Phoenix Rises With Loving Performance

Loving Gaby charges home to win the Group Three Chairman's Stakes

Loving Gaby charges home to win the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes (Racing Photos)


Formed in 2017 by Dubai-based businessman, Amer Abdulaziz, Phoenix Thoroughbreds has vast bloodstock portfolios in the United States, throughout Europe, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

A good illustration of the ‘spread’ was last Saturday when Phoenix Thoroughbreds had five runners in three countries (in both hemispheres!) and, courtesy of the commanding performance by Loving Gaby in the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes over 1000m at Caulfield, Team Phoenix has posted its first major winner down under.

Having just her first start, the I Am Invincible filly, Loving Gaby, defeated stakes winning stablemate, Bella Rossa, by a half length and will now head straight into the rich Group One Blue Diamond Stakes on 23 February. Such was the authority of the win that Loving Gaby is currently on the second line of Diamond betting behind Catch Me.

“This filly really has a bright future,” co-trainer, Ciaron Maher, enthused. “She put the writing on the wall with her trial at Pakenham, but she was ultra impressive at Caulfield and I couldn’t be more excited.”

The sixth individual juvenile stakes winner this season for Yarraman Park Stud’s, I Am Invincible, Loving Gaby was purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbreds for $500,000 from the 2018 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Loving Gaby was the only yearling knocked down to the Phoenix banner at Easter ’18, but the operation has also played a major hand at the last two Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sales, purchasing a colt for $1.6 million in 2018 and signing for six – in tandem with Aquis Farm – for $5 million on the Gold Coast last month, including the second highest priced lot: again for $1.6 million.

(Phoenix also has a share in the Aquis Farm based, Group One winner, Invader, who stood his first season last spring).

However, in light of recent ‘form’ some might suggest one of Phoenix’s most astute purchases in the last 12 months was that of the share in I Am Invincible which was secured by its agent, Dermot Farrington, for $575,000 at the 2018 Inglis Chairman’s Sale.

Loving Gaby’s exciting entrée to the racing scene also marked another memorable 24 hours for one of Australia’s most famous farms in Kia Ora Stud.

Loving Gaby was foaled down, raised and sold as a yearling by the Scone based farm, in partnership with leading breeder and racehorse owner, Alan Bell.

However, Kia Ora was also represented on Saturday night – Australian-time – by another of its home-breds in Exceed And Excel filly, Nafaayes, who notched up her second Group Two victory by capturing the Gauteng Fillies Guineas over 1600m at Turffontein.

And you can throw in yet another Kia Ora bred in Rotator, a lip second on debut behind Amercement in Saturday’s Group Three Widden Stakes … all in all a pretty good day’s work.

“Kia Ora and Alan Bell purchased Loving Gaby’s mum, Maastricht, as a yearling and she went on to run second in the Group Two Edward Manifold and a stakes race at Caulfield, along with Group placings in Sydney and Melbourne,” Kia Ora’s Alex Kingston explains. “We’ve had a very good relationship with Alan and also raced (Group Two winning sprinter) Deep Field together … in fact, we’ve got seven of our yearlings going through the Bhima Thoroughbreds draft at this week’s Sydney Classic, including a Deep Field colt.

“Loving Gaby is Maastricht’s first foal and unfortunately she missed the following year to More Than Ready before going on to produce a Sebring filly last spring. I’m very happy to say that she’s now back in foal to I Am Invincible.

“It’s great that we could play a part in Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ first major winner in Australia.”

Kingston points out that Kia Ora’s association with Shadwell Stud has likewise been fruitful, with the international conglomerate purchasing Nafaayes for $350,000 at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

“They (Shadwell) have had phenomenal success in South Africa with Australian-bred horses and Nafaayes is obviously an outstanding filly,” Kingston points out. “Shadwell has purchased a number of our horses over the years … another of our Exceed And Excel fillies in Aljawzaa was bred by Kia Ora and only had the three starts for Shadwell but showed plenty of promise.

“I’d imagine they’ll come and have another look this year … we’ve got half a dozen heading to Easter, including a couple by Exceed And Excel. One is out of the Edward Manifold winner, Se Sauver, and is a full brother to a colt that’s with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott who trialled the house down a week or so ago.

“We’re pretty hopeful that Rotator will go on with it after her impressive debut in the Widden too. It would be particularly nice if she wins her next start because we’ve got the full brother selling at the Melbourne Premier next month.”

The Power of Passion