Australians love a fast and classy two year-old and Chatswood Stud’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Reward for Effort certainly fits the bill. He’s off to a flying start at stud and looks another winner from the all-conquering Danehill sire line.
BLUE DIAMOND Stakes-Gr.1 winner Reward for Effort was the busiest stallion in Victoria in 2015, looking after 209 mares at the Willis family’s Chatswood Stud at $11,000. With Group winners Gold Symphony and Take Pride from his first crop and stakes winner Dalradian from his second crop, now two year-olds, among 30 winners of $1.7m, it’s no wonder this son of champion sprinter Exceed and Excel is popular with breeders.
It also helps that Reward for Effort hails from one of Australia’s best imported families, one that has given us a Golden Slipper winner in Overreach (a three-quarter sister to Reward for Effort), a dual Gr.1 winner and boom young sire Turffontein and, further back, the outstanding sires Smokey Eyes (IRE) and Sovereign Edition (IRE).
With nine juvenile winners of $439,257, Reward for Effort (ex Miss Prospect by Rory’s Jester) was sixth on the first crop sires’ list for 2014-15 behind Hinchinbrook and was the highest ranking Victorian-based sire. He has continued that good work into 2016 and at mid-February was second on the second season sires’ list behind Hinchinbrook (23 winners of $1.89m) with 22 winners of $1.22m. Beneteau (20 winners, $1.13m) and Star Witness (26 winners, $1.06m) were next.
Reward for Effort’s three year-old son Gold Symphony (dam by Stravinsky), winner of three races including the Vain Stakes-Gr.3 and McNeil Stakes-Gr.3 is considered one of the brightest sprint prospects in the country and is trained by Peter Moody who conditioned his sire, while Take Pride (Elusive Quality) is doing a great job for the fairer sex with her three wins including the MVRC Champagne Stakes-Gr.3. Two year-olds Dalradian (O’Reilly) winner of the MVRC Inglis Banner 2YO-RL and Gratwick (O’Reilly; Danehill 3mx4m), third on debut in the MRC Chairman’s Stakes-Gr.3 behind Extreme Choice, plus the multiple winner Hell of an Effort (Ashkalani), head a promising second crop.
Reward for Effort also has winners out of daughters of Brief Truce, Ashkalani, Galileo (2), Xaar, Encosta de Lago (2), Dubai Destination, El Moxie, Canny Lad, Thunder Gulch, Danehill Dancer, Ifrad, Ne Coupez Pas, Danzero, General Nediym, Song of Tara, Palace Music, Strategic, Al Hareb, Priolo, Dolphin Street, Prego, Festival Hall, Snippets and Falvelon. His progeny have a winning distance index of 1148m. While his 2015 book of 209 was his biggest in in five stud seasons, he has always been a busy stallion, starting in 2011 with 150 mares, then covering books of 173, 179 and 169 before topping 200 this season (all at $11,000).
Bred by David Moodie’s Contract Racing, Reward for Effort was offered at the 2008 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne and knocked down to Dynamic Syndications for $190,000. His dam Miss Prospect, a daughter of Golden Slipper winner and sire Rory’s Jester, was by then a notable producer after a career on the track that netted six wins (1000m-1209m) including the AJC Keith Mackay Handicp-LR, the MVRC Champagne Stakes-LR and the Silver Jubilee Stakes-LR and a third in the Magic Night Stakes-Gr.2.
Her first foal was the Listed winner and Stradbroke Handicap-Gr.1 runner-up Consular (Royal Academy), a winner of 16 races and more than $1m, and each of her eight foals to get to the track have won. Her daughters are carrying on the good work, one of them, Bahia by Snippets, producing Champion Two Year-Old Filly and Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner Overreach (also by Exceed and Excel).
