Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm’s James O’Brien has had a week like no other, but today it ended in the best way possible as a Not A Single Doubt filly he offered topped the Australian Weanling Sale.
The worsening COVID-19 situation in Victoria the past seven days has led to chaos for many Victorians, including O’Brien, who admits his stress levels this week have “gone to unchartered territory – and that’s saying something for me’’.
But today, as he offered Lauriston’s entire 2019 foal crop as supplementary entries in the Australian Weanling Sale, his stresses turned to jubilation as lot 343 (ex Rhodamine) sold to Suman Hedge Bloodstock on behalf of Grant Bloodstock and Myrrh Australia for $280,000, a sale-topping price.
Not only did Lauriston provide the sale-topper, it also ended as leading vendor by average (for three or more sold) at $69,900, selling all 10 lots offered.
“I’m ecstatic, over the moon, emotional, very proud of the achievements of today. What a day,’’ a relieved O’Brien said.
“It’s been hugely stressful. We were jumping in a car Friday to sell up there in Sydney but we got blocked on Wednesday so everything changed. We had to find staff, organise travel, accommodation, who could offload the horses once they got to Sydney, all the logistics while trying to let Victorians know they had one day basically to do on-farm inspections here in Victoria before the horses left and everything else.
“Karis Clarkson ran our team for us at Riverside and she did an outstanding job, as did all the staff, who had never seen these weanlings before until the weekend.
“It really took my stress to a new level. The foals are born on your farm, you raise them, get them ready for auction and come to the grand final it’s like we’ve pulled a hamstring three days out and can’t play. It really was distressing.
“But to come out the other side as leading vendor, all credit goes to my team here on the farm, they put a lot of effort in and the feedback I was getting daily from Karis and her crew at Riverside was exceptional, so thank you to everyone who helped us achieve these great results.’’
The Not A Single Doubt filly (pictured) which topped the sale was always a special filly, according to O’Brien.
“She’s an outstanding type and was from the outset,’’ he said.
“We’ve always felt she’d be popular come sale time so all credit to Suman and Steve and the team, I’m confident they’ll get a great result if they on sell or keep her to race.’’
Like O’Brien, Victorian-based Hedge was unable to attend Riverside but took the advice of people he trusted who recommended the Not A Single Doubt filly.
“Rob Petith, farm manager of Silverdale and Scott Holcombe (Milburn Creek farm manager), they are two confidants and friends and they did the inspections on our behalf and they particularly liked this filly,’’ Hedge said.
“She rated the best physical at the sale. I didn’t see her but I had really strong confidence to get involved because I trust the people I was using to help me.
“This filly has the pedigree, she’s by a champion stallion and the mare is a running mare who’s already produced a talented full relative (Legend Of Condor) so all of those factors gave us a lot of confidence to get involved heavily.
“That said, $280k was really on our limit. We had nothing left.
“There was good, strong competition on her and others and I didn’t feel there was much difference between this sale and other sales from a buying perspective. The catalogue was strong and the results reflected that.’’
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Eagle-eyed punters that noticed Mornington-based trainer Tony Noonan sending one around on the Gold Coast were well rewarded as Dynamic Duo (3c Not A Single Doubt – Candy Stripes by Commands) produced a withering turn-of-foot in what was ultimately an effortless win.
1,770km may have been a long way for the Victorian
conditioner to travel for a country maiden but the win came as no surprise to
Noonan who has loftier ambitions for Dynamic Duo.
“Everything we’ve seen from this horse at home suggested
he was city class but he’s had a bad run of luck where he kept striking wet
tracks,” said Noonan.
“We’ve had a lot of success sending horses up to
Queensland to spell over Winter where they just do so well with the sun on
“We devised this plan with Ray Green who races Dynamic
Duo with his grandson and they were happy to keep the horse in work for one
The win may have been a fortunate one for connections
with the 3-year-old colt by More Than Ready engaged at Sunshine Coast last week
before the race meeting was called off due to visibility concerns just minutes
before Dynamic Duo was set to run.
“I’m thrilled for Ray who has been patient with the horse
who has been a tad backwards but he’s been a terrific client for a long time so
it’s great to get the win for him and the family.
Jumping well from barrier 1 in the field of 11 with Jason
Taylor in the saddle, Dynamic Duo was marginally tardy out of the gates before
Taylor railed up to settle forward of midfield on the rail.
“Andrew Kermond has done a terrific job with this horse
and others I have been campaigning in Queensland this season. He had the horse
looking perfect today.”
After being backed from $6 into $3, punters may have been
nervous as the field entered the straight where Dynamic Duo was in a tricky
position along the fence, spotting the leaders around six lengths. But once
Taylor worked off the fence into clear running room, Dynamic Duo let down with
thundering acceleration coming home 2-to-their-1, hitting the front by the 50m
and extending on the line to score by 2 lengths ahead of Isabella’s Spring
The win continued an impressive run of form for Noonan who has had 4 winners in 10 days.
Dynamic Duo was bred and sold to Tony Noonan by Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm. Tony trained the dam, Candy Stripes, who achieved black type, running third in the listed Gucci Stakes behind Curtana on Oaks Day at Flemington.
