It was a red-letter day for leading thoroughbred nursery Waikato Stud on Saturday following the elite-level success of two of their graduates at Randwick.
I Wish I Win kicked off the celebrations when putting in an eye-catching effort to win the Gr.1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) by half a length.
Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick wasn’t trackside on Saturday but was in full voice as he cheered home his horse from across the Tasman.
“One of my off-farm passions is hunting,” Chittick told RadioTAB.
“Harry, my son, and I were down in the South Island at the back of a good friend’s place on the coast. We managed to get the iPad and a bit of service, and we watched that (race) and had a few mates from around the area there.”
Chittick was blown away by the Peter Moody-trained gelding’s performance, particularly given it was on an unfavourable wet track.
“On the turn I thought ‘you have got all the best sprinters in Australia all in front of you’, but it was pretty impressive,” he said.
“In his (Moody) morning report he said that there was a little bit of rain forecast around, but we know that he is best on top of the track. He said he didn’t think it was enough to worry him. It was enough to worry him, but he still won. He is quite a freak.”
I Wish I Win had shown plenty of talent in Australia last spring, highlighted by his victory in the A$10 million Golden Eagle (1500m), and it was that performance that resulted in Moody setting his sights on sprint distances with the son of Savabeel.
“When he is a Savabeel out of a Pins mare, you don’t think sprinting at all,” Chittick said.
“Peter rang me when he came back in from his spell and he said ‘you might think I am mad, but I wouldn’t mind trying these shorter distances with him’. I said he wasn’t mad at all.
“It all stems from that turn of foot he showed in the Golden Eagle. We said we would take it one step at a time and if we have got it wrong, we will change direction again.
“His run in the Lightning (Gr.1, 1000m) was freakish and in the Newmarket (Gr.1, 1200m) under the weight was very admirable.”
Moody and Chittick are now fielding plenty of calls from interested A$15 The Everest (1200m) slot holders.
“I am learning a lot about The Everest and that process,” Chittick said.
“After his run in the Lightning we started getting approaches. We have had a lot of approaches and once the dust settles, I will leave that in Peter’s hands to guide me through the process.”
Still coming down from the high of I Wish I Win’s victory, Chittick watched in awe two races later when Major Beel took out the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m), giving him a breeder-owner Group One double.
“Major Beel went through the Gold Coast Sale and made A$260,000 when bought by Gai (Waterhouse, co-trainer),” Chittick said.
“I approached Gai after the sale and said I love the colt and can I have a little bit back in him, which she was very happy to go ahead with.
“It is a family that we have had a bit of history with. We picked up the mare about 10-15 years ago. It is an out-and-out sprinting family and the mare has left three stakes winners as two-year-olds.
“For a Derby winner to come out of that family is quite incredible and we are pretty proud of breeding two Group One winners on the one day.”