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Profile of a Champion

By Jeune from Iota of Luck

Alcopop was by the Champion race and sire Jeune and was from Iota of Luck.  Jeune had been a revelation on the racetrack after being imported to Australia as a Group 2 winner from the United Kingdom.  After an unplaced run in the Group 1 Goodwood Hcp he was spelled and sent to Australia to be prepared for a Melbourne Cup in 1994 by David Hayes.  First up he ran second to a classy local sprinter in Adelaide before heading to the weight for age company in Melbourne.  He was third behind Mahogany in the Group 2 Craiglee Stakes before he won the Group 1 Underwood Stakes then placed second in both the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.  Three days later Jeune won the Melbourne Cup.  He then returned from a spell to win the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes and was then second to Schillaci in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.  Two seconds in the Group 1 Rawson and BMW Stakes followed before a memorable win in the Group 1 AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes.  Jeune was named Horse of the Year for the 1994-95 season.  He raced on for another season winning the Craiglee Stakes again before retiring to Lindsay Park Stud under the watchful eye of Colin Hayes.  He had started 24 times in Australia for 5 wins and 9 placings with 19 of those starts being in Group 1 events.  Alcopop was a member of Jeune’s third last foal crop in a career where he sired 28 stakeswinners of 64 races with Mummify his best performer followed by Alcopop with True Steel another of Jeune’s Group 1 stakeswinners close behind .

Iota of Luck was by the iconic SA stallion Blevic from the At Talaq mare Petite Luck and therefore Alcopop was bred on a similar cross to Jeune’s best performer in Mummify (link).  Foaled in 1997 she had 12 starts for two wins and four placings and was retired to stud in 2003.  Her first foal was Alcopop and was not served the following year.  Warmonger by Brief Truce was her second foal and has been placed 3 times from 8 starts while her 2007 foal is the filly Detox by Golden Snake who has to date had 17 starts for 5 wins and 5 placings with earnings over $100,000 including a second in the 2013 Balaklava Cup.  Another filly followed in 2008 named Drunken Sister and she was retired unraced and sent to Rebel Raider in 2012.  Iota of Luck’s 2009 foal was a filly by Oratorio (IRE) then she missed the following year before produced a colt to Nadeem in 2011.   


Alcopop was trained by Jake Stephens who was running the Flying Fish Café at Horseshoe Bay Port Elliott while slowly building up his stable of gallopers at Inman Valley before Alcopop put him into the mainstream spotlight.  Alcopop was bred by G&H Gillam & Jake Stephens and therefore didn’t go through any sales and was first seen in public as a spring 4yo on Melbourne Cup day 2008 at Morphettville over 1200m where he was 4th by the 800m but soon came away to win easily from Vaugirard and Amici D’Amore ridden by Matthew Neilson.  At his second start again at Morphettville over 1200m Alcopop didn’t have a lot of luck and was well back before making ground for a 7th place beaten 4.4 lengths behind Manila Jewel to whom he was conceding 5kg in weight.

 Alcopop was soon back to form running on from 6th in a nine horse field to defeat Joyful Glow and Jeune’s Lagoon over 1600m at Morphettville in late December 2008 ridden by a new jockey in Dom Tourneur.  A second to Rikbat at Cheltenham then Alcopop returned to form storming away to win over 2045m at Morphettville 17th January in 2009.  He was then stepped up to stakes company in the Birthday Cup and was sent out favourite for the 1800m race at Morphettville but after being in fifth spot by the 500m Alcopop couldn’t make up the ground and passed the post in that position 4 lengths behind winner Centurytwentyone.  A spell soon followed.

Alcopop returned in his best form in the spring of 2009 with a hard fought narrow win in a Class 3 at Morphettville before heading to the Balaklava Cup where he ran on from mid field to narrowly defeat Steel My Heart with Aztec Smytzer third.  The runner up lodged a protest which was later dismissed and Alcopop was now being considered a live chance in the Cups though his lightweight put him well down the order of entry. 

