A star in anyone’s language

English wins the Doomben 10,000 (Trackside Photography)

English wins the Doomben 10,000 (Trackside Photography)

 

She’s the talk of the town. Again.

On Saturday in Brisbane, bonny mare English lined up against the sprinting elite in the $700,000 Kirin Doomben 10,000 over 1200m – her fifteenth tilt at Group One level from just 25 career outings.

While she has always been kept relatively safe in betting, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained five-year-old had, however, been winless since the Group Two Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick in March last year. Eleven outings between drinks.

But it was ye olde English at Doomben, with the flashy bay sitting just behind the leaders turning for home, before surging into daylight at the 100 metre mark and holding off all challengers including Impending, Le Romain and 2017 Everest winner Redzel.

It was the second Group One victory for the Newhaven Park bred and raced sprinter, having captured the All Aged Stakes in April 2016, and takes her current earnings to a tick over $3.4 million.

English has also been Group One placed in the Golden Slipper (a three-quarter length second to Vancouver), third and then second behind Chautauqua in successive TJ Smiths and second to In Her Time in this year’s The Galaxy. Named Champion 2YO Filly, she would back it up with a 3YO title.

“Just when you think the curtain is about to come down, she pulls out something like that (Doomben 10,000),” Newhaven Park’s Charles Kelly points out proudly.

“She’s had some ordinary luck since she won the Challenge last year and she got too far back in the Everest behind Redzel, while at her most recent run before Saturday (TJ Smith) the ground was a bit too hard for her.

“As she’s getting older, she seems to prefer the tracks a touch softer and there was some give at Doomben which clearly worked in her favour.

“English has been a truly wonderful mare … aside from her first start (winning a Kembla Maiden) and the Everest, her other 23 starts have all been at Group One or Group Two level and, apart from one or two occasions, it’s been against all-comers … she certainly hasn’t dodged the boys.”

So, was the Doomben 10,000 a fond farewell to racing? Next stop the breeding shed?

“Well, a decision is going to be made in the next few days and we’ll consider how she pulls up, but at this stage, it’s very likely English will contest the ($700,000 Group One) Kingsford-Smith over 1350m at Doomben in a fortnight,” Kelly adds.

“Ultimately, we’d like to have another tilt at the Everest. It’s worth $13 million this year and how often do you have a horse like English come along?”

Among 50 plus Group One winners that have been bred, raced and/or sold by Newhaven Park, English will eventually make a more than handy addition to the farm’s broodmare band.

“Obviously we hope she’ll continue racing, but we have had some discussions about a likely match up for English and stallions like Spirit of Boom or I Am Invincible are under consideration,” Kelly reveals.

One of the 27 Group One winners for the now retired Coolmore Australia stallion Encosta de Lago, English is out of the multiple Group Two winning Anabaa mare, Court, who was likewise bred by Newhaven, as was third dam, Splish.

A half-sister to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s 2YO, Al Naifa (third in last month’s Listed Dequetteville Stakes and sold by Newhaven for $1.8 million at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale), English is one of three winners from three to race for Court.

Sent to Snitzel last spring after missing the season before, Kelly explains that Court is again not in foal.

“She (Court) has been a bit of problem mare, but we’ve retained her Snitzel (yearling) filly and we’ll race her in our colours. No decision has been made on a trainer as yet, but she is broken in and, if she ends up anywhere near as good as English, we’ll be happy!”

HOOFNOTE: Newhaven Park also bred and raced Burst, the 1992 Sydney 2YO Triple Crown winner (Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce, Champagne Stakes) who would capture seven black type races throughout her illustrious career.

Newhaven sold Burst in 1996 – in foal to Danehill – and although she would produce five winners, the Danehill foal was the only to achieve black type success, being multiple stakes placed in South Africa.

However, three of Burst’s daughters have gone on to produce stakes winners: South African Group winner, Winter Burst; dual Melbourne Group Two winner, Éclair Choice and; Champion 2YO in Singapore, Be Bee.

Burst would eventually be pensioned from stud duties in 2016, with her last foal being the unraced, Goblin, born in 2012.

“We (Newhaven Park) had very little to do with Burst after she left the farm in 1996, apart from watching her progress and that of her progeny,” Kelly reveals.

“However, she had kind of dropped off the radar until my sister-in-law, Sarah, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, went looking for Burst and managed to buy her back as a big surprise for us.

“Burst arrived back on the farm last month … she’s the oldest Golden Slipper winner still alive and now she’ll get to live out the rest of the days at the place where it all began!”

Golden Slipper winner Burst has returned to the Kelly family’s Newhaven Park