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Dual success for Redwood

Redwood was the toast of Ellerslie on Saturday with two winners who look headed for greater heights.

Night's Watch and Romancer are both from the Westbury Stud sire's first crop and the three-year-olds have Group One assignments in their sights.

Both were in the 2015 yearling sale draft until things turned slightly pear-shaped according to Westbury Stud's general manager Russell Warwick.

"Redwood had three stand out colts and they were two of them," he recalled. "Then the Glory Run - which became Night's Watch - scoped with an infection in his throat."

With time running out the decision was made to withdraw the colt and take him through to the next stage themselves. He was gelded, broken-in and, as Night's Watch, found his way into the Byerley Park stables of Peter and Dawn Williams and Paul Richards.

"He had three trials and every trial he showed ability," Warwick said after the gelding's debut win. "He's still got a bit to learn but Mark [du Plessis] said he is getting better all the time."

Night's Watch carries the familiar colours of OTI Management after agent Phil Cataldo negotiated a half-share in the horse after he won his final trial.

"We are happy OTI got involved and he will stay with Peter Williams until after the Derby," Warwick said. "The New Zealand Derby is worth $1 million this season and Redwood could potentially have two or three runners."

The first foal of the Exceed and Excel mare Glory Run, Night's Watch carries a nomination to the Derby and after his debut win over 1200m is at $26 in the fixed odds market.

At shorter odds is Redwood's other Ellerslie winner, Romancer, who backed up his maiden win with success in the Listed Schneider Electric Mufhasa Stakes over 1300m. The Donna Logan-Chris Gibbs trained gelding is at $10 for the Derby.

Romancer is the first foal from the unraced Romantically, a half-sister to the dual Group One winner Sirmione, with Logan paying $110,000 for him at the 2015 Select sale.

"He was, in my view, the pick of the colts. He was athletic and was always going to sell well," Warwick said. "I was talking to Donna in the marquee after the sale and asked what she was going to do with him and she said she would probably syndicate him."

Romancer races for a cast of plenty and, like Night's Watch, in the colours of OTI, who purchased a half-share. Making up the ownership group is Craig Dawson's Stirling Bloodstock, Donna Logan, mother and daughter Deb and Kate Milliken, Jim and Ann Gibbs and Russell Warwick's wife Lesley.

"I told Donna at the sales that if I sold a filly I had in on the last day then I would take a share as a birthday present for Lesley," Warwick said. The filly made $60,000 and, as Warwick rather wryly pointed out, has gone on to earn a Group One placing in the gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas racing as Bella Gioia.

The third standout colt from that 2015 Westbury draft was a half-brother to Sound Journey from the unraced O'Reilly mare Written by Sound. "He was knocked down to Liam Birchley for $200,000 and after winning his maiden race at the Sunshine Coast headed to the Group one Golden Rose where he finished three and half lengths behind Yankee Rose," Warwick said.

Birchley is no stranger to targeting races at Ellerslie, having claimed the Karaka Million two-year-old event with Sister Havana and Hardline. Chamalu is eligible for the Karaka Million three-year-old race and is also nominated for the Vodafone New Zealand Derby.

Warwick is hoping Redwood's current run of success continues leading into the yearling sales. "If he can get a Group One or Two winner then obviously it will be a help at the sales," he said.

"It's exciting, he's owned by New Zealanders, he lives in New Zealand, he is the only Group One winning son of High Chaparral standing in New Zealand. He can leave a type and they can run." - NZ Racing Desk