Miss Prospect is also dam of Group placed producer Annie la Vie (Flying Spur) and city winner Impulsive Lass (Flying Spur), dam of stakes placed Right of Wrong (Manhattan Rain), and producers Our Teacher’s Pet (Knowledge) and Miss Excellence (Exceed and Excel). Her sire, Rory’s Jester (Crown Jester-Rory’s Rocket (GB) by Roan Rocket), won seven races including the Slipper before a very good stud career where he left 670 winners (76SW) of more than $50m including Gr.1 winners Isca, Chortle and Racer’s Edge. His daughters have produced more than 1240 winners (73SW, seven Gr.1) including Wahid, Southern Lord, The Heckler, Joker’s Wild, Rockabubble and In Top Swing.
Rory’s Jester is a son of speed influence Crown Jester, an exceptional juvenile for the Ingham family and an excellent sire at their Woodlands Stud. He is a son of two Gr.1–winning juveniles Baguette and Anjudy (Wilkes). Crown Jester won six of his seven starts including the Todman Slipper Trial-Gr.3 (1200m) by 3.5 lengths in race record time (1:10.1) and his only unplaced run in seven starts at two came when and unlucky fifth in the 1981 Golden Slipper.
Baguette (Rego (IRE)-Dark Jewel by Star Kingdom) was a champion at two and his 15 wins included the Golden Slipper, AJC Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes and he trained on to win races like the Doomben 10,000 and VRC Newmarket. His progeny include Golden Slipper heroine Dark Eclipse and Gr.1 winners Hit it Benny and Romantic Dream, along with Flight Stakes-Gr.2 winner Fiancee, Jewel Flight and I like Diamonds, all noted producers.
Anjudy, bred and raced by Jack and Bob Ingham, won the AJC Champagne Stakes-Gr.1 and her unraced fifth dam Tropical Light (by St Leger winner Singapore) is from Fastnet (Stedfast-Anchora by Love Wisely), a three-quarter sister to Scapa Flow, dam of Fairway, Pharos and Fair Isle. Pharos is the sire of Nearco, grandsire of Northern Dancer and sire of Nasrullah. Northern Dancer and Nasrullah are prominent in this pedigree via sons Danzig/Lomond/Northfields and Rego/Grey Sovereign.
To continue this legacy of speed, Rory’s Jester’s dam, Rory’s Rocket, by the Sussex Stakes-Gr.1 winner Roan Rocket (Buisson Ardent), raced away to land the Queen Mary Stakes-Gr.2 (5f) at Royal Ascot at two in 1975 (a race won by Mumtaz Mahal in 1923) and her dam Cantadora (Matador) won the Acorn Stakes-LR (5f) at Epsom at two. Rory’s Rocket also left stakes winners Rory’s Twig and Sushi Rocket and her descendants include Golden Slipper winner Ha Ha (Danehill).
Miss Prospect’s dam, the Imposing (Todman) daughter Imposing Life, won at 1600m and she left six winners including Life’s a Bounty (Bahamian Bounty), six wins including R.A. Lee Stakes-Gr.3, stakes placed Magic Harmony (Danehill Dancer), dam of Gr.3 winners Charmed Harmony (Hussonet) and Suyoof (Magic Albert); and the producers Miss Peron (Vitalic), Imposed (Rory’s Jester), Radio Berrima (Rory’s Jester) and Mirima (Last Tycoon). She is a half-sister to Full at Last, Clowning (dam of Chuckle), Live Comedy (dam of Bleveeka), Final Claus (dam of Catnipped) and Ultima Vita (dam of Sister Havana).
Imposing Life is a daughter of the imported Life at Last (IRE) (Northfields-Royal News (IRE) by Sovereign Path) who arrived in Australia in 1983 after earlier being at stud in NZ. Her sister Betty Box (IRE) was imported in 1976 and both mares have a remarkable record at stud with Betty Box particularly remembered via her brilliant daughter Alynda. She is also the third dam of dual Gr.1 winner and promising young sire Turffontein (Johannesburg (USA)-Spirit of Grace by Dr Grace).
This family is well known in this part of the world. Their dam, Royal News (IRE), is a sister to the outstanding New Zealand based sire Sovereign Edition (IRE), and their second dam, Latest Edition (Solferino-Celestial Light by Donatello II), is a half-sister to the prolific Australian sire of the immediate post-war era, the Stewards’ Cup winner Smokey Eyes (IRE) (Stardust). This is family 13a and Celestial Light’s half-sister Inkling (Son-in-Law-Gleam by Galloper Light) is the dam of the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Stalino and the Irish Derby winner Bright News (both by Star Kingdom’s sire Stardust), while her descendants include Tolomeo (IRE), Three Legs (GB) and Efisio, all sires.
