It was Snitzel [schnitzel] with the works in Melbourne Feb. 26, his win in the 122nd Oakleigh Plate (Aust-I) completing a double for his white-hot Danehill sire Redoute's Choice.
The table had been set two races earlier as Nadeem (16-1) swamped his rivals in the $1 million (Australian funds) Blue Diamond Stakes (Aust-I) for 2-year-olds. The Sheikh Hamdan-raced youngster's finishing speed was so great that after swallowing up the leaders near the wire, he had more than two lengths to spare.
Second-placed Miss Finland is, like the winner, by Redoute's Choice and it was also a 1-2 for the David Hayes' barn. It is his third Diamond win; his late father, Colin, prepared four.
Miss Finland (7-1) might have finished closer but for some ill-luck in the early stages. The Woodman granddaughter still finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Wonderful World (by Agnes World). Due Sasso, who displaced the third-placed colt as favorite by a point at 9-2, finished fourth, just ahead of the race's other by Redoute Choice, My Only Hope.
Nadeem hit the line in 1:12.03 after the 13 combatants broke from the 1,200 meters during a heavy rainstorm, of which the first installment hit Caulfield two races earlier. The winner was ridden by Dwane Dunn, with Craig Williams aboard the more fancied Miss Finland.
The owner's Shadwell collected $615,000 -- less 5% each for training and jockey fees -- from the colt's second win in four appearances. Bred by Brisbane agent John Foote and an unnamed client, Nadeem was harvested for $700,000 from the Edinglassie draft at the 2005 Australian Easter yearling sale. The runner up was sold by Arrowfield Stud for $460K at the same sale.
Nadeem's sire won this race six year's ago and also supplied the 2005 Diamond victor Undoubtedly. He now has seven grade I winners from three generations at the track. His fee at Arrowfield is $200,000, easily a record for a homebred stallion. Only Danehill has commanded more in his last few southern seasons, at $250,000.
Nadeem is out of Candide, one of the few fillies to own the New Zealand 1,000 Guineas and Oaks double (both NZ-I) at 1,600 and 2,400 meters. She is by Bold Reason son Sound Reason.
All of that makes Arrowfield the biggest winner on the day, not only for Redoute's Choice: Arrowfield principal John Messara gained a 25% equity in Snitzel last winter before he turned three.
With an enormous amont of rain dumped on the oval during the afternoon, Virage de Fortune looked set to add to her Australia Stakes (Aust-I) success a week earlier. Danehill colt Gonski defected, but the other Oakleigh Plate 11 stood their ground as the rain fell. Under the handicap conditions Lightning (Aust-I) hero Takeover Target had 57kg (126 pounds), his hopes appearing to be washed away.
Virage de Fortune (by Anabaa) had 51.5kg, a half kilo under the scale for a two-time grade I winner, Snitzel (10-1) appearing less well-handicapped with the same weight and 3kg less than weight-for-age.
The reality didn't match the theory, or perhaps the rain dissolved it, because it was the Craig Newitt-partnered Snitzel out in front with the 13-8 elect vainly chasing a long way from home. The 1,100 meters and $352,000 feature was over as a contest well before the official 1:04.04, almost two outside the race mark. The margin was 1 3/4 lengths.
Takeover Target (5-1) as his first experience in ground more than merely damp fought on for third another 2 1/4 lengths adrft. Belong To Me son Proprietor (20-1) was a neck away fourth.
Bred by by Queensland breeder F. Naude, Snitzel was unearthed among the Yarraman yearlings at the 2004 Magic Millions by Damion and Chris Flower and their trainer, Gerald Ryan. They needed $260,00 to subdue opposition bidders. The colt has won almost $700,000 in winning six from 11 starts.
Messara's interest in him is understandable as Arrowfield also stood his deceased sire Snippets, an Oakleigh Plate winner at three before a highly successful stud career although surrounded by shuttle stallions.
Snitzel's dam, Snippets' Lass won almost $300,000 out of the Ryan barn, her listed stakes wins failing to define her ability. Her dam, Snow Finch, is an Irish listed winner by Storm Bird.
Messara and the other owners are not inclined to rush Snitzel off to stud, their trainer keen to see the horse compete in North America.
FOOTNOTE: God's Own, the best so far seen by Redoute's Choice, was beaten in his Australian Guineas (Aust-I) prep at group III level, by Apache Cat, but appeared vulnerable in the conditions, stepping up from his Lightning second over 1,000 meters to 1,400 meters. The Caulfield Guineas (Aust-I) winner will clash with Darci Brahma in the Australian Guineas (1,600 meters) at Flemington March 11. The Danehill son easily collected his second group I win in taking the Otaki-Maori (NZ-I) Feb 25.