Second stakes win for She’s Poppy (NZ)

She’s Poppy (NZ) (Alamosa), who cost $40,000 at the 2013 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka, took her earnings past $200,000 with victory in Saturday’s $80,000 Group 3 Boehringer Ingelheim 1550 at Awapuni.

The Wanganui mare has been in outstanding form this year, winning the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1550m) in May and adding placings in the Listed Ag Challenge Stakes (1590m) and Group 3 Winter Cup (1600m) in her two subsequent appearances.

On Saturday she unleashed a potent finishing burst from midfield, finishing over the top of Art Deco (NZ) (Road to Rock) and Dez (NZ) (Zed) in a tight three-way finish.

“I’ve never ridden a horse with a heart that size, she really tries,” rider Shaun McKay said.

Trained by Raymond Connors, who shares ownership with his parents Mark and Eris, She’s Poppy has now won eight of her 28 starts and $214,595 in prize-money – more than five times her purchase price.

“She’s had a great winter and is a good mare,” Connors said.

Vendor Venture Thoroughbreds Ltd
Purchaser Phill Cataldo Bloodstock (Auckland)
Breeding Alamosa – Cassandra
Sale Lot 367, 2013 Ready to Run Sale, $40,000
Bred by R J Cottle

In other news I Am A Star (NZ) (I Am Invincible), who cost just $12,000 as a weanling at Karaka, scored the seventh stakes win of her career in Saturday’s A$200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

Ridden by Ben Melham, the five-year-old sat outside the leader Bella Martini (Stratum) and outgunned that rival in an exciting battle down the Flemington straight.

I Am A Star has now had 24 starts for eight wins, five placings and A$1.3 million in prize-money for owner Matthew Sandblom – more than 108 times her purchase price.

Her biggest win to date came in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington in November 2016, and she has also won four Group 2 races and a Group 3.

“She’s not big, but she’s tough,” trainer Shane Nichols said. “She’s reached great heights in her career. She’s had some times when things weren’t easy, she didn’t come up in the autumn, but it’s been a great effort by all of the staff and she’s come back and won a Group 2 at Flemington.”

Vendor Rich Hill Stud
Purchaser Llanhennock Trust (Cambridge)
Breeding I Am Invincible – Star Band
Sale Lot 546, 2014 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, $12,000
Bred by Eales Racing Pty Ltd

Exciting colt Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly), a graduate of the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka, extended his perfect record to three out of three in Saturday’s A$120,000 Listed Antler Luggage Plate (1400m) at Flemington.

Bought for $220,000 by trainers Hawkes Racing, Brutal began his career with an impressive five-length win at Caulfield in July.

He stepped up to stakes level and won again in last month’s Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, and on Saturday he mastered an extra 200 metres for his second black-type win.

Ridden by Dwayne Dunn, Brutal led from the outset and fought back bravely after being headed in the straight to win by a half-head.

"It's his first prep and he's going to be a hell of a horse in the autumn,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said.

“He's not the fully furnished racehorse, but he's had three starts for three wins. He's won a stakes race over 1400 metres at Flemington, so for where he is at this stage of his career, it doesn't get any better."

Brutal has so far earned A$201,200 in prize-money for owners R & C Legh Racing Pty Ltd, Pulitano Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd, B & C Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd, Mr S J Bates, Mrs D L Bates, Mr H J Chapman, Mrs J S Willis, Mr D V Russo and Gurners Bloodstock Co.

From the final crop of O’Reilly, Brutal is a son of the stakes-placed mare Alberton Princess (NZ) (Golan). The colt’s full-sister Talaria (NZ) (O’Reilly) is also a stakes winner.

Vendor Mapperley Stud
Purchaser Hawkes Racing (New South Wales)
Breeding O’Reilly – Alberton Princess
Sale Lot 33, 2017 Premier Sale, $220,000
Bred by Mrs R Kerr-Taylor & Mrs A K Storey

Six months on from his victory in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington, high-class Karaka graduate Grunt (NZ) (O’Reilly) returned to Australian racing’s headquarters and won another elite race over the same course and distance.

The four-year-old triumphed over a stellar field in the A$750,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, bursting out of midfield 300 metres from the finish and racing to victory by two lengths in a slick time of 1:34.91.

The Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream (Casamento) was second, with the Derby-winning Karaka graduate Jon Snow (NZ) (Iffraaj) third.

“He’s a beautiful, big Flemington horse and it was a really dominant win today,” said trainer Mick Price, who paid $220,000 to buy the son of O’Reilly at the 2016 Premier Sale.

Grunt has now had eight starts for five wins, three at stakes level. He has earned A$1.21 million in prize-money – more than five times his purchase price.

His value extends even further beyond that, with his dam Ruqqaya (NZ) (Van Nistelrooy) being a half-sister to the five-time Group 1 winner and exciting sire Ocean Park (NZ) (Thorn Park).

Grunt is raced by R & C Legh Racing Pty Ltd, Wright Racing, Gurners Bloodstock Co, Mr R Smith, Mr G Pulitano, Mr S Tsalikidis and Mr C Cortese.

Vendor Trelawney Stud Ltd
Purchaser M G Price Racing/Cameron Cooke Bloodstock (Victoria)
Breeding O’Reilly – Ruqqaya
Sale Lot 49, 2016 Premier Sale, $220,000
Bred by Trelawney Thoroughbred Ltd

Brutal (NZ) and Dwayne Dunn (yellow) hold out Leonardo Da Hinchi and Damien Lane (blue left) at Flemington, picture