Champion Queensland stallion Hidden Dragon produced his first stakes winner with Hollowlea scoring in the $125,000 Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Hollowlea ($18,$26) was ridden superbly behind the leading bunch by Nicholas Hall who bided his time, balancing up in the straight before angling off heels and sprinting well to win by almost two lengths from the fast finishing Altius ($8,$11) with a just a short half head to Censor ($3.20,$3.30,$2.60) third.
The three-year-old son of Hidden Dragon by Cabaret Girl (a Scenic mare) showed a liking for the heavy going and no ill effects from his fall, just a fortnight ago, according to trainer Terry O'Sullivan.
"I was pleased when Nick (Hall) chose to stay with him after the fall, he must've thought he was travelling well before he went down," said O'Sullivan.
"There was of course a question mark over how he would go on a heavy track for the first time but I always thought he'd handle the soft ground as he seems to at home."
O'Sullivan attributed the ease of the win to the colt drawing a good gate and wouldn't rule out the Guineas as a possible goal this preparation.
Hollowlea After The Win
"A good barrier makes a massive difference, especially when you get the run of the race," said O'Sullivan.
"I'd love to think he would be up to the Guineas, but I don't know if he is there yet."
Purchased for just $36,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Select Sale by a long time client of O'Sullivan's, Kingsley Peach, the well performed youngster has already surpassed the outlay with the listed win taking his career earnings to more than $100,000.
"We have had a bit of luck with them over the years," said O'Sullivan.
"This horse has had a trouble free prep, besides being tangled up in the fall, and hopefully that continues."
Although Hollowlea is the first stakes winner for Hidden Dragon the second season sire already has a number of well performed progeny knocking on the door with both Obsidian Dragon and Steel Dragon having placed at Stakes level.
Hidden Dragon currently stands at Lyndhurst Stud for $13,200.
Photos by Fiona Tomlin
Hollowlea made history and earned a crack at the Bill Stutt Stakes when he cleared away for a stylish win in the listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington today.
Prepared at Stawell by father-daughter training team Terry and Karina O'Sullivan, Hollowlea is the first stakes winner for his sire, exciting young Queensland sire Hidden Dragon.
With no fewer than 14 individual first crop winners, Hidden Dragon has made a brilliant star to his career as a sire at the Kruger family's Lyndhurst Stud.
Having already sired the black type gallopers Obsidian Dragon (in Adelaide) and Steel Dragon (in Brisbane) it was at Australia's most famous track of Flemington that Hidden Dragon's maiden stakes success was achieved.
Hollowlea was able to make up for his last run when he cannoned into a fallen horse and parted company with his jockey Nicholas Hall.
But today, with a clearer run, the real Hollowlea was able to show his class with a one and three quarter length success.
Terry O'Sullivan gave his charge a good each way chance today and admitted to having a few dollars each way on him. He was thrilled with the $39 return on the tote.
"This little horse has never done a thing wrong," he said. "He was unlucky the other day at Moonee Valley."
"I was happy that Nick (Hall) wanted to stay with him (today) - he obviously thought he was going okay when he got tangled up with the faller."
"There is always a bit of a question mark when they haven't raced on the heavy (tracks) - but I always thought he would handle it. He seems to handle the soft ground at home."
O'Sullivan said he was always comfortable watching the race - watching his three-year-old get a lovely run just behind the leaders.
"The barrier certainly makes a difference. They went pretty solid - they jumped out and ran it along and he got the perfect suck along behind which makes a big difference."
Connections are tempted to step the gelding up in grade after winning at listed level today.
"We were up in the air after Moonee Valley," O'Sullivan said. "I will have a talk to Nick - I'm not sure which way we will go."
"Whether he will get any further is something. But he does race well at the Valley so perhaps a race like the Bill Stutt."
"Whether or not he would be up to the (Caulfield) Guineas - you'd like to think so - but at this stage, provided he can get the mile, a race like the Bill Stutt could be within his grasp."
The Group Two Bill Stutt Stakes, with a purse of $200,000, will be run at Moonee Valley on September 24.
Hollowlea is another bargain stakes winner purchased by as a yearling from a Magic Millions Yearling Sale by Kingsley Peach.
He and his wife Evelyn paid $36,000 for Hollowlea at last year's Gold Coast Yearling Sale. They race the classy youngster with Terry and Robyn O'Sullivan.
Hollowlea is the second stakes galloper produced by his dam, the Sydney winning Scenic mare Cabaret Girl.
As well as today's stakes winner she is the dam of the twice Brisbane stakes placed and seven time winning Made of Gold mare Dance Girl Dance.
Cabaret Girl,who won three races to 1400 metres, is a full sister to the Caulfield stakes winner Panorama Heights.
