Merv McKenzie prepared his first city winner in 25 years when King Cotton scored a comfortable victory at Sandown on Tuesday. The Warrnambool trainer doubled up two races later when stablemate Princess Diablo was a four length winner on the Hillside circuit.
It was a memorable day for McKenzie and for the McKellar family because Princess Diablo was their very first city winner.
Don McKellar and his sons Campbell and Matthew are based Catani which is situated south-east of Pakenham. Their farm is home to a group of well related broodmares including Princess Diablo’s dam Diablo Girl.
Diablo Girl was a G1 winner of the Otaki Stakes in NZ and the McKellars purchased her in partnership with Narelle Bravington of Kedarona Stud. She was carrying the Sandown winner who is by Dubai Destination.
“Princess Diablo was always a beautiful filly,” Campbell McKellar recalled. “The only knock on her we got from the good judges that she looked a little light boned.”
Princess Diablo was passed in at the sales. “We may have been asking a bit too much for her for the market at that time,” McKellar conceded. “But we are glad that we held on to her.”
Diablo Girl foaled an Oratorio colt recently and she was bred back to Blue Gum sire Astronomer Royal. The other McKellar mares have been covered by stallions such as Duke Of Marmalade, Aussie Rules, Excites, Street Hero, Purrealist and Danerich.
Campbell McKellar is very happy with the group of foals that arrived at the farm this spring – “It is the best crop we’ve had so far,” he said. “They are by the likes of Artie Schiller, Bel Esprit and Kempinsky and are smashing types.”