Former brilliant English sprinter Balmont sired his first Perth winner when She’s Quality maintained an unbeaten record by taking the Westspeed Nursery Handicap (1100m) at Ascot yesterday (April 4).
She’s Quality, ridden by William Pike for trainer Ron Elvy, drew wide and was forced to work outside the pacemaker and eventual second placegetter, Black Truffle, before drawing away to score by a long head.
Bred by Miss W.D. Liddelow, She’s Quality had won the Smokefree WA Maiden, also over 1100m, by 3/4-length at Bunbury in her March 11 race debut.
“She’s got a lot in front of her,” said Elvy after the Ascot win. “She will make a lovely three-year-old.
“This is all a bonus.”
Balmont by Stravinsky from Aldebaran Light, by the immortal US Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, was bred for racetrack success – and he didn’t let pedigree down.
Stravinsky, by champion sire Nureyev from Fire The Groom, winner of the US Group 1 Beverley D Stakes, won the Group 1 July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes in England and was judged Europe’s champion sprinter in 1999. He has sired 767 winners at 70.8 per cent and 68 stakes winners at 6.3 per cent.
A winner at three of five starts, Aldebaran Light is also the dam of Eskendereya, winner of the Group 1 Wood Memorial Stakes, Group 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes and Listed Pilgrim Stakes and a Gulfstream Park allowance from six US starts. His combined winning margin in the four races was 26 3/4-lengths – an average of 6.7 lengths.
Eskendereya was a red-hot favourite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby but became a shock late scratching through a training injury.
The respected US turf journalist Steve Hasking wrote: “Eskenderya towered above the others in dominance and speed figures.”
Eskendereya covered 137 mares in his first season at Taylor Made Farm, Nicholasville, Kentucky, standing at $22,500. And his first 17 in-foal mares sold for an average of $118,941.
Balmont won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes, James Stakes and Donns Stakes in six runs as a two-year-old.
Consider the history:
The Middle Park Stakes was first run in 1866. The winner invariably becomes favourite for the following season’s Group 1 English Two Thousand Guineas – a double first completed by Prince Charlie in 1871-72.
Other legendary winners of the Middle Park Stakes include Pretty Polly (1903), Bahram (1934), Djebel (1939), Sun Chariot (1941), Dante (1944), Abernant (1948), Showdown (1963), Petingo (1967), Brigadier Gerard (1970), Sharpen Up (1971) and Oasis Dream (2002).
The Gimcrack Stakes, named after Gimcrack, who won at 27 of 36 starts in the 18th century, was first run in 1846. Previous winners include Star King (1948), who, as Star Kingdom, became the champion Australian sire, Mill Reef (1970) and Rock Of Gibraltar (2001).
Balmont trained on to run a desperately unlucky second in the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint in Ireland and finished third in the Group 1 July Cup and Golden Jubilee Stakes and Group 2 Temple Stakes. The prestigious UK Racing Post described him as: ‘High class at 2-5 years.’
From limited opportunities at stud in Ireland, Balmont sired seven winners. Now permanently based at Lynward Park, Bullsbrook, he also has the city placegetters Korolenko and Park Lane from his first WA crop.
No wonder: Balmont’s rich maternal line traces directly to Almahmoud, ancestress of the champion stallions Northern Dancer, Danehill, Halo, Machiavellian and Arctic Turn.