Scenic Lodge sire Universal Ruler reprised a Northam double a fortnight ago with a much more lucrative interstate brace on Wednesday.
No Surrender won the Filkel Hcp (1400m) at Bendigo to qualify for the $500,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Final (1600m) at Flemington next Thursday. Two hours later, Lord Gannicus won the Quokka Slot Race Hcp (1500m) across the country to boost his prospects for the $500,000 WA Guineas (1600m) on November 19.
A former Perth galloper, No Surrender was purchased for $40,000 at the Inglis December 2021 Online Sale by Jack Laing and he’s already earned over $100,000 for the rookie trainer who is based at Cranbourne.
There’s a half-million dollars on the line at the Ladies Day Group 1 VRC Victoria Oaks meeting and part-owner Eddie Nicholson will join the rest of a large syndicate taking the day off to cheer home No Surrender.
“All credit to Jack, he’s done a wonderful job,” Nicholson said. “This horse can pull his head off at trackwork and raceday but he’s tough and really hits the line.”
Winning apprentice Matt Chadwick is also eager to stay aboard the front-runner at Headquarters. The likelihood of a wet surface isn’t a worry, either, with four wins on soft and heavy tracks. “He can be a bit keen but we managed to get a couple of easy sectionals between the 1000m and 600m. He railed well, got into a nice rhythm, and I knew he would fight out the finish.”
Universal Ruler sired No Surrender from Dark Attack (Dylan Thomas) who was bred by Peters Investments. She’s a half-sister to Cohort (LR Belmont Guineas & LR Belmont Classic) and the dams of Dark Choice (G3 WA Oaks) and Churchill Dancer (G2 VRC Bobbie Lewis Hcp).
Lord Gannicus joined this season’s growing list of 3yo winners against all-ages at Ascot on Wednesday. He was giving the leader Bigdayonit (Epaulette) six lengths and weight into the straight but justified a short quote with giant strides from the furlong.
Six months ago, co-trainer Grant Williams said he was still a prep away after winning a Belmont nursery and he’s furnished into the real deal this season.
The WA Guineas is shaping up as one of the highest-rating classics of recent years with the likes of Lord Gannicus currently on offer at $26 with Sportsbet. Grant and Alana Williams have been blessed with three beautifully-bred, cerise and white winners in the last five years – Treasured Star (Toronado), Arcadia Queen, (Pierro) and Perfect Jewel (Redoute’s Choice).
Lord Gannicus also carries a black-type pedigree under the blue and gold silks of part-owner and breeder Elio Galante. His dam Hello Paris (Rothesay) won four city races in Perth and second-dam Paris Heartbeat (Marooned) was a Listed winner in Melbourne (Summoned Stakes) and Brisbane (Glenlogan Park Stakes)
Muchea-based Scenic Lodge stands Universal Ruler ($6,600) with Snippetson ($7,700) and Dash For Cash ($2,200). Service fees (inc GST)
Hoofnote: Universal Ruler was back in business at Northam on Thursday when his 3yo filly Rusty Dreams had lengths to spare on debut in the Hahn Superdry Maiden (1100m). She started a short-priced favourite after two trials wins at Lark Hill for in-form trainer Michael Lane and Canal Enterprises part-owner and breeder Peter Capararo.