The Conatus ‘Superclass’ babies begin to emerge

2 March 2011

Over the last few months the much-talked about ‘new generation’ of Conatus progeny – the 2YO’s that Gerry Harvey has produced from some of his finest black type families have started to emerge from the stables of some of Australia’s leading trainers.

While Conatus covered some very ordinary mares in his first few crops at stud, the Harvey bred 2YO’s – many from the greatest female families in Australasia – represent both a quantum leap in class for the sire and a massive vote of confidence by Harvey.

The lovely bay filly Mrs Wallace (Torlundy (Zabeel – Tarten Tights) is in the formidable new David Hayes training centre at Euroa and the filly certainly has the kind of pedigree most owners can only dream about. Her dam Torlundy, is by the great Zabeel out of the multiple G1 winner Tartan Tights (NZ Oaks, AMI 1000 Guineas etc). Mrs Wallace had her first start at Bendigo in February and was then sent out for a short spell.

Hayes also has the filly Novarupta (from Katmai (Strategic – St Kate) who has just commenced training. Her dam St Kate (Danehill), is a half sister to the noted stakes performers: Bonanova (G1), Fraternity (G1) and Telesto (G1). St Kate is from St Klaire, a daughter of Great Klaire, and a half sister to the fabulous ‘blue hen’ broodmare Eight Carat and herself is a member of the one of the great female families in Australasia.

The cleverly named Banana Bender (Chiquita Banana (King Cugat – Northern Song) is in the stable of Gerald Ryan and the handsome bay colt is attracting good reports. Banana Bender is from one of the most formidable families in recent times. His dam, Chiquita Banana, is a daughter of the VRC Chairman’s Club Stakes (G2) winner Northern Song, who is half sister to the champion racehorse Northerly, winner of no less than nine G1’s and 6 G2’s. She is also a half sister to the G2 North Boy (winner of the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes etc)

It’s not hard to figure out where Gerry Harvey came up with the name: along with the fact that both Conatus and his Gold Coast sales company Magic Millions are Queensland based, both Gerry’s mother and his wife, Katie are born and bred Queenslanders as well.

The 2YO filly Balladonia (Western Invasion) has entered the stable of Marc Connors at Warwick Farm. Balladonia comes from one of Gerry Harvey’s original families: her dam Western Invasion (Best Western) is a granddaughter of Procilla, a full sister to Show Ego, formidable winner of the VRC Oaks G1, the WATC Derby G1 and the QTC Queensland Oaks G1. Balladonia has won 2 barrier trials in very impressive style before having her first start in the Widden Stakes. The filly has now been sent out for a short spell.

Santai (Casuarina Beach (Lyphard) is another 2YO from one of Harvey’s good imported families. Her dam Casuarina Beach – a daughter of the champion sire Lyphard – is now in the stable of well known Newcastle trainer, Paul Perry. Santai has been out spelling but is due back in work soon.

Another 2YO that has caught the eye is Contessina Debardi, (Our Contessina (Vetori) who hails from another of Harvey’s blue-blooded families. Our Contessina is a half sister to the dual G1 winner Sound Action (STC Ranvet Stakes, SAJC Australasian Oaks) and the filly hails from the family of the great NZ mare Winnepeg,

The toast of Harvey’s 3YOcrop is undoubtedly the exciting filly I Walk The Line (ex Country Step (Best Western) trained by Patrick & Wayne Webster at Randwick. I Walk The Line is currently shaping up as one of Conatus’ most exciting fillies, with 2 wins and 2 places. Her last start prior to a spell was an impressive five length win over 2020m at Doomben that came right on the heels of an equally impressive near four length win in Sydney. The filly is now back in work after a decent spell and being prepared with the Queensland Oaks in mind.

The speedy 3YO gelding Codigo (Decipher (Timber Country) is another Harvey runner who is trained out of Warwick Farm by trainer, Greg Hickman. After a slashing trial win, Codigo – whose grand dam was the dual G1 winner Electrique (AJC Flight Stakes, STC Ansett Australia Stakes- had 2 starts for a very good win at Canterbury recently.

The seasoned race mare Lotus Flower (Cornish Moss (Barathea) is trained by Steve Englebrecht at Warwick Farm and has now chalked up 9 starts for 3 wins and 2 places. The filly – from the family of Caledonia Belle, dam of the G1 winner Caledonian Boy – is currently in the paddock spelling.

Master trainer Clarry Connors trains the very capable filly Hot Rocks (Jewel Theft (Jade Robbery) for Harvey and the filly has broken through for a win and five placings for him to date. She has returned from a well earned spell last week with a 3rd placing first up over 1100m at Gosford.

The good mare Verballed (Accused (Jade Robbery) – trained by Neville & Chris Voigt at Randwick – is now back in work after being sent out for a good spell. Verballed – who is already the winner of four starts with two placings and earnings of $168,250 – is now set to launch her next campaign.

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There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain’t a thing.

—Will Rogers