Ole Kirk has a $25 million price tag now — and that’s conservative. North Pacific would probably be worth about the same amount.
The Team Hawkes-trained duo are arguably the most valuable three-year-old colts in the southern hemisphere after their memorable one-two finish in the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens.
The official margin separating the stablemates was a head. Ever the perfectionist, Hall of Fame trainer John Hawkes said: “A dead heat would have been better!”
“They are both outstanding colts, we liked them as yearlings and it’s great for our owners to get this result,’’ Hawkes said. “We are just doing our job, developing these colts.’’
Remarkably, Ole Kirk and North Pacific were purchased at the same yearling sale — the 2019 Inglis Premier Sale in Melbourne — and were the top two lots.
Ole Kirk, a close relation to all-time great Black Caviar and All Too Hard, sold for $675,000 and North Pacific $800,000 — and in the buoyant thoroughbred industry, they have proven to be astute investments after their duel for the Golden Rose, which has a deserved reputation as a “stallion-making race”.
This was a Golden Rose to remember as Ole Kirk ($7), ridden by Tommy Berry, charged through the pack in the straight while North Pacific ($7.50) stormed down the centre of the course before they drew clear of their rivals with King’s Legacy ($21) nearly two lengths away third,
Gun Queensland three-year-old Rothfire was sensationally backed into $1.55 favouritism but after leading for most of the race, he faded late to finish fourth, more than three lengths behind Ole Kirk.
“Rothfire travelled a bit too strong outside the leader so I ended up taking it up myself,’’ jockey Jim Byrne said.
“At the 400m I thought nothing is going to beat him but at the 300m I was gone. As soon as we went over the line he felt a bit lame.’’
Racing NSW stewards later reported Rothfire was found to be “three out of five lame” with soreness in the shoulder and off-foreleg which must place a question mark on the gelding going into the $15 million The TAB Everest in three weeks.
But to the winner goes the spoils and this was a day to remember for the Hawkes stable with the Golden Rose quinella.
“It is all about (developing) these colts,’’ co-trainer Michael Hawkes said. “That is what we love doing, we exceed at it, we aren’t flamboyant about it, we are reserved and get on with the job and know what has to be done.”
Hawkes admitted it was difficult keeping track of both Ole Kirk and North Pacific in the run.
“You always try and watch both horses. I could see North Pacific coming down the outside and to his credit he was very gallant in defeat,’’ Hawkes said.
“Tommy just got held up on Ole Kirk, he had wait for the right run and that probably proved the difference. He was able to sprint that little bit better and they’ve streeted the rest.
“I said to (Ole Kirk’s owner) Neil Werrett before the first run, that the horse was going very good. As good as he’s ever gone. He’s from the All Too Hard, Black Caviar family — it just doesn’t get any better.
“We’ve always had two really good colts, we’ve tried to separate them going forward. Obviously this is the Grand Final and to run one-two, it’s a fantastic effort.”
Berry scored the 30th Group 1 win or his riding career on Ole Kirk — eight years after winning his first major on Epaulette in the Golden Rose.
Ole Kirk also gave Berry major race wins on successive weekends after he won on Kolding in the Group 1 George Main Stakes last week.
“It’s great to win this race for the Hawkes team,’’ Berry said. “I’ve had a great association with them for a long time but since the grey (Chautauqua) retired I’ve struggled to find a Group 1 for them.
“Ole Kirk has a short, sharp sprint but at the 80m I was beaten but this colt just pinned his ears back, he didn’t want to lie down.
“He’s had a great attitude all preparation, he’s definitely a lot more mature than he was last season. The writing was on the wall last time, everyone forgot about him to a certain extent but we definitely didn’t at home in the stable.”
James McDonald, rider of North Pacific, said his colt “tried his heart out, he went super.’’
Hawkes said the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) would seem a likely target for both colts but said all options would be considered before determining their next runs.
The Snowden stable confirmed King’s Legacy would go to the Caulfield Guineas in two weeks.
Jockey Hugh Bowman said King’s Legacy was “certainly more comfortable at this distance and when he gets to a mile he’ll be even more comfortable.”
AT THE TRACK
With Matt Jones
FIRE DOUSED BUT THERE WERE EXCUSES
Rothfire had genuine excuses in the Golden Rose when he faded out to run fourth and his Everest tilt is in doubt. Using up a lot of gas early wasn’t ideal when Nash Rawiller pushed Mamaragan forward to keep him out.
