Al Mahar Completes Girl Power Day at Flemington

Women were on top at Flemington March 12: Alinghi breezed in the Newmarket (Aust-I; Makybe Diva and Winning Belle ran one-two in the Australian Cup (Aust-I). After this combined display of Girlpower, Gai Waterhouse collected the other "Super Saturday" group I when Danehill colt Al Mahar realized his potential in the Australian Guineas.

Waterhouse was on the wrong end of the Cup result to Lee Freedman despite Winning Belle's career-best performance. But the Guineas turned the day around for the Sydney conditioner just one race later in the $750,000 (Australian funds) race for sophomores.

Al Mahar's name translates as "The Great" and he was under Noel Callow to win the 1,600 meters Guineas by 2 3/4 from another Danehill, Danehill Express (4-1). The locally trained one had traffic problems whereas Callow had the winner out and running into the lead from pacemaker Shinzig (yet another Dane), 200 meters out.
Econsul (9-1) ran his best race for some time to nose out Shinzig in a 4-way contest for the minors, preventing a Danehill trifecta.

Econsul (by Pins) played the hero in the Caulfield Guineas last spring. He remains the only New Zealand-bred group I winner in Australia this season. Rank disappointment was the abject seventh by 5-2 elect Savabeel. The W.S. Cox Plate (Aust-I) winner might be feeling the effects of a tough spring campaign.

There will always be the largish fly in the ointment about southern group I races having the same worth as those in the northern hemisphere. That said, Al Mahar is the 63rd individual group I for Danehill worldwide -- Nevis nearly added another in the Rosehill Guineas. That figure places him two behind the 65 by Sadler's Wells.

Al Mahar (7-1) is raced by his breeder, Nassah A. Lootah, owner of the two-state operation Emirates Park. The roster includes Seeking the Gold horse Secret Savings, and Danewin, a first crop Danehill and sire of $6 million (Australian funds) winner Elegant Fashion. Despite being retained, the second foal of Show Dancing (Don't Say Halo) went through the ring at Easter 2003, listed as sold for $575,000. Now he's worth that and more.