The Hardy Brothers Jewellers QTIS 3YO Handicap provided the perfect platform for Tunahog to complete a winning hat-trick at Eagle Farm last Saturday. Tunahog has now accrued $67,300 in prizemoney which includes $21,000 in QTIS added bonuses.
Tunahog (3g Shovhog – Sirona by Celtic Swing) won on debut at the Gold Coast in May and then doubled up at Ipswich before maintaining his perfect record at the Tattersall’s Club Raceday. “I do think he’s special but he’s still got a bit to learn,” trainer Lawrie Mayfield-Smith said. “He’s not a big horse but he’s got plenty of ticker that makes up for his size.”
The lightly-raced three-year-old jumped nicely for jockey Stathi Katsidis and settled on the rails just off the pace. Once wound-up in the Eagle Farm straight, he let down impressively to win by more than a length. “What I like about him is his best work is always the last 50 metres,” Mayfield-Smith added. “That’s when it counts.”
Tunahog is by Shovhog who died in November 2009. A son of Danehill, he originally stood at Widden Stud before transferring to Basil Nolan’s Raheen Stud which is situated 130 km from Brisbane in the Gladfield Valley.
Shovhog was a Randwick stakes winner and he was also runner-up to Prowl in the 1998 G1 Golden Slipper. He enjoyed posthumous honours at this year’s Brisbane winter carnival courtesy of G3 Gold Coast Guineas winner Beethog.
Champion jockey Stathi Katsidis believes Tunahog can also make the grade. “He’ll go all the way,” Katsidis said after guiding Tunahog to victory at Eagle Farm. “He over-raced until the 600m but then relaxed.”
Katsidis also praised Mayfield-Smith after returning to scale. “It’s always good to ride a winner for Lawrie. I reckon he’s one of the best trainers in Australia. Whenever you see one of Lawrie’s horses, how good do they look?”
Tunahog was passed-in for $24,000 at the 2008 Magic Millions 2YO HIT Sale when offered by Wilteen Lodge. He hails from the family of G1 Doomben 10,000 winner Ideal Planet (Planet Kingdom). He is the first foal of Sirona who was part-owned and trained by Johnny Wallace for wins at Eagle Farm (2), Doomben and Ipswich.