Safeguard and Sessions have got plenty in common apart from standing together at Oakland Park Stud in WA this season.
Bred and raced by Sheikh Mohammed, they were precocious sons of Champion Darley stallions and both won Group sprints under the guidance of trainer Peter Snowden.
Sessions (Lonhro) and Safeguard (Exceed And Excel) have another factor in their favour – Oakland Park owner Neville Duncan.
He bred and part-owned all-time great Northerly but has never been content to keep dining out on past glories. Since the ‘Fighting Tiger’ farewelled centre-stage, Oakland Park’s yellow and black silks have been carried by Marasco (Makybe Diva Stakes), Shirazamatazz (WA Derby), Covertly (Railway Stakes), Ihtsahymn (Kingston Town Classic) and Roman Time (Karrakatta Plate).
Duncan and his wife Susan also bred and part-owned G3 Vain Stakes winner Jukebox. The son of Snitzel has been syndicated to stand at Aquis Farm in the Hunter Valley.
Now there’s a new challenge with the first crop of Sessions and Safeguard about to go public in Perth.
“Sessions is an outstanding individual,” Duncan said this week. “Peter Snowden believed he was unlucky not have won a Group 1 and said he had the temperament and physique to match his ability.”
Following 5 wins in his first 8 starts in Sydney, Sessions graduated to a Group 2 victory in The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick beating Spirit Of Boom. “The Lonhro connection also won me,” Duncan admitted. “He’s really making a name for himself as a sire of sires and was still a Top 10 stallion in the season just gone. When that happens, you’re getting into the same territory as Redoute’s Choice.
“Pierro was also in the Top 10 and Denman made the Top 10 for winners and wins. Demerit is another son doing a good job for Taunton Vale here in WA.”
Besides his Perth-based progeny, Sessions also has a 2yo filly with Ciaran Maher that made $120,000 at this year’s Inglis Melbourne Premier. Duncan bred her from Ihtsatune (Ihtiram) who is a sister to his Group 1 winner Ihtsahymn. “Ciaran received positive news from the breakers. They reckon she’s better than good.”
Duncan stands Safeguard in partnership with Mogumber Park owners Colin Brown and Fiona Lacey. He alternates between both farms and it’s Oakland Park’s turn this year.
He jumped the gun this season winning 2yo trials with first-crop fillies Miss West Coast (Belmont) and Marcee A Lady (Lark Hill). They will be favoured when the juvenile season commences with the Initial Plate (1000m) at Belmont on October 6.
Miss West Coast was the top-priced Safeguard at the 2018 Perth Magic Millions. She was a $145,000 buy for Trevor Andrews who was acting on behalf of owners Robin and Gail Humberston.
The Duncans are also on a winning ride with their tough gelding Pushin’ Shapes who won the $100,000 Coolgardie Cup (1600m) last month. He’s a 6yo son of former Oakland Park sire Viscount who was sourced from Darley shortly after the buy-out of Woodlands Stud.
Pushin’ Shapes shouldered a record-breaking 59kg under Joe Azzopardi in the Goldfields and he will be set for the $125,000 Northam Cup (1600m) on October 28.
Safeguard will stand for a $6,600 service fee this year and Sessions is priced at $7,700. Oakland Park is also home to Not A Single Doubt’s brother Rogano ($8,800).