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High hopes for Cauthen this spring

Photo: NZTM website
Photo: NZTM website

Cauthen (pictured above) , the recent winner of the Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley was named after a superstar – American jockey Steve Cauthen – but according to his breeder Des Hawkins of Wentwood Grange, he has always been one.

"He was an absolute cracker of a foal, right the way through to a yearling and now as a racehorse he is still impressive looking and hugely exciting. We had two Darci Brahma colts that year here at Wentwood Grange, and they were paddock mates. They were both stunning, and at yearling sale time I thought Cauthen looked sharper and classier but it was the Gold Class yearling with the better pedigree and in the Premier session that sold better," said Hawkins.

For the record, Cauthen was sold to Tommy Heptinstall of Sangster and Tavistock fame for $85,000 at the Select sale, and is raced by a syndicate put together by him, while the Darci Brahma-Gold Class half-brother to the stakes-winners Bonne Mac and Gold Rum fetched $150,000 and has only just gone to Hong Kong after having his early prep here.

Cauthen is trained in the Wairarapa by Tavistock's former trainer Andrew Campbell and has now had three starts. He debuted at Te Rapa in July giving his rivals an absolute galloping lesson winning by eight and a half lengths.

His next start was in a three-year-old 1000 metre race at Moonee Valley where he did everything wrong and raced very greenly yet still managed to finish a sound second behind Clevadude. Three weeks later on the same track but up over 1200metres he turned the tables on that horse and a bunch of other aspiring three-year-olds and soundly and impressively won the McKenzie Stakes.

He currently holds a nomination for the group one spring features, the Caulfield Guineas and the W S Cox Plate and at this stage will proceed to the Guineas.

Cauthen is the ninth foal of the Green Line Express (USA) [Green Forest – Laylitna] mare Minori Express (AUS), herself a winning half-sister to the stakes-placed winner Hokutu Dancer and to the dams of the stakes-winners Slanchyvah, Show No Emotion and Harvard, being out of the stakes-placed winner Flying Lark. Other stakes-winners from this family include Nassa Rocket, Dreamworks, Grey Song, Tonz Make Fun and El Nino.

Minori Express was purchased by the Hawkins family's Llannehock Trust in Australia in foal to Royal Academy(USA) and produced Queens College, a winner of one race. Her next foal was Four Brose by Gold Brose (AUS) and he was placed. Her third foal was the Lake Coniston (AUS) filly Sweet Caroline (4 wins).

She was followed by Clipperton, a filly by Kaapstad and Dancing Dee, a filly by Danehill Dancer(IRE) who won five races. Two more fillies followed - Myback (Dubawi [IRE]) and Coastal Express by Lucky Unicorn (AUS). Cauthen was the next foal and he was followed by a Road to Rock colt that was sold last summer for $60,000 and will reappear at the Ready to Run Sales in November.

"Minori Express is due to foal to Lucky Unicorn. That was an inspired mating after the success of Coastal Express who has won three races for Karen Zimmerman and we are hoping to get a filly. We do have one from the family Myback which we were lucky enough to buy back. She has won one race and is in work at the moment with Mike Breslin and will have a few starts before heading off to stud this season.

"Sweet Caroline was a smart filly who unfortunately went amiss and we lost her as well. We do have a Faltaat filly out of her - Crackling Rosie - who will eventually come back to the farm to carry on the line. Minori Express may be 18 but she looks pretty well and has always been pretty fertile so she will go back to Darci Brahma this year.

"She is a mare with one of those pedigrees that needed a good horse to kick it back up to Premier level. We thought we were going to get that boost early on with Sweet Caroline as we didn't ever see the best out of her. You only need one good one to bring a family back!!

"This is where Darci Brahma is a good stallion - he can really influence the progeny of a mare. We send about half a dozen mares to him each year and they are not necessarily our top six mares. We give him a good range and give him a chance to influence the progeny. We have about six mares due to foal to him this season as well," added Hawkins who has been involved with the well-bred Danehill stallion since the beginning of his illustrious career.

"We have been pretty lucky with him. It was a lot of fun racing him and now he is getting the job done at stud. He needs a good horse in Australia so we hope Cauthen can do it.

"We thought the same this time last year when Awesome Bro (ex Gazebo) (that we bred) was heading along the same path towards the Caulfield Guineas as Cauthen but he only managed to run fourth. Either way it makes for a pretty exciting spring," he concluded.

- Michelle Saba


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