Amour Propre wins Cornwallis for Candy

AMOUR PROPRE showed his rivals a clean pair of heels as he sped up the nearside rail to win the Group 3 Willmott Dixon Cornwallis Stakes at 10-1.

Twice a course record breaker on firmer ground in the summer, there had been concerns that the good to soft ground might cause the Henry Candy-trained juvenile problems.

However, racing with only the eventual 12-1 runner up Waffle for company he was never headed to win by a neck.

The rest of the runners stayed towards the middle, with Mrs Kipling, a 12-1 shot, bursting away from the rest to finish a clear third.

Candy said: "He really, really wants the ground like concrete and he's started to get a bit hairy in his coat so that's a really good performance.

"I tried to tell everybody that we'd go up middle but I didn't think they'd believe me.

"There were no problems with him racing like he did because he goes so fast on the gallops at home he never sees another horse anyway

The ever-puzzling Conquest supplemented his Stewards' Cup win at Glorious Goodwood by getting the better of the James Fanshawe-trained pair of Zidane and Sir Gerry in the Group 3 Willmott Dixon Bengough Memorial Stakes.

Once again it paid to race near the Stands' side rail the William Haggas-trained gelding chasing down Zidane inside the final furlong to win.

Winning rider Jimmy Fortune said: "When I rode him at Lingfield earlier in the year he felt great and then just lost his form. He's really enjoying his racing at the moment and tried really hard."

The valuable heritage handicap went to Night Crescendo in a finish that would have had the handicapper smiling like a Cheshire cat.

A winner over course and distance just under two weeks ago, the Amanda Perrett trained five year old just got his head in front where it mattered under Jim Crowley.

Pevensey was a narrow second with Drill Sergeant and Inventor taking third and fourth in a bunched finish to the 1m4f race.

Perrett said: "We were very lucky and just got the gap when we needed it. Great credit to the horse."



DANBIRD flys high on Gold Coast – click to view pictures

Eliza Park’s exciting first season sire, DANBIRD, has grabbed gold on the Coast with his yearlings averaging over 15 times service fee during Thursday’s session at the Magic Millions.

Cranbourne trainer, Robbie Griffiths, got the ball well and truly rolling with his winning bid of $250,000 for the Danbird filly from Drop Anchor, an athletic half sister to this season’s multiple stakes winner Bel Mer. Winner of the MRC Quezette-LR in the spring and the MRC JRA Stakes-LR at the beginning of March, Bel Mer is second favourite for this Saturday’s Group One Sangster Stakes in Adelaide.

“I saw the Danbird filly at Eliza’s Berrigan property a few weeks back and it was love at first sight,” Robbie enthused. “Bel Mer is a lovely type, but the Danbird filly is already bigger and stronger than Bel Mer at the same stage.

“She (the Danbird filly) is a super walker with a massive overstride and, from what I’ve seen, a great example of what Danbird is producing at stud.”

Danbird is a son of the immortal Danehill and was a Group Two winner at two and runner up in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

Danbird is also a full brother to Golden Slipper winner and highly successful sire, Catbird, and Robbie Griffiths isn’t the only one pinning his hopes on Danbird following in his sibling’s hoofsteps.

Louis Mihalyka’s Laurel Oak Bloodstock also paid $60,000 for a Danbird filly from Forestress, while the powerful Kennewell Stable in Adelaide outlaid another $60,000 for the Danbird colt from Golden Vine.

“It’s a tremendous result for Danbird who has managed to average $123,333 on the Gold Coast, which is amazing for a stallion who stands at $8,800,” Eliza Park’s general manager, Shane McGrath points out. “He has always produced sensational foals … not only at Eliza Park, but also at Beechwood Grange in England where he has shuttled for the past three seasons. I guess the proof is in the selling.

“It’s worth remembering that a Danbird also topped the second session of the Melbourne Premier when Gerald Ryan paid $80,000 for the colt from Hurry Up Dear.

“He’s certainly making his presence felt!”


DANBIRD joins Beechwood Grange Stallions for 2006 Season

Eliza Park has secured an arrangement with Beechwood Grange, Yorkshire, to stand the exciting freshman stallion Danbird during the 2006 northern hemisphere breeding season.

Already home to an impressive selection of European performed stallions, including the 1990 Group One Sandown Eclipse Stakes and Group One Leopardstown Irish Champion Stakes winner Elmaamul, Danbird is regarded to be the ideal stallion to complement the stud's 2006 roster.

