Cover image courtesy of Westbury Stud
The Grant and Alana Williams-trained Inspirational Girl became Reliable Man's third Group 1 winner when charging home for jockey William Pike to claim the famous Western Australian 1600 metre handicap on Saturday in Bob and Sandra Peters' iconic cerise and white colours.
Not even four months into the 2020/21 season and Reliable Man already had a career-best four stakes winners across both Australia and New Zealand, with Inspirational Girl joined by G2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Miami Bound (NZ) and New Zealand-based De La Terre (NZ) and Hypnos (NZ).
With five Southern Hemisphere crops on the track, he sits fifth in the New Zealand Sires' table and 40th in the Australian list, both high-water marks for the stallion. Westbury Stud's General Manager Russell Warwick said Saturday's success was a great reward, not only for the stallion, but for the breeders, owners and trainers as well.
"We are very, very happy and it’s a great credit to Bob Peters and Grant and Alana Williams with the way they have handled her. They have given her time and she looks like she is going to reward them in spades at this stage," he said.
"If you look back through Reliable Man's record, he has been able to get horses that have performed at two and three and older at distances from 1200 metres to 2500 metres. He had a filly here called Aalaalune who was beaten a short half head in a Group 1 2-year-old race over 1200 metres and he had Miami Bound who won a VRC Oaks. He's probably had everything in between."
Inspirational Girl was bred by Jamieson Park and sold by them through the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale for $190,000 to John Chalmers Bloodstock on behalf of Bob Peters.
"They are a boutique breeding operation and good people," Warwick said of Jamieson Park.
"James Chapman and the stud manager Sam Munro have been very supportive of the horse. They have invested a lot into the industry and supported a lot of different stallions, and it’s great to see them get a winner like that on the board."
"They have invested a lot into the industry and supported a lot of different stallions, and it’s great to see them get a winner like that on the board." -Russell Warwick
Peters has also been a big supporter of Reliable Man, both in the sales ring and in the breeding barn. Through Chalmers he has purchased four fillies and a colt through Karaka over the years, while several of his broodmares have headed across the Tasman to him in recent years.
"He's fantastic Bob. The last four years or so he has sent mares to the horse. He's been a bit of a fan. Not only has he bred them, but he has bought them as well," Warwick said.
"He's fantastic Bob. The last four years or so he has sent mares to the horse. He's been a bit of a fan. Not only has he bred them, but he has bought them as well. - Russell Warwick
"He's been racing them with success and has two smart ones, with Inspirational Girl and also a promising one called Leading Girl. He bought again this year at the sales and it’s fantastic to see him get the success that he has. Group 1's aren't foreign to him, but I'm sure he gets a big thrill out of the patience he shows with his horses."
Inspirational success bred from patience
Peters and the Williams didn’t send Inspirational Girl to the track until she was a late 3-year-old, winning a pair of races at Pinjarra before she was put back in the paddock. Missing the Perth carnival, she didn’t return until the start of 2020 with a trio of runs including two wins over 1600 metres at Ascot.
That set the scene for her to be targeted at the Railway, and she built her record further with consecutive wins at Belmont in July. A defeat first-up in September did not dampen ambition and she progressed through wins in a ratings race at Ascot in October and then through the G3 Asian Beau S.
Starting favourite in Saturday's Group 1 race on the limit weight of 53kg, she produced a typically strong finish to win by 1.8l, becoming the third consecutive Railway winner for her owners, and fifth overall.
The Zabeel connection
She becomes the first Group 1 winner by Reliable Man out of a Zabeel (NZ) mare, with her dam Be Inspired (NZ) returning to the Westbury Stud stallion this spring.
The nick with Zabeel has proven the most successful for Reliable Man, with 11 winners from 23 runners.
"It’s no surprise, it gives you a duplication of that very good broodmare in Europe in Special, through Nureyev and Sadler's Wells," Warwick said. "To see those horses feature prominently in the pedigree, it’s not unexpected to see them work well together.
"I also expect I would see Darci Brahma mares suiting the horse quite well, because Darci Brahma is out of a Zabeel mare. There are a lot of different angles we can work with there."
It was confirmed this week that while in the Northern Hemisphere, Reliable Man, who stands for NZ$15,000 (plus GST) at Westbury, would return to Gestut Roettgen in Germany in 2021 after two years in France at a price of €6500 (AU$10,500).
Meanwhile, Warwick confirmed the G1 French Derby and Queen Elizabeth S. winner would serve a book of over 100 at Westbury this spring.
"To me, that's a nice number, because he heads off in mid-December and flies back to Germany this year. By the time he travels and serves another book up there, it’s a busy schedule," he said.
"The Southern Hemisphere results are stacking up a bit stronger than the Northern Hemisphere, but he has four individual stakes winners up there. It’s not that he's going badly up there, but it’s just he has had that Group 1 success in this part of the world."
Warwick feels momentum is very much behind the son of Dalakhani (Ire) with strong results on the track and demand in the breeding barn reflected by plenty of enthusiasm for his stock through the sales ring.
"He looks a million dollars. Be Inspired has got back in foal to him and she is one of many nice mares to him this year," he said.
"We have just come through a Ready to Run Sale where he had the top-priced filly at NZ$270,000. They averaged NZ$175,000 at Karaka in the Premier Session earlier in the year and we will send a couple over to Gerry (Harvey) to be put through the Magic Millions Sale as well as a large contingent here at Karaka."
The full brother to G1 VRC Oaks winner Miami Bound (NZ) is catalogued as Lot 57 for the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale along with a half-sister to Group 1 winner Music Magnate (Written Tycoon) (Lot 180) and a filly from a half-sister to South African Group 1 winner Delago Deluxe (Encosta De Lago) (Lot 946).