Mornington Glory won the Bendigo Mazda Mdn Plate over 1100 metres with Luke Currie aboard, and in doing so put a spotlight on an exceptional old family for the prominent Mudgee breeders, Gooree Park.
Mornington Glory is the final foal from the wonderful Danehill (USA) mare Crowned Glory, who was raced in Gooree colours and retired as a Group 3 winner and G1 Golden Slipper S. runner-up for the Cojuangco family. She went on to produce two stakes winners, and they are the now Group 1-producing stallions Needs Further and Hallowed Crown.
Mornington Glory is from the first crop of foals by Arrowfield shuttler Shalaa (Ire). The stallion has had a very good week, with his first Group 1 winner, the Jessica Harrington-trained filly No Speak Alexander (Ire), occurring at Leopardstown last weekend.
In 2018, when Gooree sent Crowned Glory to the Shalaa, the mare was 20 years old.
Mornington Glory is one of just four of her foals that went to public auction (three of which were yearlings), and the colt appeared at the 2020 Magic Millions Gooree Stud Reduction, which occurred in July after the passing of Eduardo Cojuaungco.
Also in the Sale was the colt's half-brother by Medaglia D'Oro (USA), the gelding Significant Rule. He sold to Dynamic Syndications and Dean Watt Bloodstock (FBAA) for $75,000.
Mornington Rule was the very last lot of 41 horses in the catalogue, and he ended up being the highest-priced. He sold to trainer Matt Laurie, in partnership with bloodstock agents Justin Bahen and Andrew Williams.
Owing to COVID, neither Laurie nor Bahen were ringside for the Sale, which left Williams to do the bidding.
“Every man and his dog was hanging around for this yearling,” Williams said. “He was a well-put together horse with a very good pedigree and from the first crop of Shalaa. He was a lovely horse that had a lot of quality about him, and Matt, Justin and I identified him pretty early.”
"Every man and his dog was hanging around for this yearling." - Andrew Williams
Williams said there was spirited bidding around Mornington Glory because there was plenty to buy.
“From a type point of view, he was popular, and from a pedigree point of view too,” he said. “From the Sale’s point of view, it was the end of the year and it was late in the Sale, and we were hoping he wasn’t going to be that obvious. I think Darby Racing was there or thereabouts, and they’re great judges so you know you’re in good company when you look across and see them.”
Mornington Glory topped the Sale at $360,000, with Williams stating after the event that the horse was not only a first-class yearling worthy of any top sale, but he also had a stallion’s pedigree.
The colt is a half-brother to Needs Further, who won the G3 Carbine Club S. and now stands at Armidale Stud in Tasmania. Needs Further has sired five stakes winners, including the Group 1 winner Mystic Journey.
Additionally, Mornington Glory is a half-brother to Hallowed Crown, who was one of Gooree’s most brilliant horses. Now a stallion at Olly Tait’s Twin Hills Stud, the horse won the G1 Golden Rose and G1 Randwick Guineas as a 3-year-old, as well as the G2 Hobartville, G3 Run to the Rose and G3 Kindergarten S. as a juvenile.
Hallowed Crown has sired two stakes winners, among them the excellent G1 Australian Oaks-winning Godolphin filly, Colette.
Without doubt, this is one of the stoutest dam lines in the Stud Book.
“It doesn’t complicate things when you get a mare like her,” Williams said. “She obviously leaves some form of athletic type and athletic individual to be getting runners like that on the board. Fair dues to that mare, and fair dues to Matt Laurie.”
Wednesday’s race was the first for Mornington Glory, with the colt making an impression when third in a Cranbourne trial last month and then a strong win in a Caulfield jump-out.
At Bendigo, Mornington Glory met a field of seven horses, and he was a clear market favourite at $1.55 ahead of 4-year-old gelding Foturi (Star Witness).
From barrier six, the colt jumped away smartly and sat outside the early leader, Snappy Li’l Thing (Bel Esprit). The pace wasn’t hot, and Mornington Glory coasted alongside the leader until the straight, where Luke Currie asked the colt to get on with it.
He was tardy to pick up initially, but after a small reminder at the 100 metres he coasted away from the field. The final margins were a very good 3.75l to Foturi, who was just ahead of third-placed Spirit Of Pepin (Magnus).
The final time was 1:05.02 on a Good 4.
“We’ve had a big opinion of this horse right from the beginning, and it’s good to see him kick off in good fashion,” said Laurie, who was trackside at Bendigo.
“We’ve had a big opinion of this horse (Mornington Glory) right from the beginning." - Matt Laurie
The trainer added that the speed in the race, or lack of it, wasn’t ideal, but he praised the horse for getting the job done.
“He’s only going to be better when there’s horses going quicker in front, something for him to settle off,” Laurie said. “A couple of taps with the stick and he really put it together late, and he’ll improve a hell of a lot from today.”
Laurie added that the horse was still a bit inexperienced, which was evident in the straight.
“We haven’t really gotten at him in his trackwork,” he said. “It’s not our style, but he’s always travelled really well and he’ll take heaps out of today.”
The obvious targets for Mornington Glory are the bigger tickets in the spring, which are coming up quickly.
"I’d like to run him in the Danehill and then, depending how he goes in that, maybe the Coolmore," Laurie said
"I’d like to run him in the Danehill and then, depending how he goes in that, maybe the Coolmore." -Matt Laurie
The G2 Danehill S. will be run at Flemington on October 2, with the G1 Coolmore Stud S. three weeks later on October 30.