Smart stakes streak a boost for Twin Hills

A rush of three new stakes winners in the space of two days for Smart Missile couldn’t have come at a better time for Twin Hills Stud, who are planning the stallion’s second season at its Cootamundra-based farm.

Smart Missile enjoyed a fantastic weekend with front-running 5-year-old Special Missile winning Friday’s Listed Scone Cup before 3-year-old filly Ready To Prophet claimed the Listed Denise’s Joy S. at the same venue 24 hours later. Promising 2-year-old Missile Mantra then made it two wins from as many starts with a barnstorming victory in the Listed Redoute’s Choice S. at Caulfield.

That takes the stallion’s total for 2018-19 up to eight stakes winners, including his first Group 1 – Maid Of Heaven in the Spring Champion S, the season after he transferred to Twin Hills following six seasons at Arrowfield.

Off the back of that success and a record book of mares of 222 in his first season at his new home, Twin Hills recently announced his fee would move back to $22,000 (inc GST) having been $13,200 in his first year.

“He’s having a great season and his 3-year-old crop in particular is top class. He’s had five stakes winning 3-year-olds and that’s the same as Zoustar and I Am Invincible at the top of all stallions in Australia. It’s been terrific,” Twin Hills owner Olly Tait told TDN AusNZ.

It is the spread of winners which pleases Tait, with Friday and Saturday’s winners from three different crops over 1100m, 1200m and 1600m.  “He’s had a 3-year-old stakes winner, a 2-year-old stakes winner and a Scone Cup winner in two days, so it’s been really good,” Tait said.  “He is very versatile, and his horses win over all distances and at all ages. He’s everything you want in a stallion. I think his horses are very tough and they have got ability and speed. That’s what you need over whatever distance. Since Day 1, they are good looking horses, they sell well.”

Smart Missile was the leading first-season sire in Australia in 2015-16, with seven winners in his first year. But Tait feels that while he can produce a good 2-year-old, with the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Missile Mantra his sixth juvenile stakes winner, trainers are learning the value of taking their time with his progeny. “He was the leading first-season sire in his first crop which shows that he can get some talent into his 2-year-olds and even as time has gone on, people have been a bit more patient with his progeny,” he said.

“That filly of the Snowdens’ only had her first start in April of her 2-year-old year. Now she’s a stakes winner at her second start. She was given a little more time than a lot of 2-year olds do and they are being rewarded for that.” Missile Mantra looks another great buy for Triple Crown Syndications, who paid $30,000 for her at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale. She is out of Wecansay Mak (Starcraft {NZ}), the full sister to Group 1 winner We Can Say It Now. She looks a 2-year-old of some promise having won on her debut at Ballarat last month. “She’s a very nice horse,” jockey Beau Mertens said. “It’s only early days with her now. She did a lot more right than she did at Ballarat in travelling-wise and going a bit straighter.” “She’s a filly going places. I really like her. She’s only going to improve on herself and next prep, she’s going to be a lovely, lovely horse.”

Tait agreed that the future looks bright and it was fitting success given the way both Snowden and Triple Crown have supported the stallion.

“She’s an exciting prospect. She’s two from two now and she is in very good hands with Peter Snowden. The way she has won her first two races, you’d suggest she’d may get over a bit more ground,” Tait said.  “Even her maiden, it was a good, class field and going to town and winning a Listed race, you’d suggest it won’t be the last we hear of her. It’s great for the stallion and we are very happy for Triple Crown, who have been great supporters of Smart Missile as well as Peter and Paul as trainers.”

That run of results has given Tait every confidence that Smart Missile will get a similar level of support in season two at Twin Hills.

As well as Odyssey Moon, Smart Missile will stand alongside Denman, for the first time this season, who is a horse who brings a similar profile having spent nine seasons at Darley.

“Both of them have similar characteristics. Both of them have covered large numbers of good mares leading up to moving to us. We are giving them a different opportunity than they were getting at the Hunter Valley, so that has been to their advantage,” Tait said.

“They are both high quality racehorses who covered large numbers of good mares. Denman’s got a lot of runners out there for him out of quality mares. He’s had three stakes winners from his 3-year-old crop. There is much more to look forward to with him.”

Story courtesy of TDN AusNZ