Saturday Summary: Socks springs upset in Queensland Oaks

11 min read
Saturday's G1 Queensland Oaks provided a surprise result with Socks Nation (Sioux Nation {USA}) saluting at odds of $126. Elsewhere on the program, New Zealand's star mare La Crique showed her class in the Magic Millions National Classic, picking up the lion's share of $500,000. Meanwhile, Vilana (Hallowed Crown) gave Godolphin plenty to think about with his demolition in the G2 Moreton Cup.

Cover image courtesy of Brisbane Racing Club

Race-Day Recap

Socks Nation (Sioux Nation) made all to win Saturday’s G1 Queensland Oaks at odds of $126.

Godolphin could have a live chance in the G1 Stradbroke H. with the classy Vilana (Hallowed Crown), who was peerless in Saturday’s G2 Moreton Cup.

Yellow Brick (The Mission) returned to his best form in Saturday’s Listed Spear Chief H. and may now tackle the G1 Stradbroke H. next Saturday.

Classy Kiwi La Crique (Vadamos) showed her class to claim the $500,000 Magic Millions National Classic at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Progressive runner Ostraka (Pariah) dominated his rivals in Saturday’s Listed Queensland Day S. at Eagle Farm.

Queensland trainers Tony and Maddysen Sears, and bloodstock agent Paul Moroney had reason to celebrate on Saturday with two stakes winners - Yellow Road (The Mission) and Steady Ready (Better Than Ready).

Socks shocks in Queensland Oaks

Ciaron Maher’s Socks Nation (Sioux Nation {USA}) caused an upset in Saturday’s G1 Queensland Oaks. Widely billed as Scarlet Oak’s (NZ) (Kermadec {NZ}) race to lose, however, that filly was nowhere to be seen in a finish. Instead, it was Socks Nation and Our Gold Hope (Lope De Vega {Ire}) tussling to be crowned the Oaks princess.

Eventually, Socks Nation, under Ryan Maloney, was too strong for Craig Williams’ mount, Our Gold Hope. Finishing third was the local runner Miss Joelene (Russian Revolution). For punters who had faith in Socks Nation she paid a healthy $126.

Socks Nation caused an upset in Saturday’s G1 Queensland Oaks | Image courtesy of Inglis

Maher told Sky Racing, “It’s phenomenal. The team has done a super job. This filly (Socks Nation) has been in training for around 13 months, but she just keeps going really well.

“I didn’t tie Ryan (Maloney) down to anything. He’s very casual, laidback at the best of times. I was surprised how far forward she was early in the race, actually.

“She’s just a tough filly.”

“It’s phenomenal. The team has done a super job. This filly (Socks Nation) has been in training for around 13 months, but she just keeps going really well.” - Ciaron Maher

Maloney added, “The race couldn’t have panned out any better for us. I was actually surprised nobody came to put any pressure on us because she was very fit and can stay.

“You couldn't knock her form down south and it was a great training effort.”

Socks Nation bred by IV Millard and the first foal from the Commands mare Tahnee Tiara, a victress of seven races. She is from the family of the Listed winner Evalina (I Am Invincible) and the Group 1-producing sire Worthy Cause.

Ciaron Maher | Image courtesy of Inglis

She was a $160,000 purchase by Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA) from the draft of Milburn Creek at the 2022 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

Tahnee Tiara has an unraced 2-year-old by All Too Hard named Eye Of Light. Meanwhile, her Ghaiyyath (Ire) colt failed to meet his $80,000 reserve at this year’s Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale. Tahnee Tiara was served by Newgate Farm’s promising young sire North Pacific last spring.

Socks Nation has won three of her 12 starts and is now the best performer for the Swettenham Stud’s former shuttler, Sioux Nation (USA), who left 54 foals in his sole Australian season. There have been 14 individual winners of 25 races, and two stakes winners with Socks Nation joining the Group 3 winner Archo Nacho.

Stradbroke tilt on the cards for Vilana?

Classy Godolphin campaigner Vilana (Hallowed Crown) put a strong case towards contesting next Saturday’s G1 Stradbroke H. with a demolition in the G2 Moreton Cup at Eagle Farm.

Ridden by James McDonald, Vilana, was 3.7l ahead of Mazu (Maurice {Jpn}), while Jigsaw (Manhattan Rain) was 3.8l adrift. The ease of Vilana’s victory even surprised McDonald, who told 7HorseRacing, “He was unreal. He never ever felt like losing today (Saturday). Vilana left the gates alertly, travelled well, and produced a beautiful turn-of-foot when I asked him.

