Ten horses that will break their Group One duck in 2013: Part two

Justin Cinque Columnist

By , Justin Cinque is a Roar Expert


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    Sea Moon. (Image: UK Racing)

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    In a continuation from last week’s article, I’ve selected another five horses that will break their Group One duck in 2013.

    In part one, the five horses I profiled – Puissance de Lune, Shamal Wind, Fiorente, Zydeco and Better Than Ready – had already scaled significant heights.

    Fiorente and Zydeco placed at Group One level at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week, while Puissance de Lune, Shamal Wind and Better Than Ready made huge impressions in their respective spring campaigns, collecting their first Stakes-level victories.

    In part two, the horses I’m going to write about are, for the most part, unknowns – you may not have even heard of a few of these. Of the five, four have never won a black-type race and two have only prevailed in maidens at the provincials.

    Are you ready for some big calls?

    6. High Shot (three-year-old colt trained by Michael Kent at Cranbourne)

    Predicted duck-breaking Group One Victory: Australian Derby (2400m, three-year olds, Randwick, April)

    “Who’s High Shot?” I hear you say. Well High Shot is probably the best Class 1 galloper in training.

    The son of champion staying sire High Chaparral has only been to the races once and what an incredible performance it was.

    On a mid-October Friday night at Cranbourne last year, this bloke dropped from the sky to claim his maiden over 1400 metres.

    He didn’t beat a great deal which is of concern considering his winning margin was less than a length, but it was the manner of victory that earns him this column space.

    When High Shot entered the short Cranbourne straight, he must have been six lengths off the leader. Once he balanced up, he unwound with an incredible finishing burst to win the race.

    There were a few clues at Cranbourne which hint at a superstar: namely High Shot’s turn of foot, breeding that says he shouldn’t be winning as he did over a distance as short as 1400m and the fact the field finished at long intervals (indicating the race tempo was true enough for this maiden to be trusted as a future form reference).

    The noise coming out of Mick Kent’s stables is also heartening. After Kent parted with $600,000 for High Shot at the 2011 Karaka Sale in New Zealand, he described the brown colt as “the best High Chaparral I’d seen.”

    And as a further show of confidence in the horse’s ability, Kent has nominated High Shot for the $2m Doncaster Mile (in which he is currently a 300/1 chance with bookmakers).

    But, I think it will be over 2400m that we get the see the best of this High Chaparral colt so I’m tipping High Shot to crack his first Group One in the Derby.

    Let’s see if he can live up to the hype.

    7. Sea Moon (five-year old horse trained by Robert Hickmott at Mount Macedon)

    Predicted duck-breaking Group One victory: Ranvet Stakes (2000m, weight-for-age, Rosehill, March)

    Sea Moon comes to Australia as triple Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams’ newest European acquisition. And this bloke is good enough to dominate Australian racing.

    Last season Sea Moon won the Hardwicke Stakes (2400m, weight-for-age) at Royal Ascot, knocking over the eventual winners of the Caulfield Cup (Dunaden) and Hong Kong Vase (Red Cadeaux).

    In 2011, Sea Moon’s victories included an eight-length romp in York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group Two, three-year olds) over 2400m. Beaten ten lengths in that race was Seville, who is now a stablemate to Sea Moon having also been subsequently purchased by Williams.

    In last October’s Turnbull Stakes, Seville ran an outstanding second to the Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon. At the time, Seville (who would later be struck out of the spring with a virus) was touted as a major Caulfield Cup player.

    Sea Moon has featured at Group One level on numerous occasions – he was second to St Nicholas Abbey in the 2011 Breeder’s Cup Turf (2400m) at Churchill Downs, fifth in Danedream’s Classic King George (2400m) last July and eighth to Solemia and Orfevre in the Longchamp slush in October’s Arc de Triomphe (2400m).

    In Sea Moon, Williams has a world class galloper; a horse that would be a walk-up favourite in almost every 2400m race Australia has.

    If Hickmott can get the best out of Sea Moon, as he has done with imported gallopers Green Moon and Seville, the five-year-old stallion could win plenty of good races this year.

    So where does he break his Group One duck? I’m inclined to think it will be in the autumn, but just how early?

    I selected Fiorente to break his Group One duck in the BMW (2400m) last week, so perhaps Sea Moon can beat him to the punch by winning the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) a few weeks earlier.

    In saying that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Fiorente win the Ranvet and Sea Moon the BMW. Between them, plenty of wins await in the Autumn Carnival.

    8. Lampedusa (three-year old gelding trained by Peter Moody at Caulfield)

    Predicted duck-breaking Group One victory: Stradbroke Handicap (1400m, handicap, Eagle Farm, June)

    Lampedusa is currently enjoying a spell in the paddock after a promising debut campaign that included three victories from four starts.

