Miss Andretti powered her way to a third group I win for the season in taking the William Reid Australia Stakes (Aust-I) at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley racecourse Feb 17.
The 5-year-old mare, named for Mario Andretti, swelled her earnings beyond AUS$1.5 million in winning 81st running of the $400,000 sprint by 1.25 lengths.
Craig Newitt had her seventh early and the distaffer worked into a striking position, then the 1-2 elect took up the lead 170 meters from the wire. Her 1:10.23 timing for the 1,200 meters (six fulrongs) was only 17/100ths wide of the race mark.
Miss Andretti seems certain to follow the path set by Takeover Target in England last summer. An earlier option is the Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on dirt in Dubai in late March. In England, Miss Andretti will attempt to notch Freedman’s first European winner in the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-II) and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot.
She assisted her conditioner to another milestone in the Reid. Until she won her 15th race from 23 starts, Freedman had won every other of the 27 Victorian group Is except this one. Now he has the full set and many generations have an extremely distant goal to attempt.
Any Suggestion ran a great race to finish second after Brad Rawiller took the short way home at the rail. The Danehill grandson was a 50-1 longshot despite a creditable fourth behind Miss Andretti in the Lightning Stakes (Aust-I) on Feb 3.
Sheikh Hamdan’s Rewaaya (10-1) claimed a fourth group I minor placing, to go with the Singspiel daughter’s lone group I success. Rewaaya finished hard after striking traffic problems to cut Virage de Fortune adrift from third near the wire, the pair 3 1/4 lengths from the second horse.
Virage de Fortune (by Anabaa) won last year’s edition, relegating Rewaaya to second in the process. Maybe Better (fifth) and Lad Of The Manor (sixth) both performed well enough over the unsuitably short trip to suggest that they can strike their best form this campaign.
Maybe Better, coming off his grand third behind the Japanese stayers in the Melbourne Cup (Aust-I), worked home strongly from last of the 12. Lad of the Manor also made late ground after striking trouble.
Freedman earlier won a mile race with former European galloper Soulacroix. The 6-year-old gelding had been prepared by Luca Cumani in England and is raced by Australian millionaire Paul Makin, owner of Starcraft.
Soulacroix came to Australia last spring with stablemate Glistening to run in the Melbourne Cup. Soulacroix did not make it, but he and Glistening would get their chance to show their staying ability in the Sydney Cup on April 14.
At Rosehill on Feb 3, grand front-running galloper Desert War upset the boom 3-year-old colt Mentality in the Apollo Stakes (Aust-II). Weight-for-age star Eremein finished a solid third in his comeback race.
In New Zealand, Danehill dominant 4-year-old, Darci Brahma has been retired following a leg infection. The winner of his past two races at group I level will enter stud in August. Bred by Peter and Philip Vela at their Pencarrow Stud, his dam is their Zabeel Oaks winner Grand Echezeaux. Darci Brahma cost $1.1 million (NZ funds) as a yearling at the Karaka (Auckland) sales. Five homeland group I successes at 2, 3, and 4 has ensured his value is many times that amount. Darci Brahma goes to The Oaks at Cambridge in New Zealand’s Waikato district.