Thorn Park and Conatus Continue Denise's Joy Line

Tara Madgwick - - Written by Brian Russell Media - 14 January 2008

DENISE’S JOY, a Tommy Smith trained queen of Australian racing in the mid 1970s, has become one of the best and most consistent sources of racing and breeding excellence in Australia over the ensuing 30 years. The descendants have included Group 1 or 2 winners in Thorn Park, Bentley Biscuit, Tuesday Joy, Sunday Joy, Miss Danehill, Euphoria, Pentastic, Joie de Grise, Arlington Road, Light Up The World, Christmas Tree, So Gorgeous and Tipungwuti.

The Denise’s Joy family has been quiet for colts used at stud and until this season the only one to be represented as a sire by runners had been the good sprinter Christmas Tree, the sire of over 150 winners, including 13 who won or placed in stakes events.

The family, however, could be on the threshold of an era of sire success through two representatives, Thorn Park and Conatus, who have got off to promising starts in the current racing year with their first juveniles. Based at the Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand, Thorn Park has four money earners to his credit, including New Zealand winner Reuben Thorn and Brisbane and Toowoomba placed Hyde Park – his only outings.

Thorn Park Thorn Park (pictured left) has the credentials and the opportunity to be a first class sire. A son of the world class Nureyev miler Spinning World and a Bluebird mare, Joy, out of a three-quarter sister to Christmas Tree, he was one of the best sprinters in Australia at four, a year four wins included the QTC Stradbroke Handicap, STC Premiere Stakes and at Doomben the BTC Cup.

His dam is a half-sister to Light Up The World, the Rory’s Jester flyer who went to Danehill to produce Conatus, the other representative tipped to put the Denise’s Joy sire dynasty on the map. Light Up The World won eight sprint races, including the AJC Challenge Stakes, STC Premiere Stakes and Queen of the Turf Stakes.

A brother to Blue Diamond Preview winner and Blue Diamond Stakes third World Peace, Conatus demonstrated similar speed in a13 start career that included four wins. Unraced at two, he showed considerable ability at three, winning his first two outings, both over 1100m, as an odds-on favourite in dashing style. Following a 2.5 lengths trial win at Warwick Farm, he rocketed to a 3.3 lengths debut win at Randwick in class record time and then three weeks later scored by 1.5 lengths at Gosford.

His other two successes were at Newcastle (won over 1400m in class record time on their Cup program) and Warwick Farm (by 1.8 lengths and in 1000m time of 0:57.48).

Raced by a syndicate, including his breeder and good supporter Gerry Harvey of the Baramul Stud, Conatus (pictured below) was installed on retirement at Heather and David Pascoe’s young quality breeding operation Plaintree Farms in Queensland’s Toowoomba district and, not surprisingly, was popular with mare owners, looking after 83 mares in his first season and 109 in his second.

Conatus One of his supporters in his first season, the Daandine Stud at Goomburra near Warwick, has gained the honour of being the breeder of the first Conatus winner, Tuscon Rain. One of two starters to date by this son of Danehill, Tuscon Rain was appearing for the second time when successful by 1.8 lengths in a feature juvenile event over 1000m at the Gold Coast on Saturday. He is from Flying In The Rain, a mare by the Biscay sire Sanction who won nine races from 1000 to 1800m in North Queensland.

More wins by the Conatus progeny between now at the Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale commencing on Easter Monday, March 24, could add further to the appeal of his three-quarter brother by Redoute’s Choice and from Light Up The World in the magnificent draft from the Baramul Stud.

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A canter is a cure for every evil.

—Benjamin Disraeli