Blackfriars sires elite Eclair

Blackfriars passed a couple of milestones last week and there are more records in store for the Scenic Lodge champion this season.

In the first week of February, Blackfriars sired his 200th individual winner and his career earnings also topped $20 million world-wide.

“He’s won the last two Western Australian premierships and is already more than $750,000 ahead of any other sire based here this season,” Scenic Lodge general manager Jeremy Smith said.  “And that’s been reflected in his popularity with breeders – he had a book of 180 last year and that’s the most mares ever covered by a local stallion.”

Blackfriars (Danehill) was a G1 winner of the 1999 Victoria Derby for owner-breeder Robert Sangster and he’s been an even bigger success at stud since Manjar opened his account in the LR Ngawyni Stakes at Belmont in May 2005.

To date, Blackfriars has sired 201 winners of 643 races at a 56% strike-rate.  There have been 47 stakes performers among that total and they have earned black-type at a sky-high 13% strike-rate per starter.

“They thrive in Western Australian conditions which can be pretty harsh at times,” Smith said.  “And his stock are suited to our tracks.”

The best of the Blackfriars to date has been dual G1 Kingston Town Stakes winner Playing God.  The Neville Parnham trained galloper has also been G1 placed at Flemington (2) and Caulfield.

His breakout stayer Eclair Surprise can claim that elusive Eastern States Group 1 in the VRC Australian Cup on March 9.  The five year-old gelding served notice he will be a genuine chance after a first-up victory lumping 62.5kg at Morphettville last Saturday.

Eclair Surprise (5g Blackfriars – French Scene by Scenic) was one of the finds of the Melbourne spring carnival winning the LR Diamond Jubilee Plate at Flemington and the G3 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

“I didn’t want to travel him this early in the prep, so we kicked in Adelaide,” trainer Phillip Stokes said at Morphettville.  “When you get a good horse, it’s hard to place them here, but he looks fantastic and has been working well.

“The 62.5kg concerned me but it could help in the long run.  He’s going to have to carry 59kg at weight-for-age in the St George Stakes and Australian Cup in his next two runs.”

An overseas trip to the Singapore Cup in May is also on the cards.  “The Australian Cup will give us a pretty good guide to where he’s at – what his level is,” Stokes said.  “Then we can assess whether we head to Singapore or go to Brisbane.”

Scenic Lodge sold Eclair Surprise for $65,000 at the 2009 Perth Magic Millions and they’re back with another quality draft by Blackfriars (8) and Universal Ruler (5).

The first Blackfriars to parade is the half-brother to G2 SAJC Queen of The South winner Goon Serpent (Lot 42).  Following him into the ring is the Blackfriars half-brother to Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Karuta Queen and the very promising colt Brave Prince (Lot 43).

Lot 90 is a Blackfriars brother to LR Northam Cup winner Moneghetti and Lot 178 is the sister to stakes winners Full Reign (LR Challenge Stakes) and Impact Rating (LR Boulder Cup).  She’s also a three-quarter brother to Exquisite Timing (LR Aquanita Stakes).

The Scenic Lodge yearlings will be available for inspection at Belmont Park from this Sunday, February 17 in Rows B and C.

– Karl Patterson

ECLAIR SURPRISE
Blackfriars stayer on course for the G1 Australian Cup at Flemington on March 9