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Miss displays her full Potential

Miss Potential (Dolphin Street-Richfield Rose by Crested Wave) may not have had enough fans among the Mercedes Awards voters to win the 2005 Sprinter-Miler title, but she wasn't short of them last Saturday after she won the HBRI Horlicks Challenge S. 1600m G1. The seven-year-old mare and jockey Reese Jones capitalised on a quick start to take their favoured position in front, setting a leisurely pace before quickening up stylishly at the top of the straight to win by two-and-a-half lengths from the valiant Irish Rover (Kenfair) with a further half-length back to Magnetism (Marju).

Miss Potential has now won eight of her 34 starts for her justifiably proud owner-breeder-trainer Bill Borrie. Her record includes three victories at Group One level, and more than $1 million prizemoney in Australia and New Zealand.

She is a good example of how inaccurate the sale-ring verdict can sometimes be when it comes to selecting good racehorses; and how families that have left good horses will keep doing it, if breeders are game enough to keep working with them. Miss Potential was passed in as a yearling, and so were her two younger half-siblings by Magic Of Sydney and Cullen. Ironically, her year-older half-sister by champion sire Zabeel, named Rozabeel, made $A160,000 at the 1999 Magic Millions Premier Sale but failed to win. Sadly, she died last year without leaving a foal. Richfield Rose has since left a colt by Faltaat and was served last year by champion New Zealand sire Volksraad.

Miss Potential's dam won three times and is a half-sister to two-year-old New Zealand stakeswinner Assault Craft, both from the good stakes-placed South Island racemare Nottingham Note (eight wins from 1200m to 1600m). Queensland Oaks G1 winner and multiple Australian Group One placegetter Vouvray is the latest filly to remind us that, while its decline over the past 20 years must be acknowledged, South Island race form remains valuable when it comes to assessing the worth of racing fillies and broodmares.

1991 Champion New Zealand sire Crested Wave figures as the damsire of 24 other stakeswinners, five of them at Group One level: Cannsea, Bulla Borghese, Captain Moonlight, Centre Crest and Victory Smile.

Miss Potential is not the first Group One winner on her own catalogue page. Nottingham Note's unraced half-sister Poppa's Girl left four-time Australian Group 1 winner Hayai and G3 Cylai to the stud failure Skyhawk II, and stakeswinner McGinty's Crown to the wonderful racehorse and decent sire McGinty. Their unraced half-sister Poppa's Plume left G3 Catalan Prince (8 wins) to Pre Catalan. Top-drawer stallions clearly haven't been essential to this family's success, but Miss Potential has certainly earned the cash and the opportunity to meet a proven quality sire, probably in New South Wales this season.

This is an active branch of a once prominent female line that has not been particularly prolific or distinguished in recent times. It's descended in Australasia from Nightlight, foaled in Great Britain in 1856 and exported to Australia about 1860. Other branches have produced G2 Our Palliser, G3 Classic Bay, Wellington Cup winner Eiffel Tower, excellent 1960s miler Nausori and more recently dual G1 winner Desert Sky.

Dolphin Street can't be called successful with 11 SW (1.4%) from 780 foals of racing age (excluding current SH two-year-olds) in both hemispheres, but his progeny have consistently managed to earn the best part of $A2 million in Australia each season since 1999. His leading earner is another splendid daughter Spinning Hill (14 wins, including the VRC Lightning S. G1 and MVRC Manikato S. – twice, and $A2.2 million in stakes). Six of his stakeswinners and all three of his Group One winners have been in the southern hemisphere, so it's not surprising to find him now based at the Independent Stallion Station in Victoria at a fee of $A5500.


- Susan Archer