Sun Stud’s Melbourne Cup winning stallion Fiorente has produced two recent winners that have notched up a series of consecutive victories to earn them a Caulfield Cup nomination.
Julien Welsh’s Don’t Doubt Dory has won his past three starts and returns to Sandown on Wednesday, where he won at his most recent start when the gelding was first up over 1400m, to tackle a benchmark 78 over 1800m.
And last Saturday’s Moonee Valley winner Shandy has also won her past three as she continues onto a Caulfield Cup preparation.
Unlike the four year-old Don’t Doubt Dory, the five year-old mare does not hold a nomination for the Melbourne Cup.
Sun Stud’s Adam Henry said Fiorente got off to a flying start in the new racing season with 10 winners in August.
With a massive $10,000 reduction in his service fee to assist breeders in these tough times sparked by COVID-19, Henry is confident the stallion will again be well supported.
He said Fiorente had already produced five individual stakes winners – Cousin Ivan, Hawkshot, Moor Gait, Power Scheme and Stars of Carrum – as well as the inaugural VOBIS Sire Guineas winner in Florent.
“We have seen really promising last start winners, including Black Duke up in Sydney,” Henry said.
“He has blactype written all over him and is headed to the Dulcify Stakes next start. Obviously there is Melody Man in South Australia who won by a big space the other day as well. Jake Stephens has got him and says he hasn’t been this excited about a horse since Alcopop (Group 1 winner of $1.9 million). He knows a good horse when he sees one.
“It may not be this spring, but definitely in the autumn.”
Henry said the 2013 Melbourne Cup winner was in the top echelon of winners as far as stallions go and showed he could get a Group 2 winner and Group 1 Australian Guineas placed horse like Hawkshot which now races in Hong Kong and Group 2 winner Stars of Carrum which was second in the Group 1 Victoria Derby.
“He can get that real top class horse,” he said.
“It’s just exciting to see his last start winners and you’d like to think they’ll get to stakes level. They are only going to get better.
“We were happy to see Shandy register the hat-trick on Saturday,” Henry said.
“She was second favourite for a stakes race the Saturday before, but unfortunately because of a stone bruise didn’t race, but she came out and brained them after doing all the work at Moonee Valley.
“I see they have thrown in a nomination for the Caulfield Cup so they have a big opinion of her.
“And another of Fiorente’s last start winners, Don’t Doubt Dory, he has got a Caulfield Cup nomination. Julien Welsh has said he has never had a horse recover so well after a race.”
Henry said with the Feehan Stakes (1600m) being run last Saturday, was a reminder of how good Fiorente was when he showed a remarkable turn of foot, a trait he has passed onto his progeny, to win the race in 2013.”
Shandy was bred by Sharnee Rose, along with her parents Dennis and Coleen Rose and a couple of family friends.
Sharnee is racing manager for Flemington training partners Simon Zahra and Mathew Ellerton who obviously train the mare.
“I am thrilled with the way she is going and the boys have had an opinion of her for quite a while,” Sharnee said.
“But we have just had a lot little niggles and then she’s had accidents, so yeah it has taken a while to come around but it’s really good.
“I think we are going to nominate for the Naturalism (Group 3 2000m race at Caulfield on September 19) and see if we can get in there and we’ll just have to chase some black type ratings but it’s going to make it a bit tricky. She is going good and looking a million buck at the moment.”
The Rose family also breed Shandy’s dam, Portland Paije (Portland Pirate/ Enchanting Style) which they also raced.
The family first started breeding when they bought a mare, Enchanting Style, which was covered by Archway, and produced three-time city winner Hey Rosie.
The next foal produced by Enchanting Style was Shandy’s dam, Portland Paije.
“Mum and dad owned shares in that good horse Reggie, we didn’t breed her, but she was probably the best that they owned,” Sharnee said.
“Portland Paije was quite good, but she broke down. We have some city class horses but Shandy looks like being the best of them.”
Sharnee, who has worked with Zahra and Ellerton for 13 years, said the horses are raised on the family farm at Heywood in the Western districts and are really treated like part of the family.
“Shandy thinks she is a human and has always been treated like one of mum’s kids,” she said.
While Shandy was the last foal out of Portland Paije, they have a half-sister – Chilli Pepper (Reward For Effort) from the dam which is due to foal to Fiorente next month.
Sharnee said she went to the stud to inspect Fiorente as they were looking for a stallion that would throw some staying pedigree and speed.
“Physically he is just amazing and because of that speed that was the key for me to breed something that was not going to do too many laps at the back of the field,” she said.
“We have supported him this year. My parents have a mare that went to him but lost the foal so she is going back. It’s the mother of Sam Slick (Pensation) that Greg Eurell had and we may look at sending Shandy’s half-sister back again.”
While Sharnee liked Fiorente, the “boys” – Zahra and Ellerton – keep encouraging her to support the stallion.
And after Saturday’s victory Zahra was keen to praise the mare in his postrace interview.
“She is really coming of age,’’ Zahra said.
“She relaxed nicely, didn’t get the best (of) runs but Jamie (Kah)
didn’t panic and just kept her in a nice rhythm. She looked the winner a long way out but then was probably knocking up a little bit late.
“The extra week off just might have told late.
“It’s great for Sharnee, our racing manager, and her family. They’re always putting a couple (of horses) through the stable and getting their friends in. They’ll get a night buzz out of that.
Asked what was next, Zahra said:
“We’ll raise the bar. We did nominate her for the Caulfield Cup cheekily but we’ll get her up to 2000 (metres) and she’s got a nice win in her somewhere through the carnival.
“Just love the way she’s going and she looked terrific in the yard. We’re over that little speed hump last week and onwards and upwards.”