Perth Magic Millions – New scene at Durham

Durham Lodge hasn’t looked back since Scenic died in 2005.  Losing such a high-profile stallion would have demoralised most studs but owners David, Rita and Jeremy Smith have moved on with the help of Danehill sire Blackfriars.

Scenic was based at Lindsay Park before transferring to Durham and Blackfriars won the 1999 Victoria Derby for David Hayes and the Sangster family prior to his move out west.

Blackfriars has built up an outstanding record with a winning strike rate of 59%.  Even better is the fact 18% of his winners have gone on to earn black-type.

“Blackfriars is doing a tremendous job for us,” Jeremy Smith said last week.  “He is developing into one of the more commercial stallions in the State and I can see him taking over from Bletchley Park in that respect in years to come.”

Blackfriars has a Group 1 in his sights with WA Derby candidate God Has Spoken.  The Neville Parnham trained colt has looked a classic type since winning the G3 WA Sires Produce Stakes in April.  He returned to add the Listed Aquanita Stakes in November and was then tipped out with the Derby in mind instead of targeting the G1 Kingston Town Classic.

God Has Spoken (3c Blackfriars-Dolly Will Do by Rubiton) was a $41,000 buy from Durham Lodge at the 2008 Perth Magic Millions and he has already banked over $300,000 for the Cockatoo Ridge Syndicate.

The Belmont sales complex has seen numerous Durham Lodge bargains go through the ring in recent years.  Australian Horse of the Year Scenic Blast was a $85,000 buy at the 2006 Perth Magic Millions and his bank balance is nudging $2 million.

Durham also sold his ill-fated half-brother Gilded Venom (Golden Snake) for $22,000 at the 2005 Sale.  He earned over $1.13 million and was named WA Horse of the Year before succumbing to a knee infection in January 2009.

Durham has entered 16 of the 33 yearlings by Blackfriars catalogued for the 2010 Perth Magic Millions yearling sale.  Jeremy Smith selected Lot 195 (ex Precious Stone) and Lot 266 (ex Stop in Time) among the best on type.

The Precious Stone filly is an athletic half-sister to Belmont Oaks winner Kia Ora Miss (Jeune) and the Stop in Time colt is a brother to the Perth stakes performers Impact Rating and Black In Time.

The Blackfriars- Turbo Lady half-sister (Lot 312) to G1 New Zealand Derby winner Coniston Bluebird is another highlight.  Turbo Lady is a half-sister to the dam of Zabeel colt Lords A Leaping who was runner-up in the G1 Queensland Derby.  His first yearlings will also be available at the 2010 Perth Magic Millions from home base Cromartry Park.

The Blackfriars – Prime Again colt (Lot 198) is a half-brother to the stakes winners Expunge (Penang Gold Cup & Kyneton Cup) and Lady Knockout (VRC Matron Stakes, Belmont Guineas & Belmont Oaks).

Their dam Prime Again was prepared by Lou Luciani when he was private trainer for Dallas Dempster.  By Tilden Park sire Marooned, she was a Group winner in Perth and Adelaide before retiring to stud.  She was repatriated to WA after making $65,000 from Vinery at the 2006 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale.

Apart from Blackfriars, Durham Lodge sells 7 yearlings by Hurricane Sky in Perth.  The former Arrowfield sire is enjoying a new lease of life with his first-crop bred under the Westspeed banner.  The Paula Wagg trained filly Sky Magic was very impressive winning on debut at Ascot on January 9.

The Hurricane Sky – Ancient Lights colt (Lot 350) is an outstanding individual and has the pedigree to back up his looks.  He is out of a Sydney winning sister to G1 VRC Salinger Stakes winner Ancient Song.

Durham’s draft also includes colts by Canny Lad (Lot 382) and Strada (Lot 406) that were purchased in utero at Magic Millions and Inglis Mare Sales in 2008.

The Canny Lad colt is from 1998 Sheila Gwynne Stakes (LR) winner Bella Diva.  She was trained by Frank Maynard and was later sold to Woodlands where she foaled winners by Xaar, Grand Lodge and Desert Prince.  The wheel turned full circle when Durham bought Bella Diva from Bob Ingham two years ago.

The Strada colt is by a Widden Stud sire whose first yearlings sold to $180,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions earlier this month.  His Perth colt is a half-brother to four winners in Sydney and Melbourne.  The dam Celeste is a daughter of G1 SA Derby winner Mapperley Heights.