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Easter Dream Play pays off on the eve of The Championships

5 min read
Day 1 of The Championships will occur this Saturday, and the ravishing card at Royal Randwick will kick off with the G3 Kindergarten S. for the 2-year-olds. We speak to the owner of first-starter Bahama who takes her place for Hawkes Racing.

Cover image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

The G3 Kindergarten S. isn’t the drawcard feature for the juveniles, playing second fiddle to the G1 Sires’ Produce S. later in the day, but it’s a high-quality race that has, in its past, thrown up interesting performers.

Previous winners of the event, which was named after the brilliant 1940s hero Kindergarten (NZ) (Kincardine {GB}), have included Doubtland (Not A Single Doubt), Bivouac, Astern and Hallowed Crown.

Further back there was Belle Du Jour (Dehere {USA}), champion 2-year-old of her era who is one of five horses to complete the Kindergarten-G1 Golden Slipper double in the race’s 34-year history.

Gallery: Some of the previous winners of the G3 Kindergarten S.

On Saturday, 12 horses will go to the post, headed in the market by Godolphin colt Paulele (Dawn Approach {Ire}) and Vandoula Lass (Vancouver).

However, the Hawkes-trained filly Bahama (Redoute’s Choice), owned jointly by father-son partnership Michael and Brad Crismale, takes her place with plenty of attention this week as the half-sister to the $1.1 million Written Tycoon colt, Lot 283, sold at Riverside on Tuesday.

A dream play at Easter

Bahama is the seventh foal from seasoned broodmare Dream Play (USA) (Hennessy {USA}). She’s a half-sister to G2 VRC Sires’ Produce S. winner and Grenville Stud stallion Zululand, and it’s a performing family.

Half-brother Chicago Bull (Exceed And Excel) was Group-placed as a 2-year-old and Singapore-performed and, further down the page, there are American stakes winners Gangbuster (USA) (Langfuhr {Can}), Dreamcall (USA) (Midnight Lute {USA}) and Anythingyoucando (USA) (Curlin {USA}).

Dream Play was purchased by James Bester in 2009 at the Fasig-Tipton Fall Mixed Sale for US$460,000 (AU$589,477), and she arrived in Australia in February 2010.

Fast forward a decade, and the Crismales managed to snap up Bahama from the 2020 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale for as little as $250,000.

Bahama as a yearling

“That Sale was COVID-impacted,” recalled Brad Crismale. “We anticipated that and figured it might be a good opportunity to get a nice-pedigreed filly. Knowing how tough it was to physically inspect horses from that Sale (owing to COVID). I went through the list with Michael and John Hawkes of what we identified as breeding and racing prospects.”

The Hawkes and Crismale families go back 20 years, so when Brad Crismale got the tick of approval for yearling filly Bahama, he was pleased. He expected she would sell for a ball-park $800,000, but she sold for less than half that.

“She slipped through the cracks for some reason,” Crismale said. “There was one bid to us at the reserve price of $250,000 and it was knocked down, and we were pleasantly surprised. Considering that the cross of Redoute’s Choice over Hussonet has got the likes of King’s Legacy and Pariah, and the dam has been a proven performer, it was a very good result.”

Sudden spike in fortune

After Wednesday, it was an even better result. Bahama’s half-brother sold for $1.1 million to Tom Magnier and James Bester from the Kia Ora draft, and suddenly Bahama looked very cheap.

“It just showed how fortunate we were last year,” Crismale said, “and I know the Hawkes' thought that too. It didn’t surprise me that the Written Tycoon colt made such good money, but when it gets over $1 million, it really shows the strength of the pedigree.”

"It didn’t surprise me that the Written Tycoon colt (Lot 283) made such good money, but when it gets over $1 million, it really shows the strength of the pedigree.” - Brad Crismale

The Crismales were ringside on Tuesday for the sale of Lot 121, Michael Crismale’s homebred filly and half-sister to WA sensation Tuscan Queen (Fastnet Rock). On Wednesday, they watched remotely. With intentions to retain the as-yet unraced Bahama for a breeding future, the Written Tycoon result was valuable.

“We bought this filly with the intention to retain her,” Crismale said. “We didn’t have a Redoute’s Choice-line to breed from, so it was nice to have that because it’s been so successful. Now I’m really looking forward to seeing her foals go to market in the future.”

Lot 283 - Written Tycoon x Dream Play (USA) (colt) | Image courtesy of Inglis

Speedy by name

Bahama will line up on Saturday in the Kindergarten among only three unraced horses in the field. Her single racetrack appearance was in late March, where she was second in a trial to Bowie Of Dubai (Pride Of Dubai).

It’s a statement of the Hawkes’s faith in her, and she is currently third choice in the betting.

“The Hawkes don’t nominate for races like that lightly,” Crismale said. “They’ve had a pretty good opinion of Bahama all the way through, and at one stage she was looking at a tilt at the Golden Slipper. But we’re excited to have her in a race like this first-up.”

“The Hawkes don’t nominate for races like that lightly. They’ve had a pretty good opinion of Bahama all the way through." - Brad Crismale

The filly will be in experienced hands with Kerrin McEvoy, and will jump from Barrier six. Crismale said Bahama was still learning, so anything she could do would be a bonus, but he wasn’t putting too much expectation on her young, inexperienced shoulders.

“As a breeder, we’d be rapt if she could run in the top four for her first start, but she’s still learning her trade,” he said. Nevertheless, he admitted she was named for speed.

“I knew this filly was going to be a sprinter, so I asked myself where some of the fastest female sprinters were in the world,” Crismale said. “Bahamans are probably the speediest, or even Jamaicans, but 'Bahama' had a more feminine-sounding name than 'Jamaican', so we went with that.”

The Championships
Kindergarten S.
Bahama