The following story by Tony Arrold about Magnus gelding Great Shot and his Victorian breeding background was printed in the Australian following his big Group 1 win in the Railway Stakes in Perth on Saturday.
Rejuvenated Great Shot sees off late surge to seal Railway Stakes
Great Shot (Magnus) was beating huge odds by achieving the unexpected in Western Australia’s premier race, the $1 million Group I Railway Stakes, at Perth’s Ascot racecourse on Saturday.
He had stood idle in his box 12 months earlier when drawn up as the second reserve runner for the Railway Stakes and that was at a time when he had successfully come through a lead-up preparation, having defied a back problem that threatened to end his young racing career.
Great Shot developed a spinal condition after blitzing 14 other three-year-olds in the Listed Belmont Guineas over 1600m at Belmont Park in May, 2016.
But he responded to therapy and a careful exercise program to return to training and reward connections with winning form, which included further Listed wins over 1200m and 1600m at Ascot in the first quarter of 2017.
While missing a place in only the first of four starts in this preparation, Great Shot was dismissed as a 30-1 chance among 16 for the Railway Stakes (1600m) and surprised no one when took up his habitual position of running on the pace to be left alone out at the front.
But at points in the final home straight where he was expected to be swallowed up, Great Shot was up for a fight to retain his lead; and fight he did, holding out a swarm of late challengers, top weighted Black Heart Bart the best of them a short-head margin away at the post.
Black Heart Bart was the high-profile runner of the 2017 Railway Stakes, having returned to his old stamping grounds after trekking east to bag five Group I wins in Adelaide and Melbourne and boost his earnings to near $4m.
But Great Shot and Black Heart Bart may have crossed paths at an earlier time since both were born on a stud at Muchea, 50km north of Perth. Great Shot foaled around the time Black Heart Bart was being prepared in a neighbouring paddock for the Perth Magic Millions yearling sale.
Black Heart Bart was bred on the then Durham Lodge stud in the spring of 2010 and when he was sold as a yearling for $20,000 in 2012, the Muchea property had been renamed Scenic Lodge after its former resident stallion Scenic.
Today it is the home of Black Heart Bart’s sire Blackfriars, seven times leading sire in WA.
Great Shot was foaled on Scenic Lodge in early October, 2012, the stud having bought the future Railway Stakes winner’s mother Satin Covers four months earlier for $26,000 at the Magic Millions National Broodmare sale on the Gold Coast.
Satin Covers was bought from the draft of Eliza Park Stud, at Kerrie, Victoria and she was in foal to Magnus, the former high-class sprinter who was standing at Eliza Park.
Though Scenic Lodge is the official breeder of Great Shot, credit for the matching of Great Shot’s parents goes to Lee Fleming, who had developed Eliza Park into a Victorian showpiece before striking financial problems took the operation into receivership in 2013.
Notable among Eliza Park’s bloodstock asset dispersal was a Snitzel-Millrich weanling colt bought for $45,000 by the Marquee Stud from PBB Advisory as official receiver at the 2013 Inglis Easter weanling-broodmare sale.
Marquee Stud resold the colt to Triple Crown syndications at the 2014 Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast and today he races as Redzel, a $7m-plus stakes winner and with his place in history as the winner of the inaugural $10m The Everest, the richest race ever run in Australia.
Fleming and his Eliza Park also had a hand in another notable thoroughbred, Black Caviar, arguably the finest sprinting mare bred in this country, with an unblemished career of 25 starts to back the claim.
Eliza Park was not only the home of Bel Espirit, the former crack sprinter-miler son of Royal Academy and sire of Black Caviar, but Fleming was the co-breeder, with Victorian Rob Crabtree, of Black Caviar’s mother Helsinge, who was by another Eliza Park stallion, Desert Sun, sire of the celebrated Sunline.
Fleming had entered into a foal-sharing arrangement with Crabtree with the classy Snippets mare Scandinavia.
Helsinge (which did not race) was Scandinavia’s second foal and Magnus her third and first colt foal, by Danehill’s Golden Slipper winner Flying Spur.
Racing for a partnership which included Crabtree and Fleming, Magnus earned more than $1.3m with the Group I The Galaxy his career highpoint and with eight second placings including in the Group I Oakleigh Plate-Newmarket Handicap double to Weekend Hussler and in the Group I Lightning Stakes to Miss Andretti.
Magnus also ventured abroad twice with his efforts including a second to Takeover Target in the Group I Krisflyer in Singapore and to Miss Andretti in the Group II King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, England.
Today, Magnus is on the stallion roster of Sun Stud, formerly Eliza Park, where he is rounding off his 10th season at a service fee of $22,000.
Great Shot is the third Group I winner for Magnus, after Malaguerra (2016 Darley Classic) and Magnifisio (2014 Winterbottom Stakes).
Scenic Lodge sold Great Shot at the 2014 MM Perth yearling sale, with retired Perth doctor Frank Edwards signing the invoice at $31,000 for the now gelded five-year-old, who has returned $1,204,875 from eight wins and 11 placings in 24 starts.
And just as Redzel was the last foal of Millrich, so, too, was Great Shot the last foal from Satin Covers, who failed to get in foal in four subsequent seasons to Blackfriars and with Scenic Lodge retiring the mare after she did not conceive in her 2015 cover by associate sire Snippetson.
The now 21-year-old Satin Covers is a brown mare by Sir Tristram’s Australian Derby winner Dr Grace, her mother the quality racemare Satin Sand, who won the 1986 version of the race popularly known today as the Group I Coolmore Classic at Rosehill.
Note: Magnus had a further five winners around Australia over the weekend. Other city winners were the Windy Hill bred Magnus Knight in Adelaide and the 3YO Magnufighter in Brisbane. He has two sons in Malibu Style and The River contesting this Saturday’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.