Rubisaki Is Primed To Soar Like An Eagle

Rubisaki and Billy Egan win the Group Two TAB Kewney Stakes (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)


Prime Thoroughbreds’ Joe O’Neill is a fairly unflappable character who has experienced both the ebb and the flow during his time in the thoroughbred industry, but you get the feeling he’s pretty excited about the potential for Rubisaki, winner of Saturday’s Group Two TAB Kewney Stakes over 1400m at Flemington.

“She (Rubisaki) is a star alright and who knows what the limit will be,” O’Neil enthuses. “She’s now won six from eight and it could easily have been eight from eight.

“Rubisaki got into all kinds of trouble at Warrnambool on debut at two and was beaten a lip, while her only other defeat was when she gave the colt 3.5 kilos in the (Listed) Gibson Carmichael and beaten a head.”

The filly wasn’t to be denied on Saturday though, flashing down the outside to haul in Sandown Guineas winner Pretty Brazen in a thriller. That puts Rubisaki four from four this season and O’Neill is hoping she remains undefeated as a 3YO.

“Rubisaki will head to Sydney for a tilt at the (Group Three) PJ Bell Stakes over 1200m on Doncaster day then it’s off for a well deserved spell,” O’Neill explains. “She’ll then come back for a couple of runs in Melbourne and, fingers crossed, have a crack at the ($7.5 million) Golden Eagle (over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens) at the end of October.

“She goes pretty good for an $85,000 yearling!”

The Kewney takes Rubisaki’s earnings to $975,800 and O’Neill – who purchases around 15 horses annually (yearlings and weanlings) on behalf of Prime Thoroughbreds – reveals that the filly’s syndicate is a mix of old and new.

“There are some in the Rubisaki syndicate who have been with me for over 20 years, but there’s also a Hong Kong client and this is his second horse with Prime,” O’Neill points out. “His other one is Rubisaki’s half sister, Zizzis, who has won over $300,000 and four races, including the Adelaide Magic Millions.

“It cost $7,000 for a 5% share in Rubisaki so you can imagine they were a pretty happy bunch at Flemington on Saturday.”

Establishing Prime Thoroughbreds in 1997, O’Neill has sourced, syndicated and raced the winners of nearly 800 races for over $20 million in stakes, among them stakes winners Zero Drama, Desk Top Lover, Calming, Flying Jess, multiple stakes producing dam, Zelady, and $1.1 million earner Husson Eagle.

Saturday’s result certainly brought back fond memories for O’Neill: “I was at Flemington 22 years ago to the day as racing manager for Billy Mitchell and had only just started up Prime Thoroughbreds.

“It was a great couple of years for us with General Nediym winning the Newmarket, Kenwood Melody won the Caulfield Guineas and Dignity Dancer took out the 1999 Australian Guineas. Billy also trained Snippets’ Lass who won a couple of stakes races and is the mum of Snitzel and Hinchinbrook.

“It’s been a helluva journey ever since. I worked out the other day that the best 20 horses purchased by Prime cost $800,000 and have gone on to win $9.5 million in stakes.

“Probably the most satisfying aspect is that we’ve got good 2YOs on the books like Moonee Valley winner, Mr Cashman, and on Sunday good old Husson Eagle – an 8YO – went around in the Echuca Cup.

“And keep your eye out for our 3YO filly, Fituese who John Thompson has a huge opinion of … reckons she and Rubisaki are not that far apart on ability.”

Rubisaki becomes the third stakes winner for Coolmore Australia’s multiple Group winner, Rubick, whose 3YO first crop colt, Yes Yes Yes, won last year’s $14 million The Everest.

Meanwhile, Rubisaki is out of the winning Danehill Dancer mare, Senro Kisaki, who was purchased by Colm Santry for $80,000 at the 2006 Inglis Scone Yearling Sale.

(Santry would also purchase Senro Kisaki’s dam, Liefling, for $24,000 at the 2006 Gold Coast Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale).

“I first really became aware of the family when Patinack Farm was winding down and Ben Lawrence, who ran the farm, phoned me to say: ‘you’ve always been a good client of the farm and there’s a couple of Hussons you might be interested in’,” O’Neill adds.

“I ended up with Senro Kisaki’s third foal, Husson’s Kiss, who won a race for us but used to tie up quite a bit and sadly broke her pelvis. She’s now at stud.

“But then I heard from Kris Lees and Harry Mitchell that the I Am Invincible half brother – Victory Marvel – was doing well in Hong Kong (5 wins) so I bought the Sizzling filly, Zizzis for $120,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions which was quite a bit of money for us.

“Anyway, I knew Zizzis was going really well, but I liked the filly that Edinburgh Park was selling at the Inglis Sydney Classic, which turned out to be Rubisaki, so I asked Zizzis trainer, Patrick Payne, to hold her back a week or two until I had a chance to bid on Rubisaki. I got her for $85,000.

“Ian Smith, who owns Edinburgh Park, is a great mate of mine and shortly after Zizzis came out and started winning, he phoned and asked if I’d known how good Zizzis was before the Classic sale.

“I confessed and, let’s put it this way, the first few words out of his mouth were not fit for publication!”

Prime Thoroughbreds would also purchase the full brother to Zizzis for $100,000 at January’s Gold Coast Magic Millions, while Senro Kiseki produced a So You Think filly last spring. Senro Kiseki was covered by Rubick last December, but missed.

The success of Rubisaki also continues a great run for the family-operated Edinburgh Park Stud which was established by Smith some 30 years ago and is based on the Manning River in NSW’s mid north coast.

Selling between 30 to 35 yearlings annually, Edinburgh Park has produced some outstanding gallopers including Hong Kong superstar, Silent Witness, multiple stakes winner and Champion First Season Sire (by winners), Better Than Ready, 3-time Group winner, Sister Madly and Group winner and sire, Bull Point, 2019 Group winning grey, Fun Fact, plus exciting 2YOs Tanker (Debutant Stakes) and Glenfiddich (running in Monday’s Adelaide Magic Millions 2YO Classic).

Edinburgh Park sold an Exceed And Excel colt to Gerald Ryan and David Raphael for $1 million at January’s Gold Coast Magic Millions, while Smith and co. were gearing up to sell four youngsters at this week’s Adelaide Magic Millions. Edinburgh has five heading to next month’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale too, among them a Snitzel colt, closely related to Glenfiddich and a So You Think half brother to Fun Fact.

In an expansive gesture, Smith announced last year that Edinburgh Park will pay $1,000 to buy back any retired racehorse carrying the farm’s IKS brand.

“It’s an initiative that I thought long and hard about, and I wanted to do something for the longevity of not just my business, but the industry as a whole,” Smith points out. “The welfare of the horse matters most and that’s why Edinburgh Park has been so successful … because the horse comes first, and always has.

“They’ll be keeping good company … Ross McDonald asked me to look after (Horse of the Year) Weekend Hussler when he retired and he takes pride of place in his paddock.”

The Power of Passion