“I was told to be nice and positive. I wasn’t expecting him to over race like he did,” Rawiller said when questioned.
“I gave him a decent hit out of the gate but sat on him after.” But pulling up 3/5 lame was the main reason he faded out of it. “That’s not insignificant,” chief steward Marc Van Gestel said when he talked to Jim Byrne about his ride.
“We were going to be annoying to each other so I rolled forward,” Byrne said of the opening stages.
“At first I thought it was the headwind. But passing the 400m the race was over. He didn’t have the acceleration when I asked him for it at the 300m.
“I couldn’t be more confident coming here today and hopefully he can bounce back.”
The punter that had $40,000 on Rothfire was another to feel sorry for.
Would it be premature to rule Haut Brion Her out of The Everest despite her seventh placing in the Golden Pendant (1400m)? James McDonald told stewards she would be better over 1200m after she endured a tough run from a wide gate on Saturday.
“She’s a very fast mare,” he said. “I was happy being three-wide because of the way she began. The front half (of the field) was gone so I thought I’d take my medicine and came back but she took charge of me and I almost clipped heels.”
TRAINER TALKS UP LURE OF THE BIG CITY LIGHTS
One prominent Kembla Grange trainer told this column months ago they’d be better off moving down the road to Goulburn and becoming a country trainer so they could aim their young horses at weekly $75,000 Highway races.
Gosford trainer Luke Hilton understood that view. “If we moved to the country we’d get so much more,” he said.
“People are bypassing the provincial trainers to go to the country because they can get weekly Highways and the Kosciuszko.
“I’ve had owners tell me I’d have 30 or 40 more horses if I went out to the country.”
He thinks Racing NSW should tinker with the Highway concept.
“I just wish we had a Highway every second week, even if it was a provincial country and provincial Highway,” he said.
“It’s about the selling point for our owners to be able to go to Randwick and see their horses race who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get here.”
BETTER GET AN ATTORNEY, JASON
Despite winning on Attorney stewards were critical of Jason Collett’s ride when he didn’t go to the outside of Djukon to make his run. He went up the fence and got the gap and won with ease. “If you run second there might be some more serious questions of your tactics there,” chief steward Marc Van Gestel said.
VICS HIT ANOTHER ROADBLOCK
For the second time in as many weeks a Maher/Eustace stayer has come up from Melbourne with big raps and flopped in Sydney.
A fortnight ago it was $1.55 chance Cadre Du Noir who ran second to Desert Path. And on Saturday $3 favourite Exemplar ran last in Attorney’s race.
He did have genuine excuses when he pulled up lame and Tommy Berry wasn’t surprised. “When I asked him to press on he got a bit slower instead of faster,” he said.
“His best racing is on the Soft and we’re on a Firm 3 out there. It was evident at the half mile when I gave him a slap down the shoulder that I was out of carrots.”
NICE PAINT JOB FOR BOB TRIBUTE
The ATC paid tribute to Bob Ingham, who died during the week at 88, by painting the jockeys at the winning post in the owner’s famous silks. The last time the winning post at Rosehill featured all-cerise colours was in 1997 when Guineas won the Golden Slipper and Octagonal took out he Tancred Stakes.
EXPLANATION DELAY DOESN’T ADD UP
Matt Dunn was fined $6000 after Rothenburg was disqualified from his Highway win a few months ago.
He returned a positive swab to an anti-inflammatory which the stable said due to containment in the stable.
He’s been transferred to Joe Cleary’s stables now.
The most interesting thing is that Racing NSW stewards refused to give an explanation to the disqualification for the past week. Why?
THE ANSWER MY FRIEND IS BLOWING IN THE WIND
The races at Kembla Grange were called off mid meeting due to high winds which isn’t uncommon down that way.
NASH LEFT SCRATCHING HIS HEAD
Nash Rawiller told stewards Return With Honour is very frustrating after his 20th placing in the Heritage Stakes. “You ride him in trackwork and he gives you the best feeling ever. We’re still trying to figure him out of race day,” Rawiller said.
