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Falkirk & Glamour Puss on target at Royal Ascot

There's nothing like the sight of a trio of wild colonials ripping up the straight five at Royal Ascot to make the heart beat a little faster here in the midst of a very cold New Zealand winter!

New Zealand-bred five-year-olds FALKIRK (above) and GLAMOUR PUSS both performed with distinction at Royal Ascot this week.
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It was nothing less than thrilling to see Australia's best sprinter Takeover Target win the five-furlong King's Stand S. G2, and New Zealand-bred and –owned pair Falkirk and Glamour Puss finish fourth equal and seventh respectively in the 28-strong field.
The race was held on Tuesday afternoon UK time and replayed on Trackside TV 24 hours later.

Conceding weight all round, Takeover Target (Celtic Swing-Shady Stream by Arch Regent) held on with great tenacity to win by a short head after taking the lead a furlong from home. In so doing, he gave us the wonderful sight of his true blue Aussie owner-trainer Joe Janiak, resplendent in full morning dress in the Ascot winner's circle, as unfazed as his horse.

Timeform lifted Takeover Target's rating to 127, three pounds above his previous figure in Australia this season, and one pound above the 126 rating Choisir achieved after his two wins and a second in Britain three years ago.

Bred by Meringo Stud Farm, NSW, Takeover Target has now won 12 of his 19 starts, including the three major Group One sprints at Flemington. He heads the 2006 Global Sprint Challenge with 20 points and is likely to back up in Saturday's Golden Jubilee Stakes G1, the fourth race in the series, and then head to the July Cup at Newmarket.
Falkirk ( Tale of the Cat-Madam Valeta by Palace Music) did very well to switch ground and come home strongly from off the pace, while Glamour Puss (Tale of the Cat-Escada by Centaine) sustained a brave finish from midfield. Both horses are raced by New Zealanders, though trained in Australia. Falkirk was bred by Windsor Park Stud and Alan Burnet, and is raced by the Schick family-owned stud, while Glamour Puss is raced by her breeder Garry Chittick of Waikato Stud.

All three horses are by shuttle sires from well-established Australasian female families. Takeover Target's sire Celtic Swing was the champion European two-year-old of 1994, rated 138 by Timeform, and went on to win the French Derby at three. He stood three seasons in Australia from 1997 to 1999 and has left six stakeswinners (2.8%) from the 170 foals he sired there. He is now based permanently at the Irish National Stud, at a fee of €9,000.

Tale of the Cat did rather better with his single New Zealand crop of 107 foals, conceived at Windsor Park in 1999. They include seven stakeswinners, dual G1 winner Glamour Puss and G2 Falkirk being the best of them. He went on to achieve success at stud in the United States where he was champion sire of two-year-olds in 2003, and after a three-season break, returned to the shuttle run that year. He now commands a $US50,000 fee at Ashford Stud, Kentucky, and $A35,000 at Coolmore Australia.

Falkirk is one of three stakeswinners left by the fine G3-winning mare Madam Valeta, a half-sister to G1 Golden Sword and stakeswinners Greta Hall and Balmoral Keep. They are descendants of Etiquette (GB) (1872) whose own progeny included the good Dan O'Brien-trained racemare Rubina, dam of Florrie (CJC Derby & Oaks) and Machine Gun (AJC The Shorts, CJC Stewards' Handicap).

Glamour Puss is a half-sister to G2 Rare Insight and four other winners from the G3-placed winner Escada (who raced in Australia as Centenaire). She's a member of the family established in Australasia by Eleusis (GB) (1885), notable as the dam of 1897 VRC Oaks winner Eleusive and her sister Delusive, who were highly successful broodmares for New Zealand Racing Hall of Famer Sir George Clifford in the early years of the 20 th century.

Takeover Target's female family isn't quite so distinguished. His catalogue pedigree page features his stakes-winning grand-dam Merry Shade (AJC Widden S. LR, Reginald Allen S. LR and third in Burst's AJC Sires' Produce S. G1) and stakeswinners Mudgee Grey (3 wins) and Damigos (10 wins). Further back the 1952 AJC Epsom Handicap winner High Law appears, as well as the multiple Western Australian stakeswinner Asteroid and 1969 Queensland Oaks winner Kazan Retto. They are all descended from Gaterina (IRE) (1929), imported to Australia in the 1930s.


Acknowledgements to the Racing Post's excellent coverage of Royal Ascot:www.racingpost.co.uk and the Australian Stud Book: www.studbook.org.au

- Susan Archer