Positive Peace wins the Group Two Jim Beam Emancipation Stakes at Rosehill (Steve Hart Photographics)
Warwick Farm trainer, Bjorn Baker, has long been considered a good judge when it comes to ‘placing’ his horses, but the sharp step up in grade for Positive Peace in Saturday’s Group Two Jim Beam Emancipation Stakes was a bold play.
Sure, Positive Peace came into the Emancipation with four straight city wins, but the Stratum mare was tackling the likes of dual Group winner and Group Two placed, Sweet Deal, Group One placed, Noire, plus Group winners Amangiri and Pohutukawa.
However, Positive Peace put in a blinder over the 1500m at Rosehill Gardens and appears to have a clear trajectory to the top shelf of Sydney racing.
Leading them for home, Positive Peace had to contend with some strong challenges over the concluding stages, but ended up putting a space on them, winning by over a length.
“Yes, it (the Emancipation) was a throw at the stumps, but Bjorn has always had a big opinion of the mare and she just keeps rising to the task,” Baker Racing’s Bloodstock Manager, Stephen McLean enthused.
“Ironically, there was some discussion about spelling her before the Emancipation, but she’ll now likely head toward the ($500,000 Group One) Coolmore Legacy (over 1600m) at Randwick in a fortnight before being tipped out.
“If she again rises to the occasion in the Coolmore Legacy, Positive Peace is likely to be targeted at races like the Epsom or the Group One mares race at Flemington Derby Day. She’s a class act.”
Positive Peace has now compiled a record of eight wins and four seconds from 17 starts for $370,815 in prizemoney, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Racing for the first time in January 2018, Positive Peace finished last of eight at Canterbury, resumed in June with a last of nine, before returning in December with an eighth from 12 at Kembla.
The tide has turned somewhat since then though and the 4YO has only twice finished out of the top two.
“Bjorn obviously saw something in her as a yearling but she did take her time maturing and she’s really developed this time in … much stronger now as she showed on Saturday,” McLean points out. “Patience is clearly a ‘positive’ in this case and it’s a great result for owners Steve and Louise Gillard who will eventually have another very good broodmare to add to their band.”
The CEO of property group, GDI, Steve Gillard has been involved in racing “for around eight years” and “races a few and breeds from three or four mares”.
Gillard’s gallopers have included the bold front runner, Lubiton, winner of the Group Three Tesio and Listed Mona Lisa for the Baker stable, while Oakleigh Girl was a dual stakes winner at two and runnerup in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic for Danny Bougoure.
Last year the Gillard bred I Am Invincible colt from Oakleigh Girl made headlines when knocked down for $1.7 million at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
“Positive Peace did take time to come together, but she’s really in form now and running very well,” Gillard explains. “A Group Two clearly adds to her broodmare potential as well … I liked her dam, Warpath, but really, full marks to Bjorn because he picked her out at the sale.”
A stakes winner of seven races, Warpath has produced five winners from five to race including the stakes placed 2YOs Rotator and Alkaashef, while close relations feature the Group winning 2YO Limestone.
Bred and offered by Kia Ora Stud at the 2017 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, Positive Peace was knocked down to Baker Racing and Blandford Bloodstock for $260,000.
Positive Peace becomes the 45th stakes winner for Widden Stud’s late stallion, Stratum, while the mare was covered last spring by So You Think.
Kia Ora will offer 9 yearlings at next week’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.