Axel ‘R’ Eight will be set for the 2019 WATC Derby after putting his staying credentials on the line at Belmont on Wednesday.
A 3yo son of Yarradale Stud sire Gingerbread Man, he won a Northam maiden over 2200m second time out and looked a rising star when following up over 2000m in town. “He’s a nice, progressive type,” trainer Darren McAuliffe said. “We treat them all as individuals but we’ve always known he would stay.”
Axel ‘R’ Eight is a homebred for a WAFL Perth Demons partnership that includes Ian Rothnie, Wim Rosbender, Daryle Mann, Trevor Holgate and Paul Ibbitson. His dam Axes ‘N’ Taxes (Mossman) was bred by Dawson Stud but didn’t race before Rothnie bought her positive to Alfred Nobel for $1,750 at the 2012 Magic Millions Autumn Sale.
That first foal didn’t fire but the second is going gung-ho and their dam was covered by Demerit at Taunton Vale earlier this month.
McAuliffe said Axel ‘R’ Eight would now be spelled in a post-race interview with Michael Heaton of RWWA on Wednesday. “He’s obviously got a good aerobic capacity and he’s very trainable over that sort of trip. His recovery is great, he’s got a lot of energy and he gets through his work and he bounces back so we can keep it up to him and he copes with it.”
His next campaign will hopefully climax in the G2 WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot on April 13. McAuliffe knows how to prep a classic winner having trained Gatting (Hard Spun) to victory in the 2017 WATC Derby.
Gingerbread Man is a Group 1 Australian-bred son of Darley champion Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway). The former Darley shutter sired his 120th stakes winner on Wednesday when Sheikha Reika saluted in the LR John Musker Stakes at Yarmouth.
There was more good news on the foaling front at Yarradale thanks to Miss Strezelecki who delivered a Gingerbread Man colt recently. The Al Maher mare is also the dam of Mizlecki, a Listed winner of this year’s Raconteur Stakes, Sheila Gwynne Classic and Belmont Oaks.
War Chant (USA) heads the 2018 Yarradale Stud roster at an $11,000 service fee alongside Gingerbread Man, Bradbury’s Luck, Heritage and Vital Equine (Rosalee Stud) at $4,400. All fees (inc gst).