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The rapidly-improving Baracus made it three wins from four runs this prep with an impressive front-running display at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
On what was just his second outing in the clockwise direction having switched from Peter & Paul Snowden’s Melbourne stable last month, Baracus defied top weight of 60kg to run out a gutsy winner of the 1600m Benchmark 64 Handicap under Christian Reith.
The son of Brazen Beau broke well and showed his customary gate speed to assume a position at the head of affairs. He travelled strongly thereafter and proved not for passing up the straight, seeing out the 1600m with aplomb to score by half a length, with the well supported favourite Living Rocks a further three lengths adrift in third.
“That was a much stronger race than last start and he got the job done again,” a delighted Peter Snowden said.
“He looked like he had a lot of fun winning there and that’s how it should be.”
“He’s a beautiful looking horse and he’s just starting to live up to what we though he might be in the early days, so hopefully he’s not done improving yet.”
“He has a good cruising speed and there are a couple more mile races around at the moment which should suit him.”
Congratulations to his fantastic group of owners in what is turning out to be a fruitful preparation! Mr J Moore, Ms S P Hopkins, Mr K F May, Mrs S G Perry, K Ayton, Mr C N James, Mr c Farnworth, Mr W Falzon, Mr B F McCann, Mr D Moretti, Mr C Johns, Mr J P Sennitt, KEEP’EM WANDERING, MARTINS, A Team Racing, Mr G T Corcoran, Mr S Abraham, Mr T Zdun
Richard Gibson knows he has a smart horse on his hands in Wellington but do not expect to see him many more times this season.
Gibson said there is a chance his eye-catching three-year-old will be seen just once more this term before he is put away with an eye towards lucrative races next season.
Wellington was impressive at Sha Tin on Sunday, motoring home from the rear of the field to win the Class Three Citi Insurance Services Handicap (1,200m) after bolting in on debut last month. “He didn’t get a very good jump, we had an outside draw so [Alexis] Badel was cool out of the gates, had no option but to take a seat, probably further back than we expected but he accelerated nicely at the finish and showed a bit of class,” he said.
Wellington races home to win at Sha Tin on Sunday under Alexis Badel.
“I think he is a horse that will run maybe one more time this year and there are plenty of things for him if he is good enough next season.
“I think we saw today he would be able to increase in trip no problem.”
With Badel due to return to France next month, Gibson said he would miss the popular rider who has enjoyed a breakout season in Hong Kong with 23 wins to his name.
“I have always been a big fan of the school of French jockeys, I had a lot of success with [Olivier] Doleuze and obviously Badel now and [Tony] Piccone has come here and punched well above his weight, it is a shame they are both going,” Gibson said.
Gibson admitted he was anxious ahead of the debut of Wellington in Monday’s Class Four Prosperity Handicap (1,200m) but he needn’t have been, with the three-year-old son of All Too Hard producing a dominant victory.
Jumping from barrier 10 under Alexis Badel, Wellington travelled forward of midfield with cover before peeling out at the top of the straight and moving smoothly through his gears to finish three lengths clear of favourite Ping Hai Bravo in second.
“Chinese New Year is one of the key meets of the season and I was a bit anxious today, we were running our nicest unraced horse and it’s good to see that he performed accordingly,” Gibson said.
Wellington bolts clear to win at Sha Tin.
“The horse had been progressing well this season so we were looking forward to seeing him race on debut and he accelerated really well.”
Gibson is eager to see what’s ahead for Wellington but he’s not in a hurry to push the horse out over further.
“I think he’s got a lot of natural talent so we’ll keep going.”
I think we’ll stay at the same distance for the time being and build him up gently,” he said.
Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm will present a draft of ten quality yearlings at the upcoming 2020 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Melbourne, Vic from Sunday 01 March. The horses will be paraded at the Oaklands Junction complex from Tuesday 25 February.
Inspections by appointment are welcome at Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, Corinella, Vic prior to their departure to the sales complex.
Talented mare Jentico continued to build on her impressive record with a strong victory at Caulfield on Saturday, January 25.
Beautifully ridden by Luke Currie, Jentico ($7) finished best to win the DrinkWise Benchmark 78 Plate (1400m) by a long neck from Titan Blinders ($3.20 fav) with Copper Fox ($15), 1-1/2 lengths away third.
Trainers Tony & Calvin McEvoy have placed the four-year-old mare beautifully and she now has six wins and a placing from just 13 starts and today’s win took her stakes to $230,850.
McEvoys’ Victorian stable foreman Michael Shepherdson said the mare handled travel between Adelaide and Melbourne in her stride.
“Originally she spent a lot of time in our Melbourne stable,” Shepherdson said.
“She has gone back to Adelaide several times to try and give her some confidence where there were better options.
“She has had a really good preparation, really matured.
“It is great to get a city win in Melbourne with Jentico.”
Winning jockey Luke Currie said the race had worked out perfectly for Jentico.
“She had a really good run in behind some nice speed,” Currie said.
“She was always going to be hard to beat with the run she had.
“It was a lovely race for her.”