If you’re into Cognac, we’re reliably informed that Hennessy’s Paradis Imperial is a smooth drop.
There’s nothing too rough either with the four legged, Paradis Imperial, who maintained her unbeaten record with a commanding victory in the Ann Nugent @R&W Wilston/Windsor QTIS 2YO Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday: her first trip to the big smoke.
Trained at Rockhampton by Tony McMahon, Paradis Imperial won at her home track on debut on 4 November, before peeling off victories at Mackay, Rockie (again) and Mackay (again), setting in motion the excursion to Brisbane.
“Five from five is very impressive regardless of whatever track a horse is racing at,” Gainsborough Lodge’s Stud Manager, Christine Frohloff points out. “That was a very strong win by the filly.
“She was a nice foal and actually the very first foal by Sun Stud’s Exceed And Excel stallion, Instinction. She looked an early type and it’s no great surprise she’s doing so well this early on.
“We took her down to the Gold Coast QTIS sale in March last year and my daughter, Chantal, told Tony (McMahon) that the yearling had “plenty of ticker” and he “should do himself a favour and take her home”.
Amazingly for a correct yearling with clean x-rays and a good pedigree, Paradis Imperial sold for just $9,000 and, as of Saturday afternoon, has banked $180,650 for owners.
McMahon recalls Chantal’s ‘persistence’ well …
“She (Chantal) did come up to me at the sale and told me if I bought the filly I wouldn’t be sorry: turns out she was spot on,” McMahon recalls. “I love that sale – I’ve been bringing down tour groups from regional Queensland for the sale for over 20 years as it’s always such great value.
“I still can’t believe I got her so cheaply. Stunned. I love the progeny of first season sires and given that Paradis Imperial’s half brother (by Bradbury’s Luck) made $72,500 the year before, I thought we’d end up having to pay a lot more than $9,000.
“This filly had ability from day one. I think her greatest attribute is her constitution … it was an eight hour float trip back to Rockhampton on Saturday night and the first thing she did was stick her head in the feed bin when she got back home.
“I’ll give her a week off and see what happens from there but she’s a very exciting filly.”
Now 64 years old and with just five in work (“for my wife’s friends and friends of friends”), McMahon has had a long association with the industry both in media and administration.
McMahon started calling races at 16 and was a handicapper with the Gold Coast Turf Club at 19 before spending a good deal of his career as a racing journalist in NSW.
Eventually taking out a trainers’ licence in the mid 80s and shifting to Rockhampton, he subsequently became the local racecaller, the local racing journalist and also did a bit of work on local TV.
McMahon pretty much focusses on taking care of his small stable these days and if Paradis Imperial continues her upward trajectory, this time around he’ll be providing the headlines instead of writing them.
HOOFNOTE: One of Queensland’s most famous stud farms, Gainsborough Lodge is based in the Darling Downs and is owned Melinda Richards, whose father Col, purchased the property in 1991. Gainsborough was founded in the early 1970s by real estate king, Alfred Grant.
Frohloff manages Gainsborough Lodge on Richards’ behalf and is busily preparing yearlings for sales in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast: “We have lots of horses this year, which works in well as we’re getting a lot of winners of late … right up and down the east coast and in Hong Kong too”.
Gainsborough will sell a half sister – by Top Echelon – to Paradis Imperial at the Gold Coast Magic Millions March Yearling Sale and, it’s probably safe to assume, she will be viewed widely once arriving on the complex.
“Paradis Imperial’s dam, Hennessy Beau, also has a Bradbury’s Luck colt she produced last spring and is now in foal to (another Exceed And Excel stallion in) Outreach.”