Thunder Gulch Filly Upset Down Under

Tully Thunder failed to parlay her Australasian Oaks victory (Aust-I) into success in the longer South Australian Oaks (Aust-I) at Morphettville on May 18. In the end, the Thunder Gulch filly was outstayed by She's Archie in the $250,000 (Australian funds) contest.

In midstretch Tully Thunder had the lead and appeared likely to emulate the win in the southern state's Oaks double of first generation Thunder Gulch daughter Tempest Morn in 2001. As she had in the 2,000 meters Oaks at Victoria Park, She's Archie's arrived to challenge. Initially Tully Thunder again seemed able to repel her attack, but at the end of the additional 400 meters she succumbed to be beaten a long head.

Brett Prebble, the replacement rider for Tully Thunder, said she simply didn't quite stay the 2,400m. Prebble gained the mount when Damien Oliver elected to partner Falvelon in his successful Doomben 10,000 (Aust-I) defense in Brisbane.

There might be irony in that the winner is a daughter of Archway. The Thatching son is a former shuttler for Coolmore, which sells the services of their Kentucky Derby winner in two hemispheres. The 14 year-old has been in relative obscurity at Barree Stud in Victoria, last commuting from Ireland in 1996.

She's Archie provided the first group I success for her owner breeders Worrell and Lorraine Dunn of Horsham, Victoria. The filly prepared for them by Darren Weir - and also his initial win at this level - is from A Little Timid, a mare they bred from Almaarad. The Ela-mana-mou son won three five European races to grade I before Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum had him shipped to Australia for the Melbourne Cup. Almaarad collected three grade Is including the 1989 W.S. Cox Plate before a moderate stud career. The winner was ridden by Peter Mertens.

Gold Lottey finished closest of the remaining 13, the grand-daughter of Fairy King (through Encosta de Lago) almost 4 lengths from the first pair. Woodman filly Arboretum, a 4-1 favourite on the strength of her Australasian Oaks third could only manage fifth. An of track contributed to the slow time of 2m-42.13s.

Although Tully Thunder could not advance the Mr. Prospector cause in the dead ground, his grandson Zip Zip Aray kept the banner aloft in taking the Goodwood Handicap (Aust-I). The 3 year-old son of the former Arrowfield based Bellotto won the 1,200 meters sprint with a flashing late run which carried him past Libidinious , the margin 3/4 of a length.

The runner-up was attempting to lead from wire-to-wire, an extremely rare feat in 117 editions of the $300,000 (Australian funds) Morphettville sprint. Libidinious is by Northern Dancer son Jugah. Another 3 year-old, Big Chill (by O'Reilly) rushed home to take third another 1-3/4 lengths away. Bellotto has worked at South Australia's Lakewood Stud since 1996.