Monday, November 11, 2013
Girl Gone Rockin' gave her champion sire Redoute's Choice his third Cup Week stakeswinner when she landed Saturday's VRC Matriarch S. G2 from a gallant Queenstown.
She also gave her owners Anthony Mithen, his brother-in-law Nigel Austin and their team at Rosemont Stud in Victoria an unforgettable and very satisfying Spring Carnival success.
Girl Gone Rockin' was bred by John & Deborah Camilleri's Fairway Thoroughbreds and offered for sale from Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore Stud draft at the 2010 New Zealand Premier Sale, where she was knocked down to Rosemont Stud for $NZ380,000.
Anthony Mithen recalls the first time he saw her. "When I inspected her with my brother-in-law Nigel and John and Wayne Hawkes we could not wipe the smiles off our faces.
"We all thought we had seen a filly that could be a foundation mare for our farm and she had a pedigree to match. She was so powerful and strong, but seemed to know how to carry herself."
Girl Gone Rockin' is a half-sister to Group 3 winner Syreon (by Flying Spur), from Group 2 winner Sorrento, a daughter of Star Way's son Just A Dancer, winner of the Sydney and Brisbane Cups, and sire of six stakeswinners from 127 runners.
The combination of Redoute's Choice with mares by Star Way and his sons is noteworthy, producing 12 winners including Group 1 Classic winners God's Own & Empire's Choice, Group 3 winner Leveller and now Girl Gone Rockin', from 16 named foals.
Sorrento was bred in New Zealand by the Wigley family's Inglewood Stud, also responsible for the 1956 AJC & VRC Derby winner Monte Carlo and the 1985 Stradbroke Handicap winner Canterbury Belle.
Sorrento's female family has been a consistent producer of quality Australasian performers for several decades, with her dam Amatrice a major contributor by way of four stakeswinners, most notably Stargazer (by Star Way), a six-time Group 2 winner and multiple Group 1 placegetter in the late 1980s era of Rough Habit, Super Impose, Dr Grace, Stylish Century and Zabeel.
Girl Gone Rockin's unflinching determination in Saturday's tight finish was no surprise to Anthony.
"She's just so tough. We had a few injury worries with her early on in her career and through the recovery she showed us she was tough as nails.
"She seems to have that determination to compete and try. You never know whether they have that when you buy them, but she has it in spades. The way she threw her ears back and savaged the line on Saturday showed the racing world what we already knew."
The Matriarch Stakes victory was the perfect climax of Girl Gone Rockin's brief spring campaign and the 5YO mare is now enjoying a well-deserved break at Rosemont Stud.
Anthony explains, "I know she only had three runs in this time, but she's done her job for the spring. We will map out a program in the autumn which will involve the good Group races both in Melbourne and Sydney. I think she will run out a strong 2400 metres, so we will "blue sky" aim at the BMW, but let her tell us as we progress."
Such was Anthony's faith in Girl Gone Rockin' that he returned to the sale-ring earlier this year to purchase both her dam, now 18-years-old, and her half-sister Sorren Tessa (by Red Ransom), the latter in partnership with Ashley Hardwick. Both mares are now in foal to Rosemont's flagship stallion Toorak Toff.
Long experience of racing's twists and turns of fortune means that Anthony, his family and their staff truly understand the value of Girl Gone Rockin's win, on the final day of one of the world's great racing carnivals.
"It's a huge result for everyone at Rosemont. We had a table of staff in the committee room at the Geelong Race Club on Saturday enjoying an afternoon out from very hectic duties and they tell me that we could have nearly heard them at Flemington, given the noise they made!
"It's very exciting for everyone. From Jess who looks after Girl Gone Rockin' when she spells, to the stud staff that know they will be caring for her in her retirement, to the office staff who know the ups and downs of racing horses, everyone has been walking around with smiles on their faces since the win.
"It's particularly satisfying for Nigel and myself as we picked her out of a sale with the help of Team Hawkes, took a leap of faith, and paid as much as we have ever paid for a yearling and then waited to see the best of her. I can tell you, it was worth the wait!"