Victorian stallions Starspangledbanner and Turffontein head Australia’s first and second-season premierships going into the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.
Starspangledbanner (Rosemont Stud) hit the ground running when his first southern starter Of The Brave blitzed the LR Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 11. Trainer Mark Riley labelled the colt as potentially the best horse he’s ever prepared before looking at a likely programme for the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes in February.
In Europe, Starspangledbanner has been represented by 9 individual first-crop winners from just 17 starters led by The Wow Signal (G1 Prix Morny) and Anthem Alexander (G2 Queen Mary Stakes).
It’s early days for our freshmen, however, it’s encouraging that Victorian based sires Strategic Maneuver (Bullarook Park) and Stryker (Three Bridges) are next on the first-season table.
Turffontein (Blue Gum Farm) has taken over at the top of the second-season table thanks to his outstanding fillies Fontein Ruby and Fontiton.
Fontein Ruby is coming off victories in the G2 Edward Manifold (1600m) and G3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) and she can complete a feature hat-trick in the G2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington this Saturday.
Trainer Robert Smerdon will then make a decision whether to back up in the G1 VRC Oaks (2500m) on Thursday week.
Her stablemate Fontiton thrashed a field of first starters by six lengths in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday. The Turffontein filly has propelled her sire to the top of the Australian 2YO premiership and he will cement that lead if she wins the G3 Maribyrnong Plate on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Victorian stallions are also embedded in the Australian Top 20 sires’ list with Reset (15), Bel Esprit (16) and Written Tycoon (18).
Reset (Darley Victoria) had Fawkner finish a courageous second in the G1 Cox Plate on Saturday. His grand-final is the $6 million Melbourne Cup and owner Lloyd Williams reports the grey has pulled up perfectly after his gutsy performance at Moonee Valley.
Bel Esprit (Eliza Park International) continues to pump out winner after winner – there have been 40 so far this season – and among them has been Lindsay Park filly Afleet Espirit with victories in the G2 Tranquil Star Stakes and LR Cap D’antibes Stakes.
Written Tycoon (Woodside Park) is riding a winning wave with top colt Rich Enuff who is ticking over nicely for the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington this Saturday. The Ken Keys trained colt won the LR McKenzie Stakes, G2 Danehill Stakes and G3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude before a brave second in the G1 Caulfield Guineas.
Earlier this month, the local industry received more good news when Woodside Park signed Rich Enuff to a deal that will see him stand at stud in Victoria.