Two-time Group 1-placed filly set for autumn carnival before heading to Inglis’ elite breeding stock auction

Valuable three-year-old filly Kimochi (Brave Smash), the Gary Portelli-trained dual Group 1 placegetter, will be offered at the Chairman’s Sale in May in a rare opportunity to purchase a filly with elite racing and breeding potential ahead of her.

The filly’s owner Leo To is keen to capitalise on the Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) and Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) runner-up’s racing and broodmare value at Inglis’ elite breeding stock sale to help support his growing Australian bloodstock portfolio.

To is hoping to follow the blueprint used by the connections of last season’s Surround Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Sunshine In Paris (Invader), who was the first Group 1-winning three-year-old filly to be sold at public auction in a decade.

The daughter of Invader (Snitzel) was bought by prominent Sydney owner-breeder John Camilleri for $3.9 million at the 2023 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

With the $10 million Golden Eagle (1500m), a race restricted to four-year-olds, a big selling point for fillies of Kimochi’s calibre, the new owners would have a genuine chance of earning a big slice of their investment back in one hit, should the filly enjoys a fruitful spring.

Sunshine In Paris, who was signed for by agent James Harron, remained in training with Annabel Neasham and she was able to win the Sheraco Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) first-up last September before injury curtailed her tilt at the Golden Eagle.

As well as her Group 1 placings, which matches the feats of top-quality fillies Alizee (Sepoy), Global Glamour (Star Witness) and Guelph (Exceed And Excel) to have placed in both the Flight Stakes and Thousand Guineas, the juvenile-winning Kimochi has also been placed in a further four stakes races in just nine starts and banked $725,000 in prize-money so far in her short career.

Portelli, whose Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) winning fillies She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) and Fireburn (Rebel Dane) were sold to Japan, is focused on enhancing the value of the prized Kimochi during the autumn with the Surround Stakes a possible option first-up as is a series of Group 1s at the Sydney autumn carnival.

The Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2000m) in Adelaide on April 27, 12 days prior to the Chairman’s Sale, could also be on the radar for the Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom) filly who is already back in training at Portelli’s Warwick Farm stables.

“She could be worth a lot of money based on previous sales of certain horses, but if she can win a Group 1 this preparation before we head to the sale it will certainly enhance her price,” Portelli told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.

“We haven’t got much time to muck around because she raced deep into the spring [November 18], so that made it difficult to give her a decent break and it is just a bit of a juggling act at the moment to have her fit enough.

“Therefore, I am not sure what we’ll aim at at the moment because we’ve just got to get her fit first but we want to get a Group 1 beside her name and it might even be in Adelaide in the Australasian Oaks.

“Everyone jumps off and says she’ll get 2000 metres easily. She’s very versatile and she’ll stretch out over a trip.”

Sydney-based To paid what is now a bargain $21,000 for Kimochi at the 2021 Inglis Australian Weanling Sale in Sydney. The filly is the best of two winners to race out of the unraced Summer Fun (I Am Invincible), herself a sister to the Group 3-placed Real Charisma and a granddaughter of the VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m)–placed Summerbliss (Danehill Dancer).

“I am advised at the sales by Merrick Staunton and Bill Wong, two excellent judges, and we just fell in love with her at the sale,” To said.

“She is an incredible horse – the best I have ever had. Honesty is her finest quality – she tries so hard in her races, each and every time – and while she hasn’t always had racing luck, she has never not tried her very best.

“Gary is doing a fantastic job with her and she has improved with each run, producing a career best in the Flight Stakes and then again in the Thousand Guineas.”

Expatriate Hong Kong businessman To has acquired a bloodstock portfolio of more than 60 horses and selling Kimochi is a way of generating significant income to support his thoroughbred investment.

“Our feeling is that there is a lot of racing left in her and clearly she is capable of winning plenty of good races in the future, but I maintain a significant breeding enterprise and to sustain that, I must trade when the opportunity presents itself,” he said.

“She has an exciting autumn in front of her, with the Surround an early target, with the option of going to the Group 1 Coolmore Classic or the Group 1 Vinery after that.

“One of her best attributes is her versatility – she has lots of speed, as her form shows, but Gary and I are optimistic that she will also prove capable of being effective beyond a mile, which opens up even more options.

“It is also encouraging to us that her sire, Brave Smash, did his best racing as a five-year-old, while she is out of a mare by I Am Invincible, another stallion who typically produces stock that improve with time.”

Inglis has already had dual Group 1-winning mare She’s Extreme (Extreme Choice) committed to the Chairman’s Sale and the company’s bloodstock chief executive Sebastian Hutch believes Kimochi will present an opportunity for buyers seeking a high-class racehorse with immense residual value.

“As of the 1st of January, she’s got high-class two-year-old form, high-class spring three-year-old form being placed in two proper fillies Group 1s with any suitable number of suitable races in front of her,” Hutch told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“Speaking to Mr To and his perspective where he thinks she can get to, and based on discussions with Gary … there is a genuine sense that the best is still to come with her which presents a hugely exciting opportunity for people come May.”

Twin Hills Stud will consign Kimochi at the Chairman’s Sale on behalf of To.

“She came to us to grow out after Leo bought her at the weanling sale and has always been a lovely filly,” Twin Hills’ Olly Tait said.

“It is very rare for a race filly of her quality to be offered at public auction with so much racing in front of her, so it’s very exciting.”

The Chairman’s Sale will be held at Riverside Stables in Sydney on Thursday, May 9.