me good and she wanted to lay out a little bit like she did the other day, but it was a good effort against some really top-quality fillies.

"Today we wanted to take the race by the scruff of the neck and try and try and be there, we're going to the mile next time so make sure that she could run it.

"It is a really good box to tick and hopefully she can win the Thousand Guineas."

Matthew Ellerton said the daughter of Written Tycoon will likely press on to the Group 1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield in a fortnight.

 "She did a bit of work early, we were always going to be positive and she was good enough to hold on," Ellerton said.

"She is a filly that doesn't get under much pressure at home so she is probably still learning to let down. Both starts here she's wobbled around the bend, she is just getting used to that race day pressure I think.

"She probably didn't want much further today, but she did do a little bit of work early and she does have a bit of improvement to come."

A $230,000 purchase by part-owner Barry Griffith from 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 Listed winner Tranquillity out of the Belmont Guineas winner Creatrix (Umatilla) who is a three-0quarter sister to 2-time Group I Toorak Handicap winner Umrum and to the dam of  multiple Group II winner Tan Tat Delago (Encosta de Lago).

Noondie has a 2yo colt by Helmet and a yearling colt by Written Tycoon. She foaled a Starspangledbanner colt on August 13, pictured below.

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Flying Under The Radar

Medaglia D'Oro (USA) already has a very good three year-old colt stepping out for him in Astoria, who won the Group III Spring Stakes last Friday at Newcastle and at Morphettville on Saturday we saw a filly that looms as the next 'Guru' to taste Black Type success.

A homebred for renowned breeder Harry Perks and partners, the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas trained Glam Guru was in a class of her own when opening up to win by four and a half lengths over 1300 metres as favourite.

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Glam Guru had two unremarkable starts in stakes company as a juvenile, but has returned a mus stronger more tractable filly and after winning first up at Morphettville last month has now won two of four starts.

Raised at Mill Park as have been all her famous relatives, Glam Guru is a half-sister to Group III winner Gamblin' Guru and Group III placed Gossip Guru from Glory Guru, a half-sister by Fusaichi Pegasus (USA) to Champion Australian 3YO Gold Guru and Group II winner Gallant Guru.

Given the success of this family and promise of her win on Saturday, Glam Guru will be well watched fi she pops up in Melbourne in a stakes races this spring and holds an entry for the Group I MRC Thousand Guineas.

Spring Goals for Promising Mill Park Sold Fillies

The opening race at Caulfield on Saturday was won in good style by lightly raced Sepoy filly Watchmespin, a $150,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Mill Park draft with Group I aspirations.

The Danny O’Brien trained filly broke her maiden at Seymour at her second start and had no trouble bringing that good form into tougher Saturday company to score a good win.

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A drifter in the betting she settled back in the seven horse field and surged home to win the 1400 metre contest by three-quarters of a length.

“She’s a beautiful style of filly and we’ve always had a really big opinion of her,” O’Brien said.

“We were just waiting until she turned three and we’re really looking forward to getting her out over probably a mile and further.”

Watchmespin will be entered in all the big fillies Black type races over the spring.

“On all of the stuff we see at home she’ll step out to 2000 metres and possibly a mile and a half when she gets a bit more seasoned,” O’Brien said.

Raised at Mill Park, Watchmespin is a half-sister to Group III placed Dream First and is the third winner from three foals to race from Tobouggie Woogie, a half-sister to Group II winner Majestic Music from the family of Group I MRC Thousand Guineas winner Serious Speed.

She is the last foal of Tobouggie Woogie, who died in 2014.

Later in the program Written Tycoon filly Booker lost no admirers with her brave second to star colt Merchant Navy in the Group III MRC HDF McNeil Stakes at her first run of the spring.

Prepared by Matt Ellerton and Simon Zahra, Booker won on debut in May and was second in the Group III SAJC National Stakes before spelling.

She looked all over a winner in the McNeil before being caught late by the colt, so appears to have returned in exceptional order.

A $230,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Mill Park draft, Booker is the first winner for Noondie, a three-quarter sister by Flying Spur to stakes-winner Tranquility from stakes-winner Creatrix.

