A Dash of Difference in Golden Rose - Thoroughbred Daily News

27 Sep 19

The following article was written by Bren O'Brien for industry publication the Thoroughbred Daily News.

Yao Dash's rapid ascent to contender, and as the only gelding, potential spoilsport, in the Gr1 Golden Rose S, has been a decade in the making.

Yao Dash (Smart Missile) may loom as the fly in the ointment as the only gelding in what is supposed to be a stallion-making race in the Gr1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose S. on Saturday.

Nine of the ten winners of the race since it was elevated to Group 1 status in 2009 are currently at stud in Australia, with Manawanui (Oratorio {Ire}) the only gelding in that time to eclipse the colts.


Behind him that day in 2011 was Yao Dash's own sire in Smart Missile, who while he would never get his Group 1 win, would go on to a very successful breeding career with Arrowfield Stud and now at Twin Hills Stud. Incidentally, Manawanui went on to become a police horse.

Yao Dash has emerged as a contender in a rapid space of time having only debuted late last month with a midweek win at Canterbury and he backed that up with a Saturday BM72 success at Randwick, where he defeated subsequent G2 Tea Rose S. winner Funstar (Adelaide {Ire}).

But while his ascent to contender, and potential spoilsport, in one of the most significant 3-year-old races of the season, has been rapid on the track, his origin story goes back ten years, when Paul Fudge of Waratah Thoroughbreds picked out a weanling filly by Rahy (USA) from the Keeneland November Breeding Sale for US$120,000.

Rahy Storm (USA), as she was to be called, was a three-quarter sister to American G2 winner Rahy's Appeal (USA) (Rahy {USA}) and a half-sister to subsequent UK stakes-winner The Rectifier (USA) (Langfuhr {USA}). She arrived in Australia three days before her first birthday.

Rahy Storm (USA) when selling at the 2014 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale

The filly began her career for Guy Walter in the Waratah red and white colours, but she failed to win in three starts and was offered for sale through the 2014 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale as a maiden mare who still had potential on the track.


That's when Rahy Storm came to the attention of Newhaven Park, who paid just $14,000 for her.

Newhaven Park's John Kelly said. "I'm not sure a lot of people appreciate how good Rahy is. The pedigree side of things, being by Rahy out of a Gone West (USA) mare, it is a wonderful pedigree so that was the attraction."

"We put her back into work after we bought her and she won in town."

When, after a 16-start career which netted two wins, it was time to find a first match with her off the track, Newhaven Park opted for Smart Missile, then in his fourth season at Arrowfield Stud.

"It's a nice cross if you are a bit of a pedigree buff. It’s wonderful to send those imported mares back to the local stallions, the outcross aspect of it is very good isn't it?" Kelly said.

SMART MISSILE - sire of Yao Dash | Standing at Twin Hills

The pedigree was also something that caught the eye of bloodstock agent Dean Watt when he went to inspect the resultant colt at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

"The cross worked as far as we were concerned. The Fastnet Rock/Rahy cross, the Danehill (USA)-Blushing Groom (USA) cross, it all worked," Watt, who buys for Dynamic Syndications, said.

Kelly recalls Yao Dash was a straightforward yearling with good quality.

"We always liked him and he was a very attractive yearling and he had a wonderful temperament during his yearling prep. He was a really simple horse to prepare," he said.

Yao Dash as a yearling
"Some horses just have a swagger and air about them, that's what this fella had." - Dean Watt

From a buying perspective, Watt was impressed with what he saw when he inspected him.

"If I wanted to put it down into one word it is 'swagger'," he said. "To us, in our eye, he was beautiful and he presented like a horse of quality and substance. Some horses just have a swagger and air about them, that's what this fella had.

"I didn’t have him as the best of the sale by any stretch of the imagination, but I gave him three ticks, a seven-plus, which on my scoring is enough for me to bid on and I just wrote on the page 'nice colt' and 'swagger'.

"He came through the ring, I had $120,000 to buy him and I got him for $90,000. He was a really nice type of horse who had a presence about him. I was just glad to have him on the team."

The immediate reports from both the breaker Shane Rose, and the pre-trainers at Wild Oaks were very positive on the colt, but while he had been the model student for Newhaven Park ahead of the sale on the Gold Coast, he had grown into quite the lad since he had been purchased.

"He was a typical alpha male. He tried to toss a rider at Randwick and he wanted to get up and strike and bite and he wasn't a very nice horse. He had ability but it was a temperament issue," Watt said.

"Instead of going onto the races as a 2-year-old, we gelded him and it was the making of him and he's come back now and I could lead him off a piece of cotton. He is a totally different laid-back dude."

Yao Dash, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, had already made an impression on trackwork jockey Adam Hyeronimus before Sam Clipperton rode him in his first trial in July where he defeated the talented Time To Reign (Time For War).

When he then backed that up with a fast-finishing second behind stakes-class filly Athiri (Lonhro), it was time to go to the races.

Keen to get a good read on the horse, Watt's old friend Nash Rawiller was given the ride on him on debut at Canterbury.

"He came out and he took 0.55s off the class record and Nash said, 'This thing is scary mate, I never went close to getting to the bottom of him'." - Dean Watt

Rawiller was similarly effusive after his second victory, after which point Watt and the other owners started to think about sending him to the Gr1 Golden Rose S. at just his third start.

It had become apparent that the numbers headed towards the race had fallen away and the likelihood of a smaller field meant it was much more suitable for a leader like Yao Dash.

A final piece of work this week convinced both the owners and trainers that despite his relative inexperience, it was worth a shot at the $1 million race.

With Rawiller already committed to Yes Yes Yes (Rubick), Hyeronimus has the ride.

"Tactically, the race appeals to us, so we thought let’s just have a throw at the stumps and see how the ball bounces," Watt said. "We have natural gate speed. Gai trains them to be on-pace horses and he is responding very well to that type of training."

Watt is under no illusions about the quality of the seven colts he is opposed to but knows they will have to be on their game if they are going to run Yao Dash down.

"I'm not saying they are not better than us, but I know that our horse can peel off 33 and change off the front at seven furlongs. You would want to be good at level weights to give us 4 lens and run past us," he said.

Back at Newhaven Park, Rahy Storm has just foaled for the third time, producing a filly by Eureka Stud's Spirit Of Boom.

"She has a cracking filly by Spirit Of Boom. We couldn't be happier with her. She is lovely and she is very smart," Kelly said.

"She's got a booking for Written Tycoon but we may yet choose to send her to Smart Missile again."

Rahy Storm's second foal, a colt by Not A Single Doubt, sold to Hong Kong interests for $160,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale earlier this year.

"He was exactly the same (as Yao Dash), an uncomplicated yearling, a very nice horse with good x-rays. He was bought by owners from Hong Kong and he will go into the John Sargent stable but I doubt he'll ever race in Australia. I think he’ll just go straight to Hong Kong," Kelly said.

YAO DASH near shoulder brand is Capital R over Capital K which stands for Richard Kelly - founder of Newhaven Park Stud

As for Yao Dash, who carries the Newhaven Park brand, Kelly said the farm will be cheering him home on Saturday.

"It's very exciting, that's what our business is about, trying to breed good racehorses and sell them. When you can get one that is going to compete in a race like that, it's a big thing," he said.

"It’s a big challenge for him to run in a Group 1 at just his third start in a race against those horses that are more seasoned. But he's been pretty authoritative in his first two wins, the form around him is very good, having beaten Funstar his last start. We have to hope for the best and hope he can win."

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