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Segenhoe sitting pretty on good looks and bad x-rays

5 min read
Pretty in Pink was retained by Segenhoe as a yearling after bad x-rays. Now she looms as a major player in the feature 3-year-old filles races this spring.

A set of good looks and bad x-rays saw Segenhoe retain emerging filly Pretty in Pink (Sebring {Aus}) as a yearling and they are set to reap the rewards this spring.

Off the back of her impressive first-up third in the G2 Furious S, Pretty in Pink is one of the favoured runners for the third leg of the Darley Princess Series, the G2 Darley Tea Rose S at Randwick on Saturday.

Segenhoe General Manager Peter O'Brien revealed to TDN AusNZ that the only reason Pretty in Pink was passed in when she went through the sales ring at the Easter Yearling Sales in 2017 was because of bad X-rays.

"If she wasn't so good looking, we probably would have let her go," Peter O'Brien on Pretty in Pink.

"She's a stunning looking filly and we took her to the Easter sales and she had high risk x-rays," O'Brien said. "She had 18 hits on x-rays and only one vet passed her."

"If she wasn't so good looking, we probably would have let her go."

Pretty In Pink as a yearling

O'Brien estimates that between 2-5 per cent of fillies bred on the farm would have such high risk x-rays, but they were determined to give Pretty in Pink her chance on the track.

"We won’t be giving horses away. We are very happy to be racing horses," he said.

"When John O'Shea came back (from Godolphin), he had a long association with Segenhoe. John had seen her up on the farm and at the sales and loved her, so we went to John."

Early success

A stakes winner at two, Pretty in Pink is looking to build on her record of three starts for two wins on Saturday.

"I could go on for weeks naming Group 1 winners that have had bad x-rays."

O'Brien is delighted to have her racing in the famous red with yellow Segenhoe colours and says her story of being knocked back as a yearling on the basis of x-rays is more common than would appear to be the case.

"I could go on for weeks naming Group 1 winners that have had bad x-rays," he said. "Most of the fillies we have retained at Segenhoe have been because of x-rays."

That includes Winter Bride (Not a Single Doubt {AUS}, a now four-year-old mare with Toby Edmonds who has won six of her 24 starts and has been placed at Listed level. She wasn't even offered at the sales because of the results of her x-rays.

"I just think it’s gone way too far, to an extent where people are writing horses off for issues that studies have shown aren’t a problem," he said.

Boosting the family

As a Segenhoe product, Pretty in Pink is far beyond what she does on the racetrack.

She is the first foal from Total Attraction (Nadeem {Aus}), who was stakes-paced on multiple occasions and was purchased by Segenhoe for $220,000 back in 2013.

After Pretty in Pink, Total Attraction had a filly by Pierro called Pink Crystal, who was also kept by Segenhoe.

Then there's a full sister to Pretty in Pink, who will go the Easter Yearling Sales early next year.

"The mare is now in foal to Choisir and is booked to go back to Sebring," O'Brien confirmed.

It's already a strong back-type family. The grand-dam is a half-sister to Group winning mare Infinite Grace (Prince of Birds {USA}) as well as the dam of former star filly Fontein Ruby (Turffontein {Aus}), while the family also includes the dual Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh (Rubiton {Aus}).

Watch: Pretty In Pink as a yearling

Flight of fancy?

"Physique-wise, she is more like a sprinter. But the way she finished off the last time, we'll know more on Saturday."

Based on her pedigree, as well as looking at her physical attributes, O'Brien said Pretty in Pink would appear to be tested beyond Saturday's distance of 1400m but wouldn't be surprised if she once again defied predictions.

"I had a lot to do with the grandmother and a lot of the family over the years. They generally lack a bit of size and scope. She hasn’t grown much from two to three. You’d look at her physically and think she's a six or seven furlong filly," he said.

"Physique-wise, she is more like a sprinter. But the way she finished off the last time, we'll know more on Saturday."

"We’re in John's (O'Shea) hands. Obviously the program is onto the Flight Stakes, but we'll take each race as it comes."

O'Brien admits a poor barrier presents the greatest obstacle to success in the Tea Rose for Pretty in Pink.

"John felt that she was on the wrong side of the track two weeks ago (in the Furious) and we were hoping to be nearer the rail this time, but unfortunately she's drawn 12 of 12," he said.