Above: Sirius Suspect ridden by Jamie Kah wins the Hanson Handicap at Sportsbet Pakenham Racecourse (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)
Sirius Suspect, the result of a joint breeding venture between Darren Dance and a group of owners who raced the gelding’s dam, Sirius Miss, kept his imposing second up form intact at the Pakenham Cup meeting.
The son of Wanted went into the open handicap over 1200m with two wins, a second and a third from his four second up runs.
The impressive victory, with Jamie Kah in the saddle, has given Flemington trainer Saab Hasan and his group of owners plenty of faith that there is a big race in the six-year-old.
Dance, well known through his syndication company Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, also breeds from his stud and agistment property, Manningtree Park at Beremboke.
“Obviously we bred him (Sirius Suspect) in conjunction with a number of clients,” Dance said.
“We have had the mare for a number of years and have bred a number of horses out of her. Clearly he is the best at this stage.
“She is a long term mare for our brand with some long term owners.”
Dance said while there is a long list of owners in Sirius Suspect, probably only half of them are involved in the breeding part of it.
“It’s just a good story isn’t it,” he said,
Sirius Suspect has had all his seven wins over 1200m, but Dance said the gelding had been tried over 1400m during his last preparation.
“He is probably bred to run 1400m or 1600m but because of his antics and temperament, he has always been a bit of a hot horse, which I believe comes from the Galileo side,” Dance said.
“He has always been a bit fractious and is never going to give himself a chance to settle and run it out strongly.
“We tried it last prep and it never worked and this prep we have just kept him to 1200m and after his break he has come back really well and he has actually grown up a little bit as a six-year-old and started to mature.
“In both runs this time in he has been really well settled and he travelled well down to the track on Saturday and raced accordingly. He is as sound as a bell and hasn’t got any issues and he might get 1400m one day.”
With his best form at 1200m, Dance said it makes sense to keep at that journey.
Sirius Suspect will now be set for the Group 3 Standish (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
“He needed to win on Saturday to warrant going there,” Dance said.
And there was no happier man at Pakenham on Saturday than Hasan.
Dance said he reported to the owners that Sirius Suspect had arrived safely at the track at Tynong.
“I told them the horse hadn’t sweated up, didn’t have a sweat mark on him, but the trainer has sweated up badly,” Dance joked.
Dance said Sirius Miss (Galileo x Miss Peridot) had been a good producer.
“We have Sirius Deal with Matt Cumani and he is in the paddock and is due to go back in at the end of the year,” he said.
“There is another one called Let’s Get Sirius and he is still immature. They are two by Dundeel.
“I have also got a really nice Press Statement filly and she is now in foal to Toronado.
“She missed last year and a few times along the way. She is a really difficult mare to get into foal, so normally when she has a foal she is hard to get back into foal. We have done it a couple of times and have managed to get her but more often than not when she has had a foal we can’t get her back into foal.
“But we have managed to get her into foal to Toronado but she has a bit of age about her.”
Sirius Miss’s first foal, You Can’t Be (Nadeem), has won eight races and now races for new owners in Queensland.
Dance said the Galileo mares had done a good job in the breeding barn.
He described Toronado as a lovely stallion whose progeny kept getting sold overseas from Australia.
“I have got a couple of really nice Toronado foals out of other mares and I’m happy to go to him with this mare,” Dance said.
“We never know when we are going to get the last foal out of that mare so we race all the ones out of her with the owners.
“That’s why they breed from her to race. It gives them a good chance.”
Dance said the owners involved in the 16-year-old mare wanted to breed from her when she retired and Dance says he obviously has the property and the facilities.
“We have got 40 mares spread across the farm,” he said.
“They are good clients and they want to breed to race. We race horses so why wouldn’t we do it.
“With 40 mares, probably a few too many, but we keep finding them. We keep buying them, breeding them or racing them or whatever.
“Most our mares have got partners in them and it’s a good model, lots of fun and they love watching them grow out. I think they got more satisfaction on the track when they breed them and they turn out to be good horses.
“It’s a tough game, but they enjoy it.”
Dance said having 40 mares on the farm was the most they’ve had and it’s grown by 10 this season.
“I have got 25 foals on the ground this year and out of those 25 we are going to cap the yearling sales at around 15 and that will probably be our maximum,” he said
“The rest we will either race or they will get traded as mares in foal or get traded as weanlings.
“It’s just another way to keep busy. It’s busy enough with the syndication side of it, the spring and now we want to foal down and get mares in foal. I physically do all the Victorian walk-ons and we are foaling down and it takes a lot of effort to get them back into foal. “Then we’ve got the sales and we’ve got preparations as yearlings. It’s just full on but what else am I going to do.”
Dance said he’d had two really good horses by Wanted (Fastnet Rock x Fragmentation) and had probably been to the stallion three times.
“I got Sirius Suspect and another good one we raced called Wanted Diva (out of Rock Diva)) that won a couple of two-year-old races for David Hayes,” he said
“Wanted won the Newmarket (1200m) and I know it was in that big storm and he lead all the way and he was obviously a very good horse and maybe he didn’t get all the opportunities and got moved on earlier than he should have.
“But if you cross them up right, just mate them right with the right lines, I have got my own theories on that so I think you can get a result and you don’t always have to go to the 100 grand sires to get a result if you mate them correctly.”|
Dance said there aren’t many Galileo mares around.
“Going back to that line of Danehill and Fastnet, it worked on both the two I sent to Wanted,” he said.
Sirius Miss was trained at Caulfield buy Colin Little.
The mare had nine starts for a win and a second.
Dance said he had no association with Sirius Miss as a racehorse but some of his clients raced her when she suffered from feet problems so they decided to retire her.
“They asked me if I would be interested in getting involved with them and breeding a foal out of her to race, that’s how it started,” Dance said.
“The farm knew I had mares, and they asked whether I’d be interested in taking a chunk of her and breeding from her so we could race the progeny.
“Colin Little always used to say to me that she was a very, very good mare but we never really got to see it on the track. He always inquired after her stock, but obviously they were never offered publicly.
“She obviously had ability but was never sound enough on our tracks I guess because they are firm and Galileo’s seem to go better with a bit of give in the track.”
Dance said he looking to sending 14 yearlings to Melbourne Premier next year.
“Our entire draft in terms of yearlings will go to Melbourne Premier,” he said.
“In terms of foals, we have 25 on the ground.”
Dance said he had a cracking colt by Sioux Nation and was disappointed the stallion didn’t return this year.
He has a couple by Toronado, one by Puissance De Lune, and a Rich Enuff filly from a stakes placed mare.
He is part of owner of Crackerjack King and Dandino and has stock by both of the stallions.
“And one of the better fillies is one I’ve got by Grunt,” he said.
“’I have seen a few of them by Grunt and they are all belting types and have just thrown to him.”
Dance is excited by what he currently has coming through and is eagerly anticipating the sales next year.