Host gelding Host Of The Party claimed the first-leg of the Top End Triple Crown with a determined victory in the $71,500 Darwin Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.
The Victorian raider defeated local favourite The Thief (Dubleo) in the first feature race of the Darwin carnival. He was coming off a Geelong victory on June 4 and will improve with the hit-out according to winning jockey Paul Shiers.
“We had a lovely run,” the heavyweight hoop said. “He travelled a treat and I came off fence to give him clear air in the straight.
“He worked home solidly and he’s even pulled up a bit big. The Darwin Derby will suit him better than today’s race.”
The $135,000 Darwin Derby (2000m) is scheduled for July 20 and the $200,000 Darwin Cup (2000m) on August 5. There’s a $100,000 bonus for any horse that completes the Triple Crown. Previous winners of the feature treble have been Brinney (1989) and Ventilago (1996).
Host Of The Party is owned by Dwayne Dunn’s wife Amanda in partnership with the Mounting Hard and Successful Syndicates. He was a $24,000 buy from Balcrest Stud at the 2011 Adelaide Magic Millions.
Balcrest owner John Haigh raced his dam Pipkin to a Listed victory in the 2004 Centaurea Stakes (2000m) at Morphettville.
Host Of The Party is one of 26 individual winners from the first crop of Swettenham Stud stallion Host (Chi). They have won a total of 38 races from 1000m to 2040m.
Philippi led the way this season with G2 victories in the Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley and Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill. He was also runner-up in the G1 Australian Derby before transferring to Hong Kong.
Swettenham Stud will stand Host for a $9,900 (inc gst) service fee this year.
– Karl Patterson