Warwick Farm trainer Bryce Heys gave his southern counterparts pause for thought after Dancing Alone clocked a class-record down the Flemington straight last month and he was back on the front foot following her latest victory in the Catanach’s Jewellers Trophy (1100m) at Caulfield.
“We will take it one run at a time but we’re down here for a reason,” Heys said as the Vinery Stud graduate returned to scale on Wednesday. “Her form in Melbourne has been very encouraging and all credit to Blake (Shinn). She’s not the easiest mare to ride but he had her settled at critical stages of the race today.”
Dancing Alone is a daughter of Champion sire I Am Invincible and sold through the Vinery draft (as agent) for $1.4million on Day 2 of the 2021 Inglis Australian Yearling Sale. Bred by Pat Hodgens with Vinery partners Steve McCann and Neil Werrett, she has carried the “Big V” brand to 6 wins from 7 starts for owners Michael O’Keefe and Veronica King.
Her dam Miles Of Krishnan (Snitzel) won five races in Melbourne up to 1700m and was Group 2-placed in a Queen Of The South Stakes in Adelaide. Her half-brother Il Quello Veloce was a Group 1 Champion 2yo of New Zealand and her half-sister Donna Cattiva was a stakes-winning 2yo at Morphettville.
“We rated Dancing Alone the best filly at the Easter Sale,” Heys recalled. “I was really taken with her and it’s a fantastic family. She was a high-priced yearling and is furnishing into a beautiful mare. Her value as a broodmare is exciting.”
Heys didn’t have to explain the reason for a trip south because a black-type victory during the Melbourne Cup carnival is a kick-starter on any young mare’s catalogue page. And he didn’t identify an actual race but did mention she’s best with three weeks between runs.
The Begonia Belle Stakes (Gr.3, 1100m) is a suitable sprint down the Flemington straight on Saturday November 4 and the Century Stakes (LR, 1000m) against the males is another alternative on Thursday, November 9.
“Dreams are free and today’s win will top her off nicely into the carnival,” Heys said. “I will have a chat with Blake and we will let her be the guide.”
Shinn is two-for-two on Dancing Alone. “She’s brave when the chips are down and I was always confident. She’s comfortable racing left-handed and I nursed her into the straight. She changed legs and let down beautifully. It was a super win.”
Heys targeted another I Am Invincible yearling filly from Vinery Stud when bidding $800,000 at this year’s Inglis Australian Easter Sale for the daughter of Ballet Rose (Exceed And Excel). She was offered as agent for a partnership that once again included McCann and Werrett.
Her dam is a half-sister to Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner King’s Rose and Group 2 MVRC Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) winner Hardham. “She’s outstanding and was at the top of our list after inspections at Vinery,” Heys said at Riverside Stables. “And I was especially impressed the way she paraded on the sale grounds.
“She’s a gorgeous ‘Vinnie’ filly and I was happy to get her at that price.” Ballet Rose has a first-crop yearling filly by Vinery sire Ole Kirk who could also star at the majors in 2024.