    If you speak to Pete Moody, he’ll tell you this son of Flying Spur should be undefeated. His only loss was on Stakes Day at Flemington in November when he was an unlucky eighth (over 1400m) behind Eximus in Listed grade.

    After his Cup week loss, Lampedusa continued on – winning by almost five lengths at Caulfield in restricted grade before winning again over 1400m at Flemington in December.

    I’m taking a big risk by putting Lampedusa in my list of ten horses but I’m doing it on the back of that victory at Flemington.

    At Flemington Lampedusa beat Cross Of Gold who was then fourth in the Magic Millions Cup (a race worth $400,000) last Saturday. Khalifa (third) subsequently came out and won well at Caulfield at the start of January and Red Inca (fourth) won on the weekend and has Carnival aspirations.

    I think Lampedusa has a bit of Mental in him. In October 2011, Mental showed potential when winning a restricted at Rosehill by a narrow margin.

    Like Lampedusa’s Flemington win, you didn’t stand up and take notice because of the outstanding nature of Mental’s victory (it wasn’t that special) but you were impressed by both the professionalism of the performance and quality of opposition he beat.

    At the time, Pampelonne and Said Com weren’t big names. But like Mental, they had shown promise early in their careers (much like Khalifa, Red Inca and Cross of Gold). And the trio progressed from that low-level Rosehill race (in which they ran the top three) to become Group One performers.

    Interestingly, Mental (the winner of the Group One Patinack Farm Classic on Stakes Day in November) was fourth a year earlier on Stakes Day in the same race Lampedusa was eighth in 2012.

    Like Mental, Lampedusa will be aimed at the Brisbane Winter Carnival as a three-year old and I think he can outdo Mental by breaking his Group One duck before the spring. He’s a top-line performer in the making.

    9. Maevemoo (three-year old filly trained by John Sadler at Flemington)

    Predicted duck-breaking Group One victory: Australasian Oaks (2500m, three-year old fillies, Morphettville, April)

    Well if you thought High Shot was a big call then Maevemoo is huge. Because, while High Shot’s debut won him a few headlines in racing’s niche media, Maevemoo’s nine-length debut destruction has gone relatively unnoticed.

    But I was taken with Maevemoo’s Ballarat maiden smashing last month – it was pretty impressive. She went to the races with a big reputation. In a pre-race interview with broadcaster TVN, a stable representative declared the filly to be “Stakes grade”.

    After the race, anyone who saw had to agree. The daughter of dam Purde (who was fourth in the 2006 South Australian Derby when taking on the males) was outstanding. Debuting over 1500m, Maevemoo settled last in a field of 11.

    Upon straightening for home, the daughter of Danehill Dancer (a noted sire of milers and the odd stayer) was produced widest on the track before proceeding to destroy her rivals by nine lengths.

    It was an amazing win by a filly that was clearly panels-of-fencing superior to her meagre – yet older – opposition.

    It was also one of the biggest debut winning margins I’ve ever seen – probably second to Haradasun’s ten-length canter at Swan Hill in 2006. Of course, Haradasun went on to win Group Ones in both hemispheres.

    No-one’s expecting that of Maevemoo but with her pedigree, I think she can reach the top grade.

    And Adelaide’s Australasian Oaks in late April looks an attainable target for this up-and-coming staying filly.

    10. Bennetta (three-year old filly trained by Grahame Begg at Randwick)

    Predicted duck-breaking Group One victory: Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m, fillies and mares, Eagles Farm, June)

    Bennetta rounds out the ten. And like Lampedusa she’s currently enjoying a rest before being sent north for a tilt at Brisbane’s Winter Carnival.

    This filly by General Nediym was the revelation of the Sydney summer. She resumed in December a much-improved racehorse after running consecutive fifths in her debut campaign behind the smart Seaside initially and then Longport (Group-One placed).

    Second-up from a spell, she produced one of the runs of the off-season when coming from a long way back to beat She’s A Stalker in a moderately-graded race at Canterbury.

    It was a serious performance that exhibited all of Bennetta’s brilliance. In her previous start, She’s A Stalker had comfortably beaten Driefontein. Driefontein then went to the Gold Coast and ran second in the $800,000 Magic Millions Guineas.

    They are some very good numbers.

    On Magic Millions Day, Bennetta was entered a race on the undercard herself and was super impressive. Again she came with a strong run from midfield to win the Fillies and Mares (1300m) Magic Millions race.

    Trainer Graheme Begg thinks very highly of this filly and his opinion of Bennetta has convinced me to find a spot for her in the ten.

    I think Begg will have races like the Tattersall’s Tiara in the back of his mind and if Bennetta continues to improve, it may be just one of a number of Group One victories she collects in 2013.