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The Best of the Week

Two splendid front-running performances provided the highlights of the weekend's racing. Mummify and Pay My Bail demonstrated what the Europeans have long known: that out in front is not a bad place to be in a big race. That is, as long as you've got a class jockey and a class horse - or, in Pay My Bail's case, a class three-year-old filly with a generous weight-pull on her older rivals.

Pay My Bail (Justice Prevails-Ebony Jane by Three Legs; bred by Graham de Gruchy who also bred and raced Horlicks and bred her Melbourne Cup-winning son Brew) won the RRC Lion Red Plate 1400m G3 impressively from hot favourite Diamond Like.

She is owned by trainer Trevor McKee and Thayne Green, famous as two of Sunline's three owners, although Thayne deserves to be at least as well known for his membership of the Racing Industry Board, now the Racing Board, for most of the past twenty years. Trevor bought Pay My Bail for a mere $2,000 at the 2002 New Zealand Select Yearling Sale.

Justice Prevails began his stud career at Haunui Farm, Auckland but now stands for $2,000 at Dave Haywood's gloriously named stud, Phuttocks End in Southland. He has a fair enough record, with four stakeswinners from 110 runners (346 foals) but his fall from favour with breeders has been steep. His 1999 crop numbered fifty-six. His current two-year-olds total thirteen.
Justice Prevails was a very good Australian two-year-old, winning or placing in all but one of his eight starts at that age. Of his stakeswinners, Clout won a two-year-old Listed Race in Western Australia, and Pay My Bail won juvenile black type three times, at Ellerslie, Avondale and Te Rapa. The other two stakeswinners to date by Justice Prevails are the good mares Besty Coup (seven wins) and Fifty Fifty (six wins).

Leading all the way in a Group 3 race at Rotorua is noteworthy. Setting the pace and winning the Group 1 MRC Caulfield Cup over 2400 metres is a performance of an altogether different order and has confirmed Mummify's rating as the second-best horse in Australia, behind Lonhro.
Mummify has a Cup winner's pedigree. He's by 1994 Melbourne Cup winner Jeune from Cleopatra's Girl by 1986 Melbourne Cup winner At Talaq, and was bred in South Australia by Mr C.D. Green. (Mummify is a clever name too, when you realise that Jeune is French for "young". Mummification was the ancient Egytians' effort to claim a kind of eternal youth).
The four-year-old gelding is a tail-female descendant, via a branch that didn't reach Australia until the 1970s, of the famous broodmare Cinna, dam of influential sires Balloch and Beau Pere and ancestress of Triton, Vice Regal, Sky Chase among other top-class performers. Mummify's immediate family was light on black type until he came along, although his dam was good, and sound enough to win seven races in South Australia.
Mummify has now won five races, including the South Australian Derby G1 and Underwood S. G1 and took his earnings from $A960,000 to more than $A2 million in a tick under 2:26.

Question: The last eight horses to win the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double were all bred in New Zealand. Who was the last Australian-bred horse to do it, and in which year?
Answer at the end of the article.

Star of Gretchen (3f Bahhare-Soleil Etoile by Star Way; Helen-Gaye and Graeme Bax, Blandford Lodge, Matamata) was the only Kiwi-bred winner at Caulfield on Saturday, taking out the first race, a $A60,000 event over 1400 metres. Soleil Etoile's excellent record justifies Graeme Bax's real pride in her: she's had four winners of 17 races from four foals to race including G3 Silky Red Boxer (by Casual Lies) and South African stakes-placed Go Go Lightly (by Danasinga).
Star Of Gretchen was twice catalogued for sale in New Zealand. She failed to reach her $4,000 reserve as a weanling, and was withdrawn from the 2002 Ready To Run Sale.
Bahhare has only one stakeswinner, the very good US Grade 2 winner Katdogawn, from 101 runners in both hemispheres to date, but his progeny's rather surprising winning distance index of almost 1900 metres may point to better figures as more of them get over ground.
The son of Woodman received good support in his three seasons at Rich Hill Stud, and from those crops has a total of 163 foals, two of which, Clifton and Carlisle Bay, have been stakes-placed. Bahhare is now based at Derrinstown Stud, Ireland and did not shuttle last year or this season.


Answer: The six-year-old mare Rivette - in 1939.
For the record (!), the eight New Zealand-bred winners of the famous double are:
Rising Fast - 1954
Even Stevens - 1962
Galilee - 1966
Gurner's Lane - 1982
Let's Elope - 1991
Doriemus - 1995
Might And Power - 1997
Ethereal - 2001

Thanks to the excellent online news and data resources of:
Thoroughbred News, Arion Pedigrees, ThoroughbredInternet.com,the Australian Stud Book,the New Zealand Stud Book, OzHorse, and the Australian Bloodhorse Review


- Susan Archer