Above: Mr Quickie ridden by Jamie Kah wins the Lexus Toorak Handicap at Caulfield Racecourse (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)
After going more than 12 months winless, the Rosemont Stud bred Mr Quickie added his second Group 1 to his 23 race career with victory in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The victory was perhaps a little bit more thrilling and significant for Rosemont’s Anthony Mithen and his brother-in-law Nigel Austin who bred Mr Quickie.
Mr Quickie’s sire, Shamus Award, is now standing as Rosemont Stud where the 10 year-old stallion is in his second season in Victoria after relocating from the Hunter Valley.
It was a big weekend for Rosemont with their stallion Nostradamus’ Clairvoyance keeping his unbeaten four race record intact with victory at Ascot in Perth. And another Nostradamus filly, Tinker McPhee, bred by Victoria’s Rushton Park and David Raphael scored a slashing victory on debut at Matamata in New Zealand. The filly looks to have a promising career off the back of that debut.
And if that wasn’t enough, a Rosemont bred horse – Masterwin – won a Listed raced in Italy on the weekend. Mithen bought broodmare Palace of Winds (Monsun) in foal to Mastercraftsman for 30,000 euros at the Goff’s Breeding Stock Sale in 2006.
The mare foaled down in Ireland and Mithen sold the foal and then transported the mare to Rosemont where she had a colt to Tarzino which died after birth and is due to foal to Exceed and Excel.
After serving his biggest book of mares – 165 – in his first season, Shamus Award (Snitzel x Sunset Express) served 149 at Rosemont in 2019 but this season he’ll serve 170.
Mithen said the phone will be ringing after Mr Quickies’ Toorak Handicap win, the five-year-old gelding’s first victory since his success in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm in June last year.
Although Rosemont sold Mr Quickie to syndicator Wylie Dalziel for $115,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Austin had a dream that the horse won the Cox Plate and asked Mithen to buy back as much of the colt as he could.
Both Mithen and Austin bought back in, while Dalziel Racing has 30 per cent, the rest is split among several owners including trainer Peter Moody who acts as bloodstock consultant to Dalziel and later had an advisory role at Rosemont.
Austin’s dream of winning the Cox Plate won’t materialise for at least this year after it was agreed between the owners and trainer Phillip Stokes that Mr Quickie would be best restricted to 1600m races.
And Mithen believes it was the 1600m trip, a firm track and the expertise of Jamie Kah that was responsible for Mr Quickie’s Toorak Handicap triumph.
“It was just awesome, awesome,” Mithen said of Mr Quickie’s win.
“To win a big one like that, a time honoured Group 1 that is revered in Australian racing with a horse that was bred off the farm and we have still go the mother and we obviously now have a vested interest in the father, was awesome.
“We have got two half-sisters and the mare is going back in foal to Shamus Award.
“There were just layers upon layers of delight when he sprinted clear and did it so easily. It was just awesome.”
Mithen said he believed there were a couple of factors why a horse of Mr Quickie’s obvious class had gone so long between wins.
“There are probably three major factors,” he said.
“We have scratched our chin a bit about his best distance and have probably got the answer on Saturday that he is an on top of the ground horse. He is adequate in weak going but just loves it firm and the other factor is that if you go back through his last campaigns ever since the Queensland Derby, he hasn’t had a lot of luck with barriers.
Mithen said Kah made sure that Mr Quickie bounced from the barriers with the field, took advantage of barrier two and was smart enough to get off the fence at the right time.
He said Kah sent the owners a note after the race thinking them “profusely” for giving her the ride, but he’d like to thank her profusely for taking it.
Mithen said they hadn’t paid up for the next acceptances on races like the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate a couple of weeks ago based on the belief that they were going to stick to the line that Mr Quickie was a 1600m horse.
But he said, to be fair, he wasn’t convinced the horse was a miler and stepping up to 2000m was “probably neither here nor there.”
