Blackfriars drew level with legendary Sunspeed stallion Haulpak when Drive West delivered his 33rd stakes winner at Ascot on Saturday.
Drive West completed a black-type hat-trick for the Scenic Lodge champion in the LR Ascot Gold Cup (1800m) following the wins of London Line (LR Fairetha Quality) and Black Heart Bart (G2 Lee-Steere Stakes) earlier in the day.
“What an incredible afternoon for Blackfriars,” Scenic Lodge general manager Jeremy Smith declared. “I spoke to John Chalmers this morning and he could not recall a stallion winning three stakes races in one day in Perth for the last 50 years!”
Blackfriars has sired 6 individual stakes in Australia this season and is second in that category behind Fastnet Rock (8). He is also 13th in the Australian sires’ premiership with 32 winners of 46 races and earnings over $1.91 million.
Drive West (7g Blackfriars – Victory Romp by Victory Drive) annexed the Ascot Gold Cup by over a length from last-start LR Northam Cup winner Young Lionel who is also by Blackfriars.
The veteran stayer has won 8 races for trainer Joe Miller but it took him 71 starts to break through in a stakes race. “He was slow to mature but has always shown us enough to keep carrying on,” Miller said. “He ran into form up at the Goldfields and finished fourth in the Kalgoorlie Cup.”
Drive West is a homebred for Gingin trucking contractor Roydon Daw and his daughter Rene and they race him in partnership with Miller’s son Ben. “My other son Paul trained his dam’s sister Royal Drive for Roydon,” Miller recalled. “She was a pretty good filly and won the WA Oaks back in 2005.”
His dam Victory Romp has a yearling colt by Henny Hughes and she foaled a colt from the first-crop of Westbury Park sire Smug (USA) in September.
Miller will now look ahead to the $500,000 G2 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on January 2. The last horse to complete the feature double was Phizam in 1984-85.
Blackfriars will be banking more prizemoney and black-type in the meantime.
Black Heart Bart (5g Blackfriars – Sister Theresa by At Talaq) notched his 8th stakes victory when beating star mare Delicacy in the G2 Lee-Steere Stakes. He was bred by Scenic Lodge and is the ruling $4.80 favourite for the $1 million G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 21.
London Line (3g Blackfriars – Line Of Flight by Bletchley Park) won the LR Supremacy Stakes (1100m) in March and the LR Fairetha Quality was his second in a row since racing returned to Ascot. He was bred by Anita Vale Stud and will be one of the favourites for the $500,000 G2 WA Guineas (1600m) on November 21.
There’s plenty of time for Blackfriars (Danehill) to draw clear of Haulpak but the Heytesbury champion’s roll-call does include Eastern States Group 1 winners Starstruck, Chanteclair and Coal Pak.
Blackfriars has yet to crack a Group 1 winner out of Perth but that could change when his Victoria Derby placegetter Kia Ora Koutou returns to action later this season.