Surprise return in Lee Stakes

The good-news week for Blackfriars continued when Young Lionel nailed the opener at Ascot on Saturday.

Young Lionel had been held up by injury as a younger horse and didn’t even trial until he was a summer three year-old.  He broke through at Pinjarra and is now on a roll after a third win at Ascot in the Imagesource Digital Hcp (1600m).

“What a good effort to run down the leader,” trainer Dion Luciani said after his gelding collared Go Jorj right on the line.  “He will have a breather soon – better to tip him out now instead of giving him one too many.”

Young Lionel (4g Blackfriars – Prime Again by Marooned) was bred by Colin Teede and he kept a share after accepting $35,000 at the 2010 Perth Magic Millions.  The gelding has earned $105,000 and connections can feel confident there are more money-spinning campaigns ahead.

Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars will celebrate a hat-trick of Perth premierships on July 30.  He has sired the winners of $2.35 million and that’s a winning lead over Mosayter (Storm Cat) on $1.46 million and (Aus) bred Oratorio (Stravinsky) on $1.37 million.

Saturday’s result follows news out of Adelaide that will reassure followers of high-promising Blackfriars stayer Eclair Surprise.  His trainer Phillip Stokes has revealed the five year-old will be back for the Adelaide carnival in May.

Eclair Surprise emerged as a star of the future while winning the LR Diamond Jubilee Plate and G3 Eclipse Stakes during the spring carnival.  He returned from a 12 week break to win again lumping 62.5kg at Morphettville in February.

Eclair Surprise (5g Blackfriars – French Scene by Scenic) continued an Australian Cup campaign in the G2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield a fortnight later.  He was right in the market but was never in the call finishing an uncharacteristic second last behind Foreteller.  Stewards confirmed there was a post-race respiratory issue.

Stokes got him back on course for the G1 Australian Cup and everything was sweet until he stood on a toe-cap on the eve of the race.  “He pulled up lame and we had to scratch,” Stokes said.  “I will bring him back this week and he will only have a run or two before going back out for the Melbourne spring carnival.”

Scenic Lodge sold Eclair Surprise for $65,000 at the 2009 Perth Magic Millions.  His main Adelaide goal will be the G3 R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 11.

– Karl Patterson