“But Phillips Stokes was adamant on that point of view and Peter Moody’s input concurred with that and Wylie Dalziel concurred and I was probably a little bit the thorn in the side on that argument,” he said.
“I was pretty happy on Saturday night to eat the humble pie, to get that one wrong and we’ll stick to that and he’ll go to the Cantala on Derby Day.”
Mithen said younger horses in their age group could win at a long distance when so many weren’t tested at a trip because they were perhaps the most talented horse without being a genuine stayer.
He said Mr Quickie beat a subsequent Melbourne Cup winner – Vow and Declare – in the Queensland Derby so everyone entitled to think the winner would get a trip.
And Mithen pointed out that Shamus Award is getting speedy horses, even though he was an Australian Guineas and Cox Plate winner
“He has got Swats That which is going to start favourite for the Coolmore and she is a real sprinting filly,” he said.
“And now we’ve settled on Mr Quickie being a miler which is more his go.
“Interestingly 80 per cent of Shamus Award’s winners are at 1200m or less. The real Snitzel speed is coming out in his progeny.”
Mr Quickie’s dam Special Favour (General Nediym x My Tusker) has just had a Shamus Award filly and has been covered again by the stallion.
“She has found a partner for life, I would have thought with Shamus Award,” Mithen said.
Mithen said of the 170 mares booked for Shamus Award, there had obviously been strong support from Sean Buckley’s Ultra Thoroughbreds and Viv Oldfield who bred and raced the stallion.
“Both the lads who own the horse have supported him strongly,” he said.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing for him most of the season to be honest. Still today I was getting messages asking whether they could still get their mare into Shamus Award.
“It’s not often they book out in Victoria but we’ll be very selective with the last few mares to fit into his book. We have got a rare commodity on our hands and we want to look after him.”
And as for the often used phase of a bread and butter stallion, Mithen said it was a bit rough to use that term on Shamus Award when he has only got three crops racing.
“He has done a bloody good job and has probably surpassed the market expectations of him and maybe the market thought that best case scenario he might end up a bread and butter stallion, but he has shown all the hallmarks that he is going to be a fair bit better than that,” Mithen said.
“And justifiably he’ll become one of the most sought after stallions in Victoria for many years to come.”
Mithen said Shamus Award had the excellent fertility expected of a top stallion.
And for Victorian-based syndicator Wylie Dalziel, Mr Quickie sparked off a good of day with Ancestry demolishing his sprint rivals on Cranbourne Cup Day on Sunday and then Glamour Fox (by Woodside stallion Foxwedge ) winning at Hawkesbury.
Dalziel said it had obviously worked to lower the bar a bit with Mr Quickie to aim for the Toorak and overlook the Cox Plate.
“Because he won the Derby last year we thought he was a staying type but we set him for the All Star Mile last preparation,” Wylie said.
“We are pretty sure we’ll head to the Kennedy Cantala and Jamie Kah is pretty keen to stay on him which is good.
“We agreed to take the Caulfield and Cox Plate off the table.”
Dalziel said that after Mr Quickie’s second-up run in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) he went through the horse’s CV and believed he was more of a miler.
“Moods planted that seed when he ran second in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) and I thought maybe he is right and then I bounced it off Dean Lester (form analyst) and he agreed and the key also seemed to be a dry track.”
Dalziel said the other owners told him to make a decision and he spoke to Stokes who agreed to run him in the Toorak and then the Cantala.
He believes the 1600m to 2000m was probably Mr Quickie’s best range but they’ll sit back and take a look after Cantala, but there are plenty of options in Melbourne and interstate.
And he says that Shamus Award has flown under the radar as a stallion and is getting other Group winners.
“He will get every chance at Rosemont and they’ll push him very hard,” Dalziel said.
Dalziel said that along with Moody they selected Mr Quickie as a yearling.
“Moods liked him and I obviously do all my shopping with him and we short list them and go through them together and ultimately he says what do you want to do because you are putting your hand up to sign for them,” he said.
Mr Quickie’s race record is 23: 10-5-2 for $1.6 million in prize money.