HUNTER owners of dual group 1 winner Brave Smash have not given up hope of international race success, possibly at Ascot, despite striking a stud deal with Aquis Farm.
Australian Bloodstock’s Brave Smash, fresh from victory in the group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, will contest the VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on Saturday two days after news he would be joining the Aquis stallion roster in retirement. Aquis and Queensland breeding operation Glenlogan Park have become part of the Brave Smash ownership.
Syndication company Australian Bloodstock, founded and managed by the Hunter’s Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett, bought the Japanese galloper last year and he has won close to $2.5 million across 15 Australian starts for trainer Darren Weir.
Murrell said Aquis chairman Tony Fung had indicated he was happy for the six-year-old entire to race in the autumn, where he would follow a similar path to last year. Brave Smash won the group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and was a narrow second to Redkirk Warrior in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last autumn.
Murrel said Brave Smash would “more than likely go to stud at the end of that” campaign but there was also the potential to compete overseas and even continue on for another year.
“Mr Fung is keen to maybe even race him overseas,” Murrell said. “There’s an invite their from Dubai and Ascot, which would be exciting. The invite has come through only recently. The owners would be keen to do that but it’s up to [Fung] now because he’s obviously a part-owner.”
He said owners had tripled their investment in Brave Smash and “hopefully we’ll get a bit more over the next five to six runs he’ll probably have”.
“And if he went to Dubai and Ascot and went really well, he might want to race him on for another 12 months,” he said.
The deal follows Australian Bloodstock’s success with another Japanese import and two-time group 1 winner, Tosen Stardom, which is standing at Woodside Park Stud.
As for the $1 million VRC Sprint Classic, Brave Smash was $14 with TAB Fixed Odds.
“If he runs like he did up the straight in the Newmarket where he just got nutted by Redkirk Warrior, that would be good enough to win,” Murrell said. “Kementari is the one I’m afraid of.”
Kris Lees-trained mare In Her Time was also $14 for the feature, which includes two-time Everest champion Redzel, Santa Ana Lane, Pierata and Redkirk Warrior.
In Her Time failed to handle the heavy going at Randwick when seventh in the October 13 Everest at her most recent start but Lees said she had “bounced out of it pretty well”.
“It’s a very tough race. It’s probably the toughest sprint race this year but she’ll be competitive,” Lees said.
Lees also has Prized Icon in the group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
“We ummed and arred about running him, but I don’t think it’s your classic Mackinnon Stakes, by any means,” Lees said. “I think he’s half a chance if spot on.”