On Eve of Easter Sale, Bargain Graduate Wins Big

Bargains are relative, of course, but the Australian Easter yearling sale which starts April 18 gained a wonderful 'hook' on its eve when Racing to Win landed the $2 million (Australian funds) Doncaster Handicap (Aust-I) at nearby Randwick.

Racing to Win has won almost $2 million for owners Trevor Stuckey and partner Penny Yam, who paid $40,000 to purchase the Encosta de Lago colt at the 2004 Easter sale through trainer John O'Shea.

One of the cheaper items of the sale was offered by Boscobel Stud. From the O'Shea barn he has won six races and finishing second in his only other three starts. Primus, the paternal grandson of another shuttler, Danehill, had captured the headlines for the barn up to his fourth in the Derby.

Nine days before his Doncaster triumph, the 3-year-old was part of a Rosehill group I double for his sire in taking the George Ryder Stakes.

At Randwick April 17, he provided the second Doncaster success for O'Shea and jockey Glen Boss, the pair combining to win two years earlier with Private Steer. The Danehill Dancer distaffer retired earlier this year in the U.S. without racing there due to injury.

As a 7-2 favorite, Racing to Win tracked the leaders and won the big mile by a half-length from luckless mare Johan's Toy (by Johan Cruyff). Bentley Biscuit (Peintre Celebre) was a short head back in third after dashing clear in the stretch. The 1:34.10 for the mile was 4/10s of a second wide of the race record which has held fast for 27 years.

Encosta de Lago is a locally-bred son of former shuttler Fairy King. The group I winner remains the only non-shuttler on Coolmore's Australian roster. Fairy King is a brother to Sadler's Wells and came south in 1992 and again in 1996. Encosta de Lago worked from Victoria's Blue Gum Farm before being seconded to Coolmore.