IN Racing
Eternal Flame deals to family’s unfinished business
Saturday’s A$300,000 Gr.2 BMD Group Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley provided a special reward for a part-owner who has spent the last few years wondering what might have been.
NZ Racing Desk | March 23, 2024
Bruno Cannatelli

Saturday’s A$300,000 Gr.2 BMD Group Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley provided a special reward for a part-owner who has spent the last few years wondering what might have been.

The fillies and mares’ feature was won in impressive style by the New Zealand-bred Eternal Flame. The talented four-year-old is co-owned by Trevor Eastwood, who had previously raced the mare’s injury-plagued close relative Kinane.

Out of a half-sister to the dam of Eternal Flame, Kinane won twice in a short career headed by the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m). Eternal Flame has already eclipsed those achievements, winning five of her 12 starts including two Group victories this autumn, and banking more than A$450,000.

“I’m a bit emotional,” Eastwood said. “It’s fantastic. She’s closely related to Kinane, who we had a lot of bad luck with. We were so disappointed about what we lost with him because of injuries and that. Eternal Flame is related to that family, and when Mick Kent (trainer) went to the Ready to Run Sale in New Zealand, I told him I didn’t care how much he had to pay – we just had to get her. It might be the first time I’ve got something right!

“She’s had a lot of bad luck herself, but now a bit of luck has come her way. I want to thank Mick and also Nikki Burke, who never leaves her side.”

Previously a top-five finisher in the Gr.2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m), Gr.2 Kewney Stakes (1600m), Listed Black Pearl Stakes (1200m), Gr.3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) with plenty of hard-luck stories along the way, Eternal Flame broke through for a richly deserved first stakes win in the Gr.3 Matron Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 9.

Saturday brought more of the same, this time at Group Two level. Eternal Flame settled in sixth among an eight-horse field before jockey Ethan Brown began to press forward coming down the side of the track.

Eternal Flame swooped four-wide around the home turn and thrust her head in front with 150m remaining. Rumbled Again gave chase, with unlucky Kiwi-bred Campionessa launching a late charge into third, but Eternal Flame kept herself out of their reach and won by three-quarters of a length.

“I’ve been a bit unlucky on this horse a few times, so it feels great to repay the connections for sticking with me,” Brown said.

“They really backed off down the side. She had race fitness on her side, and I just had to balance her up around the corner, and off she went.”

Kent has been pleased with Eternal Flame’s progress through her breakthrough campaign.

“She’s done a great job,” he said. “One thing I’ve noticed about her is that she’s got so much better with her manners on raceday.

“We’ve been a bit tough on her. She had a one-week back-up at Caulfield last month and then the Matron couple of weeks ago, so she’s had a busy few weeks, but she’s coped with everything really well.

“We’ll put her out now until the spring, and hopefully she can physically improve a little bit more.”

Eternal Flame was bred by Hoofbeat Ltd and is one of five winners from seven named foals out of the Savabeel mare Suriyan. Herself a winner over 1200m, Suriyan is a three-quarter-sister to the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner and Waikato Stud stallion Noverre.

Offered by Kilmore Farm at the 2021 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka, Eternal Flame was bought by Phill Cataldo Bloodstock for $260,000. 

Breeding Eternal Flame Kilmore Farm Mick Kent Savabeel Trevor Eastwood