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Champion mare Horlicks produces another Group One winner for Graham de Grucy

Sacred Elixir wins the JJ Aitkens Stakes 11-6-16 at Eagle Farm. Photo: stevehart.com.au

Sacred Elixir wins the JJ Aitkens Stakes 11-6-16 at Eagle Farm.  Photo: stevehart.com.au
Hawkes Bay breeder Graham de Gruchy is thrilled with the win of Sacred Elixir (Pour Moi[IRE]-Baltika) in the Group One JJ Aitkens Stakes, the latest Group One winner descended from his champion mare Horlicks.

"It's fantastic to get a Group One two-year-old in the family, as they are pretty rare".

"It was a fantastic result, the industry could not have got any greater exposure than the two fabulous Group One winners in Queensland," he enthused referring to the win by Sacred Elixir and the Group One Queensland Oaks winner Provocative, both trained by Cambridge trainer Tony Pike.

"And with the announcement that Pour Moi is coming back to Windsor Park it's very timely, isn't it amazing to think that we have got access to an English Derby winner?"

"You know when Tesio was asked about the greatest influence on his breeding, he said that it was the piece of wood at the finish line at Epsom - and he knew a thing or two Derby winners."

Sacred Elixir owned by Raffles Thoroughbred Racing was making his sixth race day appearance when he won the JJ Aitkens Stakes, recording his third win. He debuted with a second in late December, and followed that race up two weeks later with a win over 1200 metres. In late January he finished sixth in the Karaka Million coming home late to finish within a length and a quarter from the winner, and then went for a spell.

He won a trial in late April before boarding a plane to Queensland and winning fresh up at Caloundra over 1400. His next start was in the Group Two Sires' Produce Stakes at Doomben where he was doing his best work at the end over 1400 metres, and two weeks later he trounced a quality field of two-year-olds in the JJ Atikins at Eagle Farm, winning going away by three and a half lengths.

Sacred Elixir was purchased at the 2015 NZB Premier National Sale for $170,000 from the draft of Wentworth Grange, by bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster on behalf of Raffles Thoroughbred Racing.

He is the first foal of the Stravinsky(USA) mare Baltika a race winning daughter of Zambuca an unraced daughter of Horlicks, by Zabeel. Horlicks by Three Legs(GB) out of Malt is in the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame for her fantastic achievements which include winning the 1989 Japan Cup. As well she won 16 other races including the Group One ARC DB Draught Classic twice, the L K Mackinnon Stakes and the ARC Auckland Stakes.

She in turn is the dam of the Champion Australian Stayer Brew who won the 2000 Melbourne Cup, his sister Bubble won four races including the Group Two Avondale Guineas. She is also the grandam of Fiumincino (ex Latte) the winner of the Group One Australian Derby and the BMW Stakes, Tremec (ex Tipple) winner of the Group Two ATC Chairman's Handicap, and My Tusker (ex Stella Artois) whose six wins include three at Group Two level.

Fiumincino and Tremec are by Zabeel and thus three-quarter sisters to Zambuca, as are Brew and Bubble who are by Sir Tristram(IRE).

"Horlicks was based at Cambridge Stud and they have had a huge input in her on-going success. I supported their stallions, and not just because she was there either, but because of the huge influence of Selene(GB) in the blood of Sir Tristram, Zabeel and Stravinsky and a very strong influence of Selene in Horlicks' family," said de Gruchy.

Horlicks has Selene in both her top and bottom lines and through the same mare. Her grandam Frill is by Agricola (GB) who is out of a Hyperion(GB) (Gainsborough[GB] – Selene) mare in Aurora(GB). Aurora is also the dam of Alycidon(GB) (Donatello II[FR]) the sire of the dam of Petingo(GB) (Petition[GB]—Alcazar[FR]), the sire of Three Legs.

"Sir Tristram has Selene as his fourth dam, while Zabeel gets a line from him. He also has a double up of Hyperion in Nureyev his dam sire, and that same double up appears in Stravinsky as he is by Nureyev. Now Stravinsky is doing a great job as a broodmare sire," he added.

"Baltika has a lovely Darci Brahma weanling filly foal, at Wentworth Grange where I now have four mares. She has already been named Ninkasi after the goddess of beer, thanks to a little bit of research from my daughter-in-law. It's good to keep the line going and name her after one of the better Elixirs".

"She missed last year to Tavistock at $15,000 and is booked to go back but this time around at $65,000, but it will be a three-quarter blood relation to Sacred Elixir."

The Australian Derby winner Tavago is out of a Stravinsky mare out of a Zabeel mare also, so it's a proven mating.

De Gruchy also has one mare in Australia, Caffeina, a winning Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) daughter of Mocha – another of unraced daughter of Zabeel and Horlicks – and she is in foal to Nicconi (AUS)

"I went to Nicconi specifically to breed her back to Froth. She is the fifth dam of both Caffeina and Nicconi.

"Horlicks traces back to Froth through her daughter Frill (by Agricola[GB]) who is the dam of Malt (by Moss Trooper[USA]) the dam of Horlicks."

Nicconi (ex Nicola Lass [AUS]) a dual Group One winner in Australia, and a son of the successful sire Bianconi(USA), goes back to Froth through Frivole (by Le Filou [GB]) his fourth dam. Frivole is the stakes placed winning dam of the Group One winner Sealegs (Three Legs [GB]), and the Group Two winner Frivolous Lass (In The Purple [FR]), who is the dam of the successful sire and stakes winner Wild Rampage (Bletchingly[AUS]) and his winning full sister Dubai Lass(AUS) the grand dam of Nicconi.

"It is fantastic to get another Group One winner, and this horse looks pretty exciting. As a young breeder here in Hawke's Bay, I had great aspirations of breeding a champion as we all do, and I was lucky enough to get one out of the box and a beautiful mare at that. She exceeded our expectations on the race track and we are lucky she produced a bunch of fillies, and that they have able to breed on. Through her daughters her memory lives on," de Gruchy concluded with a touch of pride.