Pagan Image dived right on the line for a Belmont win that produced contrasting reports from Adam Durrant and Peter Knuckey on Saturday.
There were three abreast in the Mrs Mac’s Hcp (1600m) before the Blackfriars 3yo finished over the top of Sophie’s Song (Rogano) and Cockney Crew (Maschino). He was racing for the fifth time and was attempting a mile for the first time since his debut on August 2.
Durrant trains Pagan Image for his parents Geoff & Vicki and they bred him from NZ mare Yule Dancer (Carnegie). Her earlier foals by Blackfriars include Ascot winner Pagan Dancer and Midnight Shimmer who was beaten a lip by Tick Tick Bloom in the 2014 Belmont Guineas.
Midnight Shimmer was later sold to Makybe Racing & Breeding for $220,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. She subsequently foaled a filly by Written Tycoon.
Their second-dam Yuleda (One Pound Sterling) won a LR Sheila Gwynne Quality and was runner-up in a G3 Champion Fillies for south-west breeders John & Joan Blackburn.
Pagan Image has a black-type pedigree but Adam Durrant sat on the fence when asked about his future. “He’s a typical Blackfriars and we will add shades and tinker with his gear next time in. He might be more of a bread-and-butter horse although, in his defence, he did have 59kg today and might have had enough by now.”
Despite having a handful of horse before the start, Knuckey was upbeat when interviewed after bringing Pagan Image back to scale. “He got worked up behind the gates but was a perfect ride once we jumped. The Blackfriars toughness set in and he didn’t give up on me.
“Once they get him up to 2000m next prep, he’s going to be real serious!”
The final foals by Blackfriars are being delivered around the State and there are some quality arrivals among the 40-plus foals to date at Scenic Lodge.
Snippetson ($6,600) heads the Scenic Lodge roster this year alongside Universal Ruler ($4,950) and Dash For Cash ($2,750). All service fees (inc GST).