Hidden Dragon is represented by five two-year-olds at October's Magic Millions National Horses in Training Sale.
The cream of his latest yearling crop will also go under the hammer at the famous Gold Coast sales ring at sales between January and June.
Picture: Fiona Tomlin
The Ray Long-trained two-year-old, Steel Dragon, blew away the darling of this season’s QTIS 600 on Monday, March 8, 2010.
Robert Bradshaw’s two-year-old filly Tough Luck has been well advertised as the success story of the QTIS 600 Sales, however in the $150,000 Harvey Norman QTIS 600 2YO Plate 1200m at Townsville she was no match for the mighty northern gelding Steel Dragon.
Long’s Hidden Dragon gelding looks set for a South-East Queensland campaign after racing midfield until the Cluden Park straight where jockey Peter Cullen let him down to impressively leave the competition in his wake.
“We expected it,” said excited owner Graham Nicolls. “The jockey’s been telling us that he hasn’t let her go yet, and the trackwork rider has said the same.
“We didn’t feel that we had to beat them, they had to beat us, and when he let him go it was all over.”
Steel Dragon, who now boasts four wins from as many starts, has earned connections $163,800 in career prizemoney, which includes $42,000 in QTIS 600 added stakes.
The two-year-old gelding posted an easy two length win to Tough Luck, who made the trip from her Sunshine Coast-based stables.
She was positioned nicely at the turn by jockey Justin Stanley, however was swamped by the rear attack and pure speed from Steel Dragon.
Rocket On By, ridden by David Simmons for John Manzelmann, finished nicely in third by one and a half lengths after trailing the field by a couple of lengths from the jump.
However, the feature event and $96,000 first place cheque belonged to Steel Dragon.
After the victory at Townsville, Long and Nicolls will aim the two-year-old at the $250,000 Gold Coast leg of the lucrative QTIS 600 Race Series on Saturday, March 20.
This has worked out perfectly for Nicolls, as he intended to be present at the 2010 QTIS 600 Magic Millions Yearling Sales which follows the raceday on March 21 and 22.
“We’re coming to the Gold Coast for March 20,” Nicolls said. “Then we’ll probably spell him after that.
“Weight’s going to stop him in the country, so he’s got to go to the city.
“I’ll be down for the (QTIS 600) Sales. I’ve already got a horse selected. I usually select the horse before I go.”
Steel Dragon was purchased for $22,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Sales in January.
Hidden Kisses firmly backed up trainer Robert Heathcote’s decision to run the two-year-old at Eagle Farm in the Mirvac Hotels and Resorts QTIS 600 2YO Handicap 1400m on Saturday, March 20.
Many said the filly would have opened as race favourite at the Gold Coast in the feature $250,000 QTIS 600 2YO Handicap 1200m on the same day, but Heathcote had a bigger picture in mind.
“It was always a tough decision not to go to the Gold Coast, as opposed to coming here (Eagle Farm),” Heathcote said. “I do believe we made the right decision, and of course winning vindicates that.
“People said to me, ‘you’ve got to go to the Gold Coast, it’s worth $250,000’. I said, ‘well the one in town is worth $110,000…I’m not greedy’. A bird in the hand so they say.
“I think it was the way the races would be run that determined the decision, and this filly gets well back.
“Actually I think she hit the line this time as hard as when she won over 1200m. So going to 1400m second up was really a super effort.”
Heathcote said it was always in the back of his mind to take her to the $300,000 Group 1 Sires’ Produce 1400m at Randwick on April 10, and her run at Eagle Farm has made this a certainty.
The trainer, a clear leader in the metropolitan trainers premiership, is also toying with the idea of a full raid on the south by starting in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes 1600m at the same track a fortnight later.
The Heathcote and Larry Cassidy combination struck again at Eagle Farm with Hidden Kisses, by Hidden Dragon out of Kiss an Angel, collecting her second win from only three starts. Her only miss being a third place in the filly’s first outing.
The QTIS 600 and QTIS registered two-year-old’s prizemoney has increased dramatically to $159,000, which includes $90,000 in QTIS 600 added stakes.
“The operative word is probably class,” Heathcote said after his new star thoroughbred overcame plenty at Eagle Farm.
“That’s the difference between good horses and very good horses, the level of class they have. From day one I’ve had a high opinion of her.
“On Saturday (March 20) she got back to last. A masterful ride from Cassidy saw him weave his way through the field and she ran them down.”
The trainer has a high opinion of the Hidden Dragon bloodline since they entered his stable. “I actually believe they’ll get better when they get over a little bit more ground and mature a little bit.
“So it’s actually a very nice bonus that she’s had three runs as a juvenile, which were three crackers.”
Hidden Kisses put a half length between herself and John Thompson’s Hour of Peril, who was ridden by Chris Munce.
