Last year Arrowfield took what the Stud believed was one of the best fillies it had ever consigned to the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale.
Offered on behalf of breeder Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm operation, the daughter of Snitzel and dual Group 1 winner Response (by Charge Forward) filled the eyes of the Emirates Park team led by Bryan Carlson and trainers John, Michael & Wayne Hawkes.
It took all of Emirates Park’s budget for the sale to buy the filly, but at $1.7 million she was theirs.
Today she justified their judgement and financial commitment with a superlative display of unfettered speed and gritty determination, aided by Brenton Avdulla's bold ride, to win the $3.5 million ATC Golden Slipper S. 1200m G1. It was an all-filly trifecta, with the Tony McEvoy-trained pair Oohood and Sunlight second & third, ahead of the favourite Written By who was the first colt home.
Pictured: Emirates Park's filly Estijaab is the 7th Golden Slipper winner sold by Arrowfield and her $2 million winner's cheque takes Snitzel close to $22 million prizemoney for the season. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)
John Hawkes said, “She’s such a professional, she was asleep in the stalls and two-year-olds don’t do that.
“Her gate speed is unbelievable and that’s her attribute. They are all individuals and we just take them as they come.’’
The victory brings up several milestones for sensational Champion Sire Snitzel: his first Golden Slipper winner, his 13th Group 1 winner and his fourth Group 1 winner this season after Trapeze Artist, Redzel and Russian Revolution.
Snitzel’s Australian season earnings now approach an unprecedented $22 million, more than double those of his nearest rival I Am Invincible, and he moves into the No. 1 spot on the 2YO Sires’ list with $3,198,395 prizemoney.
3YO filly I Am Excited, winner of the ATC Darby Munro S. 1200m LR and Estijaab completed Snitzel's 5th same-day, same-track stakes double this season alone. (Both fillies supplied two legs of a stakes treble at Randwick two weeks ago.)
There are also interesting connections with several past Golden Slipper victories.
Arrowfield has bred and/or sold six other Golden Slipper winners: Danzero (1994), Flying Spur (1995), Catbird (1999), Belle du Jour (2000), Miss Finland (2006) and the 2007 winner Forensics who was trained by John Hawkes for the Inghams’ Woodlands Stud.
Snitzel was already part of the race’s history as damsire of the 2014 winner Mossfun who, like Estijaab, carried the green and white silks of Emirates Park and was trained by Team Hawkes.
Estijaab, last year’s winner She Will Reign and this year’s placegetter Sunlight are all out of mares by former Arrowfield resident Charge Forward, himself runner-up in Dance Hero’s 2004 Slipper.
Response has a yearling filly by Snitzel bought by Moody Racing for $350,000 from Arrowfield's Magic Millions draft earlier this year, a weanling full sister and is again in foal to Snitzel.
Arrowfield's graduate record now shows Estijaab as one of 7 Group 1 winners by Snitzel sold under the Stud's banner, joining Heavenly Blue, Hot Snitzel, Invader, Snitzerland, Sweet Idea and Wandjina.
Hot Snitzel and Sweet Idea, along with Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler and Blue Diamond G1 winner Reaan (both by Hussonet), were all bred by Mr Yoshida’s long-standing partnership with Arrowfield.
And finally, the new Golden Slipper queen is one of 8 Group 1 winners purchased from Arrowfield at the past five Inglis Easter Sales.
Arrowfield will offer 47 yearlings at the 2018 Inglis Easter Sale, including 8 fillies and two colts by Snitzel - view the draft here.