SPRIGGS MAKES THE WEIGHT
Attorney will carry just 50kg if he runs in The Metropolitan but may run in the Herbert Power to try and get into the Caulfield Cup. Blake Spriggs tweeted during the week that he’s ready to ride at 50kg in the Metropolitan or Epsom.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD IN SUCCESS
Apparently one of Subpoenaed’s owners dislocated their shoulder celebrating her Golden Pendant win and had to be carted away from Rosehill in an ambulance.
J-MAC COPS HIS WHACK FOR BREACH
James McDonald was charged for using the whip on three successive occasions prior to the 100m on North Pacific in the Golden Rose. He pleaded guilty and was fined $800.
HORSES TO FOLLOW
King’s Legacy (over a mile), North Pacific (Everest chance?) Scarlet Dream (going great)
ONES TO SACK
Peltzer (not up to top ones), Masked Crusader (disappointing)
RIDE OF THE DAY
Tommy Berry on Ole Kirk (superb weaving ride)
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Peter and Paul said ‘make sure he jumps and get him in a rhythm otherwise you won’t ride for us again’,” said James McDonald after winning on Wild Ruler.
TAB BIG BETS
Scarleo had its admirers despite getting out in the market in the TAB Highway Class 2 Handicap (1500m).
The Keith Dryden-trained runner went from $8 on Wednesday out to as much as $12 today, however, a late rally saw it come into $11.
Tempel One ($5.50-$4.60) was easily the most popular horse and was responsible for 34 percent of the total investment.
Crackerjack Kenny ($18) and Highbury ($15) filled the minors but only had light specking. Cosmic Haze ($6.50) and Sumdeel ($11) carried some decent bets.
Matt Smith’s representative in the Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) had his share of admirers all day and was very solid in the market.
Getting out to $4.60 at one stage before jumping at $4.40, TAB wasn’t prepared to take any risks about the six-year-old. He was the second most popular runner in the race behind Exemplar ($2.50-$2.90).
Djukon ($9.50-$7) ran right up to the support for it on the day by finishing in the runner-up spot.
BETS: Attorney $1,000 @ $4.60, $1,000 @ $4.40
BETS: Exemplar $3,500 @ $2.90, $1,300 @ $2.90, $4,000 @ $2.80, $1,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,500 @ $2.50
BETS: Carzoff $1,000 @ $4.80
BETS: Djukon $1,000 @ $7
BETS: Grey Lion $3,000 @ $6.50
In a very competitive betting affair it was Entente that did the job for its backers in the Ranvet Handicap (1900m).
Although a slight drifter in betting after going from $5.50 out to $7, Entente went around as one of four horses that carried six figure holds. The others were She’s Ideel ($4-$3.60-$3.90), Yonkers ($12 on Wednesday, $6-$7) and Thought Of That ($9-$6.50).
She’s Ideel was extremely popular and held twice as much as Yonkers and nearly three times as much as the winner.
Vegas Jewel ($12-$14-$9.50-$10) was a notable late firmer.
BETS: Thought Of That $2,000 @ $6.50, $1,000 @ $6.50
BETS: She’s Ideel $2,000 @ $3.90 TWICE, $1,000 @ $3.90 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $3.80, $1,500 @ $3.60 TWICE, $1,154 @ $3.60
BETS: Yonkers $1,000 x $2,000 e/w @ $7.50/$2.60, $1,500 @ $7, $1,000 e/w @ $7/$2.40
BETS: Entente $1,000 @ $7
BETS: Vegas Jewel $1,000 @ $10
One of the best backed runners all day was Love Tap in the Precise Air Gloaming Stakes (1800m).
Love Tap ($1.70) was heavily tried after being $1.90 in the morning with TAB initially offering $2.25 when markets opened on Wednesday morning.
He was nearly five times as popular as anything else in the race and held well over half the total investment in the Group 3.
Outside the favourite, Easy Campese ($9) attracted good money at the eachway odds.
BETS: Love Tap $3,750 @ $1.80, $2,500 @ $1.80, $2,292 @ $1.80, $7,800 @ $1.70, $7,400 @ $1.70, $4,110 @ $1.70, $4,000 @ $1.70 MULTIPLE TIMES, $3,000 @ $1.70, $2,200 @ $1.70, $2,000 @ $1.70 MULTIPLE TIMES, $9,600 @ $1.65, $3,000 @ $1.65, $2,000 @ $1.65
TAB punters were on top once again this time with Wild Ruler in the Schweppes Heritage Stakes (1100m).