“It was an exceptional performance.”

Vilana is the fifth foal from the Listed-placed Retsina (Redoute’s Choice), who has proven a gem in the Darley broodmare band. She is the dam of the ultra-talented Savatiano (Street Cry {Ire}), a multiple Group 2 winner and the dual Listed winner Athiri (Lonhro).

Vilana is one of her three individual stakes winners, having won the G3 Hall Mark S., the G3 Fred Best Classic, the Listed South Pacific Classic and the Silver Eagle and Newcastle Hunter earlier in his career.

James McDonald

Retsina has a once-raced 2-year-old filly by Blue Point (Ire) named Efharisto, and a yearling colt by the stallion named Aleppo Pine. She missed to Victor Ludorum (GB) but was served by Pinatubo (Ire) last season.

Vilana’s sire, Hallowed Crown, stands the 2024 breeding season at Twin Hills Stud for a fee of $8800 (inc GST).

La Crique all class

La Crique (NZ) (Vadamos {Fr}) demonstrated her class in Saturday’s $500,000 Magic Millions National Classic at Eagle Farm.

The Simon and Katrina Alexander-trained dual Group 1 winner, partnered by the Champion hoop James McDonald, defeated last year’s defending champ Foxy Frida (Foxwedge) and the last-start stakes winner Maracana (NZ) (Shamexpress {NZ}) in the valuable feature.

Co-trainer Katrina Alexander was on course to celebrate, telling Sky Racing, “I’m over the moon. I feel like we let the punters down in Melbourne, so it’s nice to return to Australia and walk away a winner.

“It was great to get James McDonald back on, who’ll be able to give us some feedback on whether she’s a different horse compared to last time he rode her.

“We knew she would be well-placed in this event. It ticked all the boxes and the best placement for her. If this race (Magic Millions National Classic) wasn’t here we may have been scratching our heads as to what to come to Australia for.

“I’m over the moon. I feel like we let the punters down in Melbourne, so it’s nice to return to Australia and walk away a winner.” - Katrina Alexander

“We can build on this now. We are in no rush to take her home (New Zealand) we’d love to put together a couple races for La Crique here. We’re mindful we missed the hot-end of the carnival but it’s a thrill to the owners.

“I think she’s still really developing as a racehorse.”

La Crique is raced by J T and J K Cassin and was bred by J and M Cassin Family Trust. She is the victress of nine races, including the G1 Arrowfield Stud Plate and the G1 Maori WFA S. La Crique is from the Dubai Destination (USA) mare Destiny Cove, who won five races from 1400 to 2400 metres.

La Crique (NZ) demonstrated her class in Saturday’s $500,000 Magic Millions National Classic at Eagle Farm | Image courtesy of Race Images

Her sire, Vadamos (Fr) is a son of Monsun (Ger). He is standing the 2024 season at Rich Hill Stud for a fee of NZ$9000 (plus GST).

Yellow Brick on Stradbroke Mission

Tony and Maddysen Sears’ Yellow Brick (The Mission) reaffirmed his status as one of Queensland's most promising horses with a tough victory in Saturday’s Listed Spear Chief H.

The 4-year-old gelding had always shown plenty of talent, winning seven races from his 15 starts but hasn’t always enjoyed the best of luck. Hitting the front a bit early then perhaps planned, James McDonald, kept Yellow Brick up to the task to defeat Wategos (Capitalist) and Coastwatch.

Co-trainer Maddysen Sears was emotional after previously training the Listed Lighting H. winner Steady Ready (Better Than Ready), and was overjoyed to see Yellow Brick back to his best.

Sears told Sky Racing, “He’s back! Our intentions are to go the Stradbroke H.

“It’s been a long time since Sydney, where things didn’t go to plan, and he hit wet track after wet track. So, to see Yellow Brick do that today (Saturday) has just made me a bit emotional. He probably hit the front a bit quicker than J-Mac (James McDonald) wanted but he was on the best horse in the race.

“We’ll just see how he is over the next 24/48 hours, hopefully it is enough to get him into the Stradbroke and if he doesn’t he’ll go the Tattersalls Mile. We have a bit of a plan there but we’ll just enjoy our stakes double.”

