Valuable Dame Ready To Take Flight?

Dame Giselle wins the Group Two Darley Silver Shadow Stakes (Lisa Grimm Photography)


There was much to like about the performance of Dame Giselle in Saturday’s Group Two Darley Silver Shadow Stakes over 1200m at Royal Randwick.

Leading throughout, the I Am Invincible filly dug deep over the final stages, notching up her third victory and first since landing the Group Two Reisling at Randwick back in March.

A $500,000 purchase by Go Bloodstock, from the Sledmere Stud draft, at the 2019 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, Dame Giselle has already won $973,500 from her seven outings and it appears the Silver Shadow won’t be the last of the silverware. Bred by China Horse Club, the global racing and breeding giant had wisely decided to retain a share in the filly.

And, if you like what you saw on Saturday, trainers Peter and Paul Snowden have indicated the 3YO will tackle the remaining legs of the Darley Princess Series: the Group Two Furious Stakes (7 September) and Group Two Tea Rose (28 September), culminating in the Group One Flight Stakes over 1600m at Royal Randwick on 5 October.

The proposed campaign does draw some intriguing parallels with another of China Horse Club’s stars in First Seal, certainly in terms of residual.

Sold for $700,000 as a yearling, First Seal didn’t run in the Silver Shadow, but did capture the Tea Rose and Flight for China Horse Club (along with further Group Twos in the Surround, Millie Fox and Tristarc, plus Group One placings via the Spring Champion, Coolmore, Vinery and Canterbury Stakes). All up, the Fastnet Rock mare would win nearly $1.3 million in the now famous red and yellow silks.

Yet, First Seal quickly surpassed racetrack prizemoney when her Sledmere Stud consigned Snitzel colt topped this year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale after being knocked down to Coolmore’s Tom Magnier for $1.8 million.

“Australia has the best value in the world for well-bred fillies and colts,” Sledmere’s Royston Murphy points out. “On the face of it, $500,000 for Dame Giselle might seem a lot of money, but she’s already won nearly a million on the racetrack and IF she was to enter a sale ring tomorrow, she would have to bring north of one million.

“It was a good, tough win first up, and great to see her frank her 2YO form,” Murphy adds. “Dame Giselle always had plenty of scope about her and I thought what she did as a 2YO was purely a bonus, especially as she always looked more like a 3YO to my eyes.

“She’s matured now – thickened right up – and should make a really nice 3YO. China Horse Club is our biggest client and we’re absolutely delighted.”

One of the largest thoroughbred concerns in NSW not standing a stallion, the historic Sledmere is home to 180 mares: 70 of those owned by China Horse Club.

“They (China Horse Club) practically offer everything they breed, but are happy to stay in quite a few … especially Dame Giselle, who was always a lovely filly,” Murphy explains. “China Horse Club has been a tremendous supporter of ours ever since (wife) Catriona and I took over the running of Sledmere, so naturally we were giving Dame Giselle a good cheer on Saturday.”

Established by the Raymond family in 1920, Sledmere had been operated by Catriona’s aunt, Ann Raymond, until the couple took over in 2014 where farm graduates include Group One winners, Invincibella and Politeness, along with 2011 Silver Shadow winner, Pane In The Glass.

(Sold by Sledmere for $185,000 at the 2015 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, the Star Thoroughbreds raced, Invincibella, won 12 races and over $3 million before being knocked down to Tom Magnier for $1.3 million at last month’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Invincibella will be covered this spring by the undefeated US Triple Crown winner Justify … who was raced in partnership by China Horse Club).

Among 56 stakes winners for I Am Invincible – who stands this season at Yarraman Park Stud at a fee of $209,000 – Dame Giselle is a half sister to five winners, among them the Group placed, The Fairy’s Kiss, dam of 2YO stakes winner, Steal My Kisses.

Dame Giselle, meanwhile, is from the 4-time Group winner and Group One placed, Ballet Society, a half sister to Champion Cent Home and Group Two winner, Studebaker.

Ballet Society was sold to China Horse Club for $350,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale – in foal to I Am Invincible and carrying Dame Giselle – while the mare missed to I Am Invincible last year. However, Murphy confirms her Pride of Dubai yearling colt will be offered for sale next year and a decision is yet to be made on which stallion will cover Ballet Society this spring.

Naturally enough, Go Bloodstock was elated with Dame Giselle’s victory and Go director, Steve O’Connor, is hoping she’ll take ‘Flight’ too from here.

Owned by Sir Owen Glenn, Go Bloodstock has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years with 4-time Group One winner, Criterion, dual Group One winner, Monaco Consul, Doomben Cup winner, Comin’ Through and I Am Invincible’s multiple Group Two winning mare, Pure Elation.

“Dame Giselle was a big, strong filly who appeared as if she’d run early and, ultimately, just ticked all the right boxes for us,” O’Connor recalls. “Obviously with Pure Elation, I Am Invincible fillies aren’t a hard sell for us, while China Horse Club and Sledmere spoke highly of the filly and were ultimately happy to retain a share.

“Between us, we (Go Bloodstock) usually race one a year with China Horse Club, while we’re also involved with a number of other racehorses with them through the Newgate Farm partnerships.

“Go Bloodstock races around 50 and breeds from 47 mares and I can tell you it was terrific to add another Group win to the tally on Saturday.”

The Power of Passion