Longshots Alverta and Pinnacles can land an international feature double for Arrowfield Stud in the next 24 hours.
Alverta is out to 66-1 with British bookmakers for the G1 July Cup at Newmarket on Friday night (12.10am AEST) and Pinnacles has opened at 15-1 for the VRC Winter Championship at Flemington on Saturday.
Alverta (6m Flying Spur – Grilse by Rahy) is an Arrowfield homebred for John Messara after being passed in for $20,000 at the 2005 Inglis Easter yearling sale. She became the first Group 1 galloper his trainer son Paul Messara when an on-pace winner in the G1 Coolmore Classic in March.
Alverta had been working up to a Group 1 after winning the G2 AJC Breeders’ Classic and Listed Hawkesbury Guineas, QTC Brisbane Hcp and BRC Just Now Quality. The mare was slated for stud last year but didn’t get in foal to Charge Forward.
She finished midfield in a capacity 24 horse field behind Starspangledbanner in the G1 Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot on June 19 but jockey Tye Angland is tipping an improved run at Newmarket tonight.
“She is looking much better than when she first arrived over here,” Angland said yesterday. “To run 1200 metres on the July course you need a strong 1400 metre horse from Australia.
“If horses go quick in front at Newmarket they struggle to get up that hill. If there’s good speed early on, Alverta can finish with a very good turn of foot.”
Coolmore sprinter Starspangledbanner will attempt to go one better than his own sire Choisir who was runner-up in the 2003 July Cup won by Oasis Dream.
Nicconi adds another Down Under dimension to the fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. He is by Swettenham sire Bianconi and races for a Lindsay Park partnership. Nicconi will be retired straight after the July Cup to stand at Widden Stud in 2010.
Starspangledbanner will start as short as 6-4 in the July Cup and Coolmore can go one up against its arch-rival although Alverta also appeals at huge each-way odds.
The July Cup clash between the Hunter Valley heavyweights will add an intriguing edge to the battle being fought back home in the countdown to the Australian sires’ premiership.
On Thursday night, Arrowfield sire Redoute’s Choice ($8,613,857) led Coolmore’s reigning champion Encosta de Lago ($8,385,387) with less than a month remaining before season’s end.
Redoute’s Choice must be favoured with a $228,000 lead although there are four Saturday meetings remaining before July 31.
PINNACLES is by former Arrowfield Stud shuttler Fuji Kiseki (Sunday Silence) and adds a touch of class to the VRC Winter Championship Final (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
He is trained by Rick Hore-Lacy and his record at a mile includes a Group 1 placing in the 2008 AJC Doncaster Hcp. He came from last in a field of 20 on a heavy track to finish third behind Triple Honour and Casino Prince . More wet weather in Melbourne will favour mudlarks at Flemington and Pinnacles has a 4: 2-0-1 record in heavy going.
Pinnacles (6g Fuji Kiseki – Galroof by Maroof) won first-up at Sandown last month after a 37 week spell and Hore-Lacy decided to butter him up seven days later at Flemington. The gelding didn’t fire when fourth behind Doubtful Jack, Trustus and Dr Nipandtuck but can turn the tables on them this Saturday with the benefit of a two week turnaround.
Pinnacles is from NZ bred mare Galroof who was a G3 winner of the 2002 Doomben Classic. Pinnacles was her first foal and he was a $100,000 Arrowfield graduate from the 2005 Inglis Easter yearling sale. Since winning a Werribee maiden in July 2007, he has earned over $710,000 for connections.
Pinnacles will be ridden for first time by Chris Symonds on Saturday. He has been allotted top-weight of 59kg and Symonds will be the 22nd jockey to ride the horse in a 43 start career.
The Winter Final carries Listed status and $202,000 in prizemoney. Pinnacles has only won one black-type race and that was in the Listed Glasshouse Handicap at the Sunshine Coast two years ago. He prevailed in a three-way photo-finish that day from Cocktail Supreme and Alverta!