Saturday’s $400,000 Group One Caulfield Stakes (2000m) is going to be a prime lead up run for two Mill Park Stud graduates as they head towards the Group One W.S. Cox Plate, set down for October 25.
In what is an outstanding field of 12 high class runners, nine of them being Group One winners, seven year old Reset gelding Fawkner heads to the race second up. After almost causing a boil over first-up with a nose second in the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes behind Dissident, last year’s Group One Caulfield Cup winner will be ridden by regular jockey Nick Hall for owners; Mr N C Williams, Mr L J Williams and Mrs S J Williams.
Purchased from the draft of Mill Park Stud at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Fawkner is out of the Danewin mare Dane Belltar, herself a winner of the Group Three Auraria Stakes, as well as recording placing’s in the Group One Australasian Oaks, South Australian Oaks as well as the VRC Oaks.
With four foals to date having raced, all winners, Fawkner is not the only stakes performers, with Dane Belltar’s first foal Tanby (Galileo) a winner of the Group Two Zipping Classic, as well as a third in the Group One Australian Cup. Her second foal is Fawkner, while her third foal Revitalise (Bel Esprit) is a winner of six races and her fourth foal is the stakes placed Viking Star (Red Ransom).
With not much luck since, her most recent two-year-old is a filly (pictured below) by Starcraft that was sold at the 2014 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale to David Redvers for $650,000 – the top price yearling ever sold from the mare and also the highest priced achieved by Starcraft.
The other Mill Park Stud graduate set to take his place in the field is last year’s Group One Turnbull Stakes winner Happy Trails. Having contested last week’s Turnbull Stakes, not much went right for the classy chestnut in the run with trainer Paul Beshara suggesting the Cox Plate aspirant needed another hard hit out before his main goal this Spring.
With Damien Oliver set to be the new ridder for Happy Trails in the Caulfield Stakes, the $11,000 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale graduate is out of Madame Flurry, a 1000m winner by Perugino.
Last year’s Turnbull Stakes win was not the first at Group One level for Happy Trails, as he had won the Group Emirates Stakes during the 2012 Spring Carnival, a race where Happy Trails and Fawkner first met.
Having won three consecutive stakes races leading into the Emirates Stakes, Happy Trials prevailed by a short half head, defeating Fawkner. In fact they have raced each other only twice and only at Group One level with Happy Trails winning both of those clashes.. let’s hope for a dead heat on Saturday!