It was business as usual for Blackfriars when he fired a barrage of winners at Belmont Park on Wednesday.
A city treble was the best possible start for the Durham Lodge champion as he sets out for a hat-trick of Sunspeed premierships.
Blackfriars (Danehill) won his first title in 2010-11 with earnings of $3.37 million and he went to another level in the season just gone siring 69 winners of 124 races and $4.29 million in prizemoney.
IN HIS HANDS was the first of his three winners on the opening day of the season in the V & V Walsh Hcp (1000m). The David Harrison trained gelding scored by a half-length after duelling with Bizet in the final furlong.
In His Hands (4g Blackfriars – Canny Justice by Canny Lad) is raced by owner-breeder Clive Atwell and had won his maiden at Northam last month before venturing to town. “He’s still learning and is doing it on natural ability so far,” Harrison said. “Renee (Forrest) just let him roll along in front. He’s got potential and should get a mile once we teach him to settle.”
FRIARDAY revived memories of champion sprinter Scenic Blast when he flew home to bring up a double for Blackfriars in the Playeronline Hcp (2100m).
Friarday (5g Blackfriars – Truly Bonny by Is It True) is owned by Elio and Jacqui Galante and he sports the same dark blue and gold hooped silks that Scenic Blast carried to Group 1 victories at Flemington and Royal Ascot.
Scenic Blast was an $85,000 buy from Durham Lodge at the 2006 Perth Magic Millions but the Galante family bred Friarday themselves. He is from an unraced daughter of their 1997 WABB Matchmaker Classic winner Our Bonny Lass (Ron Bon).
The Galante’s son Troy claimed the gelding is beginning to blossom this time in. “We were pretty confident even with 59kg,” he said. “He must have been 20 lengths from the leaders at the 600m – it was a massive win.”
IF YOU DO returned to form to complete the hat-trick at Belmont. Trainer Brad Graham decided to drop back from middle-distance trips and the change of tactics worked in the Combined Metal Industries (1400m).
“Brad’s got a good opinion of the horse,” winning jockey Ryan Hill said. “Coming back from 2100m to 1400m was the key. Brad said to ride him positively and he was always travelling well.”
If You Do (5g Blackfriars – Imagine If by Ifrad) opened his account at Belmont in October 2010 but was then sidelined for 12 months. Connections have been patient with the gelding knowing he’s from sturdy stock.
He is the first winner for iron-mare Imagine If who raced 142 times for owner-breeder Helen Starley winning 9 races and running 32 placings!
Blackfriars is competitively priced at a $16,500 (inc gst) service fee at Durham Lodge this year.
His three winners on Wednesday were all retained by their breeders and those that breed to sell are being amply rewarded.
Blackfriars starred at the 2012 Perth Magic Millions. His Premier Sale yearlings averaged more than $81,500 and, more importantly, the median was $70,000.