7 August 2019
Well it wasn’t raining (as in precipitation) at Riverina Paceway last Sunday, but it was bleak and chilly for the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Regional Finals.
However the track was set alight in the last race of the day by two colts with big futures ahead of them.
Reigning Pepper, the three year old gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, finished powerfully on the inside for Amanda Turnbull to edge out the lightly raced but highly exciting Art Major colt Game Set Major.
In conditions not conducive to track records, Reigning Pepper rated a startling 1.52.9 with a last half in 55.6 seconds.
Reigning Pepper, who was bred by Joanne Andersen and Darren Stevens, has finished the season strongly for his ten owners and Victorian based trainer Wayne Potter. Just nine days earlier he had set a track record of 1.52.4 in winning his heat at Riverina Paceway.
Reigning Pepper now completes his 3 year old season with earnings of almost $60,000 - a tidy return on his $24,000 purchase price at the 2017 APG Sydney Sales.
The gelding is the fifth foal of the Presidential Ball mare Sweet As Reign, who took a record of 1.56.5 and $70,449 in earnings. These five foals have now won $300,000 collectively and the sixth foal was a $130,000 purchase at the Sydney APG Sales earlier this year.
The first crop of A Rocknroll Dance in the Southern Hemisphere are about to complete their three year old seasons.
He clearly sits in fifth position on the Australian three year old sires list with his 44 starters having now won $650,511. His average earnings per starter of $14,784 compares favourably with the stallion at the top of the Leader Board - Art Major at $16,421.
ANOTHER GROUP WINNER FOR ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN
The two year old fillies had first crack at Group Two glory last Sunday and James Rattray commenced a successful day for him as a trainer / driver with a convincing win with Operative Anna.
Having just her fourth career start, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven controlled the race from pillar to post to record her second win and raise her bankroll to over $38,000.
Operative Anna was bred and is raced by Southern Highlands, NSW couple Tim Neven and Melissa Beal. She is the fourth foal from their Presidential Ball mare Operative Waves.
She put the writing on the wall with a nice win in a heat at Penrith on 25th July and prior to that finished runner up at Menangle in just her second career start - rating 1.53 and change.
The dam Operative Waves didn’t exactly set the track ablaze with just earnings of $645 in 7 career starts. However she is excelling as a broodmare with her first foal, Waves Of Fire, now having won $240,000 and Operative Anna certain to add substantially to her earnings next season as a three year old.
Rock N Roll Heaven is having another excellent season as a sire. He is currently sitting in fifth position on the Australian Sires List (only 2 living Stallions ahead of him) with over $4 million in earnings.
He is also currently in seventh position on the Two Year Old Sires List, but is likely to elevate himself a couple of spots with his impressive colt Expensive Ego to start favourite in a Group One race at Albion Park on Saturday night.
JIMARTEE - A SPORTS WRITERS DREAM
The James Rattray show continued in the second Group Two Final when a 2 year old Sportswriter gelding continued his picket fence form.
Jimartee, who you could say is almost named for his mentor Jim Rattray, has now strung together four seasons end victories and although this one was by a much smaller margin than his previous three, it was nevertheless impressive and his most important to date.
He was forced to work overtime from the gate as the second favourite, the David Hewitt reined Raging Sea, put the foot to the floor in an attempt to hold out Jimartee. That 28.1 first quarter did use a copious amount of fuel, but Jimartee held sway for the remainder of the race to record another sub 1.56 victory, this time in 1.55.1.
The Sportswriter two year old will now have a well earned spell down on the south coast of NSW and take with him a debut season resume of 10 starts for 4 wins, 3 placings and $46,560 in the bank.
He did show some early ability for his initial trainer Noel Hatcher but has exceeded expectations for his breeders and owners Rod Edgerton, Lorraine Bennett and Terry and Cheryl Briggs in his last four starts.
Siring exciting 2 year olds is nothing new to Sportswriter and of course there haven’t been many more exciting than Lumineer, the 2017 Australian Two Year Old of the Year.
This season, Sportswriter has sired three individual two year old group winners - Manning (in WA), The Tiger Army and now Jimartee.
Sportswriter is having his best season ever in Australia as a Sire with earnings to date of $3,488,795 placing him in 7th position on the Australian Sires List. He is also in third position on the Three Year Old Sires List and fifth on the Two Year Old Sires List.