Darby’s Faith Repaid With Group One Surprise

Samadoubt returns to scale after winning the Group One Winx Stakes at big odds (Lisa Grimm)


Named in honour of the recently retired racing immortal, Saturday’s Group One Winx Stakes would belong to the outsider, Samadoubt, who defied the odds by leading from go to whoa.

The first Group One of the new season, the Winx boasted a 10 strong field – which included Winx’s constant bridesmaid, Happy Clapper – but the $31 pick, Samadoubt, put it beyond doubt with an impressive display.

Another winner at the elite level for leading syndicator, Darby Racing, the connections were still coming down from cloud nine on Monday morning.

“We can’t quite believe that another fairy tale has come true,” Darby Racing’s Mark Holland enthused. “If you are in the race, you have a chance.”

“We have been known to have great success with our 2YOs through She Will Reign, Yankee Rose and now Time to Reign, but to do it with a 6YO that we’ve always had faith in, is just unbelievable.”

“This horse has been a great ride for the owners and congratulations to (trainer) Bjorn Baker, his foreman Jason Patrick and the whole team. They have stuck with him and achieved the ultimate reward.”

Formerly known as the Warwick Stakes and a Group Two event up until 2017, the 1400m Winx Stakes was elevated to the elite level to recognise the champion mare’s three successive victories.

For Baker, the win was his second Group One since leaving a partnership with his father, New Zealand hall of fame inductee, Murray.

“I won the Doomben 10,000 with Music Magnate and that was very important, but to win a weight-for-age Group One at Randwick, in Sydney, the city where I train was very important.

“We had a good season last year with record prizemoney and took out two Magic Millions races, but the prestige of a top level race in Sydney is really satisfying.”

The ambitious plan to run Samadoubt in the Winx was first considered by Baker around four weeks ago, with the New Zealander also considering a return for the gelding in the Show County over 1200 metres.

“I didn’t want to get everybody too excited by talking up his chances in a Group One, but it was in the back of my mind for a month or so. He’s a good horse and I felt that others might be vulnerable as they were aiming for other races down the line – we had him ready to go and it all worked out perfectly.”

The 6YO gelding was a $40,000 purchase at the 2015 Inglis Classic Sale by Darby Racing from the Riversdale draft.

The Classic sale has indeed been a happy hunting for Darby Racing, securing Group One success stories Yankee Rose for $10,000 and She Will Reign for $20,000.

Darby Racing has had a long association with Samadoubt’s dam, Isadora, with Scott Darby having bought the mare in partnership for just $20,000 at the 2012 Inglis Scone Broodmare sale.

A winning half-sister to Group 2 performer Apollo Wonder, Isadora already had a stakes-placed horse in South Africa when going through the ring.

Darby Racing have bought four other yearlings out of the Gold Fever mare, including a filly by Rothesay for $38,000 at this year’s Inglis Scone Yearling Sale.

“Isadora was a beautiful mare, the sweetest horse god put breath into and even my 3YO could go up to her and pat her in the paddock. We nicknamed her Dora the Explorer.

“Unfortunately, she was not successful on the track, but she has been a wonderful broodmare with her great bloodlines.

“I broke in her first filly we had, called Iadora. Her next foal, Feelin’ The Heat, by Not A Single Doubt, is a full brother to Samadoubt. He was blessed with ability and nicknamed ‘Cash’, based on the ability he showed, but unfortunately he couldn’t put it all together mentally and didn’t live up to his potential.”

“Even her Beneteau colt, Malmsteen showed plenty of dash and was the first horse we sent to Bjorn. Although he proved hard to sell, once he trialled, he went like a bomb, and was sold for $250,000 to Hong Kong.

“Her I Am Invincible filly, Meraki Miss is in the paddock ready to resume.”

Darby Racing and Baker now have a strong relationship, which has only been strengthened through Samadoubt.

“Darby Racing makes sure we are the buffer between owners and the trainer, so we can let Bjorn do his job. We may look at the (Group Two) Chelmsford Stakes (over 1600m at Randwick) in a couple of weeks or head to Melbourne, but it’s up to Bjorn.”

The Power of Passion