A trio of promising 3yo maiden winners on Friday was good news in itself for Vinery Stud but the progress of Chico Casino (Casino Prince), Stellar Lady (Star Turn) and Belle Inferno (All Too Hard) will be of greater interest as all three have the potential to rise through the grades in 2024.
Chico Casino worked to the lead on debut in the Col Hodges Tribute Hcp (1200m) at Bathurst and found another gear when pressured in the straight to justify a short-priced quote. A peep over his shoulder told Mathew Cahill hands and heels would be sufficient to maintain a comfortable margin through the line.
Bred and part-owned by Tony Muollo, he’s the first foal from Giovanina (Hinchinbrook) and the mare’s most recent cover to was Star Turn in September. Chico Casino is trained locally by Dean Mirfin and is one of 438 individual winners by Vinery stalwart Casino Prince at a lifetime strike-rate of 70%.
Stellar Lady was also equal to the task as an odds-on favourite when facing the starter for the first time at the Sunshine Coast on Friday evening. The Steve O’Dea & Matt Hoysted-trained filly camped behind the speed and only required one back-hander from stable hoop Boris Thornton in the Fiorente Advisory Hcp (1000m).
“That’s how you love to see them break their maidens,” O’Dea-Hoysted Racing noted. “Boris gave her the gun run and there was no stopping the youngster after splitting the field turning for home.”
Stellar Lady is a homebred for Bendaree Park owner Howard Blight using Star Turn over Lady Millions (Charge Forward). Two years earlier, he supported Star Turn’s first book with Dixie’s Comet (Northern Meteor) to produce 2023 Singapore Derby (LR, 1800m) winner Golden Monkey.
Lady Millions is an unraced half-sister to Group 2-winning Zoustar mare Haut Brion Her (Zoustar) and her Deep Field filly made $280,000 at last month’s Gold Coast Magic Millions to newly-licensed Pakenham trainer Dom Sutton.
Belle Inferno could end up being the best of the trio despite not having the luxury of an easy kill at Moonee Valley on Friday night. She had to knuckle down against market-leader Ceremonious (NZ) before edging clear in the Dominant Home Products Plate (1514m).
“She settled and gave me a beautiful ride,” jockey John Allen said. “We following the favourite everywhere and my filly kicked on the corner. She was great first-up down the straight at Flemington and the extra distance suited tonight.”
The All Too Hard filly was racing third-time out for a Ciaron Maher Racing syndicate after being knocked down for $65,000 at the 2022 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale. Willow Park Stud’s Glenn Burrows bred and sold her in partnership with former Racetrack Magazine editor Jeff Sagar.
Belle Inferno is the second winner from two to the races out of Maddie De Belle (Bernardini) and will have one more run prior to spelling for a winter campaign. She descends from Storm Song (Summer Squall) who was the USA Champion 2YO Filly of 1996.
All Too Hard has overtaken his own sire Casino Prince for individual winners (462) while also striking at 70% winners-to-runners. There are 19 lots catalogued from his current yearling crop at the Inglis Classic Sale starting next Sunday, February 11.
Star Turn has 16 yearlings heading to Riverside Stables and the sole Casino Prince is a full-brother to ATC Doncaster Prelude (Gr.3, 1500m) winner Bandersnatch (Lot 281).