Trainer Darren McAuliffe unveiled another potential top-liner when Friarfighter bolted in at Ascot on Wednesday.
Friarfighter (2g Blackfriars – There She Be by Bletchley Park) had won a barrier trial by 8 lengths at Lark Hill and started a red-hot $1.30 favourite on debut. Ranging up to front-runner Ramifications (Street Boss) in the straight, he accelerated to win the Westspeed Nursery Hcp (1100m) like a horse with a future.
“He’s above average with plenty of scope but I don’t want to go spruiking him too much,” McAuliffe said while trying to keep a lid on the hype surrounding his rising star. “He was really switched on today even though I took the blinkers off after last week’s trial.”
Friarfighter is the second juvenile winner by Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars this season. Promising youngster Low Tide also won at Ascot last month and is among the main chances in the G3 WATC Sires’ Produce Stakes this Saturday.
Blackfriars sired God Has Spoken to win the 2009 Sires’ Produce Stakes and he has a strong back-up with Black Queen for this year’s edition. She’s a Scenic Lodge homebred and is a half-sister to Karuta Queen.
McAuliffe trains for the Impressive Racing syndicate and they also race Friarfighter’s older half-sister She Bares All who is in contention for the Great Southern Horse of the Year award. The Bearcat mare has won four races at Albany & Mt Barker so far this season.
Their dam There She Be has a yearling filly by Universal Ruler and is back in foal to him. Universal Ruler (Scenic) was a Listed winner of the Perth 2YO Stakes and the Bunbury Stakes for the Impressive Racing team and he stands alongside Blackfriars at Scenic Lodge.
Blackfriars can also play a hand in the G2 WATC Derby this Saturday. He sired last year’s winner Rohan and is in the mix to complete a running double with Pants on Friar.
Pants on Friar (3f Blackfriars – Saracen Star by Metal Storm) is raced by Amelia Park’s Peter Walsh and is coming off a G3 placing in the WATC Oaks. She hails from a successful Sunspeed family that has produced Group 1 winners Rogan Josh and Machine Gun Tom.
Scenic Lodge general manager Jeremy Smith announced the stud’s fees for 2013 last week. Two-time Sunspeed champion Blackfriars will stand for a $20,000 (plus gst) service fee and Universal Ruler (Scenic) for $3,500 (plus gst) fee.
– Karl Patterson