The Listed Opunake Cup winner Helena Baby (Guillotine-Hot Stash[AUS]) has certainly been the star find of winter racing.
The four-year-old gelding romped home to an easy five and a half-length victory in the listed feature at Taranaki dishing out a galloping lesson to a lot more senior and more seasoned winter performers in his first start in open company.
Helena Baby commenced racing in March and ran second behind subsequent Gr.2 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes winner Speedy Meady. He lined up there again a fortnight later and again finished second racing a little more professionally, so that when he stepped up to 1400 metres at Rotorua three weeks later, he knew what the game was about.
He went straight to the lead and ran away with a six-length victory, and so began a winning streak of five races culminating in his first win in open company and for good measure at black type as well. And along the way his average winning margin has been around five to six lengths.
Bred by Windsor Park Stud in Cambridge, Helena Baby is a seriously nice racehorse according to their stud master Rodney Schick.
“He’s pretty exciting he always was a nice type, and John (Bell) has done a fantastic job with him to win his last five starts. He shows a good turn of foot just like his father did and I am pretty sure he will step up to the next level,” he enthused.
“I know John wants to run him in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate, and then possibly the Gr.1 Tarzino, and hopefully he can get some more black type before he goes up to Hong Kong.
“John has always thought a lot of him and has been very patient with him and it’s great to see him getting results,”.
Bell bought Helena Baby out of the paddock, for Hong Kong owners C Y Lee and Tang Hoi Lun. He was the third foal from a young mare and hadn’t been through the sales ring.
Helena Baby is out of the Secret Savings(USA) mare Hot Stash(AUS) a winner of four races in Sydney. Her first foal Hover by Starcraft was a winner of three races, and her second foal by Mastercraftsman(IRE) has also won three races.
Hot Stash has a three-year-old gelding by Falkirk which is owned by Windsor Park and is in work with Fraser Auret he has trialled twice for two wins. Her next foal a two-year-old by Shamexpress is owned by Te Akau and has had one trial for a placing, and she has a Vanburgh colt who will go to the Karaka sales in January.
She is in foal again to Shamexpress, but Schick has yet to decide who she will visit this spring especially now that she is a black type producer.
The grandam of Helena Baby is the Zabeel mare Abeel Host, herself a winner of five races who placed twice at stakes level. She is a three-quarter sister to Zabarra (ex Vaindarra) a winner of eight races, three of them at group three.
Abeel Host is the dam of six winners, and one of the 11 foals, seven of them winners out of Fickle Hostess. By Lunchtime she was the winner of the Gr.2 STC and two other races. She is a daughter of the group one placed mare Vaindarra (Vain[AUS]-High Quality[AUS]) who also won the Gr.2 STC Silver Slipper Stakes, the Gr.3 AJC Gimcrack Stakes and the Gr.3 STC Reisling Slipper Trial Stakes.
It’s a family that Windsor Park Stud have had a lot to do with over the years, and Schick had no hesitation buying back into it.
“I bought a mare at the Easter sales in foal to Starcraft and unfortunately she died,” recalled Schick, “but I had a return service to the stallion so I had to quickly find a mare that I could send.
“We had a fair bit to do with the family in the past, it was one of Jack Denham’s great families. Abeel Hostess was born at the farm and both her dam Fickle Mistress and her mother Vaindarra have been resident on the farm at some stage.
“The thing about most of those good families is that they usually come again, and in this case, it has with Helena Baby.” - Michelle Saba