Conatus Hits The Ball Out Of The Park

4 February 2009

It’s been a long wait, but we’ve never lost faith in the speed and brilliance of Conatus and the sheer potential of his progeny. It’s certainly one thing to tell breeders just how fast he was, how he carries all the major sources of speed and precocity in recent times in his first three sires (Danehill, Rory’s Jester, Bletchingly) and how he wraps them up with a double cross of Star Kingdom. It’s quite another to sit back and watch them run with all the customary speed and brilliance of their sire.

The Equine Influenza outbreak prevented most of the Conatus 2YO’s making it to the track, since the vast majority were quarantined on farms locked down by the crisis that closed the racing industry for the best part of eight months.

Conatus (Danehill / Light Up The World) really hit a home run when he chalked up his first city winner in Gag Order (Doomben Saturday 31st January, 2009), his first 2YO winner, Wild and Free (Tamworth Monday 2nd February, 2009)) and his super impressive 3YO, Pocket Battleship (Armidale Friday 30th January, 2009), who simply annihilated her opposition with a four-length demolition derby.

Gag Order, a first crop 3YO filly from Suppress (Don’t Say Halo) is trained by hot young trainer, Liam Birchley and has won her last 3 starts in super impressive fashion. The filly comes from a great speed source in her grandma, Andiamo, a half sister to the champion English racehorse and great Australian speed source sire in Showdown.

Wild and Free, the cleverly named son of Rampaging Miss (Marauding), won his first start in Tamworth under the tuition of Paul St. Vincent, who is Gerry Harvey’s pre-trainer and conditioner.

Rampaging Miss is from Engagement which makes her a half sister to Ivory’s Irish (AJC Australian Derby G1 winner, STC Tulloch Wine Stakes G2 winner and STC Theo Marks Stakes winner G2).

Fourth place getter in the race was a Conatus filly, Jazz Music, who is from Hot Gig (Best Western out of Love Bird), who missed the start and traveled six-wide to come home in very promising fashion. Hot Gig is a half sister to Armidale (VRC The Chivas Regal G3, STC Concord Stakes G3, AJC Kindergarten Stakes L).

Both Wild and Free and Jazz Music are scheduled to travel to Sydney to continue their 2YO career. They will be joined by another fleet of Conatus 2YO’s currently emerging from Gerry Harvey’s various stud farms.

The third impressive Conatus winner, Pocket Battleship ( Hulalong, who is by Hula Chief, a male line descendent of Star Kingdom). This gives the filly 3 crosses of Star Kingdom as well as the customary Danehill speed, once again evidence of the power of this nick.

These wins follow the recent win of Jeffery Joe, Punjab, Tuscon Rain and Demetria (2nd at Randwick) who all hail from the first crop of Conatus.

Conatus is one of only two young sires descended from the Denise’s Joy family which has hit the headlines in recent weeks with the scintillating win by More Joyous (More than Ready / Sunday Joy) who has shot to the top of Golden Slipper calculations.

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It excites me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do is still measured in horsepower…even in this space age. And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton, and a big drafter a full ton, either can be led about by a piece of string if he is wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder, and a challenge.

—Marguerite Henry