Innovation Girls last foal provides an emotional winner

Two weeks after suffering a fatal colic attack, the last of Innovation Girl’s progeny produced a stunning win on debut at Moonee Valley’s Cox Plate meeting to again demonstrate the ever-changing emotions of racing and breeding.

Although the win of Ideas Man in the opening race was tinged with some sadness, more good news came later that night for the Pope family which had had sold the Brazen Beau colt for $575,000 at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sales.

Listed winner Chloe in Paris, a daughter of Innovation Girl, produced a Zoustar colt on Saturday night at Blue Gum Farm to cap off an exciting and emotional day for the Pope family.

The Popes, led by father Des and daughters Deanna, Dale and Danielle, retained a share in Ideas Man after he was purchased by Colin and Janice McKenna who race the two-year-old with friends.

“We were ecstatic with the win,” Deanna said. “I am really glad for dad because it’s been a while since getting a good one out there.

‘’We lost Innovation Girl nearly two weeks ago now. She was in foal to Street Boss – she was 10 months. They think it was colic and she collapsed. Even before the vet got there, she was gone.”

Des Pope with Innovation Girl and Ideas Man

A seven times stakes winner, Innovation Girl was special to the Pope family as she gave them what Deanna describes as their first taste of the big time in racing.

Innovation Girl was by 1987 Cox Plate winner Rubiton who Des Pope later purchased and stood at Blue Gum Farm.

“She was 20 and we had a bit of fun with her but it was sad because she was one of her favourites,” Deanna said.

“And of course we lost the foal as well.  So, he (Ideas Man) is our last one now out of her. She missed in between. That was kind of fitting that he won around that time.”

Ideas Man, trained at Caulfield by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, had plenty of backing to start favourite and soon showed why the support was justified.

Maher is no stranger to the breed and trained Chloe in Paris, who won the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) in 2015.

While the $2 million Inglis Millennium in Sydney in autumn is a tempting target, the colt could be spelled and set for the Blue Diamond or Golden Slipper.

Deanna said the birth of Chloe in Paris’ Zoustar colt had capped off a big day for the family.

‘’It just topped it off,” she said.  “It couldn’t have been better timing. We had five colts originally, and we had three delivered and this was the last one we were waiting for.”

“Innovation Girl was actually our first two-year-old and we never really had any that had run as two year-olds before and she broke down as a three year-old.”

Deanna admits it’s a difficult decision to know when to sell, especially if breeders, like them, also like to race horses as well.

“‘When sold him and we didn’t know Colin McKenna, who is a friend we have had been in horses with, was going to buy him,” Deanna said.

“Colin asked dad if he wanted to be involved and now knowing that he was the last one, it’s kind of great that we did get that offer from someone we knew.  So that was good.”

“We had two Brazen Beau colts going into that sale and other one was out of our mare Original Choice which was also out last one of her. The colt was actually orphaned when he was born. We had two going into the sales and we have also kept a share in both.”

“We sort of didn’t want Innovation Girl’s colt to go, but for the right money you have to make those decisions at times.

Deanna said her father is now 84 years-old and makes plans – often ever changing – on the way to the sales about what they are going to sell and do when they get to the auction.

“But he gets there and thinks about it again,”’ she laughed. “It confuses me, but it’s tough when you want to breed and also race.

“My younger sister (Danielle) goes: ‘Let’s just keep them all.’ “But it’s not that easy. It costs a lot of money to breed so you sort of need to sell somewhere along the line.’’

Zoustar x Chloe in Paris foal which was born Saturday

One of the first horses the Popes sold was Amber Sky which Deanne said fetched around $80,000. Out of their mare Truly Wicked, the gelding was sold to Hong Kong where his prize money fell just short of $2 million.

“We know you have to sell them because it keeps people coming back to buy,’’ Deanna said.

When the Popes had Innovation Girl and Group 1 winner Rubitano racing at the same time, Des told Deanna that he thought they knew where they were doing and were making the right choices.

They later realised a lot of luck is also required as they continue to breed from their five mares at Blue Gum Farm.

Trainer Maher expects big things. “He’s got a great pedigree, by a super stallion – it’s a stallion’s pedigree,” Maher said,

It’s that sort of luck and good management that could see Ideas Man develop into a top stallion.