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O'Reilly Rocks

It’s not unusual for New Zealand-bred stayers to capture major Australian stakes, but it’s less common for them to strike in the shorter events. This weekend, however, the New Zealand-bred 3-year-old filly Shamrocker upset the colts (led by Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO)’s son Bullbars), to capture the Australian Guineas (gr. I, video below). Shamrocker is by O’Reilly (by Last Tycoon, a son of El Gran Senor’s brother Try My Best), a Champion Sprinter/Miler in New Zealand, and one of that country’s best sires. TrueNicks rated A++, Shamrocker is out of a mare by Blues Traveller, and is one of two stakes winners from only seven starters by O’Reilly out of mares by Bluebird (sire of Blues Traveller) and his sons. Despite this classic victory over a mile, Shamrocker is regarded as more of a staying type by her connections – she already has a second in the VRC Oaks (gr. I) to her credit – and may aim for the AJC Oaks (gr. I) or Derby (gr. I), and is longterm considered to have Melbourne Cup (gr. I) potential.

O’Reilly made it a graded stakes-winning weekend double when seven-year-old Guy No (TrueNicks A), who already has a grade I to his credit, took the Lord Reims Stakes (gr. III). He is out of a mare by Centaine (by Century, who in turn was by the My Babu horse, Better Boy), a cross that has supplied 11 stakes winners from 89 starters, including Champion Alamosa.

Another hot New Zealand sire is the Spinning World (by Nureyev) horse Thorn Park, and at the weekend, his son Jimmy Choux, added the New Zealand Derby (gr. I) to his win in the New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). Rated A by TrueNicks, Jimmy Choux is out of a mare by the aforementioned Centaine, a broodmare sire line that has also done well under Nureyev. Thorn Park very nearly had a double, as his first crop son Centennial Park (also out of a Last Tycoon mare), missed by a neck in the Chipping Norton Stakes (gr. I) at Warwick Farm. Centennial Park (TrueNicks A++) has a clever pedigree, as he is out of a mare by Last Tycoon (exerting a tremendous influence down under), who is a Northern Dancer/Mill Reef cross, where Thorn Park’s sire, Spinning World, is a Northern Dancer/Riverman cross (Mill Reef and Riverman being similarly-bred sons of Never Bend). Winner here was the veteran (foal of 2003) Danleigh (TrueNicks A++), who is by Mujahid (English group I 2-year-old winner, by Danzig, out of Storm Cat mare). The dam is by Dr. Grace (by Sir Tristram), so this is a version of the prolific Danzig/Sir Tristram cross (a pretty good one too, with five stakes winners from 54 starters).

Lonhro (AUS) (TrueNicks) continues to impress in Australia, and the grandson of Zabeel had a weekend double with Parables (TrueNicks A++) who took the Surround Stakes (gr. II), and the TAB 50th Birthday Stakes winner, Launay (TrueNicks A). This pair are actually rather similarly-bred. Parables is one of four stakes winners by Lonhro out of mares by Night Shift, and has a second dam by a son of Sir Ivor. Launay is out of a mare by Palace Music (by The Minstrel, a genetic relative to Night Shift, and with a granddam who is a close genetic relative to Sir Ivor).

Also in Australia, the Encosta de Lago/Danehill cross added a new graded winner with the success of Aloha in the PFD Food Services Stakes (gr. III). There are seven stakes winners from 77 starters by Encosta de Lago out of Danehill mares, but while six of these are graded winners, the cross still lacks a grade I-winning representative, which is a little surprising given the class of the principals.

Rock of Gibraltar, who has shuttled between Ireland and Australia, may not be the headline hitter that he was as a runner, but he is an awfully solid getter of stakes winners. He added to his tally this weekend with Golden Archer (out of a Pins mare, and TrueNicks B) winning the Streets Ice Cream stakes in Australia, and Rockhorse (TrueNicks B+) taking the Premio Federico Regoli in Italy. Rockhorse is out of a mare by Maelstrom Lake (by Auction Ring, by Bold Bidder), and Danehill/Bold Bidder has been a sneaky successful cross with eight stakes winners from 114 starters, and three grade I winners. Rockhorse has Riverman, a near three-parts-brother to the granddam of Rock of Gibraltar, in the distaff side of his dam, and Riverman now appears in the dams of eight Rock of Gibraltar stakes winners. Rock of Gibraltar actually nearly had a treble, as his son, Pray, was only beaten ½ length in the Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (gr. II) in Japan. All in all, you'd have to say that Rock of Gibraltar is seriously under-considered sire.

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