Alizee too strong for top class rivals in the Group 2 Smithfield RSL Missile Stakes at Rosehill (Lisa Grimm)
The winning margin – 0.2 lengths – was more than a tad misleading.
In her return to the track at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, Alizee produced a dominant display in the Group Two Smithfield RSL Missile Stakes, surging to the front as they turned for home: only to be eased down by a confident, Hugh Bowman, over the concluding stages.
Sure, the field was small but one of the rivals – Le Romain – has won three Group Ones.
It was the fifth time in a row that Alizee has scored first up from a spell and, indeed, the only ‘miss’ was her first start fourth.
Since that debut in February 2017, the Godolphin mare has won nine from 20 – including the Queen of the Turf, Flight Stakes and Futurity Stakes (all at Group One level) and was named Champion 3YO Filly. Furthermore, among Alizee’s four placings is a third in the Group One Thousand Guineas and third in last March’s $5 million All Star Mile.
Consequently, the Sepoy 5YO has banked nearly $2.4 million in stakes and there’s serious talk of a tilt at the $14 million Everest in October.
But, while we’re here to laud the deeds of Alizee, we’re also happy to channel the words of a certain prime minister by asking “how good is Alizee’s dam, Essaouira?”.
Although Essaouira never got the opportunity for much racetrack exposure – winning her debut at Moonee Valley by a massive six lengths and finishing sixth to Headway in a Listed race at her only other start – the Exceed And Excel mare hasn’t missed a beat since retiring to stud in 2010.
Essaouira’s first foal, Marrakesh, would win three races, the second – Mogador – was multiple stakes placed, while the next – Astern – won the Group One Golden Rose, was runnerup to Flying Artie in the Group One Coolmore Classic and won three other Group races. Alizee is the fourth.
Winner #5, meanwhile, is the lightly raced Brazen Beau colt, Tassort, a five length winner on debut last November before a second – as favourite – in the Group Two Silver Slipper Stakes.
All up, Essaouira’s five to race have won a tick over $4 million in prizemoney.
“Essaouira was before my time but they reckon she had exceptional speed,” Godolphin Australia’s Managing Director, Vin Cox, reveals. “She suffered from a severe hamstring strain and then had a difficult throat infection which ultimately proved to be career ending. She was trained for a couple of preparations but never made it back to the track. Doing pretty good as a broodmare though!”
As terrific a mare as Essaouira is, the ‘pedigree’ has actually been entertaining us for nigh on 30 years: ever since the White-family bred, Triscay, burst onto the scene on 2 October 1989 with a victory in the Listed Widden Stakes.
The Marscay mare went on to win the next 14 of her 25 starts, along with eight placings for close to $2 million in stakes.
Triscay preceded Alizee’s Flight Stakes by 27 years, but the Champion 2YO Filly and Champion 3YO would also capture another four Group Ones – the Champagne Stakes, Australian Guineas, AJC Oaks and QTC Oaks.
True to form, Triscay would produce seven winners in her own right, including Group Two Gloaming Stakes winner and multiple Group One placed, Tsuimai … Satyric, the dam of Sydney stakes winners Agister and Readyor … and, most notably, La Baraka.
By the Group One winning sprinter Euclase – who was also raced by the White family – La Baraka would produce five winners: the pick of the crew being Alizes, winner of the Group Two Magic Night Stakes and dam of Essaouira.
“It all started – for us at least – with the Sir Tristram mare, Tristram Lady,” Robrick Lodge’s Greg White explains. “We purchased Tristram Lady for just $25,000 and from that mare we’ve bred and or raced the likes of Triscay, Defier (a 3-time Group One winner) and Tsuimai, plus Satyric’s two stakes winners.
“We sold La Baraka as a yearling for just $40,000 but she had really bent legs … yet David Hayes protected her really well and did a marvellous job with the mare who went on to win a (Group One) Galaxy and over $600,000 in stakes. She’s done a pretty good job in the breeding shed too!”
In the news as recently as May through ownership of Group One Robert Sangster Stakes winner, Spright, the Whites first rose to prominence in the early 1980s with Greg’s parents – Geoff and Beryl – racing Golden Slipper hero and, later, champion stallion, Marscay, the sire of Triscay.
“Good luck to Godolphin and Darley with Alizee and we’ll make sure to continue breeding from a couple of branches of the family,” White adds. “We have a daughter of Satyric called Strobic who is in foal to Xtravagant at Newhaven Park, while Identic, a granddaughter of Saytric, is in foal to Dundeel.”