Bart Winner To Star In Melbourne Cup

Amelie's Star wins The Bart Cummings.

Amelie’s Star books herself a spot in the Melbourne Cup winning The Bart Cumming in dominant fashion (Racing Photos)


Patrick Hodgens and wife Yolanda haven’t been in the thoroughbred industry all that long.

A little over 10 years in fact. That’s when the pair bought their first mare, Zazita, at the 2007 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, and Patrick reckons they haven’t looked back ever since.

“I’ve always liked the breeding aspect of the industry and I’m good mates with Adam White of Vinery Stud,” Hodgens points out. “It was Adam who suggested I look at Zazita on the Gold Coast and she was knocked down to me – in foal to Commands – for $130,000.

“The Commands (Prince Eric) raced twice, while the next foal Razed In Flames (by More Than Ready) won five and the one after that, Hurricane Heidi (Red Ransom), was unraced.

“However, Zazita was sent to Testa Rossa in 2010 and that mating produced Amelie’s Star.”

On Saturday at Flemington, Amelie’s Star lined up in the Group Three Bart Cummings Stakes over 2500m against a field dominated by international runners, including last year’s Melbourne Cup winner, Almandin.

Hardly daunted, the Darren Weir trained mare sat fourth until turning for home, before hitting the lead at the 300m and racing clear to score by a comfortable two lengths.

“I’ve got to thank Adam for that too,” Hodgens enthused. “She (Amelie’s Star) was such a lovely foal and had such terrific conformation that Adam talked me into racing her. I’m sure glad he did!

“Amelie’s Star is the best horse we’ve raced so far … I was also in Runway Star with the Vinery boys and she won three stakes races, including a (Group Three) Proud Miss, but this girl (Amelie’s Star) takes the cake.”

With six wins and four placings from 17 starts, Amelie’s Star won the Group Two Queen of the South in Adelaide in May and the Group Three Colin Stephen as a 4YO and has currently banked $573,385 in prizemoney.

“Yes, I agree … I definitely owe Adam a drink! The Bart Cummings gives Amelie’s Star automatic entry into the ($6 million Group One) Emirates Melbourne Cup, but we’re a little undecided as to where she goes next,” Hodgens adds.

“She’s a chance to qualify for the ($3 million Group One) BMW Caulfield Cup and is now 35th on the order of entry with 51 kilos, but if she doesn’t get a run at Caulfield, there’s always the (Group Two) Moonee Valley Gold Cup or the (Group Three) Geelong Cup on 25 October.

“Very exciting!”

From his first plunge in Zazita 10 years ago, Hodgens now has around half a dozen mares based at Vinery Stud: “we usually sell around two or three a year and keep one to race ourselves,” Hodgens explains.

“As for Zazita, she’s down at Brett Cavanough’s farm and will head to Kermadec this spring.

“Brett is great with problem mares and Zazita either missed or slipped for four years running, but produced a Illo filly last spring and is due to foal down a Nom Du Jeu in November.

“She appears to be back on track and, in light of Amelie’s Star’s win on Saturday, that’s a good result all round.”

Amelie’s Star is one of 62 stakes winners for Testa Rossa, a Champion Sprinter in 1999-2000 whose progeny include Ortensia – a Group One winning sprinter in Australia, Dubai and England – plus Group One Derby winner, Testafiable.

“Testa Rossa has always been a very versatile Stallion but to now have a strong Melbourne Cup chance is quite incredible,” Vinery’s Adam White points out.

“Obviously the Zabeel factor is contributing to her staying abilities and you only have to look at her to realise why we have always just treated her like a Zabeel. However, I’m sure Testa Rossa has put that turn of foot into her which will help in some of the bigger races she is targeted for.

“We limit Testa Rossa’s mares now but he has started this season off really well, so hopefully there is another Amelie’s Star or Ortensia not too far away.”

The Power of Passion