 Three weeks later he found himself lining up at Moonee Valley for the JRA Cup over 2040m.  Passing the post the first time Alcopop was with the tailenders as he settled into stride in the 13 horse field.  Little changed as the field went along the back but Alcopop found himself in good company with VRC Derby winner Kibbutz on his inside and to that time Qld Derby winner Shocking on his outside.  By the 600m Dom Tourneur saw a gap closer to the rails and quickly moved Alcopop forward to find himself  behind the leaders as he moved out to avoid tiring runners.  Around the home turn Field Hunter was in front wide out on the track but Alcopop was following right behind took the run inside to make his challenge despite the grey starting to drift in.  In the final 100m Alcopop was  two good racing away to win from Field Hunter with Shocking running on late for third. 

 Alcopop was not amongst the second acceptors for the Caulfield Cup but the Monday after his JRA Cup win was penalised for the Melbourne Cup which took his weight to 51kg but he was still 81st in order of entry.   His next assignment was the Herbert Power Hcp at Caulfield on Guineas day.   While he shared the bulk of the attention on betting with Shocking Alcopop was still not all that familiar with the Victorians.  Past the post the first time Alcopop found himself midfield on the rails inside Shocking with plenty of space as others jostled for positions up near the lead.  Heading past the 1800m Alcopop had moved up along the inside to be behind Hissing Sid with Mr Tipsy alongside and Shocking following behind him.  By the 600m Alcopop easily started to run on and moved into the space to be wider on the track around the turn ready to challenge the leaders.   By the 300m Alcopop started to sprint it despite ducking in slightly and was soon giving chase to race leader Zavite.   As he started to sprint away one of the other photographers where I was said ‘whats this thing’ all I could reply with was ‘that’s Alcopop!’.   In the final 200m it was all Alcopop who ran home over the last 100m under hands and heels only as Shocking ran on late for second with Hissing Sid third.  It was the biggest win being at Group 2 level for both jockey Dom Tourneur and trainer Jake Stephens.  Run late in the day I headed off straight to the airport after the race and interestingly once on the flight home the airline staff had seemingly everyone on board but then were frantically looking for a D Tourneur – to this day I have no idea if he made it at the last second and was sitting at the front of the plane or if he didn’t as they seemed to eventually give up and the flight departed.

 The following week it was announced that Alcopop had been given another penalty for the Cup this time 1.5kg taking his weight to 52.5kg but more importantly he jumped up the order of entry to 26th and guaranteed a start in the race he was now second favourite for.  In the Melbourne Cup from barrier 11 in the 23 horse field he was backed into favourite for the race where he had never taken on such a large field nor run at the track before ridden by a jockey who hadn’t ridden at Flemington before.   Settling against the rail Alcopop was within 6 lengths of the leaders but without any true pace early the big field raced tightly with Alcopop being pushed a number of times.  Along the back Alcopop was in the group behind where Shocking was racing wide and appeared to now be going well but locked up on the fence inside Kibbutz and Newport.   BY the 1000m Kibbutz moved forward and Newport dropped back giving Alcopop the chance to angle slightly off the fence as others started early runs.  Despite moving wider around the turn he was still held up by other runners and had to wait to find a way through.  With a lot of traffic Alcopop finally had clear galloping room well into the straight by the 400m where he found himself still back in 10th trying to make ground as the leaders sprinted.   Shocking and Crime Scene kicked clear from Harris Tweed as Alcopop continued his run out wider and fleetingly it looked as though the fairytale might be unfolding.  It was not to be with 100m Alcopop burst ended as he ground over the last little bit with Shocking going on to win from Crime Scene with Mourilyan third with Alcopop 6th only 4 lengths from the winner.   A spell followed with Sydney the next target in the autumn.

 First up in the Apollo Stakes he took on a field of weight for age performers where he wasn’t considered one of the top selections.  From a wide barrier Alcopop found himself well back early as the pace was on from the outset.  He stayed well back until the turn where he finally changed to the outside leading leg but still seemed to take a few strides before balancing up as the frontrunners got even further ahead.  Although in touch with the winner Danleigh halfway down the straight there was no dash as Alcopop stayed on the outside leading leg to the line with Danleigh defeating stablemate Rangirangdoo with Alcopop finishing behind the main group in 10th place.   After the race it was found he had jarred up and he was then freshened up after developing a virus prior to the Chipping Norton to prepare for the Ranvet Stakes.    In the Ranvet Stakes Alcopop started well and on settling was one off the rail in the second half of the field but was appearing to travel well early on.  By the 1200m he lost ground after the turn but had plenty of galloping room for making a forward move.   Soon after though as they moved around another bend he again looked to have an uncomfortable galloping action switching leading legs in noticeable contrast with the local runners.  Around the home turn he started off on the wrong leg and was then pushed by another runner on his inside and although switching to the correct leg was still uncomfortable racing in that direction.   Rolling around in the straight Alcopop couldn’t make any ground and passed in the post the back of the field just over 6 lengths from the winner Theseo.  It was decided to cut the campaign short and go home to spell to prepare for the spring.

