Crawling Along Down Under

Published in the June 16 issue of The Blood-Horse
In winning the $1-million (Australian funds) Stradbroke Handicap at Brisbane's Eagle Farm oval on June 9, the inappropriately-named Crawl became the seventh homebred millionaire bred and raced by Jack and Bob Ingham.

Australia's largest-scale owner/breeders celebrated their first Stradbroke success as Crawl defeated their other entry, Hire, by a half-neck. The 126 pound topweight, Mr Innocent, charged home out wide to be a breath away in third.

The pair are trained by John Hawkes, whose son Michael runs the Brisbane satellite operation while another son, Wayne, oversees the Melbourne barn.

Crawl was a 12-1 chance, and Hire was sent off at 10-1 as multiple owner entries are not coupled under Australian rules. The 9-2 favorite, Make Mine Magic, finished fourth.

Crawl is the second millionaire sired for the Inghams by Dr Grace, the deceased Australian Derby-winning son of Sir Tristram. Dr Grace stood at the Ingham's Woodlands Stud for just three years before his death. His other millionaire, Over, won the Doncaster Handicap (Aust-I) before joining the Woodlands roster last spring.

A 4-year-old gelding, Crawl was patiently ridden by Darren Gauci, who elbowed him into contention 100 meters from the line. In the heavy traffic created by a field of 20, Hire had emerged with a slender lead, with Crawl just being one of many challengers.

Placed four times from nine previous group I attempts, Crawl this time managed to out-muscle the Canny Lad son and Larry Cassidy to win the whole thing.

The most famous horse to race under the Ingham all-cerise silks is Octagonal. They supplemented him from the New Zealand sales and his grand family was instrumental in the winner of Stradbroke support, the Queensland Derby (Aust-I).

On a weekend in which the Sadler's Wells tribe widened the gap on Sir Tristram and the rest of the world in terms of group or grade I winners (see page 3445), and with a flourish at Epsom in England, Sir Ivor's great southern legacy managed another posthumous group I double as paternal grandsire. Like Crawl, the runaway Queensland Derby winner De Gaulle Lane is by Sir Tristram son, The Commander, from Octagonal's half-sister Diamond Lover. For all of that, The Commander was unraced.

De Gaulle Lane is from D'Accord, a daughter of Mr. Prospector's New Zealand pioneer sire Straight Strike, and group I winner La Neige. As has dual classic winner Point Given, the 125th Brisbane Derby winner has Arctic Explorer in his female pedigree. With the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) winner it is through his son Tobin Bronze and with De Gaulle Lane, Arctic Explorer is the sire of fourth dam Snowline.

The $500,000 Queensland Derby (Aust-I) lacked the depth of the Oaks (Aust-I) that was decided seven days earlier, although two of the three prior group I winners finished in the first four. Tempest Morn racked up her third runner-up prize at the top level while finishing 4 1/2 lengths back, to go with her two group I wins. Thunder Gulch's best southern advertisement was again brave, but it wasn't nearly enough. Reenact ran fourth as the 2-1 favorite, that pair split by Lottery Prize, a son of Prized.

Two days later, The Tommy Smith (Aust-I), a $500,000 juvenile feature, was won by Juanmo. It gave the daughter of Flying Spur her second Eagle Farm group I success against the males, starting with her victory in the QTC Sires' Produce Stakes on June 2. Raced by Ken Jones' wife, Elaine, she roared home to win by a neck from the Barathea filly Barawin with Evander close up in third.

The $65,000 yearling filly was bred by Vinery's Australian manager Peter Orton and Tyreel stud manager John Vincent, from a mare given to them by Robert Sangster.

Pam Webber became the first woman to train a Brisbane Cup (Aust-I) winner when 50-1 outsider Star Covet blitzed his rivals over 3,200 meters at Eagle Farm on June 11. Star Covet highlighted a grand comeback from injury to win the Cup by 4 1/2 lengths from Citi Habit with Kashani another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Webber handles 14 horses in Sydney and gained her license five years ago, after initially learning her craft from John Hammond in France. She took over the 7-year-old stayer nine weeks before the Cup and two years after he bowed a tendon.