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The Mission's first crop dominant at Doomben juvenile trials

5 min read

Written by Jessica Owers

Doomben played host to five 2-year-old trials on Tuesday morning, with Eagle Farm trainer Les Ross doing particularly well across three of them. Two of these included a pair of winners from the first crop of the Aquis Farm stallion, The Mission.

Les Ross

Mishani Warfare (The Mission), Mishani Embrace (The Mission) and Spanish Angels (Sidestep) were all victorious for the trainer, while Heroic Son (Heroic Valour) and Merrily (Astern) whipped in the remaining two results.

The Mishani horses were a good early result for The Mission, who stands at the Aquis operation in Canungra.

The stallion covered his first book of mares in 2018 after a stakes-winning career that included the G1 Champagne S. and G3 The Schweppervescence. The Mission is currently the only Group 1-winning Champion 2-Year-Old by Choisir at stud in Australia.

“That makes three trial winners in total for him now,” said Jonathan Davies, director of sales at Aquis Farm. “That’s an incredible start to his career, but he was very well supported in his first season so we do have good expectations of his 2-year-olds.”

"He was very well supported in his first season so we do have good expectations of his 2-year-olds.” - Jonathan Davies

The Mission covered 104 mares in his freshman season, and trainer feedback has been positive, according to Davies. Les Ross and Mishani Racing principal Mike Crooks, in particular, have supported the horse well.

“Mike sent 10 mares to The Mission in his first season, and that resulted in eight live foals that are now 2-year-olds,” Davies said. “Mike’s been so happy with these that he booked 16 mares to The Mission a little over a month ago, so that was a very strong indication for us that the progeny must have been doing all the right things.”

Aquis expects that The Mission will cover a book of around 100 this season, which would equate to his first season figure of 104 mares.

The stallion stands for $8800 (inc GST), and he is among five sires on the Aquis roster with his first 2-year-old runners this season. The others are Invader, who shared Champion 2-Year-Old honours with The Mission, as well as Spieth (NZ), Jukebox and Kobayashi.

The Mission | Standing at Aquis Farm

“The Mission has got a great chance,” Davies said. “He got some fast Queensland mares, and he’s one of a very good collection of first season sires for us here at Aquis Farm.”

Merrily for Astern

While Les Ross’ three results at Doomben were a good result for Mishani Racing, the remaining juvenile winners were Astern filly Merrily and Heroic Valour colt Heroic Son.

Merrily, for Eagle Farm co-trainers Steven O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted, was a fetching runaway winner, coasting clear by 5l from Mishani Hood (Domesday) and April In Augusta (Spieth {NZ}).

The filly is from the second crop of Darley’s Astern, and she is a daughter of the Denman mare Merriest.

She was sold to owner Michelle Petrofski at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, costing $90,000 from the draft of Widden Stud. Merrily was one of 10 yearlings by Astern at the Sale, and her dam was the 2016 winner of the Listed Atlantic Jewel S.

This is a family that throws back to top race filly Scomeld (Scotian), who won eight stakes races through the late 1970s, including the now G2 Apollo S., G2 Theo Marks S. and G1 VRC Oaks.

Tuesday’s trial was Merrily’s first racecourse outing.

Heroic at Doomben

Heroic Son, equally, was having his first track appearance.

The 2-year-old colt clocked the fasted juvenile trial of the morning, winning by 0.75l for trainers Peter and Will Hulbert, with Schmeichel (Not A Single Doubt) and Mishani Mental (The Mission) bringing home the first three.

Heroic Son was sold to his trainers at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, heading to Hulbert Racing for $50,000 from the draft of Kenmore Lodge. He is by Heroic Valour, who stands at Raheen Stud, and also has his first 2-year-old runners this season.

Heroic Valour was a Group 1 winner during a stellar, undefeated juvenile season of his own. He won three stakes races at two, including the G1 ARC Diamond S. As a 3-year-old, he was second in the G3 Gold Coast Guineas. The stallion covered 116 mares in his freshman book and stands this season for $7700 (inc GST).

Heroic Son is from the Show A Heart mare Pirelli Princess, who is a daughter of the stakes-winning mare Princess Margaret (Spectrum {Ire}).

The family is responsible for a raft of stakes winners, including Dynamic Love (Brave Warrior), the dam of Group 3 winner Matchmaker (NZ) (Makfi {GB}), and Listed winner Key Bar Nights (Anabaa {USA}), who is in turn the dam of Listed winner Barbed (Canny Lad).

Heroic Valour, sire of Heroic Son | Standing at Te Akau Stud

Alligator Blood on song

Tuesday’s trials also saw a winning appearance for the All Too Hard gelding Alligator Blood. The 5-year-old, now trained by Billy Healey at the Sunshine Coast, won the sixth trial, just nudging out the Tony Gollan-trained Macewan (Rothesay). It was his second trial victory since joining Healey from the David Vandyke stable.

Alligator Blood

Plans to tackle a Melbourne spring were abandoned recently by Alligator Blood’s connections, who cited COVID logistics as the reason.

“With the border restrictions and quarantine, it was going to be too hard to get our staff home afterwards,” Healey said last week.

Alligator Blood is a five-time stakes winner for his owners, Allan Endresz and the EzyBonds No.1 Syndicate. The gelding won the G1 VRC Australian Guineas last year and has accumulated over $1.8 million in prizemoney. He is yet to win since this victory, but he is back on the campaign trail after surgery for a kissing spine condition.

Healey said after the trial that he was in no rush with the famous gelding, and that a long-term plan was in place for the Magic Millions Carnival in January.

Doomben 2-year-old trials
The Mission
Aquis Farm
Mishani Racing
Merrily
Heroic Son
Alligator Blood
Jonathan Davies