Since establishing William Johnson Bloodstock in September 2019, the first twelve months have been a whirlwind of excitement and trepidation as COVID-19 threw the new decade into chaos. Thankfully, for the most part, racing has shown tremendous strength and clout to continue providing entertainment to a captive audience. Although it is unlikely the crowd at Flemington on Derby Day will number 100,000, the show will continue and ‘cheering home a winner’ will never have been more apparent. Many thanks to those that have supported WJB in its infancy and we hope you enjoy the newsletter.
GROUP ONE GLORY FOR MIRAGE DANCER
Mirage Dancer capped off an excellent weekend for WJB across the globe, winning the Group One Metropolitan Hcp at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 3 October (REPLAY). The son of Frankel was formerly raced in England by Juddmonte Farms before his private purchase last August by Seymour Bloodstock and partners. Whilst working for de Burgh Equine, Will Johnson negotiated the acquisition with Mark Pilkington and Busuttin Racing. Mirage Dancer became Frankel’s eleventh Group One winner and first in Australia. Hopefully he can now improve upon his third placing in last years Caulfield Cup in just over a weeks time.
YUTAKA TAKE AND AMARENA WIN IN PARIS ON ARC WEEKEND
The downpour of rain across Paris on Friday morning did not deter the zest for racing Amarena showed on her return to racing, winning by over five lengths at Listed level. Having been rested over the summer months in preparation for softer track conditions, Japan’s champion jockey, Yutaka Take guided the four-year-old with ease around Saint-Cloud. The victory was particularly special for her owner, Mr Masaaki Matsushima who flew from Japan for the weekend. Amarena was privately purchased for Mr Matsushima in 2019.
DARBY RACING OFF TO A FLYER
Congratulations to Scott Darby and his team at Darby Racing with a tremendous start to the 2020/21 racing season. Their 19 winners at a strike rate of 26% once again reinforces their fantastic product offering as the leading syndicator in Australia. It was fantastic for WJB to enjoy in one of those victories as an owner in Arctic Thunder when winning on debut. It has been a pleasure for WJB to work alongside Scott this year, securing 27 yearlings.
WARNING AN EYECATCHER IN THE TURNBULL STAKES
It was hard not to be impressed by Warning’s run in Saturday’s Group One Turnbull Stakes (REPLAY) with the quickest closing sectionals at the scene of his 2019 Victoria Derby victory. Having settled towards the rear of the field, his closing 400m-200m (10.90s) and 200m-FINISH (11.29s) were the quickest of the race and left connections optimistic the Melbourne Cup dream is still very much alive.Part owner, Ben Baines commented, “It was a great thrill to have Warning running in another quality Group One race. Considering that we had planned to be much closer in the run, it was a tremendous performance by him to finish off the way he did. The Freedmans obviously have him back in terrific shape and to have a live chance in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup is an incredible feeling; something we wouldn’t have dreamt of a couple of years ago.”
For those breeding enthusiasts out there, it has been interesting to see a sharp improvement in two similar aged stallions as broodmare sires in alternate hemispheres. Both War Front (2002) & Not A Single Doubt (2001) have more than doubled their number of stakes winners as broodmare sires since January 1 2020 and are on a sharp upward trajectory as their improved books grace the tracks and covering sheds. Perfect speed on speed!
WINE OF THE MONTH
The Macedon Ranges normally come into form this time of year with Lloyd Williams brigade of Cup’s contenders figuring prominently. However, having dispersed his army from Macedon Lodge to a variety of trainers, for those that like a Pinot and backing a roughie, there is one in the region – and it isn’t Curly Flat! Only available online through their Cellar Door, the 2016 Lyons Will Estate is a must try. At $38 it won’t break the bank after backing a few winners! LYONSWILLESTATE.COM.AU