Noondie has a yearling colt by Written Tycoon and has already foaled this spring producing a colt by Starspangledbanner.

Set to Foal

First foal of the season, the Written Tycoon x Obsidian Dragon filly foaled August 1.

First foal of the season, the Written Tycoon x Obsidian Dragon filly foaled August 1.

In the coming months it will be a busy time for the entire breeding industry with thousands of mares to foal as well as many to visit stallions around the country and Mill Park Stud is no different, with our mares set to foal down before heading off to be covered – hoping to produce the next Champion of the turf. 

With so many new and exciting stallions heading to Australia this season as well as the current proven ones, it is such a hard decision as to where to send them…

Some of the mares under our care due to foal are listed below. 

  • Dane Belltar, the dam of Group 1 winner Fawkner and Group 2 winner Tanby is in foal to More Than Ready, having produced a filly by Shooting To Win last season

  • Elegant Eagle (NZ), the dam of Group 1 winner Go Indy Go and Group 3 winner Essay Raider was covered by exciting New Zealand stallion Tavistock last season

  • Elusive Wonder, dam of juvenile stakes winner Modern Wonder is due to foal to this season’s soon to be crowned Champion Sire Snitzel

  • Hussy By Choice, the well related Hussonet mare will foal to Not A Single Doubt after producing an I Am Invincible filly at her first season last year

  • Molto Bene, the Group 3-winning half-sister to Group 1 winner Mourinho will foal to Hinchinbrook after producing a Redoute’s Choice colt last season

  • Pasadoble, a three-quarter sister to Group 3 winner Diamond Earth, will foal to Written Tycoon

  • The Quick One, lightly raced daughter of Group 1 winner Il Quello Veloce, from the family of Group 1 winners Terravista, Tiger Tees and Super Easy, will foal to Horse of the Year Dissident in his first season at stud

While our plans are still being finalised, we aim to send mares to exciting new sires Astern, American Pharoah, Frosted, Mikki Isle, Extreme Choice and Capitalist while supporting many successful sires such as Snitzel, All Too Hard, Foxwedge, Not A Single Doubt, I Am Invincible, Rebel Raider and many more. 

Make sure you stay tuned on our website and social media platforms for any foaling news – exciting times ahead!

To view the complete August Newsletter, click HERE.

Track Talk

We’ve seen some great performances from Mill Park Stud bred, raised and or sold graduates over the last twelve months, plus we were also represented by our first Group 1 performer in South Africa!

Guard Of Honour, Gretna, Pretty Punk, Girl Sunday, Mall It In, It’s A Myth, Booker, Cappadocia, Waging War, All Too Huiying and Danish Twist to name but a few have kept up the outstanding farm tradition by performing exceptionally well on the track.

Special mention must go to the talented Dane Shadow mare Danish Twist (pictured above) who is a possibility to head to stud this season for her connections. In the last twelve months she has finished in the top five in five stakes races including a narrow third in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill Gardens.

A stakes-winning half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner and Mill Park graduate Happy Trails, Danish Twist is a mare that any stud master would be proud to have on their farm.

Of the young brigade coming through, interestingly it is the half-brother to Happy Trails and Danish Twist in All Too Hard colt, All Too Huiying (pictured below as a yearling), who could prove an exciting three-year-old and one to watch. 

While still a maiden, the Gary Moore-trained colt was stakes placed on two occasions including a third behind Whispered Secret at Listed level with that winner going on to record a Group 1 third next time out.

The Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Booker (pictured below), a juvenile filly by Written Tycoon produced an exciting debut victory in May at Flemington before heading to Adelaide and finishing second in the Group 3 National Stakes, with fellow Mill Park Stud graduate It’s A Myth (Sepoy) taking third in the same race.

Morphettville Racecourse has always been a happy hunting ground for Mill Park Stud graduates and in the last 12 months two noteworthy stakes winners at the track were Listed Hill Smith Stakes winner Pretty Punk (pictured below), a daughter of Rebel Raider, who is in turn himself a dual Group 1-winning son of Reset, raised and sold by the farm.

