The Danehill Rose provided Mungrup Stud sire Danehill Express with his first winner and she leads the chase to claim his first black-type at Perth’s Festival of Racing.
The Bob McPherson trained filly is one of the main chances in the LR Aquanita Stakes (1800m) at Ascot this Saturday. She is buttering up after finishing a half-length second to Oratorio (Aus) filly Passion Cantata over 1500m last weekend.
The Danehill Rose (3f Danehill Express – Rose Of Thunder by Metal Storm) is part-owned by breeder John Molloy and her dam won the 2003 Perth Magic Millions 2YO Classic. “That first win back in February was very satisfying,” Macpherson recalled. “It was one of the best two year-old fields of the season.
“She pulled up well from last Saturday’s race and the Aquanita will give us a guide to her staying ability.”
The Aquanita Stakes is worth $80,000 and provides an opportunity for Danehill Express to close the gap on Sunspeed’s second-season leader Husson Lightning.
Danehill Express was a comfortable winner of the WA first-season title in 2011-12 but his Heytesbury rival has established a clear margin this term. Former Darley sire Henny Hughes has also entered the second-season equation since relocating to Rangeview Stud.
There’s more firepower in the Mungrup sire’s arsenal with Topper’s Halo who was an eye-catching winner in the TABTouch Mobi Maiden (1500m) at Ascot on November 28. “He came from an impossible position on the corner,” trainer Dion Luciani stated . “The leaders did come back but he really hit the line.”
Topper’s Halo (3g Danehill Express – Halo No by Don’t Say Halo) is raced by Bill Biggs and he owns a pedigree that charts the rise of Mungrup starting way back with Hyperion’s grandson Sir Chatary and his daughter Silent Partner. She foaled 8 winners by Steel Glow, I’m In Luck and Poliuto who kept the Mungrup brand on the boil before the arrival of champion sire Metal Storm.
Topper’s Halo was a $27,000 buy from Mungrup at the 2011 Perth Magic Millions and is a black-book material for the future.
The wildcard for Danehill Express at the back-end of the season will be his Melbourne based sprinter Gold Rory. Trainer Mark Riley was all set to map out a G1 Coolmore Stakes mission for the untapped gelding after his debut win at Mornington in September.
It was arguably the strongest provincial field of three year-old sprinters assembled in Victoria during the spring carnival and he was a class above them.
Gold Rory (3g Danehill Express – Rory’s Song by Rory’s Jester) was the medium of strong support second up at Moonee Valley but was injured in running. He will be set for the Brisbane winter carnival.
Riley bought him for $42,500 from Mungrup at the 2011 Perth Magic Millions. His dam Rory’s Song is a three-quarter sister to sprinting sires Real Jester and Seidnazar and she visited Mungrup’s new shuttler Dick Turpin this season.
Danehill Express was a Caulfield Stakes winner and is by breed-shaper Danehill from G1 AJC Oaks winner Savana City. Mungrup stands him for an $8,800 (inc gst) service fee.
– Karl Patterson