Life at Last and Betty Box are also sisters to Engagement (IRE), and half-sisters to Royal Comment (IRE) (by Tamerlane), to Barron Fey (IRE) (by Scottish Rifle), and also to two fillies (Field Mouse and Royal Gossip) foaled in Australia after Royal News was imported in 1979. Royal News (Sovereign Path) died in February 1990, aged 25.
There’s plenty of reasons reverse shuttler Exceed and Excel (Danehill (USA)-Patrona (USA) by Lomond) commanded his $110,000 fee (136 mares) at Darley, Kelvinside in 2015. Firstly, he’s by a nine-times Champion Australian Sire; secondly, he won seven of 12 starts including the VRC Newmarket-Gr.1 (1200m) and the MRC Invitation Stakes-Gr.1 and was named Champion Sprinter in Australasia in 2003-04; and thirdly, he was Champion Sire in Australia in 2012-13.
The Arion Pedigrees site credits him with 956 winners from 1394 starters (68.6%) of more than $104m to February 21. His 109 stakes winners represent a high 7.8% of starters and include 10 Gr.1 winners and he is a noted sire of juveniles, being Leading Sire of Two Year-Olds in 2012-13. His progeny have a winning distance index of 1260m.
Exceed and Excel is a rare sire success in both hemispheres with southern stars led by the likes of Guelph (Elusive Quality), winner of the ATC Sires’, Champagne Stakes, Flight Stakes and MRC 1000 Guineas, all Gr.1; Helmet (Singspiel) now at Darley in Victoria, winner of the ATC Sires’, Champagne Stakes, MRC Caulfield Guineas, all Gr.1; the Goodwood Handicap-Gr.1 winner Flamberge (Blazing Sword); Blue Diamond-Gr.1 winner Earthquake (Marauding); Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner Overreach (Snippets) and Hong Kong and Dubai Gr.1 winner Amber Sky (Rubiton).
His Gr.2 winner and Golden Slipper-Gr.1 runner-up Sidestep (Quest For Fame) stands alongside his sire at Aberdeen, while Gr.2 winner Kuroshio (Gone West) is at Darley in Victoria. His other sons at stud include multiple stakes winner Instinction (Encosta de Lago) at Eliza Park International in Queensland, Maribyrnong Plate-Gr.3 winner Exceedingly Good (Snippets) at Wattle Brae, Queensland, Kindergarten Stakes-Gr.3 winner Safeguard (Canny Lad) at Mogumber Park in WA, as well as Pitleco (Twig Moss), Stinchar (Selkirk) Knight Exemplar (Royal Academy), Grand Harmony (Palace Music) and Cougar Power (Marauding).
Coolmore stands his wonderful European miler Excelebration (Indian Ridge) whose eight wins include the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes-Gr.1 at Royal Ascot, the Prix du Moulin-Gr.1 at Longchamp and the Prix Jacques le Marois-Gr.1 at Deauville. Also northern bred are York Nunthorpe Stakes-Gr.1 winner Margot Did (Shareef Dancer), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-Gr.1 winner Outstrip (El Prado) and the Newmarket Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 winner Fulbright (Fairy King). Exceed and Excel’s daughters have already left 84 winners of $7m from 160 starters, 10 of them stakes winners including NZ Gr.1 winner Bounding (Lonhro), this year’s Silver Slipper-Gr.2 winner Astern (Medaglia d’Oro) an Newmarket Gr.2 winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-Gr.1 winner Birchwood (Dark Angel).
After his purchase and syndication by Dean Watt through his company Dynamic Syndications, Reward for Effort went into training with Peter Moody in Victoria and gave early indication he had plenty of talent when winning an 800m barrier trial by two lengths in early January 2009 in 46.55. The Blue Diamond Preview-LR (1000m) on January 26 was chosen as his first start and the juvenile colt didn’t let supporters down, winning by 1.25 lengths in 57.7 from Rarefield after sitting just off the pace in the early stages.
