Sun shines for Lonhro

Lonhro is going from strength-to-strength this season and he’s upped the ante in the Sunshine State since the start of May.

The Darley champion has sired two new stakes winners this month to get within one of Redoute’s Choice at the top of the Australian black-type table for 2010-11.

Lonhro’s first-crop mare Tampiko won the LR Prime Minister’s Cup at the Gold Coast on May 7 and his promising colt Benfica dominated the LR Hampden Stakes at Doomben on May 14

There’s a log-jam at the top of the stakes winners premiership with Redoute’s Choice (12) holding a slender lead over Lonhro (11), Encosta de Lago (11) and Commands (10).

Benfica (2c Lonhro – Hut by Danehill) powered home to defeat Saramenha (Snitzel) and Playtime (    Foreplay) by more than three lengths.  He will go forward to the G2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and G1 T J Smith at Eagle Farm.

The Darley colt had been the first Lonhro to win from his fourth crop of two year-olds at Rosehill on December 4 and he was runner-up to Schiffer on his only other start at Randwick on Boxing Day.

“He’s going to mature into a real racehorse,” stand-in jockey Damian Browne said.  “He relaxed beautifully and I would love to stick with him.”

Benfica is a brother to last-start Sandown Lakeside winner Shelters.  Their dam Hut won three races up to 1600m and she was also G2 placed in the AJC Light Fingers Stakes and STC Reisling Slipper Trial and Tea Rose Stakes.

Hut is a half-sister to the dam of G1 Queen of the Turf winner Neroli (Viscount).  She has a yearling filly by Elusive Quality and was covered by Denman last year.

Lonhro was just as effective at the Scone Cup carnival siring LR Scone Cup winner Dysphonia on Friday.  His sister Shannara claimed the LR Dark Jewel Classic at Scone on Saturday and he completed a running double when Jerezana won the final race of the carnival.