Vinery Owner Gets First Aussie Group I Win

A sizable chunk of Tom Simon's $50 million investment in Australia under his Vinery banner is to be liquidated with his southern broodmares dispersed in Sydney April 3. So there was indeed a splash of irony in that the Vinery head had his first Australian group I success at Randwick March 26.

Fashions Afield, one of the seemingly unstoppable second wave by Redoute's Choice, outstayed Mnemosyne (by Encosta de Lago) to land the Australian Jockey Club's Sires' Produce Stakes (Aust-I), Her win was by a decisive 1 1/2 lengths.

Johnny, a member of Fusaichi Pegasus 's first southern crop, was third at 60-1, another 3 3/4 lengths away. The 1:26.15 for the 1,400 meters was a measure of the very wet track, the race record 1:21.5.

The win completed a group I double for trainer Gai Waterhouse. One race earlier, Waterhouse won the first running at group I of the T.S. Smith Stakes, a race named for her father. In the 1,200 meters sprint, 20-1 chance Shamekha (by Secret Savings) upset topliners Fastnet Rock and Alinghi. The latter failed in the going, missing a place and beaten a half-length in fourth.

Fashions Afield had earned $600,000 (Australian funds) in chasing home another by Redoute's Choice, Stratum, in the Golden Slipper Stakes (Aust-I) seven days earlier. The winner's purse for going one better in the $420,000 Sires' was a 'paltry' $273,000, when compared to the Slipper winner's $1.8 million.

Stratum might have been carrying a portion of the loot at Randwick as he finished a distant seventh as an 11-8 favorite. In reality, he just didn't handle the soft conditions.

Fashions Afield was bred by Arrowfield Stud, which let her U.S.-bred dam, Attire, go for $40,000 eight months before selling the filly to become Fashions Afield. As a Magic Millions yearling she went to Vinery at $230,000.

Attire was bred by John Kluge in sending his Australian group I winner Wrap Around (by Bletchingly) to Wild Again. Attire was a winner against maidens at Turfway Park before heading south. Fashions Afield is her fourth foal and she is currently pregnant to another of Arrowfield's Danehill sons, Flying Spur.

Simon's Vinery syndicate races the winner of $1.15 million with the Newstead syndicate headed by Neville Gibson. His business interests include Melbourne Thoroughbred form guide, The Winning Post. They also race Perfectly Ready, one of two More Than Ready first crop group III winners in Australia.

Simon is in Sydney for the Vinery dispersal. The 86 broodmares and two fillies in training are part of the opening day of the Australian broodmare sale, which follows the Australian Easter Yearling Sale (March 29-31). Vinery's New South Wales base near Scone will continue as a stallion station, but is on the market.

Arrowfield lost out in selling Attire, but has hit the mother lode with Redoute's Choice. The 8-year-old has already well surpassed his sire's record season taking all three group Is for juveniles this year with different horses. Undoubtedly led off the treble in Melbourne's Blue Diamond on Feb 26.

The trio is backed by four other group winners, giving him an 18.4% group winners rate by the 38 runners from his second crop. They have earned $5.6 million. Danehill's best season in six 2-year-old title wins yielded a record $3.7 million six years ago--led by four group winners.

Redoute's Choice was champion freshman by earnings last season, his 2004 fee $40,000. His 2005 season price will be announced after the yearling sale this week. He has 38 listed for sale.

John Messara said well before Arrowfield purchased a 50% equity in Redoute's Choice in 2000 that Danehill's greatest legacy would be through his sire sons.

As Arrowfield already had Danzero and Flying Spur on its roster back then, there seemed an element of wishful thinking in his prediction. It looks right on the money now.