Stepped up a notch in the Blue Diamond Prelude-Gr.3 (1100m) on February 8, he found Real Saga too slick, that colt winning by three lengths in 1.03.71. Reward for Effort again ran on from third at the 800m to take second and with subsequent multiple Gr.1 winner Starspangledbanner third. Reward for Effort’s Gr.1 success followed on February 21 in the $1m Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and the talented juvenile has 1.25 lengths to spare on the line from Real Saga and Maka Ena, running 1:09.81.
While Real Saga and previously unbeaten Rostova dominated the betting in the Diamond, Reward for Effort made full use of his barrier five draw to camp off the speed before unleashing an explosive turn of foot on the turn to steal the race.
“We were quietly confident that we could beat the fillies but we throught Real Saga had the wood on us from his run here the other day,” Peter Moody said after the race. “But we had improved a little bit and he’s obviously lost a little bit. We were right on the day and that’s what its about in these two year-old races and of course Luke Nolen rode an inspired race.”
Taken to Sydney, Reward for Effort beat Rostova and Rock the Moment in an 800m trial at Randwick on March 27 before lining up in the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 at Rosehill on April 9. He was seventh of 16 (4.6 len) behind Phelan Ready on a track rated a heavy 10, a clearly unsuitable surface for the powerful colt.
Given a 15-month break until July 17, 2010 after a series of niggling injuries, he resumed in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield and regular rider Luke Nolen guided him to a narrow win over Keano on a soft (5) track in 1:04.70, it was his only start as a three year-old and a great training performance by Moody to have the colt ready to win after 67 weeks between runs. Reward for Effort took the lead after a furlong and although he came under some pressure during the race he was able to shoot two lengths clear once Nolen gave him some rein and then fought on bravely when the late challenges came to hold on by a short head.
“It’s sort of been heartbreaking the past 12 months to watch all the other three year-olds go round and collect the spoils, while this bloke has been laying around not doing a lot, and it’s been a lot of hard work,” Peter Moody said after the win. “It’s been a long ride and a hard ride, the owners have been patient and happy to wait because I’ve always had the belief that he is as good a colt as there was in the land. I thought he should have won a Golden Slipper if the track wasn’t heavy and hopefully, he is allowed to get to those heights that I think he can.
“Touch wood, everything seems okay and it has been terrific. You will see him each time there’s a suitable race, when there’s a suitable surface. He was as fit as I could have him without racing, remembering the big strong entire he has developed into, he has grown into a magnificent individual. Common sense tells you that he is just going to get better and better. You know you go back to his Blue Diamond win, where he sat just off the pace, when he gets into that mould over 1200m and I reckon even 1400m, you’re going to see a hell of a four year-old.”
Reward for Effort then travelled to Rosehill for his next outing on August 10 when taking on some very smart sprinters in the Concorde Stakes-Gr.3 (1100m). He led all the way on a good track to record a two-length win over Winter King and Trusting, running 1:03.38. He ran into two pretty good ones in Hay List and Catapulted when third in the McEwan Stakes-Gr.3 (1000m) on September 11 and was unplaced behind Hay List in the Manikato-Gr.1 on September 24. Off the scene until January 24, 2011, when he won an 800m trial, he rounded out his career with unplaced runs in the Rubiton Stakes-Gr.3 and Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 in February before retiring as the winner of four of his 10 starts plus one second and one third for earnings of $937,200.
The strongly built Reward for Effort stands 16.1 hands and all of his 10 starts came in black type events, a sure signal to his class and quality. He’s made a very good start to his stud career and seems certain to continue this good work at Chatswood Stud, Seymour, a farm established at Avenel more than 40 years ago by Alan and Val Willis and continued now at its present location by his son Alan junior, know universally as Greg. Reward for Effort’s stallion mates are Anacheeva and Purrealist and in the past Chatswood has been home to Red Gold, Plush, Prego, Flying Spur, Danzero, Geiger Counter and Invincible Spirit.
Published: March 2016