Quackerjack wins in a photo finish at the Group Two Quincy Seltzer Villiers Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
It’s little surprise that the connections of Quackerjack were celebrating wildly at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
After being caught wide for the first 600m of the Group Two Quincy Seltzer Villiers Stakes, Quackerjack took the lead at the 1000m mark and held on grimly for a memorable victory. Close run thing though: the race caller thought the fast finishing Invincible Gem had got the money, but turns out that Quackerjack’s lip prevailed.
No wonder the owners went hoarse for their horse. Indeed, it was a big day for part-owners G1G Racing & Breeding and Nick Vass who, earlier in the program at Randwick, cheered on exciting debutant, Wild Ruler, in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery.
Thriller! Bold display by Quackerjack to notch up initial stakes victory in the G2 Quincy Seltzer Villiers S. at @royalrandwick. Quackerjack was sold by Rosari Farm for $240k at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale & has won $850k. #ItPaysToBuyAustralian @mmsnippets pic.twitter.com/kPTo8mPGOi— Aushorse (@Aushorse_TBA) December 14, 2019
The Villiers was a particularly sentimental win too for Mark Newnham, given that Quackerjack (a $240,000 buy from the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale) was his first purchase as a trainer.
Newnham revealed that an ‘ballot free’, Quackerjack, would now head toward the $3 million Group One Doncaster Mile in April after first being tipped out for a well earned break.
“I thought he got beat on Saturday … I’m sure Invincible Gem had a head on him a stride before the line and probably a stride after, but it’s the one on the line that matters,” a relieved Newnham points out. “He is such a special horse to everyone in the stable because of how hard he tries.
“Quackerjack gets a free kick into the Doncaster and he’ll probably only get 51 kilos, so it’s definitely worth a throw at the stumps.”
It was a breakthrough stakes victory for Quackerjack, who has now raced 18 times for seven wins, four placings and $816,430 in stakes.
Gerard Nolan, meanwhile, was a long way from Randwick on Saturday – some 800 kilometres as the crow flies – but was naturally excited with Quackerjack’s success.
Along with wife, Jan, Nolan owns Rosari Farm, and they are poised to sell a Vancouver half sister to Quackerjack at the 2020 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale (Lot 660) in January.
The winning connections of Quackerjack (Lisa Grimm)
“That’s the second time Quackerjack has delivered the goods leading into a sale,” a delighted Nolan reveals. “In December 2017 he won two starts in a row at Kembla and Randwick and we ended up selling his I Am Invincible half sister for $450,000 on the Gold Coast and now we have the Vancouver going through the ring in a few weeks.”
A son of Not A Single Doubt, Quackerjack hails from the Ustinov mare, Quack It, a half sister to multiple stakes winner and Group One Galaxy runnerup, Anatina, plus black type winner, Pricked, while another half sister – the Group Two placed Acupuncture – is the dam of last month’s Listed winner, Sugar Boom.
With four winners from as many to race, Quack It’s first foal – by Exceed And Excel – sold for $380,000, the second, Brunswick Street, was knocked down for $220,000, Quackerjack made $240,000 and the I Am Invincible $450,000.
Not bad for a mare that cost the Nolans just $7,000 at the 2012 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale!
“It actually goes back a bit further than that,” Nolan explains. “We’ve got 500 acres at Gladfield in Queensland and usually run about 20 broodmares.
“We were originally dairy farmers and had always owned a couple of broodmares, but decided to sell the cows in 2006. We’re good friends with Glenn Burrows (Willow Park Stud) and he suggested we concentrate on the horses.
“We bought Quack It’s mum, Quack, when Quack It was a foal at foot and ended up putting her (Quack It) through the 2010 Magic Millions where she was sold to Mark Pilkington for $105,000.
“Quack It won a couple of races for Lindsay Park, but when the opportunity came to buy her back, Glenn stepped in and snapped her up for $7,000.
“We’ve got quite a few out of that family, but Quack It is just the loveliest mare to deal with and throws ripping types. She’s back in foal to Not A Single Doubt, while her Sebring filly (born in August) is an absolute belter.”
Nolan is at pains to point out that “it all boils down to l-u-c-k”, but Rosari – which will offer seven youngsters at next month’s Magic Millions – has enjoyed considerable success over the past decade or so, including 2006 Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, Mirror Mirror and Hong Kong Group winner Conte.
“You can have plenty of bad luck along the way: the drought has affected a lot of people and you often lose one foaling, or to colic, so when a good one comes your way, you make the most of it.
“With six daughters, 10 grandchildren, 20 odd broodmares and yearlings to prep, we don’t get away from the farm too often, but earlier this year Jan and I flew up to Hong Kong to watch Conte race in the (Group One) Stewards Cup.
“Conte is trained by John Size, who is a former Dalby boy, and even though the horse ended up running second to Beauty Generation, it was a huge thrill.”
Hopefully the Nolans luck will last … with the Magic Millions less than four weeks away, there could be a lot more thrills to come.
That winning feeling! @david_dwlilley @mmsnippets graduate Quackerjack scores a tough and deserving G2 win in the Villiers Stakes @royalrandwick— Dane (@DJRobinson89) December 14, 2019
Congrats to all connections!
Will see you all back on the Gold Coast in January!! @atc_races #MMGC2020 pic.twitter.com/P8N1qhA35y