Tough Speed gelding Upanova started the new season on a winning note for Armidale Stud when he won the Hallam’s Waterfront Restaurant Hcp (1600m) in Launceston on Sunday.
Upanova was a wipe-out for punters scoring at $32 but the gelding’s most recent form was much better than it looked on paper. “It was his first time over a mile and he loves wet tracks,” trainer Ian Hay’s wife Linda explained. “He’s a third generation homebred and that makes the win even better.”
Upanova (5g Tough Speed – Jesanova by Weasel Clause) had gone 12 starts since breaking his maiden at Devonport last year but, on the evidence of Sunday’s effort, there are more wins in store for the lightly raced gelding.
Tough Speed (USA) is a son of Mr Prospector sire Miswaki and he was a top class sprinter-miler for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Owner Saeed Suhail bought him for US$230,000 as a Keeneland yearling.
He won a Doncaster juvenile by four lengths and Stoute put him away after just three starts that season. Unfortunately, injury restricted his three year-old campaign to a lone outing in the Listed King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket and he wasn’t seen again for another 12 months.
Tough Speed resumed at four to win at York and he followed up with a G3 victory in the Park Stakes at Doncaster defeating Godolphin’s French G2 winner China Visit.
He was also placed behind stablemate No Excuse Needed in the G2 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot before Stoute called a halt to his career after just 16 starts.
Tough Speed stands at Armidale Stud for a $2,750 service fee and his best among 17 winners to date has been 2009 Listed Tasmanian Guineas winner Lyell.
Upanova’s dam Jesanova is by Armidale’s former Marscay sire Weasel Clause and she won four races for the Hays. She is a half-sister to winners by Armidale sires Aliocha and Grand Royale.
Second dam Jessnicky (Sackford) won five races for the Longford couple and she was also placed in a Sires’ Produce Stakes at Mowbray and Hobart Guineas at Elwick.