Sierra Sue has doubled her Group One tally with a strong win in the Gr.1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The winner of the Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over the same course and distance last spring, the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained mare went to a new level when claiming elite level success under weight-for-age conditions on Saturday.
The five-year-old daughter of proven sire Darci Brahma headed home a New Zealand bred trifecta, scoring by a comfortable 1¼ lengths from the fast-finishing Savabeel entire Mo’unga, with race favourite Tofane, a daughter of Ocean Park, finishing third after not getting all favours in the run.
Ridden by John Allen, Sierra Sue was aided by the inside draw on a day which favoured those closest to the rail, coming off the leaders back, but was still dynamic when asked for a turn of foot and ultimately proved too strong for a quality field.
“That was unbelievable, honestly,” a delighted Natalie Young said.
“The way the track was playing we were a little worried because she generally likes to get back a little bit but we had that barrier one and I said to John ‘look don’t get off that rail, wait, wait, wait, she’s got a 250m sprint’. I said ‘just roll off when you need to’ and look it panned out perfectly.”
Young said Sierra Sue had come on from her good fresh-up fourth in the Gr.1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
“Maybe she needed it a little bit. Weight for age is always a little bit more difficult when she’s carrying that 57kgs. She had spelled fantastic and we hadn't really tuned her right up,” Young said.
“But today it just worked out perfect and she paraded fantastic, she looked super and now she’s a multiple Group One winner and she’s a valuable mare. A Darci Brahma from New Zealand so she’s flying the flag for the Kiwi breeders.”
Young said the stable would now take a breath before pondering where to go next with the classy mare, with Sierra Sue earning a ticket into the A$5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington care of winning the Futurity, with the winner to be offered the first wildcard.
“I think she is better at the 1400m, she’s a lot more effective. But she has won over 1700m in lower grade, so you just never know,” Young said.
“She’s won at Flemington in a Group Two. She does love Flemington. Or you weigh it up and go to a Sangster (Gr.1, 1200m) in Adelaide in May and you freshen her up.”
There are ten yearlings by Sierra Sue’s sire Darci Brahma set to go under the hammer at Karaka, with the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales commencing on March 7.
Bred by John Fokerd, Sierra Sue was sold out of Ardsley Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale draft for $2,000 to Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock. Incredibly, she was sold as a broken in two-year-old, one of a handful of older offerings in the May Sale.
A trials winner in New Zealand for Lock, Sierra Sue was purchased privately by a prominent group of Australian owners, headed by developer, hotelier and horseracing identity Ozzie Kheir through eagle-eyed bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo.
“I’ve been lucky enough to source some good horses for Australia over the years, I’ve been doing it for a while now,” Cataldo said.
“I put in the hard yards and sometimes it turns into results.
“I bought Sierra Sue after she won a trial at Te Aroha in impressive fashion. She looked well above average that day and by coincidence I was talking to Trent Busuttin that morning.
“I had heard a bit about Sierra Sue, there was good talk on her and I mentioned to him that there was a promising Darci Brahma filly trialling that day.
“He said if she goes well, gives us a call and that is how it unfolded. She won impressively and I rang Trent who bought her for Ozzie Kheir and the likes of John O'Neill.”
In a further feel-good part of the story, off the back of reading an article about the Lock family’s continued interest in the mare, Sierra Sue’s principal owner Ozzie Kheir made contact with Peter Lock and gifted his son Jamie and daughter Casey a one percent share in the mare.
NZ Racing Desk
Photo - Bruno Cannatelli