Writing On The Wall For Winter Cup

Having his first start since October 6 when resuming on the first day of June in the Listed McKell Cup over 2400m at Rosehill Gardens, the winning effort by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Hush Writer (Jpn) was nothing short of sensational.

Hush Writer won first up over 2400m (pic: Steve Hart)

Hush Writer won first up over 2400m (pic: Steve Hart)

Readied with a handful of barrier trials, the 4YO Japanese bred gelding was given a somewhat European style grounding to be successful first up and on Saturday natural improvement should see the lightly raced galloper capable of going back to back at black type level as he starts as one of the favoured runners in the Listed Winter Cup at the same track and trip as a his last win.

Purchased by his connections as a foal in Japan, Hush Writer (Jpn) was initially sent to France where he was trained by two stables, recording a win and a black type placing before being sent to Australia.

Of the final field of ten in the race, all bar two contested the McKell Cup last start, while Saturday's top weight Yogi (Raise The Flag), for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable, will look to emulate Hush Writer (Jpn) by winning first up over 2400m. With two wins from six first up runs, punters keen on the 6YO should follow any betting moves, while veteran Destiny's Kiss (Power of Destiny), sixth in the McKell Cup has placed in the last two Winter Cup's after winning the race in 2013, and although a rising 11YO, the Joe Pride-trained gelding does have 16 top three placed finishes from 22 attempts at the trip and should be watched.

Copy: Breeding And Racing

Gai's four-year Japanese plan reaping rewards

A four-year plan is starting to come to fruition for Gai Waterhouse and her training partner Adrian Bott with cosmopolitan 4-year-old Hush Writer (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}) headed toward the major staying races of the spring after securing stakes success in the Listed WJ McKell Cup at Rosehill on Saturday.

Waterhouse purchased Hush Writer on behalf of clients on a visit to Japan in 2015, spending 132 million yen (approx. AUD$1.7m) on six horses at the JRA Select Sale in July 2015 with a view of giving them the benefit of a Japanese education before tackling Australian racing.

Hush Writer, out of Star of Sapphire (USA) (Tapit {USA}), the full sister to two-time Group 1 winner Zazu (USA), cost Waterhouse 23 million yen (approx $300,000). He was then sold out to an array of clients, headed by Mt Hallowell Stud, Musk Creek Farm and several members of the Waterhouse family.

"We kept them over in Japan and we wanted to get them the benefit of the environment and being reared over there. They grew out as yearlings and they were broken in," Bott told Sky Racing Radio.

"From the day they go into training as yearlings, they are in work every day of their life. They are training up hills and strengthening and conditioning all the time, getting the miles in their legs."

"We wanted the benefit of that and getting those superior athletes over to Australia."

Hush Writer then took a detour to France, initially being prepared under the legendary Criquette Head-Maarek before transferring to Francis Graffard.

"He did the same course as I did with Godolphin Flying Start many years back and we wanted to give him an opportunity," Bott said.

He had three starts for Graffard, including a win at Longchamp and a Group 2 placing, with Waterhouse keeping a close eye on things.

Trainers Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse

Trainers Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse

"Gai was over there to see him run third in a Group 2. She's loves every minute of this, she's a part owner. She had to take a back seat when she went over there as she wasn't giving the instructions. She didn’t like when he wasn't out there leading, but it's been a great ride," Bott said.

He arrived in Australia in July last year and was immediately put into work, although Bott said adapting to Australian racing didn’t prove easy.

"It happened a bit too quickly for him. He was still a colt and he got to Moonee Valley and it was all too much for him. He got so fired up," he said.

He would run second at Flemington second-up before placing in a Listed 2400m race at Mornington. After finishing down the track in the G3 Bart Cummings, he was spelled.

Bott said he and Waterhouse learned a lot about Hush Writer from that first campaign and hatched a plan to kick him off in a 2400m race this time around off the back of two trials.

"It goes back to their breeding. The way he has been trained his entire career. It what he is bred to do. The horse doesn't have a turn of foot over the shorter distances," Bott said.

"We trained him earlier in his preparation for speed, but we just weren't seeing the results. He needed to be trained to get a trip, and that's exactly what we did."

Hush Writer

Hush Writer

"He needed to be trained to get a trip, and that's exactly what we did." - Adrian Bott

"We mixed up his training, got the miles in his legs, a lot of longer slower work and he responded really well. It wouldn’t have been effective over the short trips for him."

"As long as the horse is fit, which he was for Saturday, they are able to be competitive in those type of events. He's obviously a classy individual."

He surged to the front in the McKell Cup at Rosehill on Saturday at big odds and held on for a win which sets him up nicely for the spring.

Wolfe added into mix

Bott admits that they have some planning to do to ensure Hush Writer and another one of those 2015 Japanese purchases, Wolfe (Jpn) (Novellist {Ire}) don't trip over one another on their way to hopefully qualifying for the big spring races.

Wolfe, who also went through France but arrived in February this year, has raced his entire career in Australia for Bott and Waterhouse, winning four of his five starts, including a Randwick Benchmark race in impressive fashion last week.