Speaking of Reset, another stakes winner by the Darley-based sire that has been raised at the farm is Mail It In, a four-year-old who defeated war horse Extra Zero to win the Listed Birthday Cup by almost four lengths before a length fourth in the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes.

An exciting experience for the team was to see Naafer, a colt by Lonhro that we sold at the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale to Shadwell Stud put in some great performances in South Africa for the Mike de Kock stable.

Second on his debut, the colt was too good at his second start before being thrown into the deep end at his third. Finishing second to stablemate and Champion Two-year-old contender Mustaaqeem in the Group 1 SA Nursery, Naafer (pictured below) went to contest another two stakes races before being turned out for a break, and he should come back as three-year-old to watch!

As we head into the new season in a few weeks it is always an exciting, as well as nervous time awaiting the new crop of two-year-old’s to step out on the track, so stay tuned!

To view the complete August Newsletter, click HERE.

Sale Season Success

With the completion of the 2016-2017 racing season and the commencement of the new breeding season on August 1, the Mill Park Stud team reflect on what a great season we’ve had not only with our graduates on the track, but how our yearlings have sold at the sales.

The sale season kicked off in January with Mill Park Stud heading to the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast with a draft of seven select yearlings.

Averaging $280,000 a piece, our top price was $500,000 paid for our first through the ring, Lot 38, the I Am Invincible x Furline filly (pictured below) that was purchased by Stonestreet, Peter Leidel, Aquis Farm and Blue Sky Bloodstock.

Another yearling by I Am Invincible, this time out of You’re Discreet which sold as Lot 582, was knocked down for $350,000 to China Horse Club, Newgate Farm and Winstar Farm.

A colt from the first crop of Darley’s Dawn Approach (Lot 483) made $240,000 to Astute Bloodstock, and until we sold another colt by the sire at Easter later in the year, the price paid was the top price for a yearling by the Group 1-winning son of New Approach.

Next stop for the team was the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale where the six yearlings consigned all found homes.

Leading the way for the draft was Lot 110, a colt (pictured below) from the first crop of Epsom Derby winner Camelot out of the stakes placed Galileo mare Miss With Attitude. Knocked down for $280,000 to Heywood Bloodstock and Mayfair Speculators, the colt will head to the South African stable of Joey Ramsden.

Another who sold well was Lot 27, a filly from the first crop of dual Group 1 winner Zoustar. Out of the winning More Than Ready mare Lassie Mactavish, who has already produced the Group 1 performer Platinum Balos, the filly was secured by Kavanagh Racing for $165,000.

With what seemed like back to back sales, we took a large draft to the Adelaide Magic Millions with Lindsay Park going to $110,000 to take home Lot 298, our Choisir colt who is out of a half-sister to Group 1 winner Zip Zip Aray.

Group 1 Golden Slipper trainer Gary Portelli purchased the Not A Single Doubt x Melania filly (pictured below) for $100,000, while another to make the same figure in the ring was Lot 198, the flashy looking Mossman x Moreau colt secured by John Richardson.

Rewarded for our great draft, Mill Park Stud ended the sale as the Leading Vendor by averages – a great result for all the team.

Our final sale of the year was the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale where we presented a small but select draft of five. Averaging $400,000 Shadwell Stud secured the top lot from our draft, the Snitzel x Dance On Waves colt (Lot 96) for $600,000.  

Likely to stay in Australia and go to the stable of Lindsay Park, the well-bred colt (pictured below) has stallion appeal, being by the Champion Sire of the current season, out of Group 2-winning mare who is herself a half-sister to the four-time Group 1 winner Preferment.

Great judges Darren Weir and John Foote Bloodstock parted with $360,000 for Lot 5, our Dawn Approach x Very Discreet colt, giving Mill Park Stud the highest selling two yearlings sold this season by the Darley-based stallion at $240,000 and $360,000.

All in all, at the four yearling sales we attended this year, the farm offered 31 yearlings and recorded 100% clearance – it was a job well done by all of the Mill Park Stud staff as well as a huge congratulations to the buyers who supported us – we look forward to tracking these yearlings as they head to their racetrack careers.

A complete list of our results can be viewed HERE.

To view the complete August Newsletter, click HERE.