Racehorse Miss Finland Wins Golden SlipperBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 20, 2006
When Miss Finland dominated this year's running of the Golden Slipper Stakes, staged in Australia, she topped a string of remarkable achievements for a revered Hunter Valley breeding farm and a South Australian racing dynasty.
Australiahas a rich tradition of two-year-old Thoroughbred racing and features several lucrative stakes in its juvenile program. The jewel in this crown is the 1200-meter Group 1 AAMI Golden Slipper Stakes. Locally referred to as the “Golden Slipper” and held annually during Sydney's Autumn Racing Carnival, the 2006 edition marked the 50th anniversary of the event. Run at Rosehill Gardens and open only to two-year-old colts and fillies, the race was contested on April 8 for a purse of $3 million.
This year Miss Finland left an unforgettable mark on the Australian racing scene by beating a class-packed field and finishing four and one-half lengths ahead of her closest rival. The victory cemented trainer David Hayes' reputation as a skilled conditioner of two-year-olds and brought the amazing run of success experienced by the powerful Lindsay Park Racing Stables this season to its crescendo. Hayes was tremendously excited after his first Golden Slipper win. “She was just so dominant today,” he enthused. “I think we have a very exciting horse going forward with this filly.” Hayes was also responsible for training the third-place finisher, Churchill Downs.
The Golden Slipper is preceded by the 1200-meter Group 1 AAMI Blue Diamond Stakes, contested at Caulfield Racecourse in southeastern Melbourne. The “Blue Diamond” is Victoria's richest race for two-year-olds, worth $1 million. In perfect preparation for the Golden Slipper, Hayes saddled both the winner and second-place finisher in this year's running of the Blue Diamond. Nadeem, positioned back in the field, came with a barnstorming run in the homestretch to beat Miss Finland by two and a quarter lengths. The win was Hayes' third Blue Diamond triumph.
Established by legendary trainer Colin S. Hayes in 1965, Lindsay Park is steeped in racing lore. Based in the South Australian Barossa Valley, Lindsay Park is situated in an area more famous for production of wine than racehorses. Indeed, when Lindsay Park was moved to its current location from Semaphore Park in Adelaide, the general consensus among horsemen in the Thoroughbred industry reproved such a move and many people predicted failure for the now venerable institution. Years later, however, the notion of failure is laughable, for Lindsay Park possesses every possible convenience and extravagance for preparing racehorses as well as a most enviable racing record.
Colin's son David began running the operation in 1990 with great success. In the five years that David first trained at Lindsay Park, he won every premiership (leading training title) in Adelaide and Victoria and won countless Group 1 races (the most prestigious) including the Melbourne Cup. In 1996, David accepted a position to train in Hong Kong, where he continued his winning ways. While in Hong Kong, David was the country's leading trainer two years and never strayed from the top four. He saddled mounts that won over $100 million.
With David in Hong Kong, brother Peter continued to win premierships for Lindsay Park until his tragic death in March, 2001. Despite his nearest rivals having over four months to surpass his tally of winners, Peter Hayes still managed to win the Melbourne trainer's premiership for the 2000/2001 season. Longtime assistant trainer Tony McEvoy, who had by that time worked for Lindsay Park for 26 years, took over the reins after Peter's death and continued the tradition of winning premierships, securing four in Adelaide and one in Melbourne until David returned from Hong Kong in August 2005. Together, Colin, Peter, Tony and David have won 66 Australian training premierships in Adelaide and Melbourne, a record that is unlikely to be beaten in Australia or any other country.
Lindsay Park's continued growth and expansion has underpinned its unrivaled track record. With the development of new racing stables at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne and establishment of a second facility in Victoria, the Lindsay Park operation has continued to evolve. The amazing foresight and innovation of Colin Hayes enabled him to create a racing and breeding empire that continues to make history. Few would argue that Colin Hayes lived by his motto, “The future belongs to those who plan for it.”
To some, Miss Finland's success would almost come as no surprise. Indeed, she would seem to have an impeccable pedigree for two-year old contests. Her sire, Redoute's Choice, has a truly outstanding record. A 1996 bay stallion by the incomparable Danehill, Redoute's Choice proved a smashing success on the racetrack. He romped to victory in four Group I events during his racing career and was named 1999-2000 Champion Three-Year-Old Miler in Australasia. His winnings totaled more than $1.5 million.
A winner of the 1999 Blue Diamond himself, Redoute's Choice has sired the winners of both the Golden Slipper and the Blue Diamond, for two years running! In 2005, Stratum won the Golden Slipper and Undoubtedly won the Blue Diamond. Even more remarkably, Redoute's Choice sired the first- and second-place finishers in both the 2005 Golden Slipper and the 2006 Blue Diamond. Setting a record, Redoute's Choice sired six of the sixteen runners in the 2005 Golden Slipper field. Rightly so, Redoute's Choice is considered the “hottest sire in Australia” and one of the world's top stallions.
Redoute's Choice stands at Arrowfield Stud and heads an impressive roster of nine stallions, including Danzero, Falbrav, Flying Spur, Hussonet and the exciting new sire Snitzel. The Arrowfield property is situated in the Segenhoe Valley, a highly fertile pocket of land near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, renowned for its production of class racehorses.
The breeding of Miss Finland was the result of a mating between Redoute's Choice and Forest Pearl, a daughter of Woodman. Though she never raced, royal blood courses through Forest Pearl's veins, as she is the daughter of the game race mare Moonshell (Ire), winner of the 1995 Group I English Oaks. Arrowfield cared for Forest Pearl throughout her pregnancy, and on August 16, 2003, Forest Pearl gave birth to a splendid filly. She remained under the care and supervision of Arrowfield through weaning and preparation for sale as a yearling.
As a yearling, Miss Finland was sold at the prestigious Sydney Easter Yearling Sales for $450,000. After she sold, John Mascara, managing director of Arrowfield, commented that, in his opinion, she would be one of the country's best fillies in the next season. His prediction was spot-on.
Countless variables converge to determine the fate of equine athletes like Miss Finland. Through unwavering dedication to the horse and the sport, Lindsay Park Stud and Racing Stables and Arrowfield have achieved unparalleled success.