Maddysen Sears | Image courtesy of New Zealand Bloodstock

Yellow Brick is the fifth foal from Magical Mist (NZ), a four-time winning daughter of High Chaparral (Ire). Alongside Yellow Brick, Magical Mist is also the dam of the G3 Rough Habit Plate winner Ballistic Boy (Smart Missile) and Splendiferous (Pride Of Dubai), a Group 3 winner in track record time, alongside a fourth in the G1 Queensland Oaks.

The 4-year-old was a $20,000 purchase by Tony Sears Racing and Paul Moroney Bloodstock from the draft of Waylon J Stud at the 2021 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale. He has won seven races, with earnings over $1.5 million. The Listed Spear Chief H. is Yellow Brick’s second stakes victory, having won the G3 Gold Coast Guineas last year.

Yellow Brick is the best runner for The Mission, a Group 1-winning son of Choisir standing at Aquis Farm for a fee of $4400 (inc GST).

Promising Ostraka scores Queensland Day S.

Annabel Neasham’s progressive 3-year-old Ostraka (Pariah) bounced back from a second-placed effort at Scone in BM72 company to claim his maiden stakes success in the Listed Queensland Day S. at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Ostraka partnered by Blake Shinn was impressive in the 1200-metre contest. Hitting the front, the further they went, the further Ostraka went in front. Officially posting a 2.9l margin over Godolphin’s Inhibitions (Zoustar) and the race favourite Hedged (Capitalist) 3.2l away in third.

Annabel Neasham’s stable representative Todd Pollard told Sky Racing, “He’s such a consistent horse and we know he’s got a fair bit of ability. Ostraka has run well in decent races in the past but it was a deep enough race today (Saturday).

“So, it was good to see him do it against some good opposition in stakes company. Blake just gave him the perfect ride. Quite remarkable how he pounced on them and won the way he did.

“I’m too sure where he’ll head now. It’s just great to win today.”

Ostraka is from the unraced War Emblem (USA) mare Madame Andree, who is the dam of the brilliantly fast Anders, a victor of the G3 San Domenico S. and the Listed Rosebud before retiring to Widden Stud.

“He’s (Ostraka) such a consistent horse and we know he’s got a fair bit of ability.” - Todd Pollard

The son of Pariah was a $150,000 purchase by Annabel Neasham Racing, Brian McGuire, Stallion Match and Mitchell Bloodstock (FBBA) from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2022 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Ostraka is the third stakes winner for Pariah, who sired a double on Saturday with his talented daughter Lady In Pink saluting at Flemington. Pariah is standing the 2024 season at a fee of $6600 (inc GST) at Oaklands Stud.

Sears and Moroney double up

Local Queensland father and daughter training duo - Tony and Maddysen Sears enjoyed a stakes double in their own backyard on Saturday. Their star runner Yellow Brick (The Mission) bounced back to his best in the Listed Spear Chief H. following a well-deserved victory by Steady Ready (Better Than Ready) in the Listed H.

Steady Ready, partnered by Angela Jones, defeated Golden Boom (Spirit Of Boom) and Rubiquitous (Rubick).

Angela Jones boots home Steady Ready in the Listed Lightning | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

Speaking to Sky Racing, co-trainer Maddysen Sears said, “This horse deserves to win a decent race. We’ve always had a very big opinion of Steady Ready, he’s come back a different horse since he was gelded.

“He proved it today (Saturday) that he’s a very fast horse. Steady Ready is a lovely horse too look at and do anything with.”

Another common denominator in the two victories is Paul Moroney of Paul Moroney Bloodstock, who co-sourced both runners at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales. Moroney, alongside Sears Racing paid $20,000 to secure Yellow Brick from the 2021 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale, after finding Steady Ready at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale earlier in the year.

“He (Steady Ready) proved it today (Saturday) that he’s a very fast horse. Steady Ready is a lovely horse too look at and do anything with.” - Maddysen Sears

Presented by Yarramalong Park, Paul Moroney Bloodstock alongside Haoh & Co paid $70,000 to purchase the son of Lyndhurst Stud Farm’s Better Than Ready.

Steady Ready is the second foal from the Denman mare Our First Lady, who won as a 2-year-old. She is from the family of Better Than Ready’s sire More Than Ready (USA), a victor of the G1 King’s Bishop S. at Saratoga.

Additionally, Our First Lady is related to the late Kitten Joy’s (USA) outstanding daughter Stephanie’s Kitten (USA), a victress of 11 races, including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and the G1 Flower Bowl S. at Belmont twice.

Steady Ready is the 12th stakes winner for Better Than Ready, whose 2024 fee has yet to be determined.

Saturday Summary