The final Summer of Glory night for 2023 presented a sea of Empire-sired winners, proving yet again that Empire’s roster always has been and continues to be truly World Class.
In the first race on the card, the Mimosa Homes Pace for mares, it was WESTERN TERROR daughter Bonnie Belle, bred and raced by J Montesano, B Madigan and J Traunini who overhauled the favourite to win for Allan & Bailey McDonough. From Albert Albert mare Suzy Albert, Bonnie Belle has now recorded eight wins for over $66,000 in earnings, with her last four starts resulting in wins or second placings. WESTERN TERROR’s progeny in Australia have now earnt almost $17.34M, with an average of $48,000 each.
The first GROUP race of the evening was the COGS Services 4YO Bonanza, and the hugely anticipated new season return of the exciting CAPTAINTREACHEROUS son, Captain Ravishing. He did not disappoint! Finishing in blistering mile rate of 1:50.9 after a tough run, he still managed to put over 21m on his rivals to take the Group 2 status race. Bred by Sloys Company from Sportswriter mare, Ravishing Girl, the NSW colt took his form line to nine wins from 13 starts, banking over $235,000 for owner Hass Taiba and the Stewart-Tonkin stable.
It was CAPTAIN again with the next race for super speedsters, the Group 3 Nutrien Equine Mercury80 over 1200m. Catch A Wave justified his favouritism for Andy & Kate Gath, capturing his 15th victory form 19 starts and pushing earnings past $433,000 for owner Pauline Matthews. He was bred by Benstud Standardbreds from their former Victorian Broodmare of the Year, Coppagoodone, making them the breeders of CAPTAINTREACHEROUS’ highest and third-highest locally-bred progeny – Tough Tilly and Catch A Wave.
The big race of the night was the GROUP 1 $500,000 AG Hunter Cup and there was no doubting the son of SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE, Honolua Bay (pic), who clocked 1:55.2 to win the classic feature for owner-breeders Lauriston Bloodstock. The gelding is from Artsplace mare National Gallery, and has a new full brother on the ground from the 2022 drop. He is trained out of the Stewart-Tonkin yard and with the win, took his earnings to over $732,000 making him BEACH’s fourth-highest money earner in Australasia – and seemingly plenty more to come.
Making a Melton treble for CAPTAINTREACHEROUS, Jilliby Dynamite took the HIP Pocket Castlemaine Pace by a good martin for Marg and Jason Lee, a homebred for the Levarg Racing Group from their Rock N Roll Heaven mare, Jilliby Jitterbug. The five-year-old now boasts eight wins and earnings of $77,000 with two victories already for the 2023 season. CAPTAIN’s progeny have now earnt just short of $8m in Australia – there are plenty of opportunities to buy the best with several lots in the upcoming NZB and Nutrien sales by the champion sire of juveniles.
Finally, it was BETTING LINE’s time to shine, siring the quinella in the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Gold Chalice. David and Terry Lewis’ filly Isthisjustfantasy edged out favourite Soho Seraphine in the 2240m race for Paddy Lee and Glen Craven. From her five starts she’s only been out of the winners’ stall once, when she took second place at Geelong mid-season last year. An exciting prospect, she is from Jeremes Jet mare Mistressofillusion who has a TALL DARK STRANGER filly on the ground from the latest drop.