Damien Oliver and James Cummings with Willowy after winning the Kennedy Oaks at Flemington Racecourse on November 04, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

Kermadec’s relocation from New South Wales to Darley’s Northwood Park in Victoria has been perfect timing with the stallion producing the winner of the VRC Oaks – Willowy.
The Godolphin racing team, under trainer James Cummings, produced at least one winner on each of the four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Makiv said the Godolphin stable had a great week.
He said they ran an unlucky second on Derby Day with Alegron (Teofilo x Algria) and were beaten in a photo in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes with Cascadian which then ran second in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes on the final day of the carnival. Colette (Hallowed Crown x Libretto) backed up her victory in the Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield with the victory in the Group 1 Empire Rose, also on Derby Day.
Willowy shot to favouritism for the Oaks with her victory in the Wakeful Stakes on Derby Day.
The Godolphin team finished the carnival with a winner on Stakes Day when Alcyone (Teofilo x Purple) won over 2000m
“So we had winners on all four days so the carnival was fantastic,” Makiv said.
“The spring has been great and goes back to Anamoe winning the Guineas.”
As well as winning the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, Anamoe (Street Boss x Anamato) finished a controversial second in the Cox Plate to State of Rest.
Veteran jockey Damien Oliver couldn’t have been happier with his resurgence over the carnival and was full of praise for Willowy which had won a 1600m Newcastle maiden before tackling the Wakeful Stakes.
“I thought the second horse had us cold inside the 200. I tried everything. Maybe I took the roaring to another level, but she responded well and I can only take some of the credit,” Oliver said after the Oaks.
“James (Cummings) and the Godolphin team in Melbourne, Reg (Fleming) and all the guys, they have to take the credit too. It was my first sit on her today, I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Cummings said the Oaks win was great for the team first and foremost.
“There is a hell of a lot that goes into producing a horse like Willowy on days like this. It’s a great effort from the guys at Crown Lodge where she first started off,” Cummings said.
“She has just kept improving all the way, enough for us to send her to the Wakeful. We didn’t nominate many for the Oaks, but we had her earmarked as one that could stay.
“It takes a filly with a great temperament and a great constitution to do what she has done in the past week and she has been able to deliver.”
Cummings realises the importance of the win for Kermadec.
“That’s massive for Kermadec who had the favourite in this race last year, in Montefilia, who won the Metropolitan 12 months later,” he said.
“He’s producing these Classic fillies. It sets him apart being able to get a horse like that and we are looking for stallions like that, like anyone.”
Darley Victoria’s Andy Makiv said the entire organisation was delighted with the results of the carnival which culminated in Willowy’s Group 1 Oaks victory.
“We are delighted and it’s been a great week for a number of reasons,” Andy Makiv said.
“Willowy winning the Oaks was a real standout for us.”
Makiv said the swapping of states and stallions barns for Kermadec (Teofilo x Hy Fuji) and Street Boss (Street Cry x Blushing Ogygian) were part of managing Darley’s rosters in NSW and Victoria.
“Standing stallions is a long game,” he said.
Although Kermadec was moved to Victoria, Makiv said it was a horse that they still had faith in him in New South Wales, but was relocated to Victoria with view that the Victorians would have the opportunity to support the stallion on the back of Montefilia’s performances last year.
He said Willowy’s victory in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes and then winning the Oaks four days later had franked that decision for breeders.
The David Payne-trained Montefilia finished third in last year’s VRC Oaks, but won two Group 1 races in 2020 – the ATC Fight Stakes and the Spring Champion Stakes.
And this year the mare won the Group 1 ATC Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) in October and then finished fourth in the Caulfield Cup.
Mikov said the victory of Willowy said a lot for Kermadec as a stallion and also their operation’s breeding program.
“For a number of reasons it’s a great team effort all the way through from the stallion to the great old broodmare (Dextrous), to the training team, to the stud team,” he said.
“So that was the highlight, a fantastic highlight and everyone in the whole organisation got a buzz out of it.”
Makiv said Dextrous, which died last year, had been a great broodmare.
Her progeny include Group 1 winner Skilled (Commands), Group 2 winner Ambidexter and dual Group 2 winner Sidestep (Exceed and Excel).
Makiv said Willowy, a November 25 foal, is an immature filly that had won the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) in a week.
Now with three wins, one second and a third from six starts – plus $822,065 in prize money – Makiv said he’d expect the filly to target similar sorts of races during the autumn.
“But who knows where it leads beyond that, I suppose,” he said.
“Even the Verry Elleegants and the Winxs and those sorts of horses had to start somewhere didn’t they?
“She has got a wonderful pedigree and is a well credentialed filly.”
Makiv said Kermadec (NZ) had received good support in his first season in Victoria this year. He served 67 mares in New South Wales last season, but could double that number when the stud season finishes in Victoria this year.
“He has had two Group 1 winners this spring and I am not sure how many stallions have had two individual Group 1 winners this spring.”
“He is an up and coming horse who can get a classic horse and I’d say he’ll cover around 100 or maybe a few more. And maybe on the back of Willowy, it might head to a bit more.
“He has been well received this year and we are pleased.”
Makiv said Godolphin and Darley was an international business and certainly a national business with two farms in Australia and the stallion rosters had to be balanced.
“To move Street Boss north wasn’t for any other reasons than we had Frosted, Brazen Beau and Blue Point all in a similar price bracket here (in Victoria) and didn’t there (NSW),” he said.
Makiv said the thinking behind moving Kermadec to Victoria was that they also had a few horses in that similar price bracket in NSW.
Standing at $11,000, Kermadec has shown what he can produce for a reasonably priced fee.
“He has shown that he can get a good horse,” Makiv said.
“That horse of Lindsey Smith’s Tuvalu (three wins and two seconds from five stars) I think it is very talented. He was matching motors almost with I’m Thunderstruck through the winter and he has gone onto be one of the class horses of the spring.
“I am looking forward to seeing Tuvalu in the autumn and I think that he is an exciting prospect. Add him to the mix if he goes on and does it and by April/May next year he may be a very hot horse.
“If they pass on a bit of talent, you are half-way there, I think.”
Makiv said Godolphin would support Kermadec with their own broodmares this breeding season.
“You can broadly talk about what numbers you want to do but at the end of the day you want the mating to work and the physical to work, but the mating has to work too.
“We try to breed with a bit of purity and try to breed racehorses at the end of the day which we are lucky to do.
“We are not driven by the commercial sales ring as much, but we are driven by what is best for the mare and hopefully the best is to produce a Willowy.”
Makiv said the numbers for the Darley stallions had been great this season and while second season sires could be difficult, Blue Point (Shamardal x Scarlett Rose) and Too Darn Hot (Dubawi x Dar Re Mi) to their credit both their progeny had outstanding profiles from all reports and what Darley had seen.
He said they’d knocked back as many mares to Blue Point and Too Darn Hot this season as they did last year. Blue Point covered 128 mares last season, compared to Too Darn Hot’s 130. They both stand at $44,000.
“They are just really highly credentialed horses,” Makiv said.
“It’s a privilege to stand them and we are very lucky to have access to them, Bivouac is the same. We just get these elite champions that people want to send their mares to.
“We are in a fortunate situation at the moment on the track, both here and up north, and as a result our rosters are in a really healthy place and our bookings and business is in a healthy place. We are in good shape.”