Having only recently relocated from Fairdale Stud in New Zealand to Jindera Park in Southern New South Wales, the progeny of Montjeu’s brilliant AJC Derby winner Nom Du Jeu are really beginning to make an impact. His progeny’s recent run of good form highlighted by his very promising 2YO filly Athena who finished third in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe Turf (1200m) in Singapore overnight.
Trained by Cliff Brown, Athena had been second in her two previous starts in good company and came into Friday’s Group 2 with very solid form. Unlucky not to win on debut when beaten 0.3L in a $75,000 1200m restricted maiden at Kranji in March, her jockey lodged an unsuccessful protest against the winner Reddot Rising (Nadeem) who had caused interference to the filly on the run in;
“After trucking up behind the lead in third, Reddot Rising set sail for home as he easily swept past Amazing Man (Benny Woodworth) and Waipakihi (Corey Brown), but an imminent danger was lurking with Cliff Brown’s two-year-old Athena (Derreck David) vying for a run between Waipakihi and Reddot Rising.
A bit of bumping and brushing occurred between Reddot Rising and Athena, but the former held his line and his bold challenger had to settle for second place a neck away. David objected as he felt the alleged interference cost him the win, but the result stood after the protest hearing.” – Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Sent for a freshen-up, Athena returned in the $90,000 IRT Juvenile Stakes (1200m) in June where she was second 0.2L to the Australian-bred Macarthur (Charge Forward).
Athena was one of only three fillies to line up in Friday night’s Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) and, having settled to the rear of the 15 strong field, she picked her way through the pack impressively to finish strongly for 3rd, behind the long time leaders Lim’s Racer (Red Giant) and Caorunn (Showcasing). Athena put in the fastest final sectional (23.31) in what was a superbly run final of the $1,000,000 Golden Horseshoe Series for 2YOs.
It is no surprise that Nom Du Jeu is proving quite adept at siring high-class sprinter/milers as well as middle-distance runners, as while a Classic winner himself, he also had a tremendous turn of foot. He displayed great speed at two, winning his only juvenile start in a brilliant last-to-first effort over 1200m for New Zealand trainer Murray Baker.
At three he was in a class of his own when winning the Group 1 AJC Derby (2400m) and Group 3 Waikato Guineas (2000m), and was 2nd in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
As a four year old, Nom Du Jeu was extremely unlucky not to win the Group 1 Stoney Bridge Stakes (1600m) and Group 1MRC Caulfield Cup (2400m) – coming 2nd in both. He also placed in the Group 1 Kelt Capital Stakes.
With his oldest progeny only four year olds, other notable runners for Nom Du Jeu this season include:
- ALCALDESA (3yo f), Wanganui Guineas (Listed, 1350m) winner for Tony Bambry
- Liapari (3yo g), a winner over 1200m, he was 3L 7th in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m)
- Prince of Babylon (3yo g), a two-time winner (1500, 1600m) this prep for John Sadler
- Bapaume (4yo g), unbeaten in his two starts (1350, 1600m) to-date for Bjorn Baker
- Bee Tee Junior (4yo g), 3 wins (1300, 1600, 2100m) being aimed at the Group 3 New Zealand Cup
- Luke (4yo g), 3 wins (1400, 1600m) this prep for N Ridley
- Master Fin (4yo g), winner of his last two starts (2100, 2400m) for Tracy Collins
- Victory Drive (4yo g), 2 wins (1800, 2100m) this prep for Murray Baker
The best credentialed son of Montjeu standing in Australia, his 2016 fee at Jindera Park is $4,400. Considering all he has done to-date, and with 126 2 and 3YOs coming through, Nom Du Jeu represents outstanding value for money.