Written by Anthony Manton
The Black Book will identify race performances around Australia particularly worth following in the future. These may be high profile runners at trials and smaller tracks, or eye-catching performances, we'll aim to give you a horse to add to your pedigree or performance black book for the future.
It may only have been a Thursday maiden at Hawkesbury but the expensive Valiant (I Am Invincible) has taken his first steps towards repaying his owners their purchase price.
A graduate of the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale prepared by Segenhoe Stud, Valiant was purchased by James Harron Bloodstock for $1.6 million.
The 2017 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale produced 17 lots topping $1 million, with this particular colt being the sixth highest price yearling at the sale. James Harron purchased two of those $1 million plus lots.
Trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, the son of I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) was having only his second start when breaking his maiden at Hawkesbury over 1100m.
Heavily backed in betting, firming from $4.20 - $3.30 (SP) and ridden by Josh Parr, Valiant settled three wide with cover in running before angling out on the turn sprinting quickly at the top of the straight. He pared off the last 150 metres to fight the race out, proving too strong for another James Harron Bloodstock yearling purchase in Lagarde (Hinchinbrook) by ¾ of a length, running the 1000m in 1.04.37 with a final 600 metres in a slick 33.82.
It’s worth noting that his last 600 metres was one second faster (equivalent to 6 lengths) than the 1100 metre benchmark 64 on the same day, so the clock backed-up what visually looked an impressive victory. It’s always easier to judge the merit of a performance by comparing times on the same day.
Valiant, who didn’t race as a two year old, improved noticeably from his first start at Kembla Grange on October 27. At Kembla Grange he appeared to be green, over-racing on a leader dominated track. With the experience under his belt he was much more professional, and although only a Hawkesbury maiden, team Snowden regularly uses the western Sydney track to educate and build confidence with their young horses.
Now Valiant has broken through, it’s an opportune time to take the next step while top three year olds are either in Melbourne for the spring or in the paddock preparing for an autumn campaign.
Valiant is the first foal from unraced O’Reilly mare Captivating Claire, with the family extending back to Group 1 winners Danewin, Commands and Shower Of Roses on the same line as the Eight Carat family, dam of Octagonal.
I Am Invincible is widely known as a sire for speed, but Valiant’s racing style - winning from off the pace and strong at the finish, and with stamina in his dam line, indicates he may stretch out to a mile and beyond.
The full sister to Valiant sold earlier this year at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale to Yu Long Investments for $625,000. Named Catch Me and also trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, she debuted in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick on September 29 brilliantly winning the early season two-year-old feature. She broke the race record in the process for the 1000m and is currently equal favourite for the 2019 Golden Slipper.
With the early success of Catch Me and now Valiant, progeny of Captivating Claire will continue to be strongly sought after in the sale ring.