Invincible Gem edges out stable mate Le Romain in the Gr.2 Missile Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
Leading trainer, Kris Lees, was a bit torn as to the prospects of his two runners in the Group Two $200,000 Missile Stakes over 1200m at Royal Randwick.
Asked for his pick, Lees leaned toward 3-time Group One winner and stable star, Le Romain, who was heavily favoured to add another Group victory to his resume, but the trainer also warned Invincible Gem could run a “cheeky race”.
Cheeky, alright! Showing an explosive turn of hoof, Invincible Gem swept down the outside to gather in her stablemate and capture a second stakes success in the process.
With the Missile being her first run in five months, the just-turned-four-year-old mare had previously won the Group Three Spring Stakes over 1600m at Randwick in April and followed up with a neck second to Inference in the Group One Randwick Guineas on 4 March. This victory takes Invincible Gem’s scoreboard to five wins and three seconds from 10 outings for $544,850 in stakes.
Straight after the race, Lees was quick to praise the ride of Corey Brown on Invincible Gem, but also made special mention of the mare’s sire, I Am Invincible.
“Gee, that stallion can upgrade his mares,” Lees pointed out.
He’s not kidding …
Invincible Gem was bred by Theo Hill and his son Charlie, who races the mare with his brother-in-law, Phillip Tonkin, and has had a long association with the mare’s family.
“My father, Theo, purchased Invincible Gem’s third dam, Go Cool, back in the late 1980s,” Charlie Hill explains. “She produced Keep It Cool who, in turn, produced Invincible Gem’s dam, Diamond Day.
“They’ve all produced plenty of winners, but there are only three city winners in the first five dams of that pedigree, including Invincible Gem and his half brother, Exitozo, that won the Scone Country Cup for us in May.
“Invincible Gem is Diamond Day’s most recent foal but I’m happy to say she’s in foal to Time For War and is due to produce in early November.”
A grain and cattle farmer based at Quirindi in NSW, Hill loves his racing … even more so after the Missile.
“I’m third generation … my father, who has since passed away, loved the thoroughbred industry and he kind of followed in the footsteps of my grandfather who was right into it as well,” Hill adds. “Invincible Gem is the best horse we’ve had so far though and I guess it’s true when they say that good things come to those who wait.
“Kris (Lees) has done an absolutely fantastic job with Invincible Gem and hopefully she can add a couple of more black type wins during the spring.”
Invincible Gem is one of 21 stakes winners for the Yarraman Park based, I Am Invincible, whose headliners include Brazen Beau, I Am A Star, Illustrious Lad and Look To The Stars.
Yarraman’s Harry Mitchell was naturally pleased with Invincible Gem’s Missile, but equally over the moon for Hill.
“Charlie and I have been mates for a long time and his father was a good bloke too,” Mitchell points out. “Charlie certainly deserved the win.
“The mare was fairly light on in terms of pedigree and she was booked in for I Am Invincible’s third season.
“Kris (Lees) is spot on though about the stallion’s ability to upgrade his mares: of all of his 21 stakes winners, each of them are the only stakes winners out of the mares.”
Originally standing at $11,000 when retiring to stud with a pair of black type victories, I Am Invincible’s fee increased to $27,500 in 2014, doubled to $55,000 in 2015 and, for this spring, he will cover a full book of mares at $110,000.
“He’s got an incredible book for 2017,” Mitchell adds. “The yearling crop he has coming through is his strongest ever, so it will be very interesting to see where he goes from here.”