De Beers Springs Upset in Rosehill Guineas

Quest for Fame son De Beers sprang an April Fool surprise at 16-1 in the second leg of Australia's Triple Crown, the Rosehill Guineas (Aust-I).

Coming off a battling fifth in the Triple Crown opener, The Randwick Guineas (Aust-I) March 18, De Beers captured the $500,000 (Australian funds) of the 3-year-old classic at its 96th running.

The surprise Guineas hero was angled into the clear 300 meters out by Craig Williams to score by a neck from Singpiel colt Oh Oklahoma (12-1). Flying Spur colt Primus (4-1), reprised his third-place role from the Randwick Guineas a farther head away.

Oh Oklahoma and perhaps the winner aside, easily the best Australian Derby trial was turned in by Headturner (16-1). The Anabaa colt had been out of form since his second in the Victoria Derby (Aust-I) last October, but he flashed home at the end of the 2,000 meters and will be suited by the 2,400 meters of the $2 million Derby around the roomier Randwick oval April 15.

On a surface with a slight amount of cushion, De Beers' winning time of 2:03.57 was more than 3.5 seconds wide of the race mark, jointly held by Danewin and Octagonal at 1:59.99. The slow time accentuated the performances of Headturner and another Bob Ingham entry, Spinney, in fifth. The latter is by Triple Crown hero Octagonal and a winner of five of seven starts.

Quest for Fame stands at Ingham's Woodlands stud, the former Khalid Abdullah-owned English Derby (Eng-I) winner a shuttler from Gainsway and then Juddmonte from 1993 through 1999.

De Beers was bred at the Pencarrow Stud of Peter and Philip Vela, joint owners of Auckland auction-house New Zealand Bloodstock. It was at NZB's major auction, the Karaka Premier yearling sale, the brothers sold the colt to a New Zealand syndicate for $750,000 (NZ funds). Rob McAnulty and trainer Nigel Tiley sent De Beers to the barn of David Hayes soon after he returned from Hong Kong.

Chimeara, the dam of De Beers, is by Danehill and is from one of Cambridge Stud's best families. Her dam is AJC Sires' Produce Stakes and Australian Oaks (both Aust-I) winner Tristalove (by Sir Tristram). David Ellis harvested Chimeara's Fasliyev yearling at Karaka this year for $280,000. She has a filly foal by Montjeu.

His second win in 10 starts earned De Beers $330,000 and advances his career total close to $500,000. Darci Brahma, a close relative by Danehill, fared less well at Rosehill and faded to eighth after turning for home with the leaders. At 5-1, the 3-time group I winner was best backed to beat the heavy favorite, Hotel Grand.

The Randwick Guineas winner looked a picture prior to the start after easing fractionally to 7-4. The slight betting drift could not have prepared his backers for what was to follow. After tracking the leaders, Hotel Grand floundered in the stretch and beat only three of his 14 rivals to the wire.