Menari storms home in the Listed Rosebud (Lisa Grimm)
A lot of good horses have been bred by Corumbene Stud over the years.
Overreach and Sebring were both Golden Slipper winners. True Jewels won a Blue Diamond. Heart Ruler, Hasna, Wager, Bennetta … it’s a long list.
Another homebred in Menari didn’t add to the silverware as a 2YO, despite showing plenty of early promise, but is certainly off to a flying start at three via a hugely impressive performance in Saturday’s Listed Smithfield RSL Rosebud over 1100m at Rosehill Gardens.
So impressive in fact that trainer, Gerald Ryan, didn’t mince words post-race, declaring the colt worthy of a start in the $10 million Everest at Royal Randwick on 14 October, even though all 12 slots had been purchased by the end of March.
“He’s a very good horse isn’t he,” Ryan enthused, indicating that Everest ‘slot holders’ have already been enquiring as to Menari’s plans.
The dominance of Menari’s Rosebud victory, overhauling the previously unbeaten Siege of Quebec with an explosive turn of foot, has installed the colt as a $9 equal favourite for the Group One Golden Rose on 23 September. However, with the Golden Rose and Everest three weeks apart, Ryan is confident his lightning fast charge could tackle both.
“I have an inkling that Menari is a sprinter and I wouldn’t be frightened of taking on open class horses at weight for age (Everest) with him. He’s a big, strong colt … an exciting horse. We’ll just play it by ear,” Ryan adds.
“I was happy to see the horse win so well … you just like to see them come back and do it.”
Menari has now won two of his six outings, including a second in the Group Three Canonbury Stakes and a fourth in the Group One Golden Slipper behind She Will Reign.
Racing in the all familiar orange, brown spots and white sleeves of George Altomonte, Menari has always been a star waiting to happen according to his breeder/owner: “He (Menari) is a very good horse and just ran into that terrible, wet weather last autumn,” Altomonte recalls. “He just can’t handle the heavy tracks but definitely showed what he was capable of in the Rosebud.”
Founder of the hugely successful Alto Group in Sydney and racing horses since 1971, Altomonte cites fillies like Overreach and Champion 2YO, Hasna, among his favourites, but has a real soft spot for Menari.
“He (Menari) has still quite a bit more to do but if the tracks keep dry I’m confident he’ll end up being a very successful racehorse. I raced his mother (Isurava) as well … I had a lot of horses trained by Jack Denham and Isurava was one of the last horse’s he trained.”
Corumbene Stud’s Manager, Toby Frazer, was also confident Menari would put his best hoof forward in the Rosebud and shares Altomonte’s faith in the rising star.
“He (Menari) was doing so well spelling at the farm, we sent him back to Gerald’s two weeks early,” Frazer reveals. “I’m not surprised he ran the way he did in the Rosebud.”
Frazer has had a long association with not only Menari, but also with his mother – the stakes winning General Nediym mare, Isurava – and with the granddam, Cut a Dash (Whiskey Road).
“We bought Menari’s mother, Isurava, at the 2005 Magic Millions Nationals and she was the best weanling in the sale,” Frazer explains. “She turned out to be a very good racehorse too and won a stakes race in Queensland but went in the wind and wasn’t much good after that. Even worse after the operation, but she’s turned out to be a good broodmare.
“Corumbene also purchased Isurava’s dam, Cut A Dash, and she’s been a great old broodmare as well with eight winners, including one we bred in (Group Two) Magic Night winner, Ichihara.
“Her last foal, a So You Think filly, has just turned two and is called Eternity. She’s with Ron Quinton, while there’s a 2YO brother in blood (from Ichihara) to Menari, called Omar … so, you can say we’ve got plenty from Menari’s family to represent the farm!”
Frazer points out that Corumbene has around 120 horses at its Dunedoo, NSW showpiece – “although that number varies from time to time” – and reckons it puts an extra spring in your step when the Menaris come along.
“He (Menari) was a lovely foal,” Frazer recalls. “I’m not sure where that big white blaze comes from but he was very athletic from day one and has a lovely nature.
“He was entered for the Gold Coast Magic Millions but I said he was too good a colt to sell so George decided to keep him. It’s great when it comes out in your favour.”
Greater still if Menari is able to climb Everest.