Conatus to light up Plaintree Farms

Racing & Breeding News - Brian Russell - Bloodstock Media Service - 3 July 2007

There are few Danehill (USA) sires with immediate bloodlines offering more in potential speed than Conatus, a son of this world giant of thoroughbred breeding who has good prospects of lighting up Heather Pascoe’s Plaintree Farms as a big player in Queensland.

This sturdy bay due to have his first two-year-olds race during 2007-2008 is a brother to juvenile star World Peace, a winner of a MRC Blue Diamond Preview-Gr.3 and third placegetter in the MRC Blue Diamond Stakes-Gr.1. They are from Light Up The World, a winner of eight sprint races, including two Group 3s at Rosehill Gardens, and second in the AJC Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 and STC Missile Stakes-Gr.3.

Light Up The World is a half-sister by Golden Slipper winner and prolific speed influence Rory’s Jester to the dams of the noted performers Bentley Biscuit and Thorn Park and is from Christmas Spirit, a daughter of Bletchingly, a setter of new track record time at Flemington and three times champion Australian sire.

Bletchingly was by the awesomely fast Biscay, the sire also of Marscay, the maternal grandsire of the Danehill sires Catbird, Elvstroem and Untouchable. Biscay also sired Christmas Tree, a winner of the STC Pago Pago Stakes-Gr.2 and AJC Kindergarten Stakes, a Golden Slipper-Gr.1 fourth and three-quarter brother to the grandam of Conatus.

Christmas Spirit and Christmas Tree were from Joy and Fun, a daughter of champion racehorse and sire Showdown(GB) and a queen of Australian racing and breeding, Denise’s Joy. The latter mare is recognised as the matriarch of one of Australia’s most successful modern Group1 producing families.

Conatus did not add to the family’s Group1 honour board, but in a brief career lived up to his genes with some exhibitions of blistering speed. Unraced at two, he showed considerable ability at three, winning his first two outings, the first of them an1100m event at Randwick which he won by 3.3 lengths in class record time. He had impressed so much in training, including a trial win by 2.5 lengths at Warwick Farm, that he was sent out an odds on favourite in both wins.

Conatus also won twice at four, and was successful in two trials, before retirement to Plaintree Farms.The first of the wins was by 4.0 lengths and in class record time in a 1400m event on the Newcastle Cup program and the second by 1.8 lengths at Warwick Farm. He covered the 1000m journey at the Farm in 0:57.48.

John Hawkes, the trainer of this son of Danehill, told Gerry Harvey, it’s breeder and one of it’s owners, that he considered in short-sprint terms alone, Conatus would have held his end up with Champion Australasian Sprinter Exceed and Excel. Also by Danehill, Exceed and Excel now stands at the Darley Stud at Aberdeen in the HunterValley on $55,000, a vast difference to the $3,300 asked for Conatus.

The owner of the historic Baramul Stud in the Widden Valley, Gerry Harvey and the other syndicate owners entrusted Conatus to Heather Pascoe’s care at the young Plaintree Farms stud, Cecil Plains Road, Toowoomba, in 2004 and his books for his first two seasons were 83 (first season) and 109 (2005).

Harvey has strongly supported him each year and among the mares in his initial book were daughters of Marscay, Encosta de Lago, Zabeel, Secret Savings (USA), Snippets, Thunder Gulch(USA), Desert Prince (IRE), Marauding, Timber Country (USA), Royal Academy (USA), Last Tycoon (IRE), Canny Lad, Scenic (IRE) and Geiger Counter (USA).

Conatus is one of two sons of Danehill available at Plaintree Farms, the other being the high class performing Platinum Scissors, the four-years younger brother of the Australian super sire Redoute’s Choice and in consequence a representative of world-wide successful sire producing Best in Show family.

An attractive,16.1 hands bay, Platinum Scissors won five races from 1400 to 2000m and earned five Group1 cheques, a win in the AJC Spring Champion Stakes, second in the BTC Doomben Cup and fourths in the AJC George Main Stakes, STC George Ryder Stakes and MRC Caulfield Stakes.

He started his sire career in 2004 at the Arrowfield Stud but was transferred last year by his breeder, owner and good supporter Muzzafar Yaseen of Teeley Assets to Plaintree Farms in order take advantage of the expertise of Heather Pascoe’s veterinary husband Dr David Pascoe. He is a renowned world-wide as a reproduction specialist and Platinum Scissors had suffered some infertility problems.

Platinum Scissors has 8 foals, 2-year-olds of 2007-08, from his first season, and has had yearlings sell at $90,000 and $57,500. Two of his youngsters, including one which has wraps on it following early work outs, are with Gai Waterhouse and another is with John O’Shea.

Platinum Scissors stands at Plaintree Farms on $11,000, sharing the complex with not only Conatus but also the powerfully bred Sunday Knight. He is one of the small number of Australian bred sons of the giant of Japanese breeding Sunday Silence and is a half-brother to the dam of the Redoute’s Choice champion Fashion’s Afield.

A total outcross to Danehill, his sire Danzig and grandsire Northern Dancer, the near black Sunday Knight (fee $4,400), had his oldest progeny two-year-olds in 2006-07 but only eight, including four money earners, had raced to the end of June. They include Knight in Tights (third at Moonee Valley at his only start) and Mythical Memory (a filly with Michael Nolan at Toowoomba who followed a trial win at Gatton with a second in her only race so far).

One yet to start worth keeping an eye on is Punch Up, a head second in an open maiden trial at Eagle Farm and then a winner of one at the Gold Coast on June 19 by margins of a length and 7.0 lengths.

The sires at Plaintree Farms can be accessed on 0418 788 877 (Heather Pascoe), 0428 788 878 (Rachel Bell), (07) 4630 4071, Fax (07) 4630 4671, email

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