Precious prize in Swettenham
Two Nagambie studs treasured Precious Gem’s Group 1 breakthrough in the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
The Caulfield mare had won a Group 3 at her home track before travelling interstate for a career-high victory in Adelaide. “You can never be confident going into a Group 1,” trainer Henry Dwyer said. “But I was quite relaxed mainly because the horse looked so well, it’s a credit to the stable.”
Precious Gem (Econsul) was bred in partnership by Millford Thoroughbreds owners Richard Kerry and Jarrod Byers. Their 320-acre property fronts Hughes Creek between Nagambie and Avenel.
Gem Of Gems was originally owned by Denis Marks who raced Hall Of Fame mare Let’s Elope. “We had a lot to do with Denis when first setting up Millford Thoroughbreds,” Kerry said. “We were familiar with the mare and bought her for $4,000 at the 2009 Great Southern Sale.”
Swettenham Stud owner Adam Sangster also had an interest in Saturday’s race over and above the fact it honours the memory of his trail-blazing father.
Gem Of Gems was floated from Millford to Swettenham last November – it’s only a couple of kms – and now she’s positive to Group 1 shuttler Toronado.
Swettenham’s world-champion graduate Black Caviar heads the Robert Sangster Stakes roll-call which dates back to 1984 – the year he won the English 2000 Guineas with El Gran Senor. Initially known as the Swettenham Stud Stakes, it changed names following Sangster’s death in 2004.
Adam Sangster would love nothing better than to win the race and he came close in 2009 when Hidden Energy was runner-up to Bel Mer.
The South Australian Jockey Club received a sharp rejoinder on social media for promoting this year’s race as the UBET Classic while still registered as the Robert Sangster Stakes.
Belmont Bloodstock’s Damon Gabbedy reflected the views of many on Twitter. “SAJC absolute joke. G1 Robert Sangster Stakes now called UBET Classic. Where is the respect!”