South Australia’s Toorak Park had a red letter day on Saturday with their filly Go Indy Go beating a top-class field in the Group One Champagne Stakes at Randwick, and two other home-breds, Gamblin’ Guru and Essay Raider, winning Group Three events at Morphetville the same day.
What is most remarkable however is that Go Indy Go and Essay Raider are brother and sister – both sired by Bernardini and out of the Zabeel mare Elegant Eagle. They are the first two foals to race for Elegant Eagle, who was purchased at the 2008 Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale for $75,000.
As a yearling, Elegant Eagle had sold for $250,000 when consigned by Cambridge Stud at the 2004 Karaka Premier Sale in New Zealand. She must have been a lovely type and had a very appealing pedigree – by Champion New Zealand sire Zabeel, her dam was by Danehill and a half sister to Stakes winner Very Droll (Crown Jester). At the time of her sale as a yearling, Very Droll had produced the Golden Slipper winner Ha Ha (Danehill) and the Stakes winner Dry Humour (Danehill).
All the ingredients were there for Elegant Eagle to excel on the race track. Trained by Leon McDonald at Morphettville she had twelve starts for three wins at 1,400m, 2,000m and 2,600m. She had earnings of $41,000 but never won or placed at Stakes level.
Following her racing career Elegant Eagle was back in the sale ring as a five year old broodmare prospect when bought at the 2008 Inglis Broodmare Sale for $75,000. At the time of her sale, Elegant Eagle was one of six foals to have raced for her dam Rising Eagle – four of them were winners but all had failed to win or place at Stakes level.
However South Australian breeder and owner Harry Perks had faith in this mare and her potential at stud. In conjunction with the Toorak Park partnership he has also bred and raced Group One winners Southern Speed (2011 Caulfield Cup), Serious Speed (2007 MRC One Thousand Guineas), and Devil Moon (2007 VRC Turnbull Stakes) so he knows what it takes to breed a good one. Southern Speed is actually a daughter of Elegant Eagle’s full sister Golden Eagle, who placed just once from three starts for $540 in earnings. Southern Speed was just a yearling when Perks bought Elegant Eagle as a broodmare prospect but perhaps Perks already had an inkling that this filly was going to be special.
Saturday’s Group Three winner of the D C McKay Stakes at Morphetville, Essay Raider (4yo gelding by Bernardini) is the first foal out of Elegant Eagle. It was his first success at Stakes level however he has placed at Stakes level on three other occasions, including a second place in the Group Two Centrebet Classic at Morphettville last year, beaten just .1L by Lonhspresso, with Shamal Wind in third. To-date his five wins and five placings have earned connections nearly $300,000 in prize-money. He is set to line up in the Group One Goodwood Stakes.
Go Indy Go (2yo filly by Bernardini) is the second foal for Elegant Eagle. Both she and her full-brother Essay Raider are trained by Leon McDonald and Andrew Gluyas, their dam was also trained by Leon McDonald. Mc Donald obviously had great belief in Go Indy Go from the outset. Her first start was in the Listed Cinderella Stakes where she finished second to Sunset Rock under jockey Clare Lindop. On her next start she was second again, this time in the Group Three Breeders’ Stakes when partnered by Jason Holder. On her third start she lost her maiden tag when winning the Group Three Sires’ Produce at Morphettville by three and a half lengths.
Go Indy Go started in Saturday’s Group One Champagne Stakes at Randwick at odds of $7 and under a powerful finish with Chad Schofield aboard, she defeated Zululand by one length with Kumaon and Scratch Me Lucky a further 1.1 length and 1.2 lengths behind. She now has earned nearly $350,000 from just four starts to-date and is a seriously good filly.
Elegant Eagle has a yearling by Medaglia d’Oro, a weanling by So You Think, and was again covered by Medaglia d’Oro last spring. She has been given every chance at stud and so far is richly rewarding her connections.
Recent Group Two Challenge Stakes winner Villa Verde (by Not A Single Doubt) hails from the same female family as Go Indy Go and Essay Raider. Villa Verde’s third dam Rory’s Rocket is this pair’s fifth dam.
Rory’s Rocket (GB) 1973, by Roan Rocket out of Cantadora (by Matador), was a winner of the Group Two Royal Ascot Queen Mary Stakes. Exported to Australia in 1977 her five foals to race were all winners and included the Golden Slipper winner Rory’s Jester, who went on to be a successful sire.
The future legacy of Rory’s Rocket looks sure to continue for a long time to come, with her descendants already producing the female Group One winners Ha Ha (2001 Golden Slipper and 2001 AJC Flight Stakes), Southern Speed (2011 Caulfield Cup), and Go Indy Go (2014 Champagne Stakes).
This article first appeared on StableSmart.com on April 29, 2014