A large crowd took advantage of beautiful weather and good quality racing to witness trackside Wyong-based apprentice Anna Roper take the last three races, including the feature Coonamble Cup, as well as approved hoop Leandro Ribeiro win the Showcase Picnic Championship Final at Coonamble on Sunday.
Brazilian-born Ribeiro partnered with favourite Inzaghi to convincingly win the $50,000 Picnic Final, which was one of eight runners from the powerful Connie Greig stable of Dubbo.
Greig and Ribeiro also combined to take the Picnic Final last year with Hemsted.
A seven-year-old mare by the Riverdene Stud-based Sizzling, Inzaghi (a winner of six races and $134,000), defeated the $200,000 earning 10-year-old Sons Of Bourke (trained by Rodney Robb), and the Rob Potter prepared Madison Point third.
After taking the Coonamble Showcase Crystal Sprint aboard the Cameron Crockett, Scone, trained Rajnish, Roper won the $75,000 Cup aboard Hollywood Hero, a New Zealand-bred horse by Sacred Falls.
Trained at Warwick Farm by Bjorn Baker, Hollywood Hero has now qualified for the $3 million The Big Dance at Randwick to be run on Melbourne Cup day.
Star Witness gelding Bare To Witness was Roper's other winner and was trained by her "boss" and former Coonamble boy Damian Lane, who also prepared Bold Storm to win the Super Maiden Handicap (ridden by Ben Looker).
Canberra-based Joseph/Jones training combination scored a winning double with Belleistic Kids and Ammahell.
I was interested to learn about a New Zealand-based but Australian-bred stallion, Mongolian Falcon, which was represented with his first winner when Mumbo Jumbo won at Riccarton Park, Christchurch.
Standing privately in the Hawkes Bay region on the eastern side of the North Island, Mongolian Falcon joins the ranks of proven sire sons by champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock.
Limited to seven starts, Mongolian Falcon won three races highlighted by the Hawkes Bay Guineas-G2.
Another New Zealand-based and Australian-bred stallion, Ace High, is another which had a recent first winner, when first crop three-year-old Bezique won a maiden sprint recently at Ruakaka, about a two hour drive north of Auckland.
The gelding is likely to appreciate a long trip considering his sire excelled over staying distances, Ace High winning four Australian stakes from 1800 to 2500 metres, including the VRC Victoria Derby-G1 and ATC Spring Champion Stakes-G1.
Standing at Rich Hill Stud near Matamata in the North Island, Ace High is by short-lived but influential shuttle sire High Chaparral, also the sire of high-profile stallions Dundeel, So You Think, Toronado, and Alpine Eagle, the latter making waves in Victoria and at home in Tasmania.
Strawberry Hill Stud is set to continue its role as a boutique and showpiece Thoroughbred property with the recent announcement that Coolmore Australia is its new owner.
Sprawled over the picturesque mountainous hilltops of Mount White just north of Sydney off the Pacific Highway, Strawberry Hill Stud was developed by media personality and big-racehorse owner John Singleton, who also dispersed much of his breeding stock in August.
The deal was brokered by Donovan and Company in partnership with Magic Millions Bloodstock.
According to Tom Magnier, Coolmore is thrilled to continue the legacy that Singleton built.
"When you see the time, effort and passion that John and his family have put into this farm, it's quite amazing, and would have taken decades to develop a farm to this standard," Mr Magnier said.
The farm is to play an important role in Coolmore's Australian operations.
"The plan is for it to be a world-class spelling farm for the best horses and to give them every opportunity to go back to their trainers in top condition," Mr Magnier said.
"We have had lots of success at Coolmore with breakers including Shinzo, Fangirl, Jacquinot and Home Affairs, and we want to complete that circle by having the best place to spell them at Mount White."
Mr Magnier said they had been searching for a long time to find the right place.
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