In a huge blow to TAB, Wild Ruler delivered a big loss on the race after being sensationally backed throughout the week and again into today.
As much as $8 was available on Wednesday and today as much as $4.40 was still available before a big shift from $3.50 into $2.90 told the tale.
Wild Ruler went around with 50 percent of the money in the race and was more than three times as popular as the second pick in the market which was Forbidden Love ($3.70-$3.20-$4.20).
BETS: Wild Ruler $2,000 @ $3
TAB customers delivered another losing result to TAB after I Am Superman was too strong in the Iron Jack Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Despite being a drifter on the day, I Am Superman ($3.40-$4.60) went around as the most popular horse and finished too well down the Rosehill straight.
Riodini ($7-$4.80) ran right up to the support for it throughout the afternoon and was the most notable push in the race outside the winner and Looks Like Elvis ($11 on Wednesday, $5.50-$4.80-$5). All three horses filled the trifecta spots.
Of the rest, Nudge ($12-$10) held plenty of hopes for eachway backers.
BETS: I Am Superman $5,530 @ $4.60, $2,000 @ $4.60, $1,500 @ $4.20, $1,000 @ $4.20 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $4, $1,000 @ $3.90
BETS: Looks Like Elvis $1,000 @ $5
BETS: Riodini $5,000 x $1,500 e/w @ $5/$1.95
Favourite backers were sent packing in the Golden Rose (1400m) after Rothfire was a costly commodity.
The Queenslander was a dominant $1.60 favourite and bottomed out at $1.55 after being $1.85 in the morning. TAB had initially gone up $2 earlier in the week when final field betting commenced.
Rothfire was responsible for 63 percent of the total investment and was six times as popular as the winner Ole Kirk ($8-$6.50-$7) which was best tried of the others.
North Pacific ($6-$7.50) had plenty of admirers also with one TAB customer outlaying $20,000 eachway on it while Kings Legacy got to $23 at one stage of the afternoon but came into $19 at the jump.
BETS: Ole Kirk $2,000 @ $7, $1,000 @ $7
BETS: Rothfire $1,590 @ $1.85, $2,000 @ $1.75, $40,000 @ $1.70, $16,000 @ $1.70, $10,000 @ $1.70, $3,000 @ $1.70, $2,000 @ $1.65, $6,440 @ $1.60, $5,000 @ $1.60 TWICE, $4,400 @ $1.60, $4,000 @ $1.60, $3,500 @ $1.60 TWICE, $3,000 @ $1.60
BETS: North Pacific $3,000 e/w @ $7/$1.85, $20,000 e/w @ $6.50/$1.70
The money was spot on in the Golden Pendant (1400m) with the notable mover Subpoenaed landing a nice push.
The Chris Waller runner was $9.50 this morning and the weight of money throughout the day saw her firm into a $5 second favourite.
Despite the good money she held around a third of what the favourite Haut Brion Her ($2.40) did. The stablemate was responsible for nearly half of the money in the race.
Of the others, there was a late push at big odds for Air To Air ($34-$61-$31) while Seasons ($9-$12) and Jen Rules ($16-$19) had admirers at the price.
BETS: Subpoenaed $1,000 @ $5.50 MULTIPLE TIMES, $3,000 @ $5
BETS: Haut Brion Her $5,000 @ $2.50, $2,000 @ $2.50, $4,000 @ $2.40, $3,000 @ $2.30, $2,266 @ $2.30
BETS: Seasons $5,000 x $2,000 e/w @ $12/$3.20
Masked Crusader burnt punters once more with his unplaced effort in the Quayclean Handicap (1400m) a costly performance.
With a stack of multis and over half the money on the race itself riding with the four-year-old, Masked Crusader went around as a $1.55 pop after $1.90 was offered earlier in the day.
After having a comfortable run midfield, James McDonald pulled him out to make a run but he never looked likely in finishing towards the rear.
It was left to Prime Candidate ($8-$13) to defy a betting drift to lead throughout for Bjorn Baker and Josh Parr.
BETS: Masked Crusader $7,887 @ $1.95, $1,250 @ $1.95, $4,250 @ $1.60, $10,970 @ $1.55, $6,000 @ $1.55 TWICE, $5,000 @ $1.55 MULTIPLE TIMES, $3,000 @ $1.55 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Bottega $2,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $11/$2.30, $1,000 e/w @ $11/$2.30