Fayette Park, the New Zealand home of Prized, scored a triumph with another North American stallion in Stark South. This Dixieland Band son is the sire of Hail, winner of the $500,000 (Australian funds) Sandown Classic (Aust-II) on Nov 16.
Hail (6-1) accelerated away to defeat millionaire distaffer Hill of Grace by 1 1/4 lengths, the Zabeel daughter a similar margin ahead of Unbridled's Song 4-year-old Grey Song at the wire.
Time for the 2,400 meters was 2:27.91 and although a tick over three seconds beyond the record, this was the first track with significant give all spring -- away from Moonee Valley.
The new policy of watering, whatever the weather forecast, to ensure more forgiving surfaces in Melbourne, comes as a direct result of complaints by visiting and local handlers over the fiery track presented for the Melbourne Cup (Aust-I).
It was the succession of hard tracks which weakened the Sandown Classic, although that fact could not detract from the win from the Bruce Marsh handled and Greg Childs ridden Hail. Or of the runner-up, Hill of Grace, the mare in foal to Viscount set honest fractions.
Hail won the New Zealand Derby (NZ-I) two seasons ago and the winner of eight races and $665,000 has been easily the best runner for Stark South. The sibling to four grade I winners including Dixie Union managed two grade IIIs at Louisiana Downs in winning seven from 42.
Stark South joined the roster at David and Masey Benjamin's Fayette Park in 1995, a year before the arrival of Prized.
The seventh southern season of Prized was cancelled on minor medical grounds close to the quarantine deadline. The Kris S 16-year-old stayed at Spendthrift, his home since moving from Dixiana Farms after the 2001 breeding season.
The Sandown Guineas (Aust-II), heads the undercard to the Classic and was won by Woodlands filly Dextrous.
It is the lot of all Quest For Fame fillies to be compared with Unworldly, killed in her prime as a spring 3-year-old on top of the heap.
Dextrous is doing well enough, easily prevailing at the end of 1,600 meters from a bunch of impetuous 3-year-old boys headed by Bellotto colt Lawson's Storm.
The 4-1 third elect and Darren Gauci won the Guineas by 1 1/2 lengths, Cool Azz another three-quarters of a length away third in 1:35.51 -- just under two seconds outside the race mark.