Damian Lane rides El Dorado Dreaming to victory in the Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
Tell her she’s dreaming…
Actually, a few weeks ago Yvette Pearce would have told you you’re dreaming if you’d suggested her home-bred filly would win the $1 million Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m at Royal Randwick on the first day of The Championships.
Not that too many were suggesting.
After all, the Ben Smith trained, El Dorado Dreaming, was sent out an $81 pick for the Sires’ – the 13th line of betting in a field of 15 – and all the ‘smart’ money was on Oohood, who looked a deserved winner just a stride or two from the post.
However, El Dorado Dreaming belied her third at Tamworth on debut, a fourth at Warwick Farm and second (as favourite) in a Newcastle Maiden just a week previously, to capture the Group One in an absolute boilover.
Coming from near last when only 400m from home, El Dorado Dreaming grabbed gold with a withering burst to leave punters reeling. Owner and trainer too.
It was the second Group One in the space of a fortnight for Smith, who trains a small team out of Newcastle and would saddle up The Galaxy winner, In Her Time, for a tip-top third behind Trapeze Artist and Redzel in the TJ Smith later on the program.
Pearce, who both bred and pays the feed bills for El Dorado Dreaming, is quick to credit Smith for their day in the sun.
“I reckon Ben would sleep in the boxes with the horses if he could,” Pearce points out. “Lovely guy and absolutely dedicated to his trade.
“She (El Dorado Dreaming) isn’t bred to be a 2YO and, while Ben was pretty disappointed with the second at Newcastle, I always thought the 1200m was too short for her.
“Ben really had to talk me into starting her in the Sires’ Produce … he said she was the only one in the stable that could keep up with In Her Time and promised me the filly would be competitive. She certainly was that!”
Apart from being dubious about El Dorado Dreaming’s chances in the Sires’, Pearce was almost a no show at Royal Randwick too.
“I love the horses and really love the breeding side, but I’m not real big on going to the races in the city and definitely not much of a punter,” Pearce reveals.
“However, Ben’s enthusiasm was contagious so I decided to get myself dolled up and make the trip. And while I say I don’t usually bet, I always have $50 each way on my horses which I did on Saturday. I know she started at $81 but I got $250 in the betting ring, so it turned out be a very good day all up!”
El Dorado Dreaming becomes the first Group One winner for her Randwick Guineas winning sire, Ilovethiscity, who is based at Larneuk Stud in Victoria, while her dam is the well related, Solanas.
Solanas is one of the one and a half mares owned by Pearce, who manages a hotel at Singleton, near Newcastle, and is a keen student of breeding.
“I grew up in New Zealand and was around horses from an early age, eventing and the like,” Pearce explains. “My father used to take me down to the racing stables, but I always had a real interest in the breeding side.”
Pearce shifted to Australia over 30 years ago, working in the banking and finance sectors, and had previously raced one horse “unsuccessfully” before Solanas came along.
“It’s been on my bucket list for a long time to breed from a Zabeel mare,” Pearce explains. “Solanas was on the market and Brett Howard from Randwick Bloodstock suggested I buy her. I got her for $35,000, in foal to Stratum … so much for the kids’ inheritance!
“The (resultant) Stratum foal is a filly called Golly Miss Solly who has won three races for me and was the pinup girl … well, until Saturday.
“I only breed to Solanas every other year and really liked Ilovethiscity, especially as it gives El Dorado Dreaming line-breeding to Sir Tristram, while she now has a lovely weanling colt by Cluster, a Group Two winner by Fastnet Rock who also stands at Larneuk.
“I have to work within a tight budget and those stallions fall within my price bracket.”
Neville Murdoch, whose Larneuk Stud also stands Wolf Cry, Honorius and O’Lonhro, was at Royal Randwick too, cheering on his O’Lonhro mare, O’ So Hazy, who ran a strong third in the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final over 1400m.
“It’s a terrific result for Yvette, a great result for the farm and a bloody nice kick up for Ilovethiscity,” Murdoch enthused. “I purchased Larneuk (at Euroa in Victoria’s north east) around 15 years ago and we’ve had quite a bit of success along the way, but the Group One winner is more than handy.
“Ilovethiscity really hasn’t covered a lot of mares, especially over the last couple of years, and El Dorado Dreaming hails from a crop of just 26 live foals.
“Yet despite that he’s got around 25 winners, including a stakes-placed winner of five races in Chapel City.
“El Dorado Dreaming should give him a good bump this season and the fact her Cluster half-brother is such a cracking type won’t hurt that stallion’s chances either.”