The outcome of the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas has always been a good indicator for the upcoming Gr.1 New Zealand Derby.
In 2012 Silent Achiever won the race, and went on to win the Derby, and since then Puccini followed in 2014, Mongolian Khan in 2015, Rangipo in 2016 and last year Gingernuts won the double as well. Prior to that in the last couple of decades Zonda, The Phantom Chance, St Reims and Leica Guv have also completed the double.
This year’s winner of the Avondale Guineas, On The Rocks (Alamosa- Cold Shoulder) certainly has the pedigree to complete the double.
He is by Alamosa(O’Reilly-Lodore Mystic) himself an Avondale Guineas winner, out of the Volksraad(IRE) mare Cold Shoulder, she in turn is out of Refused The Dance, making her a half-sister to the Gr.1 VRC Derby and Melbourne Cup winner Efficient and the Gr.2 winner and successful sire Guillotine. Cold Shoulder is the dam of four winners with On The Rocks being her only stakes winner, while Cool Tart (by Zabeel) has won three, and Power and Ezee Ezee have each won two.
Refused The Dance by Defensive Play(USA), was a winner of two races and stakes placed at two. She in turn is out of the imported Jig Time(USA) mare Florida Jig (USA), herself a stakes winner of 12 races in the States. She is also the dam of Dancing Flojo who won the listed Inglewood Stakes, The Shiner who won 10 races and was second in the Gr.2 Avondale Concorde Handicap, and Duet Danseurs a winner of eight races who was placed in the Gr.3 Wellington Stakes.
Alamosa has had a great season so far with three new stakes winners in On The Rocks, Beefeater and Aspen Lass. While the multiple stakes winner Stolen Dance achieved a well-deserved group one win in the Thorndon Mile before being retired to stud. The Thorndon Mile was won by Alamosa as well in his next start after his Avondale Guineas victory. The son of O’Reilly had also won at group one level as a two-year-old when he won the Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie. When he retired to stud Alamosa had won 10 races including two further group one events, the Toorak Handicap and the Otaki WFA Stakes.
According to Wellfield Stud’s Bill Gleeson, Alamosa was a million dollar earner last year and this year he is tracking a head of all his stats to achieve that success again.
“The past two years are the best he has had since he has been at stud,” Gleeson said.
“The facts speak for themselves. He is very level with Tavistock on earnings, runners and winners, there is not much between them, but he has had more stakes winners and stakes wins. He is not only providing winners all over the place but he is providing quality winners as well.
“Beefeater won the Gr.3 Taranaki Cup earlier in February, and is in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm Otaki WFA this weekend, and Alinko Prince and Aspen Lass are on track for the Auckland Cup next month.”
Gleeson was also responsible for breeding On The Rocks who has now won three races, a maiden at Te Teko in November followed by the listed Trevor Eagle Memorial in December and a third placing in the Gr.2 Great Northern Guineas before running in the Karaka Million 3YO.
On The Rocks is trained by Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard and was purchased from the 2016 NZB Select Sale at Karaka by Paul Moroney for $40,000.
“I was not surprised at all by the win in the Avondale Guineas,” he said “if you analyse his race on Karaka Million night he was asked to do the impossible from that wide gate. He did it tough in that race and I thought he fought on well.
“He is such a good actioned horse and I am in agreement with his trainers that he will be a lot happier on firm tracks. What held him back at the sales was he was very athletic not robust, but with a lot of quality about him. In some people’s eye there was a question mark about whether he was big enough, but there was always something about him that I liked, he had a great attitude and coped with his prep really well. He has a massive stride for a small horse. I liked the way he did everything and I didn’t hesitate to show him to a lot of trainers.
“Wellington based breeder Graham Hunt and I owned the mare and raced her, and when Graham decided to downsize a couple of years ago, I took over breeding from her by myself, since then I have transferred her back to Graham and she is now in foal to Reliable Man(GB).
“She has a two-year-old full brother to On The Rocks in the paddock and a yearling filly by Tavistock, which we will most likely race.”
At the same sale in 2016, Wellfield Stud also offered a quality filly they had bred in partnership with Peter Gillespie’s Pee Gee Bloodstock and Steve Plant, she was by Exceed and Excel(AUS) out of the Wellfield bred group one placed mare Abeautifulred (Handsome Ransom[AUS]-You Beauty), but she failed to meet her reserve.
This season as Excelleration she has won three races including the listed Gore Guineas and listed Dunedin Guineas, for her breeders who decided to race her. She won her first start as a two-year-old in November 2016.
“We seem to be making a habit of racing good horses that people don’t want at the sales. It has been hard to sell fillies over the past few years, but we are very excited about her.
“We didn’t run her in the Southland Guineas it was a common sense decision not to truck her down the length of the South Island three times. We are aiming at the South Island Filly of the year series instead and will see how she runs in the first two races before we decide on running in the Warstep or heading to Australia,” he said.
Excelleration is the first foal from Abeautifulred a winner of two races who ran second in the Gr.1 1000 Guineas, and third in the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes. Her second foal is a two-year-old colt by Alamosa and her third foal a colt by Fastnet Rock (AUS) sold from Book 1 at Karaka this year for $90,000.
She has a filly foal by Charm Spirit(IRE) at foot and is in foal to Tivaci(AUS). - Michelle Saba