"We were looking for a son of Danehill and are delighted to have secured Danbird," declared stud spokesman Steve Knowles. "He has the looks, the pedigree and the performance, and is the complete package. With Danbird's race record and pedigree I have no doubt he will be extremely well received here in Yorkshire."

Eliza Park's Shane McGrath has two reasons to be delighted at the moment. In addition to the latest development in the Danbird’s stud career, the young stallion has begun his new vocation in life in excellent fashion.

"As with all of our first season stallions," commented McGrath, "we limited Danbird to 120 mares in his first year and have been very happy with his fertility and his attitude in the serving barn. He has a lovely temperament and is a superb horse to deal with."

McGrath added: "What with Exceed and Excel and Danroad also shuttling to the United Kingdom, as well as the tremendous response to Choisir's foals, it would seem that Australian sprinters descended from Danehill have a growing place in the European thoroughbred breeding market."



SWEET RETURN (GB) (Elmaamul) enters the Million in career-best form for trainer Ron McAnally, winning the Eddie Read H. (G1) and Charles Whittingham Memorial H. (G1) in his last two starts, and the five-year-old is three for four at 1 1/4 miles. The ground will likely have some give to it and Sweet Return has won over soft turf before. Even though he captured his last two races on the lead, the chestnut is far from one-dimensional. He can sit and pounce if another rival wants the early advantage, and we like that he's worked well twice since winning at Del Mar 20 days ago. With his sharp present form, Sweet Return may prove impossible to reel in through the stretch on Saturday. Click for race and form


10/08/05 Grade 1 sire Keen dies at age of 24

KEEN, the sire of dual Grade 1 winner River Keen, died on Wednesday at the age of 24. The dual-purpose stallion, a full-brother to top-class performers and sires Kris and Diesis, had been standing at Beechwood Grange Stud in Yorkshire for the last nine years.

Stud owner Steve Knowles said: "He died of a heart attack. It was a sad day yesterday."

Trained by Henry Cecil, Keen was an impressive winner as a juvenile, and won the Easter Stakes over a mile on his reappearance. He could finish only fifth in the 2,000 Guineas, with Cecil believing him to be too immature to cope with the big occasion.

He ran twice more, finishing second in both the Heron Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Following his Royal Ascot run he was sold for a reported A$1million and took up stud duties at John Kelly’s Newhaven Park Stud in New South Wales. He remained in Australia for seven years before standing first at the Irish National Stud and then the National Stud prior to Beechwood Grange.

Standing for £1,500, Keen had covered a full book of 25 mares this season, 24 of which are confirmed in foal. Among the best horses he sired are millionaire River Keen, winner of the 1999 Grade 1 Woodward Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Gamine, winner of the Group 1 South Australia Oaks.


24/07/05 Sweet Return earns place in Arlington Million

SWEET RETURN made all in winning the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap on Sunday at Del Mar under Alex Solis.

Forty Niners Son and Singletary were a nose apart in second and third, a length and a half behind the winner.

"He's so professional," Solis said of Sweet Return. "He broke really sharp and then he was really relaxed. I just let him roll along. He's got a half-mile run in him. That is special. You can ask him for it and you'll get it for sure. Riding one like him is lots of fun."

Trained by Ron McAnally, Sweet Return's next likely start is the Arlington Million.

Earlier on the card Choctaw Nation, third in the Dubai World Cup in March, won the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap for trainer Jeff Mullins.

"He likes this track," said Espinoza of the winner, who will make his next start in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 21.


18/07/05 - Mecca's Mate surprises her own trainer

MECCA’S MATE produced a powerful late charge to take the Land O'Burns Fillies' Stakes in great style at Ayr this afternoon, a performance which left her trainer David Barker "stunned".

Paradise Isle and then Fruit Of Glory set a furious pace in the five-furlong Listed dash, with Fergal Lynch at the rear on the eventual winner.

She did not make headway until well inside the final furlong, but she finished to such effect that she sliced through the opposition to score going away by a length and a quarter from Fruit Of Glory, with Notjustaprettyface a neck back in third.

"Last to first in six strides - but you are never worried with Fergal on your side, bless him!" said Barker after greeting his 4-1 victor.

"But that was some performance - I'm stunned. She's blown me away there. That last furlong has just left me speechless.

"The progression she has shown this year has been amazing and we've been forced into Listed class."

Mecca's Mate is entered at York on Friday and in the Stewards' Cup and Barker added: "She goes where it rains. Good ground or softer, that's what she wants."



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