There were plenty of grounds for celebration at The Oaks Stud, Cambridge, last weekend.
Most were courtesy of the stud’s senior stallion Darci Brahma, who has been a great servant not only to the Dick Karreman-owned nursery but to the New Zealand breeding industry for more than a decade now.
The latest flush started in the opening race at Avondale last Thursday, when Nocturnal (4 b m Darci Brahma-Upstaged) broke her maiden duck at 2000 metres. She was not only bred by The Oaks but carried the stud’s white jacket with the blue band. As a sweetener, Stand Tall, who won the fifth, is by Darci Brahma’s barnmate Niagara and The Oaks general manager, Rick Williams, shares in the ownership with trainer Ralph Manning and his parents Bob and Kathleen.
Friday night in Singapore, Darc Bounty (5 g Darci Brahma-Miss Elusive) notched his fifth career win with an all-the-way performance at Kranji. A $100,000 buy at Karaka in 2015, Darc Bounty is trained by expat Stephen Gray for the Elaine Chen Stable and has now earned S$300,000.
So to Saturday, and Darci Brahma came up with a pair of really promising sorts in successive races at Wanganui. Sinarahma, whose mother is the former high-class racemare Shez Sinsational, absolutely demolished her rivals in the Rating 65 1340m. In the following race, Brimm was hardly less impressive when winning the Rating 65 1200.
Darci’s weekend wasn’t over yet. On Sunday the popular Cromwell pre-Christmas meeting was held down south and the Cambridge stallion claimed three of the 10 winners. Seven-year-old Nowhere Man (ex Miss Elusive) won the fifth; Aboli, a big fellow from the O’Reilly mare O’Ruby, notched his second win from 10 starts in the seventh; and Khorabella, a five-year-old mare out of Belle Vida, won the last.
That was about it for the weekend for Darci: six winners on three different courses.
But The Oaks team also had a huge once-removed thrill from the black-type Ellerslie win of Espresso Martini, who claimed the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial at just her fourth start. She was bred by The Oaks from the same family as the stud’s famous former champion (and Hall of Famer) Seachange.
Espresso Martini headed a High Chaparral quinella in the Trevor Eagle, for three-year-olds. Fellow High Chaparral filly Jip Jip Rock looked the winner for most of the run home, before Leith Innes brought Espresso Martini out of the trail to overhaul the leader in the final stages and win by a neck.
Espresso Martini is out of the Gr. 1 Levin Classic winner Keepa Cruisin, who was by Keeper from Just Cruising, the dam also of Seachange (Cape Cross). Seachange won 14 races during her splendid career, including seven at Group One.
Keepa Cruisin won the Desert Gold Stakes as well as the Levin Classic, a race her daughter Espresso Martini may well be tackling next month.
Highly promising Sinarahma is a home-bred, raced by almost the same ownership as the group that enjoyed such a glorious run with Shez Sinsational; minus trainer Allan Sharrock’s father Bob, who has died since Shez Sinsational’s racing days, and adding Allan’s brother Bruce plus his friend Tony Kemp, a former topline league player.
Shez Sinsational, one of the best of the many good females by Ekraar, won 12 of her 30 starts including four Group Ones. The first of these was the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day in the summer of 2012. Then she won the Darci Brahma International Stakes at Te Rapa – perhaps a sign of things to come when the broodmare paddock beckoned; the Auckland Cup in March and the New Zealand Bloodstock Spring Classic, succeeding the former Kelt Capital at Hastings in the spring. She also won at Group Two level in Queensland.
The partnership of owners leased Shez Sinsational to race with rights to her first foal and the Ekraar mare was then bought by Wellfield Lodge.
Sinarahma, first foal of the former multiple Group One winner, had a delayed entrance to the racing stage because of a back problem but now looks ready to make up for lost time. Allan Sharrock hopes a black-type win will come her way before her four-year-old season ends but is already looking to next season for bigger deeds.
Like Sinarahma, Brimm has not made her mark on the racing scene until turning four. She is now two from two and, after her sound defeat of the more experienced Rip Van Winkle gelding All In Mana, it will be a major surprise if she doesn’t go on to some decent wins.
Rick Williams reports that Darci Brahma continues to enjoy life at 16 years and is coming to the end of a breeding season during which he served more than 100 mares.
“He had a couple of health problems last year which restricted his book,” said Williams, “but he has been right back to it this spring.”
The richly bred stallion (by Danehill from Group One winner Grand Echezeaux, by Zabeel) has sired 404 winners from 567 runners on Arion Pedigree’s latest figures. He has 37 stakes winners to his credit, 16 at Group level, and nine individual Group One winners.
He has been a regular in the top five of New Zealand’s stallion premiership as well as being perennially popular in Singapore and Hong Kong.
-John Costello, The Informant