Hurricane Finish at Ascot

Durham Lodge celebrated Melbourne Cup day with a winning treble at Ascot on Tuesday.

Durham’s champion stallion Blackfriars doubled up with Mavromata and Sushi Warrior while Hurricane Sky sired Avante to score a last-stride victory in the G3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m).

Blackfriars won the West Australian sires’ premiership in 2010-11 with earnings of $3.37 million. He took over from Durham champion Scenic who held the award for several seasons.

Blackfriars (Danehill) was a G1 winner of the Victorian Derby and he’s already taken a substantial lead for this season’s title among sires that are still active in WA. The Melbourne Cup day double took his current figures to 18 winners of 24 races and over $807,000 in prizemoney.

He holds an across-the-board lead in that category over Oratorio (Aus) $463K, Viscount $402K and Key Business $279K.

Hurricane Sky moved up the sires’ table after Avante won the $126,000 Colonel Reeves in a new race-record time of 63.66s for 1100 metres.

But the years have taken a toll and Hurricane Sky has been retired from the Durham roster. “His fertility began dropping last year and then it fell over altogether,” Durham owner David Smith stated. “He’s 20 years-old now and did a great job for Arrowfield and Durham.”

Hurricane Sky was originally based at Arrowfield and his Hunter Valley bred progeny have won a total of 10 Group 1 events headed by Divine Madonna, Desert Eagle, River Dove and Desert Sky.

He’s also making an impact as a broodmare sire with stakes winners the calibre of Carrara, Universal Ruler, First Command, Horizons, Shared Reflections and Singapore star Gingerbread Man.

The best of Hurricane Sky’s Perth based runners has been Hadabeclorka who won last year’s G2 Winterbottom Stakes.

Avante (5m Hurricane Sky – Chantruse by Salieri) is raced by leading owner-breeder Bob Peters and Tuesday’s first-up victory brings her right into calculations for this year’s feature sprints at Ascot.

“She is strong and goes seriously well fresh,” Peters said at Ascot. “That was a good win for her family and I am very happy to pick up another black-type race.”

Avante’s dam Chantruse was a Northam winner on debut and her sister Tarare was a G2 winner of a VRC Kewney Stakes at Flemington.

Peters subsequently sold Chantruse to a Queensland breeder and she foaled a colt by Springfields Stud stallion Freeze in September.