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Star colt Sepoy upholds rich family tradition; GOLDEN WONDER.

Son of Elusive Quality strolls home in richest juvenile race ANY doubts that Sepoy was not the brilliant colt once promised were erased in just over a minute on Saturday at Rosehill in Australia when Sheikh Mohammed's homebred son of Elusive Quality overwhelmed the field for the world's richest juvenile race, the Golden Slipper Stakes, with a bloodless two-length win.

In doing so, he emulated his close relative, 1990 winner Canny Lad, and the sire of his second dam, Marscay, who struck in the race in 1982.

A bull of a colt, Sepoy was quick to come to hand for trainer Peter Snowden, never coming off the bridle to win a pair of 5f Listed races and a Caulfield Group 3 en route to a four-and-a-quarter-length win in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.

Yet, no sooner was he hailed as the second coming then the bubble was burst. Defeat by Smart Missile in the Group 2 Todman Stakes at Rosehill rocked his position as leader of the pack, and when that rival was declared for the Golden Slipper, some expected the placings to be confirmed.

The debate will rage on after Smart Missile was a late withdrawal due to getting cast in the stalls. His absence, as well as that of Fast And Sexy, robbed Fastnet Rock of a five-pronged attack, although the Coolmore stallion still accounted for the runner-up, Mosheen.

As it was, Smart Missile might have struggled to topple Sepoy, who settled the matter under Kerrin McEvoy with a decisive turn of foot to become the first horse since Coutza in 1989 to pull off the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper double.

His earnings now stand at nearly Aus$2.9 million, a bankroll that has provided his sire Elusive Quality with an unassailable lead in the Australian two-year-old sires' list - an ironic development given that waning support saw the stallion's shuttling duties switched from Australia to Brazil in 2009.

Sepoy was conceived when Elusive Quality headed Darley Australia's roster at A$137,500, the third highest figure commanded by any stallion in Australia in 2007. It was the season in which equine influenza ravaged Australia and Elusive Quality was one of the few stallions to escape quarantine and serve mares, in his case a big book of 173 that resulted in 131 two-year-olds.

His popularity in Australia stemmed from a first southern hemisphere crop that contained juvenile Group 1 winner Camarilla - a sister in blood to Sepoy - and a flow of leading northern hemisphere representatives that had propelled his fee from Aus$10,000 to Aus$100,000 within four seasons.

Stud recognition did not come easy to Elusive Quality. Although a good-looking, progressive descendant of blue hen Natashka, the son of Gone West did not gain his first stakes victory until, as a five-year-old, he landed a pair of Grade 3 turf events at Belmont, including the Poker Handicap, in which he set a world record for 1m. Despite his flashes of brilliance, such a late developer with a preference for grass was unlikely to sit comfortably within a Kentucky market geared towards dirt.

Even so, he attracted three-figure books in his first two seasons at Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky and became a revelation when Prix Morny winner Elusive City emerged out of his first crop and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes hero Smarty Jones headed his second.

While no Graded stakes winners came out of his third and fourth crops, and his fifth contained just one in Group 3 winner Elusive Warning, an ability to sire a 'big horse' has kept him in the spotlight; look no further than recent representatives Raven's Pass and Quality Road.

Sepoy, the latest addition to that list, is the pick of a hitherto quiet stud record in Australia, and it is surely no coincidence that Sepoy is out of a placed sister to the dam of his other Australian Group 1 winner Camarilla.

No horse exerts a greater hold on the Australian bloodstock industry than Danehill and Elusive Quality has clicked with his line; Sepoy and Camarilla are two of nine stakes performers bred on the cross.

In a further illustration of Danehill's dominance, he appeared in the backgrounds of the first five home at Rosehill, while Sepoy is the 11th Golden Slipper winner since 1994 to contain his blood.

Darley still stands Canny Lad, a 23-year-old Bletchingly half-brother to Sepoy's second dam Canny Miss who has sired ten Group 1 winners, and in Sepoy they have landed upon a prestigious replacement.

However, one of the last laughs surely belongs to Emirates Park Stud. It paid just A$55,000 for Sepoy's dam, Watchful, out of the Darley consignment at the 2009 Inglis Easter broodmare sale.

CAPTION(S):

Sepoy (Kerrin McEvoy) runs away with the Golden Slipper Stakes to take his earnings to nearly Aus$2.9m
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 7, 2011
Words:810
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