"We’ve just tipped him out now for a short little freshen up. He’ll be back early spring and we will work out how we split the two up," Bott said.

Wolfe Winning at Royal Randwick

Wolfe Winning at Royal Randwick

"We want to target the staying features with both of those horses."

Wolfe, the most expensive of the six horses purchased in Japan at 33 million yen (approx. $440,000) is owned in similar interests to Hush Writer.

Another one of that group, Bag Raider (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}), finished eighth over 1600m at Caulfield on Saturday having won on his Australian debut at Bendigo in May for trainer Scott Cameron, who purchased him off Waterhouse through an online sale.

Copy: Bren O’Brien, TDN Aus/NZ

He's Got Heart!

Declarationofheart (Declaration of War), who was a $135,000 purchase at the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka, showed class and courage to win Saturday's A$120,000 Group 3 Heineken Chairman's Stakes (2032m) at Morphettville.


The three-year-old went into the race with strong credentials, having won two races as well as placing in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) and finishing midfield in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) in his most recent appearance.

But at the top of the Morphettville straight, his Chairman's Stakes prospects looked bleak. Having skimmed the running rail throughout the race, he was shuffled back into the second half of the field and became trapped behind a wall of horses.

Even when jockey Clayton Douglas found a way through, Declarationofheart was only starting to gather his momentum while others were in full flight.

But Declarationofheart really lifted in the last 200 metres, clawing his way into contention and asserting his superiority late in the race to win by just over a length.

Declarationofheart has now had 10 starts for three wins, three placings and A$212,355 – more than one and a half times his purchase price.

He is raced by Musk Creek Farm P/L, Mr M I Hansky, Raffles Thoroughbred Racing, Mr S Briffa, Mr W K Pulbrook, Mrs M Johnstone, Mr T L W Chia, Mr M K C Tse, Mr A Ng, Mr D You, Ms N Choo, Mr A Lam, Miss M J L Ng, Mrs C Carrazzo, Ms S Estephan, Mr S Lo and Ms T Poon.

Declarationofheart is now likely to be set for next month's A$600,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m). He has pedigree on his side, being out of a half-sister to the Group 1 VRC Oaks winner Arapaho Miss (Danehill Dancer).

News from New Zealand Bloodstock

A Sacred Choice At Easter

With the dust having settled after last week’s exciting Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, we are extremely excited to have secured Lot 238, the lovely bay filly by Champion 2YO Sire More Than Ready (USA) out of the multiple Group 1-winning Choisir mare Sacred Choice from the draft of Vinery Stud.

With the help of Craig Rounsefell’s Boomer Bloodstock, the filly was secured by Musk Creek Farm for $120,000, a bargain when you consider the prices being paid overall throughout the sale.

Lot 238 - More Than Ready x Scared Choice filly.jpg

With More Than Ready no longer shuttling to Vinery Stud in Australia, his progeny are going to be very limited on the ground in the next few years and with Sacred Choice having had two winners from her two runners to date, the Musk Creek Farm team are confident in the future success of the filly.

A nine-time winner on the track with over $2.1 million in earnings highlighted by success in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick (footage below) and the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington - a race she defeated Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy in, Sacred Choice is herself out of a three-quarter-sister to the Group 1 Golden Slipper winner and successful Group 1 producing sire Marauding (NZ).

With plenty of residual value, being a Group 1-winning daughter of a noted broodmare sire, we look forward to not only the race career of the filly, but her future as a broodmare down the track.

Choisir as a broodmare sire has achieved 25 stakes performers highlighted by Group 1 winners Winter, My Dream Boat and Persuasive, while the More Than Ready x Choisir cross has produced four winners from only eight runners to date – all fillies, highlighted by the stakes placed pair of Sezanne and Fairy Star.

Below images of Lot 238 courtesy of Vinery Stud.

Watch Out for the K Brand at Premier

The name of David Kobritz's Musk Creek Farm will forever be associated with Golden Slipper winner Pierro, who they pinhooked successfully and re-sold to champion trainer Gai Waterhouse at Magic Millions, but this burgeoning Victorian bloodstock enterprise is about more than just pinhooking success.

"With growing investment in broodmares, some of which are in foal to leading sires I Am Invincible and Zoustar, we feel we are looking at a very strong future for our "K" brand," said Stud Manager Scott Williamson.

"We focus on small quality drafts that allow us to give a higher level of personal care and attention to the horses.

"Pierro is the horse everyone knows, but we have had winners bred from our farm in the stables of leading trainers such as Waterhouse and Bott, Waller, Maher and Eustace and Freedman."

One of those winners is progressive Pierro mare Aeecee Tong De, who was bought by Gai Waterhouse and Julian Blaxland from the Musk Creek Farm Inglis Easter draft for $120,000.

A good metropolitan winner that was third in the Group III MRC Summoned Stakes last spring, Aeecee Tong De is back in work and headed towards further stakes goals in 2019.

Brandish x Pride Of Dubai 16 - 22 February 2019.jpg

The half-brother by Pride of Dubai to Aeecee Tong De from Brandish will be offered by Musk Creek at Inglis Premier as Lot 86.

