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Accardo's Breeders achieve a Group 3 win despite the odds.....

Accardo wins the Darley Plate

Picture by Trish Dunnell

Accardo wins the Darley Plate - Picture by Trish Dunnell

The Group Three Darley Plate winner Accardo is one of those horses that you know has heaps of ability and gives all on a race day, but is almost a day to day proposition as a racehorse.

"He's a tough horse and runs through the pain barrier, but he is fragile with only three good legs, and we can't put him under pressure, every win is a bonus," according to Russell Warwick the spokesman for Watson Bloodstock Limited who bred and own the horse.

As a six year old this season Accardo has had four starts all in black type events and he has won two – the Darley Plate and the Listed Newmarket Handicap and run fourth in the First Sovereign Trust Stakes at Counties. That brings his winning total to six.

Accardo is the first foal from the Umatilla mare Princess Marengo, the winner of the listed CJC Welcome Stakes, and an ARC Mercedes Super Bonus Fillies Prelude as a two-year-old.

"She was trained by Graeme Rogerson, and Watson Bloodstock had a quarter share in her, she raced in the Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes that Little Jamie who we also owned won, and when she retired at the end of her three-year-old season we bought out the other partners and sent her to stud.

"This was the first year that Westbury stood Elnadim(Danzig – Elle Seule by Exclusive Native) and we sent her to him, it was a good pedigree on paper – the Northern Dancer line on top crossed with Mr Prospector, and it was a commercial pedigree.

"Unfortunately as a yearling he toed out in both front legs so he was never going to sell, so we decided to race him. We knew he had ability when he won his first trial appearance, followed by wins in his first two races, and a second in his third. Russell Cameron took him to Queensland for the winter and won a race at Eagle Farm and was preparing him for the Group One Emirates Stakes in Victoria when he broke a cannon bone in the near fore.

"He was brought home with three screws in his leg and given a 60-70% chance of making it back to the track. He had a year off and has now won three more races and been stakes placed. Gary Newham and Gareth McRae train him now and Gary rides him in all his work and really knows how to look after him," added Russell.

Accardo's win could not have come at a better time for Watson Bloodstock as they have his half brother by Redoute's Choice in the Sydney Easter Yearling sale in the Westbury Stud draft. This yearling is Princess Marengo's fourth foal. She also has a filly at foot by Flying Spur and is in foal to General Nediym, being the last mare that he served before he was withdrawn from stud duties prior to his fatal illness late last year.

In late January, as a further boost to the pedigree page Princess Marengo's daughter by Danroad, Piece of Art broke through to win a maiden race at Counties. She is also raced by Watson Bloodstock and has just returned to Eclipse Stables in Pukekohe where Gareth McRae and Gary Newham train.

The mare has also left a filly by Desert Fox – The Sand Queen who races in the south island.

Princess Marengo is out of All Downwind, a winner of two races by the Irish stallion Tumbledownwind out of the stakes placed winner All for Love (My Heart). All Downwind is the dam of six winners, and is a half sister the West Australian Derby winner and sire Chipolata.

As the winner of the Darley Plate as well as the $90,000 first stake money for Accardo, Watson Bloodstock was also the recipient of a service to the Darley stallion Bernadini (AP Indy – Cara Rafaela). A brilliant racehorse he won six consecutive races at three including the Group One Preakness Stakes, Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He had only eight lifetime starts for his six wins, and a second and a fourth. He retired to stud in the Northern Hemisphere in 2007 and stood his first season in the Southern Hemisphere last spring. His advertised stud fee is A$55,000.

"We have a great rapport with Darley so it was great to win the race and the service to Bernadini. We sent six mares to Darley last year, Grand Archway is in foal to Exceed and Excel and we have mares in foal to Lonhro, Cape Cross, Nadeem and Shamardal.
We also have a lovely Shamardal filly in our Sydney Easter draft. It's great to get something back after supporting them for the last few years.

"Over the past couple of years Watson Bloodstock has become a serious vendor of yearlings. In the past it was perceived that we kept our best yearlings to race, but that is not the case. Last year we sold the Zabeel filly out of Zirna and this year her Starcraft filly. We have the Redoute's Choice colt out of Princess Marengo and the Shamardal filly out of Clear Advantage to sell in Sydney and we sold a number of nice yearlings at Karaka.

"The only yearlings we keep now are those that aren't correct or have niggly little imperfections – but then if they turn out to be race winners like Accardo that can't be too bad either," quipped Russell.


- Michelle Saba