The aptly named Reliable Man has long been a dependable source of success and the handsome grey stallion again made his presence felt on both sides of the Tasman at the weekend.
The Group 1 winner and producer’s daughter Essonne went to another level when she remained undefeated following her Randwick victory while Mistress Minx was victorious at Ruakaka for the Westbury Stud resident.
Ruakaka was also the stage for Swiss Ace three-year-old Smart Rocks to showcase his talent stamped with further success in his fledgeling career while El Roca juvenile Dashing Triumph did just that on debut in Hong Kong.
Stud principal Gerry Harvey bred and races Essonne, who opened her career with consecutive victories at Canberra under rider Jack Martin before Ellen Hennessy guided her to victory over 1200 metres on Saturday for trainer Richard Litt.
“I rode her at the trials and won on here twice and I didn’t think I would get the chance to get back on,” she said.
“I was very thankful and it was super to get the win, Richard Litt has done a great job with the horse.”
Essonne is out of the winning Redoute’s Choice mare Riviere, who is in foal to Telperion, and is a half-sister to the Group 2 winners First Command and Oneworld.
They are out of River Serenade who is a sister to the G1 Oakleigh Plate winner River Dove, the dam of the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes winner and young sire Headwater.
The lightly raced Mistress Minx now has a brace of wins and four placings to her credit from Stephen Marsh’s Cambridge stable while Reliable Man went close to a weekend treble with his son Lord Ardmore a sound second when resuming at Randwick.
The Harvey-bred and raced Smart Rocks has won two of his four starts for Graeme and Debbie Rogerson following his latest success over 1400 metres.
“He had to do a lot of work early on and he managed to kick strongly on the corner to put a winning break on them,” grand-daughter Bailey Rogerson said.
“He is still very immature mentally, but he is getting better every time he goes to the races and I think when the penny drops, we are going to have a lot of fun with him.”
Trainer Peter Ho had stacks of pre-race confidence in Dashing Triumph’s debut prospects at Sha Tin on Sunday evening, despite the two-year-old starting at long odds.
“It was what I was expecting because before the race I spoke with the owner and said this is a nice horse, he does everything alright, no headaches for the trainer and he’s always willing to try,” Ho told the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“After his 800-metre trial, he woke up – he knows the game already – and this was not a strong field, that’s why this is not unexpected at all.”
Dashing Triumph, who cut out the 1000m in a swift 56.22s, was a A$45,000 purchase out of Westbury’s draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale.
He is a son of the Testa Rossa mare Bad Dream, a grand-daughter of G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Dinky Flyer, who also has a Redwood yearling colt, a weanling brother to Dashing Triumph and is in foal again to El Roca.
Meanwhile, there was honour in defeat for the Rogerson-trained Redwood youngster Sharp ‘N’ Smart at Eagle Farm where he finished a close fourth in the G1 JJ Atkins Stakes.
“We’re really happy with him again, but he probably just lacked that bit of seasoning,” jockey Hugh Bowman said.
“When I needed him to bullock his way through he just wasn’t ready to do it, but there’s no doubt he’s a top-line horse of the future and we’re really proud of him.”
Sharp ‘N’ Smart was bred by Harvey, who has retained an ownership interest in the juvenile son of the Swiss Ace mare Queen Margaret.