Rob Crabtree wasn’t necessarily thinking Blue Diamonds when he inspected the Fastnet Rock filly from Cats Whisker at the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.
“She’s big and strong and a bit different to a lot of the Fastnet Rocks,” Crabtree reflected after his filly – Catchy – made it two from two in the Peter Siggins 2YO Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday. As a consequence, the filly has now moved onto the first line of betting for February’s $1.5 million Group One Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes.
“I really thought she (Catchy) would be a miler and perhaps an Oaks horse and she’s done nothing so far to make me change my mind … but I won’t be disappointed if she wins a Blue Diamond along the way!”
Catchy made her debut over 1000m at Moonee Valley on 9 December and while that winning distance wasn’t quite as emphatic as Saturday’s margin, jockey Craig Williams was already making comparisons to Champion Filly, Miss Finland, whom he rode to victory in the 2006 Golden Slipper, Thousand Guineas and VRC Oaks.
Williams hadn’t changed tack after Saturday’s win either, acknowledging that Catchy had “shifted out in the straight, but it was a great effort … very dominant”.
One gets the impression he won’t be hopping off any time soon.
Despite drifting slightly in the betting and Williams’ subsequent comments that he “had to stoke her up a bit when we got to the turn”, Crabtree was never in any doubt the Lindsay Park trained youngster would keep her unbeaten record intact.
“That was a very solid win … there were a couple of very good 2YOs in that race and I reckon she’ll just go onwards and upwards from here,” Crabtree adds.
“I thought she was a very good buy at $220,000. I love the Fastnet Rocks and Dorrington Farm (Crabtree’s breeding operation) has three black type mares by him – Gybe, Scandiva and Flokkati – and hopefully Catchy will soon make it four.
“Fastnet Rock’s 2YOs are going terrific this year … something like six winners from 12 runners and he had that good winner in Adelaide (Roomooz) as well on Saturday. It was definitely the right year to buy into his yearlings.
“David (Hayes) phoned me on Sunday morning and said that Catchy had pulled up very well and now it’s all systems go for the (Group Two) Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on 11 February.”
Naturally enough, the team at Coolmore Australia are also delighted with Fastnet Rock’s juvenile strike rate this season.
“Full credit to the team at Lindsay Park as they identified Catchy as a natural runner early on and she’s obviously exceptionally talented,” Coolmore Australia’s Sebastian Hutch points out. “We are selling her full-sister, as well as another filly from the same family, for Joy and Sam Jenkins at the Magic Millions this week. It’s been a fantastic pedigree for them for many years and they have two lovely fillies to sell, so Catchy’s success is well-timed.
“Fastnet Rock looks to have an exceptionally strong crop of 2YOs this season. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum has always been a very strong supporter of Fastnet Rock and he looks to have a very exciting prospect in Roomooz. She appears to be a credible candidate for races like the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper, along with Catchy, Mick Price’s Cao Cao and another Lindsay Park 2YO in Will’s Bid.
“Fastnet Rock had three Group One winning 2YOs in 2016 and you would be a brave man to bet against him adding further juvenile success to his resume in 2017.”