Redoute’s Choice has launched a last ditch bid to reclaim his Australia sires’ crown. The Arrowfield champion came within a nose of completing a Group 1 double at Eagle Farm on Saturday after his headline filly Dariana destroyed the colts in the $500,000 Queensland Derby. His all-business filly Melito was all set to make it count in the $1 million Stradbroke when she was bitten by a Piranha.
Redoute’s Choice was only $250,000 behind Encosta de Lago going into the long weekend and they could keep going head-to-head for the final seven weeks of the season.
Coolmore’s reigning champion Encosta de Lago has the numbers but his Arrowfield rival has Melito who will start favourite in the G1 Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm in a fortnight.
Dariana (3f Redoute’s Choice – Beldarian by Last Tycoon) won her maiden at Canterbury in February and, after a detour to Melbourne, she let down nicely to win the Listed Frank Packer Plate at Randwick in April.
Trainer Bart Cummings saw the possibilities and sent her to Brisbane. Dariana caught the eye first-up in the G3 Doomben Roses when she flew home for a close third to Marheta and Femina Fashion. It was a clear pointer to the QTC Oaks but punters only finished square in the classic when she got bailed up in the barriers and took no part.
There were no dramas for Dariana in the QTC Derby. “She got out the gates good and all I did was steer her around,” jockey Michael Rodd said after presenting the winner at the top of straight. She surged to a clear four length victory.
Dariana is raced by Dato Tan Chin Nam and Bell View Park Stud owner Adam Mackrell. Cummings also trained Commands mare Russeting for Mackrell after he bought her for $300,000 at the 2009 Gold Coast National Sale. A fortnight later she won the G1 Winter Stakes.
Dariana is a half-sister to Irish winners Beauty Contest (Singspiel) and Belle Of The Lodge (Grand Lodge). Their dam Beldarian won three races and was fourth home in the 1998 Irish Oaks. She has also foaled USA stakes performer Macduff (Machiavellian). Second dam Sorbus (Busted) was a Leopardstown 2yo winner and she was runner-up in the 1978 Irish Oaks.
Beldarian has no 2yo this season after missing to Encosta de Lago. Her yearling is named Alessandra (Fastnet Rock) and she failed to reach a $400,000 reserve at the 2010 Inglis Easter yearling sale.
Redoute’s Choice’s current crop of juveniles are the best group he’s had since Samantha Miss. He leads the Australian 2yo sires’ premiership for winners with 14 ahead of his own son Stratum and Encosta de Lago on 12. More Than Ready and Jet Spur are next on 11.
Stratum will win the 2yo and first-season premierships with earnings over $2.92 million. He heads a group of up-and-coming Redoute’s Choice sires like Not A Single Doubt, Stromberg Carlson, Snitzel, Bradbury’s Luck, God’s Own and Al Samer.
A third Australian general sires’ title would round out a winning season for Redoute’s Choice. He hasn’t won the flag since 2005-06 but Melito can give him an edge in the $500,000 Winter Stakes on June 26.