A select draft head to the coast for Musk Creek Farm

Musk Creek Farm has a stellar group of yearlings that they are presenting to the buying bench at this year’s Magic Million’s Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast.

Scott Williamson, Musk Creeks Stud Manager is pleased with the quality of the draft as a whole and is optimistic that he is presenting the style of horse that will generate buyer interest.


“We have chosen this group of yearlings for the Magic Millions yearling sale as they are a forward bunch of yearlings, and all good types. The pin-hooks were selected by us from the weanling sales last year, and we felt that they were horses that would develop and progress well towards the yearling sales, from commercial and popular sires.”

Pinning Hopes Not All About Profit

Musk Creek's first foray into pinhooking set a high bar, and came by chance in many ways, when it purchased Pierro and re-sold the soon-to-be champion as a yearling.

"We got into it almost by accident because the first year we had foals at the farm, we had 70 per-cent fillies and we felt we had to go and buy a few weanling colts just to balance the gender up," said Musk Creek owner David Kobritz. "That first pinhook weanling turned out to be Pierro."

"It isn't necessarily a financial decision to make more money it is about balancing the draft." - Musk Creek owner, David Kobritz

Musk Creek purchased Pierro at the 2010 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale for $115,000 and re-sold the son of Lonhro for double that at the following year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Pierro went on to win 11 of his 14 career starts, including a Golden Slipper and has made an excellent start to his stud career with 12 stakes winners from his first two crops.

Not surprisingly, Musk Creek has continued to look for the right pinhook opportunities.

"It isn't necessarily a financial decision to make more money it is about balancing the draft," said Korbitz, a Moonee Valley Racing Club committeeman. "Of course we are looking for nice weanlings, but also from stallions we think will be popular."

Dreaming filly bolsters Musk Creek, Mills


The dominant debut win of Written Tycoon filly Alexandra Dreaming at Sandown last week was great news for two TBV members in quite different ways.

Mills’ purchases have enjoyed quite some success at Victorian tracks over the past fortnight. Yulong Earth, Break And Enter and Belle Xaar have all saluted.

Meanwhile, Flinders based Musk Creek Farm got a very handy fillip for their Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale draft out of Alexandra Dreaming’s win.

They have her half-brother (by Not A Single Doubt) for the Sydney based sale…which will be held two days after the Thousand Guineas!

Irukandji becomes Dundeel's first Stakes Winner

It's difficult to out-perform Champion Sire Snitzel, but his barn-mate Dundeel did it on Saturday when he produced his first stakeswinner from his first 7 runners. Doing the honours was Spendthrift Australia's 2YO colt Irukandji in the $150,000 ATC The Schweppervescence 1400m G3.

Snitzel sent out 15 runners before his daughter Chance Bye won the STC Silver Slipper S. G2 on 27 February 2010, so Dundeel has clearly bested him on that particular score.

Irukandji has been a star of Dundeel's stud career since his $240,000 sale as a Magic Millions weanling by Riversdale, on behalf of breeders Roger Langley & Nick Hodges. 

Purchaser David Kobritz's Musk Creek Farm then returned to Magic Millions to sell Irukandji as a yearling for $500,000 to Spendthrift Farm.


Dam of HK G1 Star Sprinter A Riversdale Highlight

Riversdale Farm are offering a stellar selection of 17 mares at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale this week headed by the dam of recent Group I Chairman's Sprint Prize winner Lucky Bubbles.

Lucky Bubbles is the first foal of Hussonet (USA) mare Bubble Below, who will be offered as Lot 1086 as agent for Musk Creek Farm with a positive test to his sire Sebring.


Steve wraps up a frenetic two weeks in Hong Kong for the HKJC’s spring feature race

LUCKY BUBBLES (Sebring): Musk Creek Farm proprietor David Kobritz and his partner Teresa Poon had the perfect Hong Kong stopover en route to Israel, on the weekend, as Lucky Bubbles won the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (Gr 1, 1200m). Musk Creek owns the dam of the high class sprinter. Bubble Below, by Hussonet (Mr Prospector), was bought by Musk Creek Farm in 2013 and she’s on the market again - to be offered in foal to Sebring (More Than Ready) (also, of course, the sire of Lucky Bubbles) at the 2017 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast. “Racing and breeding has become very much a trading business these days,” Kobritz said. “We see that through the trade of horses to Asia and the high turnover of mares and weanlings. The market has been very strong at the top end and I’m happy to see how she (Bubble Below) goes. She’s a valuable commodity and we’ll proceed with the sale.” Musk Creek Farm has a new manager in Scott Williamson who was formerly looking after Yulong Park. “Literally been here for two weeks. It’s a great property in a beautiful part of the world and it’s a terrific opportunity to be involved with a farm which has already built an excellent reputation. “Bubble Below is still a young mare and a very valuable one. It was great to see Lucky Bubbles get his much deserved win on the weekend but he’s a horse who’s been talked about a lot and it took Chautauqua to beat him in the same race last year, so the mare’s quality was well established even without that win. I’m sure she will be well sought after,” he said.