By Bren O'Brien
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have been rewarded for their patience with one-time $1.8 million yearling Regal Stage (Redoute's Choice) winning his maiden at Gosford over 1200m on debut comfortably.
The full brother to five-time Group 1 winning sprinter Lankan Rupee has had a series of setbacks which has prevented him getting to the racetrack until four, but in the famous TJ Smith colours, he sat outside the pace, then moved away to win by 1.17l.
Stable representative Neil Paine said it had been a long process with the entire, who was set to debut over two years ago before requiring a tie-back operation.
"We had him tracking along well as a 2-year-old and then he got very crook." - Stable representative Neil Paine
"We had him tracking along well as a 2-year-old and then he got very crook. He had 10-12 months off. They turned him out, left him out in the paddock for a year and gave him time and he's been back in and out a few times, but he's finally got here," he said.
Paine said the instructions for jockey Tim Clark on debut were straight forward, to give Regal Stage as straight-forward a run as possible.
"Gai and Adrian just said for Tim to ride him confident, he's the best horse in the race and we didn’t want him to get in any trouble," he said.
"We were a bit worried about the wind, not many horses have been winning outside the leader, so it was a good effort. It looked like he was in trouble there at the furlong, but once Tim woke him up, he just cruised the last 50m."
Clark said the debutant had given him a good feel through the run.
"That was a pretty solid debut even though it was a small field." - Jockey, Tim Clark
"Obviously, it has taken him some time to get to the races for different reasons, but that was a pretty solid debut even though it was a small field," he said.
"He's well educated, which is what you expect."
While Lankan Rupee was renowned as one of the world's best sprinters, Regal Stage was a horse that would benefit from getting out in distance, according to his jockey.
"With Lankan Rupee, 1200m was his max distance, but this bloke was starting off there. I think he’ll only improve as he gets out over 1400m to a mile, he’ll be much better suited," Clark said.
The colt was second most expensive lot at the 2016 Easter Sale, knocked down to Waterhouse as well as Julian Blaxland and Nordic Racing and Breeding. It was the highest amount paid for a Redoute's Choice yearling that year.
The top lot at that sale was the half-brother to Winx, Boulder City (Snitzel), who retired to stud without racing.
Regal Stage is the fourth foal from the mare Estelle Collection (NZ) to get to the track and the third winner, all of them by Redoute's Choice.
Her Fastnet Rock 2-year-old Art Collection was second on debut in the G3 Maribyrnong Plate in the spring, while the yearling colt by the same sire is listed as Lot 446 at the upcoming Inglis Easter Sale.
Bought by Coolmore for $1.4m in 2014, Estelle Collection is now in foal to American Pharoah (USA).