Stephen Got Even finished in third a further one and a quarter lengths behind for Dalby-based trainer Matt Kropp and jockey Jason Taylor.
As a solely QTIS registered horse, Stephen Got Even picked up $3000 in added stakes, but missed out on the QTIS 600 double-up bonus.
Hidden Kisses was purchased for $25,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Yearling Sales for “passionate racing man”, Richard Pegum, a businessman based in London who races thoroughbreds across Australia.
“He (Pegum) started to venture into Queensland because of the lucrative QTIS (600) scheme where he can race for such good prizemoney,” Heathcote said.
“Hidden Kisses is his first horse with me, but so impressed is he with the scheme that he lashed out and spent $80,000 on a Hidden Dragon colt from the QTIS 600 Sales. So he’s happy to reinvest in Queensland racing.”
Heathcote could be seen at the 2010 QTIS 600 Magic Millions Yearling Sales on the Gold Coast, March 21 and 22, looking to purchase his next ‘Hidden Kisses’ for the 2010/11 racing season.
He ended up with four yearlings from the QTIS 600 Sale to accompany the five that he picked up at January’s Magic Millions Sales. “There’s a nice little team of juveniles for next year,” he said with excitement at his prospects.
Heathcote added a win by Tabulate to his successful day in the Childhood Cancer Support Open Handicap 2200m.
The five-year-old gelding by Honours List (IRE) was in peak form coming off a win and a second from his last two starts. However, he had to overcome an unwanted spell for one month after the Tattersall’s Racing Club March 6 meeting at Eagle Farm was abandoned due to rain.
“Keeping a horse trained up for 2200 metres when they haven’t had a run for a month was a little bit of a ticklish problem, but obviously we got it right,” Heathcote said.
“I was initially going to give him a little let up after his win on Saturday, but with the rare form that he seems to be in at the moment it would be a waste to put him in the paddock. So we’ll strike while the irons hot.”
Queensland connections have unearthed some brilliant thoroughbred racing prospects in the 2009/10 racing season, as evidenced by Military Rose’s charge to the Golden Slipper and her stablemate Sweepstaking’s second at Rosehill on March 20. The Sunshine State also has the rise and rise of the John Wallace-trained Shoot Out, who has already bagged an Autumn Carnival Group 1, to be proud of.
Hopefully it won’t be long before we add Hidden Kisses to the growing list of horses making their name down south, and rightfully lifting the profile of racing in Queensland.
LYNDHURST, the historic stud conducted by the Kruger family at Warwick for over half a century, topped the second annual Queensland breeders QTIS 600 Yearling sale when it was conducted by Magic Millions at the Gold Coast on Sunday and Monday when they attracted a bid of $140,000 from trainer Gerald Ryan for a filly by Starcraft and from the American mare If I So Desire.
They also sold two of the other six lots which went for $100,000 or more. Both by Lyndhurst sires, they were Sequalo colts out of the Success Express mare Sparkling Success ($107,500) and the respected Grand Chaudiere producer Beating The Odds ($100,000).
Also making $100,000 was colt in the second crop of Lyndhurst’s Danehill sire Hidden Dragon and from the Sequalo stakes winner Shysu offered for a client by Robyn Wise, Darling Downs. She also sold for $100,000 a colt by Glenlogan Park champion Queensland sire Show a Heart and from the Strategic Brisbane winner Vital Statistic.
Glenlogan Park were Lyndhurst’s main rival for the highest price, selling Snitzel colts at $135,000 – Dynamic Syndications – and $110,000 – Kelly Schweida.They got good response for all their four sires represented with prices for Show a Heart headed by $100,000, $90,000, $75,000, $70,000, $65,000 and $60,000; Falvelons at $70,000 and $50,000; Jet Spurs at $75,000, $60,000 twice, $54,000 and $50,000; and Bradbury’s Luck to $54,000.
Best prices for Lyndhurst sires were Sequalo $107,500, $100,000, $80,000 and $65,000 and Hidden Dragon $100,000, $85,000, $80,000 and $60,000. Raheen Stud’s Redoute’s Choice Stromberg Carlson sold up to $72,000 and Dr Green, a Fusaichi Pegasus stakes winner at Secret Hills stud, Beaudesert had a first crop colt go for $70,000.
A brother by Clang to Sydney winner and Doomben Slipper third Adnocon was passed in at $100,000 and a reserve of $150,000.
All told 38 lots sold for $50,000 or more at the sale, one which Magic Millions managing director David Chester lauded as “It’s been a great couple of days selling and I’m sure buyers would be thrilled with the value they have achieved.” The sale boasted record figures across all levels with over $7.66 million traded on 346 yearlings and a strong clearance of over 82%. The average price leaped from $18,424 last year to $22,166.