Bax still keeping it in the family with Le Gai Soleil

3 min read
Graham Bax has been successfully breeding from the family of Le Gai Soleil (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) for decades and the promising mare looks a strong prospect to add to the honours board at Doomben on Saturday.

Bax and his wife Helen-Gaye remain in the ownership of the John O’Shea-trained Le Gai Soleil, who will have her first crack at a black-type prize in the G3 Magic Millions Pam O’Neill S. with James McDonald to partner her again.

“We’re racing her with some friends. She was very unlucky last start and just got caught in and James couldn’t get her out,” said Bax, who with wife Helen-Gaye and prominent breeder and owner Lib Petagna operates Blandford Lodge.

“She flew home and one step past the post we had it, but that’s the way racing is sometimes. She does get back a bit in her races and she’s trained up really, really well and John is very happy with her.”

Le Gai Soleil has won five of her nine starts with the latest at Warwick Farm before her luckless second on the Kensington track at Randwick to earn a crack at higher honours on Saturday.

“It’s a step up to what she has been racing against and Paradee is a very good horse. There’s a couple in there that have won $1 million in prizemoney as well,” Bax said.

“It’s a step up to what she (Le Gai Soleil) has been racing against and Paradee is a very good horse.” – Graham Bax

“We’re in with a better class of horse, but you have to start somewhere to have a go and we think she deserves her chance. She’s pretty consistent so we hope she can do it.

“She’s only been up to a mile so far and I think 2000 metres will probably be better for her, but she’s just going through her grades and we can step her up a bit later on.”

Le Gai Soleil is a half-sister to the three-time Group 1 winner Danzdanzdance (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), who was bought by Fernrigg Farm for $475,000 at the recent Inglis Chairman’s Sale, with their dam the unraced Night Danza (Danzero).

“Night Danza is out of Gretchen and I leased her to some chaps from Australia and they raced her with Peter Moody and when she finished racing she came back to me,” Bax said.

Gretchen (NZ) (Bahhare {USA}) won three races and finished runner-up in the G1 Australasian Oaks and is a half-sister to the G2 Japan-New Zealand International Trophy winner Silky Red Boxer (NZ) (Casual Lies {USA}).

Going back

“I’ve bred a lot out of the family and it all goes back to a mare I bought years ago called Polly Soleil,” Bax said.

“I’ve bred a lot out of the family and it all goes back to a mare I bought years ago called Polly Soleil.” - Graham Bax.

Foaled in 1977, she was a daughter of Roi Soleil (GB) and produced four winners, including Soleil Rouge (NZ), who claimed the G2 Great Northern Challenge S., and the dams of the Group 1 winners Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel) and All Thrills Too (St Covet).

Polly Soleil is the great, great grandam of Night Danza, who was unraced due to a back injury.

“I decided to breed from her and she’s also got an Ocean Park 2-year-old filly who we’ve just sent over to John O’Shea and she’ll be raced by the same group as Le Gai Soleil,” Bax said.

“The mare has got a Tavistock colt at foot and she’s not in foal. I’m keen to send her to Wootton Bassett this year, I think she deserves a chance with a nice horse like him.”

Le Gai Soleil (NZ) | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

Le Gai Soleil
Graham Bax