Rising star rock-hard for Perth Cup

Kia Ora Koutou won’t have another run before New Year’s Eve but will strip rock-hard for the G2 Perth Cup (2400m).

He became the 35th stakes winner by Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars in Saturday’s Listed JRA Trophy (2200m) and is well on the way to fulfilling a prediction made by trainer Geoff Durrant earlier this year

“There’s a good race in him,” Durrant promised in March.  “He can fly the flag for our stable over the next 18 months.”

Bookmakers agreed.  He will be racing for the fifth time this campaign on December 31 and is a firming $3.20 Perth Cup favourite ahead of Perfect Reflection ($6.50).

Blackfriars filled the 2014 Perth Cup quinella with Black Tycoon and God Has Spoken.  And his JRA Trophy winner is bred to stay through Kia Ora Miss (Jeune) who won 10 races topped by the 2006 Belmont Oaks.  She also finished fourth in the 2008 Perth Cup won by Cats Fun.

Scenic Lodge sends 15 yearlings by Blackfriars to the Perth Magic Millions in February and there’s another 10 from outside vendors.  His 25 lots is the biggest sire-draft from Oratorio (23) & War Chant (22).

Blackfriars (Danehill) is the most successful solely-based WA stallion in history.  He had been equal with Sunspeed legend Haulpak (Dignitas) on 33 stakes winners and then took over when Chocolate Holic made it 34 in the Listed Northam Cup (1600m) on October 23.

Chocolate Holic and Kia Ora Koutou spearhead the latest wave of stakes winning stayers by Blackfriars.  He also has Black Heart Back prepping for a first-up tilt in the G1 Newmarket Hcp – Australia’s premier sprint – at Flemington in March.