Alcopop returned to racing for the spring of 2010 as a 6yo and resumed in the Penny Edition Stakes at Morphettville.   He settled midfield on the inside as Spacecraft led the field.  Around the home turn Alcopop was still held up on the rail behind runners and had to try and make ground once they fanned out a little on straightening.  By the 200m he was starting to slowly make ground inside all but one runner Viking Turf Belle  however Spacecraft had raced well clear with Magical Pearl running on out wider.   In the run to the line Spacecraft held his advantage winning from Magical Pearl with Viking Turf Belle just grabbing third ahead of a small group including Alcopop who was 5th.  After an unplaced effort in the Tokyo City Cup Alcopop headed back to Moonee Valley again for the JRA Cup with a new jockey Victorian Mark Zahra.

 In the JRA Cup Alcopop settled midfield along the fence in a similar position to the previous year.  He held this position until 600m where he moved forward with Precedence and Linton.  Precedence was too strong running on to win from Rainbow Styling with Linton third and Alcopop in 5th position.  It was a vast improvement on his previous run and next it was to the star studded Caulfield Stakes.  The field featured superstar So You Think, wfa performer Whobegotyou, Master O’Reilly, Empire’s Choice, etc.  Alcopop was eased to the rear of the small field early as So You Think sat up outside the lead before taking the trail behind Red Ruler.  Coming to the home turn as all eyes were on So You Think it was Alcopop at the back who was starting to angle off the fence to make his run.  On straightening So You Think raced well clear as Whobegotyou moved out to give chase with Alcopop still a further length away but putting in a strong run.   So You Think raced down to the line to win effortlessly but Alcopop was the only one making ground at the end as he raced past Whobegotyou to grab a clear second showing his preparation for the spring was back on track. 

 The return to form behind So You Think saw Alcopop one of two selected from 4 equal 17th entries in the Caulfield Cup to gain a run in the race a week later.  However luck deserted connections as he not only drew the outside for the race but also faced a heavy track.  Despite jumping well Alcopop was soon eased back behind the field but instead of dropping at the tail a long way out his rider elected to keep him wide around the turn out of the straight.  However along the back he ended up a clear last as the field packed ahead of him.  By the 800m he again moved wide on the track and started to make a fast move that had him up near the leaders around the turn but very wide out on the track.   Alcopop was asked for his effort at the same time as Harris Tweed started his run just inside him but the bog track and very wide run started to take its toll. Harris Tweed went on to fight out the finish with eventual winner Descarado while Alcopop refused to change leading legs and only battled in the final 200m passing the post in 11th of the 18 runners after his torrid run.

 Despite the unplaced effort the plan was to head to the Melbourne Cup however unlike last year Alcopop was well down the order of entry and had to win The Lexus on Derby Day to get a run in the big race.  Another new jockey was on board with Blake Shinn taking the ride.  After being squeezed soon after jumping Alcopop eased back and settled at the tail of the field along the rails with Maluckyday on his outside in the 2500m race.   By the 800m Alcopop moved off the rail to try and make ground but was still a clear last 25 lengths off the front runners.  As in the Caulfield Cup Alcopop covered the most ground around the home turn of any runner as he turned for home trying to make his run outside Maluckyday with Linton ahead of him.  Anchored under the 57kg topweight the others just had a far stronger sprint as Linton and Maluckyday gave chase to Once Were Wild as Alcopop started to labor past the 300m.  Maluckyday went on to win from Linton with Alcopop given an easy time in the run to the line finishing at the rear.  It was back to Victor Harbor for a well earned spell.


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