Western gem wins Sapphire Stakes

WA trainer Justin Warwick was as surprised as anyone when the bidding stalled and then stopped at $10,000 for the Scandal Keeper filly from Brocky’s Ace at the 2015 Perth Magic Millions.

Warwick thought he would at least have to stretch the budget out to $20,000 or $30,000 to win the day.  However, while she might have stopped short in the ring, that filly – subsequently named Quilista – never showed one sign of stalling in Saturday’s G2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

Jumping from a wide gate, Quilista forged straight to the lead and raced away to score with close to two lengths to spare.  It was her third win in a row following victories down the straight at Flemington and G3 Birthday Card Quality at Rosehill.

All of a sudden the $10,000 yearling has won $562,900 in prizemoney!  Well, maybe not all of a sudden…

Warwick, who originally trained trotters, shifted to the world of thoroughbreds some seven years ago and looks after a small team at Myalup.  He has compiled a tidy record winning the G2 Perth Cup with Black Tycoon (2014) and Material Man (2018) and a host of other black type races in WA.

Quilista made an inauspicious start to her career in April 2016, running 8th of 12 at Ascot, then ran a third and second in town but, as a 3YO, peeled off four straight, which included a black type victory in the Rangeview Stud Classic.

Warwick then made the momentous decision to shift his horse to another trainer – specifically Darren Weir in Victoria.  “There were lots of reasons,” Warwick told Aushorse on Monday.  “Firstly, while Quilista has won at Ascot, she always seemed to be getting on the wrong leg.  I thought down the straight at Flemington would be ideal for her.

“There’s also limited opportunities here for horses like Quilista when they get to a certain standard.

“I definitely thought she was worth sending across because I had another very good horse called Wink And A Nod who ran a lip second to Black Heart Bart and I believed Quilista to be a better horse than Wink And A Nod.

“Yet another factor was that Darren had trained a couple of my other horses, including Black Tycoon, and while he didn’t have much luck with them, he’s the type of bloke that will listen and take note of a horse’s quirks or requirements.

“The plan is to eventually sell Quilista when her racing days are over, so the more black type she can build up, the better.”

Quilista appears likely to be given the opportunity to add to the dowry by heading to Adelaide for the G1 Robert Sangster Stakes on May 5 and/or the G1 Goodwood Hcp a fortnight later.

Quilista is the clear standout performer by Scandal Keeper (Danzig) who stood at Yarradale Stud for 10 seasons until last year.  She was bred by Korilya Stud’s Ellie Giles and is the fourth winner from Brocky’s Ace (Surtee).

Giles had two homebred mares performing at Royal Randwick on Saturday with Silent Sedition chasing another Group 1 in the Queen of the Turf Stakes.  By Yarradale sire War Chant (Danzig), she pulled up lame after finishing down the track behind Alizee.

Silent Sedition was sold at the Perth Magic Millions a year prior to Quilista, but for slightly more…$45,000 (not that anyone’s complaining!).

The success of Quilista and Silent Sedition caps off a remarkable 12 months for Giles who is also the breeder of recent stakes performers Man Booker, Profit Street, Achernar Star and Raido.

In a rare visit to the east coast, Giles was front and centre at Randwick on Saturday.  “I was in the Hunter Valley seeing some of my mares and decided to extend the trip…it’s not often you get to see two of your horses go around on such a big day,” she said.

“It was wonderful to see Quilista win the race, especially as she was ridden by Damian Lane, who grew up just a couple of kilometres down the road from me.

“And yes, some people think I’m disappointed for selling Quilista so cheaply, but good luck to Justin.  Besides, I picked up a number of breeder bonuses from her wins in Perth and Brocky’s Ace is back in foal to War Chant.”