Stud shuttle stallion Rip Van Winkle enjoyed his greatest day in the southern
hemisphere at a packed Ellerslie on Boxing Day, and with the Karaka yearling
sales just around the corner his timing could not have been better.
filly Capella became Rip Van Winkle’s best New Zealand performer with her
stirring victory in the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic, casting a star-studded field
of fillies aside and hinting at even better things to come over longer
distances. The Australian Oaks lies on the horizon for the Gary Harding-owned
and bred filly.
make a great weekend even better, a pair of Windsor Park-owned Rip Van Winkle
three-year-olds also produced top-class performances to earn black-type bids of
their own later in the season.
Majesty powered down the straight to finish second behind boom colt Xtravagant
over 1400 metres at Ellerslie, then 24 hours later Let Me Roar scored a stylish
maiden win at Rotorua. The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained filly is a
half-sister to multiple Group One winner Lion Tamer.
Van Winkle has had a really great week, and it’s been perfect timing with the
yearling sales approaching,” Windsor Park’s general manager Steve Till told The
made a good start with his first crop of two-year-olds here last season,
including Magic Dancer who won a Group Three at New Plymouth. But I think
they’re not naturally precocious horses and not natural two-year-old types.
They’re horses who will benefit from patient handling.
seen as they mature and get up over more ground that they improve and you start
to see the best of them. Rip Van Winkle himself won a Group race as a
two-year-old, but it was at three and four that he really hit his straps and
won his Group Ones. He won a Group One over 2100 metres as a four-year-old.”
A son of
Galileo and the Stravinsky mare Looking Back, Rip Van Winkle carried the famous
navy blue colours of Coolmore and was trained by Aidan O’Brien throughout an
outstanding racing career.
started 12 times for five wins, two placings and more than £1 million in
prize-money. He won the Gr. 1 Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and
Juddmonte International Stakes and was placed in another four elite events.
Van Winkle retired to stud in 2011, based at Coolmore in Ireland and shuttling
to Windsor Park. He has sired 74 winners from 178 starters, seven at stakes
level including the Gr. 1 Curragh Phoenix Stakes winner Dick Whittington.
Van Winkle’s New Zealand yearlings have been well received at Karaka in the
last two years, with more than a dozen of his progeny selling for $200,000 or
more. One, a close relative to Lucia Valentina, fetched $375,000 in 2014. The
stallion will be represented by 46 yearlings at the upcoming sales, including
24 in the Premier session.
looking forward to taking his yearlings to Karaka again this season,” Till
said. “His first two crops sold really well and we’ve got some lovely yearlings
this year including a full-sister to Let Me Roar and also a lovely filly out of
Prix Du Sang. Her sister Killer Woman is highly regarded in South Africa and
won her last start by nearly five lengths.”
took particular delight in the breakthrough performance by the Danica
Guy-trained Capella, a filly who was earmarked for big things from a very early
age. Her dam Limerick returned to Rip Van Winkle this season and is in foal.
looked like an exceptional talent from the start,” Till said. “Anyone who’s had
anything to do with her since very early in her life has been hugely
complimentary of her ability. It was great to see her do that and hopefully she
has much more ahead.
similar with our filly Let Me Roar. Right from the time she was being broken
in, all the feedback we heard was very positive. Murray Baker and Andrew
Forsman hold her in high regard, and she trialled very impressively at Te Aroha
a couple of weeks ago. It was so good to see her confirm that initial ability
with a strong maiden win.
had to be used a bit early, then she sprinted again in the straight. Not many
horses can do it in both ends of a race, albeit in maiden company. We’re hoping
she can follow in the footsteps of her half-brother Lion Tamer and snare some
Majesty was having his first race over 1400 metres on Boxing Day, and the way
he got to the line suggests he could be a Derby prospect. That’s pretty
exciting as well.”