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- Profile of a Champion
Kingston Rules victory Bart Cummings trained his ninth winner of the Melbourne Cup
but one challenge still remained to train, own and breed such a horse. Saintly was to
prove the one to bring this dream to reality.
Bart Cummings was one of the group of owners of Ziegfield Lass and in 1984 sent her superstar sire Sir Tristram. The resultant filly was named All Grace. In 1990 she was sent to stud in New Zealand to Dahar producing a colt named Glide Away. The following year she was sent to Sky Chase before being sent Australia in June 1992. In Australia she has produced Opera Bouffe (by Rigoletto), Hilltop (by Danehill), Blessed Be (to Brief Truce), Aucash (by Danehill) and her final foal was to be Pure Grace by Woodman.
Sky Chase had been an outstanding racehorse from the Bart Cummings stables. A 1984 foal by Star Way from Vice Reine he first came to prominence in running second in the AJC Sires Produce before winning the 1987 Group 1 Champagne Stakes. Returning to racing the following spring he won the 1987 Up and Coming Stakes and Gloaming Stakes before venturing to Melbourne and victory in the 1987 Moonee Valley Stakes. Throughout the autumn he was overshadowed by the stables star 3yo Beau Zam but did add the 1988 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas to his growing list of stakes wins. The following spring as a 4yo Sky Chase came into his own taking out two weight for age races in the Premiere Stakes and Chelmsford Stakes in Sydney before heading to Melbourne. He then won the Caulfield Stakes before a third in the Mackinnon Stakes on his way to represent Australia in the 1988 Japan Cup. High expectations for the race turned into disaster as Sky Chase fell victim to suspected travel sickness that threatened to take his life. He survived the illness but never returned to the racetrack. Retired to stud in New Zealand in 1990 he sired 7 stakeswinners before being transferred to Australia for the spring of 1998.
All Graces 1992 foal by Sky Chase born on 21 September 1992 was retained by Bart Cummings and named Saintly. In March 1995 the chestnut gelding made his debut at 60-1 in the Yootha Hcp at Canterbury over 1200m finishing 6th behind Reload. Five weeks later Saintly defeated Silver Sheik in the WN Parry-Okeden Hcp over 1200m at Randwick before running third as 9/4 ef behind Renaissance in a 1500m 2yo Hcp at Rosehill. He finished his 2yo campaign with a fourth behind future speedster Quick Flick in the 1300m Hyundai Hcp at Rosehill and it was his final unplaced run throughout his career.
As other members of his 3yo class were set for the major races of the spring Saintly worked his way through his classes in Sydney before heading to Melbourne. First he easily won a Class 1 Hcp at Newcastle over 1200m by 1 1/4 lengths from Blue Valley before a second behind Wavertree in a 3yo Hcp at Warwick Farm. Returning to Randwick he defeated handy sprinter Kidlat in a 3yo Hcp over 1400m before being set for black type races in Melbourne.
The Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day was Saintlys first test at the stakes level. He drifted back at the start to settle behind midfield but was striding along well. Around the turn Darren Beadman pulled him out wide to start his long searching run after the leaders. Within a stride or two the race was over as, passing the 200m, Saintly hit the front and raced away from the others to win as he liked from Brackenbury with Touch of Force third. After the race Bart Cummings responded to interview questions about the horse that he was a promising 3yo and expected that he would handle up the 2400m easily in the future.
Saintlys final start for the spring was the Sandown Guineas a fortnight later. After dropping out early he again pulled out to make his run around the turn and powered down the outside. Fleetingly it looked as if a repeat of the Carbine Club Stk was unfolding but it was not to be as Peep on the Sly outgunned the future champion in the run to the line by half a length.
The following autumn the other 3yos Nothin Leica Dane and Octagonal continued to dominate the headlines but Saintlys achievements were remarkable in their own right. First up in the Expressway Stakes he produced an electrifying run to win from a field of noted sprinters and milers. Blocked for a run down the long Randwick straight his prospects seemed hopeless inside the 200m. Juggler looked to have a winning break while Saintly still couldnt find a gap. At the 150m the gap came and Saintly showed what would become his customary dash to the line by diving through the gap and powering down the outside to defeat Juggler by half a length with Star Dancer third. A fortnight later running as 5/4 fav Saintly again took on the older horses in the Apollo Stakes over 1400m. Juggler gained his revenge holding a 1 1/4 length advantage to the 3yo on the post. Saintly headed to Melbourne for his next start in the Australian Cup run at Flemington over 2000m at weight for age.
With the boom 3yo Nothin Leica Dane engaged it was expected to be a repeat of his win in the VRC Derby. Soon after the start Nothin Leica Dane went to the lead as Saintly was posted three wide - where he stayed for most of the trip. As they straightened Nothin Leica Dane looked in trouble as he was pressured by Campaign Warrior with Saintly just starting his run after coming around the turn 5 off the rail. With 250m to go the race was as good as over as Saintly lengthened stride and cruised away from the opposition to win untouched easing up over the line with Vialli second and Peep On The Sly in third. After the race Bart Cummings was quoted as saying that Saintly would be aimed at the WS Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup the following spring and should hard to beat in both races.
The dominance of his win in the Australian Cup resulted in Saintly heading out for the clash with Octagonal, Filante and Nothin Leica Dane in the Rosehill Guineas as 2/1 equal favourite. From a wide barrier he crossed to be three off the rail early but settled towards the back of the field to be one off the fence on the heels of Octagonal and Filante by the 1400m. As the field turned for home Saintly followed Octagonal as they started their runs together with Octagonal 3 and 4 off the rail with Saintly outside him a length or so back. By the 200m Nothin Leica Dane had hit the front but Octagonal was challenging with Saintly trying hard down the outside to make ground on the pair with Filante closer to the rail behind them. Inside the final 50m Octagonal hit the front but Saintly had hit top gear and was charging home. It was too late though and on the line Octagonal was in front by a head from Saintly with Nothin Leica Dane close up in third.
Saintly and Octagonal clashed again in the Mercedes Classic and this time their positions in running were reversed with Octagonal sitting on Saintlys heels during the early run. With 800m to go Saintly started his run around the outside of the field ending up 6 deep on straightening with Octagonal on his outside. As they made their runs Octagonal showed more dash to kick clear as Count Chivas came out of the pack with his run as Saintly fought out third place with Electronic. Octagonal continued on his winning way as Saintly just grabbed third. Questions were raised over Saintlys form but he just didnt have the fluency of stride in the Rosehill runs as in Melbourne and at the bigger track of Randwick. He also appeared a lot more immature being a tall skinny gelding yet to fill out compared to the bigger bulkier build of Octagonal and Nothin Leica Dane.
Doubts over his Mercedes Classic run and ability to stay led to Saintly starting at 11/2 in the AJC Derby with Octagonal the 9/10 favourite. Heading out for the race dubbed the Derby of the Decade the main hopes looked fantastic. Saintly was resaddled behind the barrier by jockey Larry Cassidy and as a result was the last horse loaded into the gates. Racing keenly Saintly was three wide passing the post the first time but soon settled into stride to be one off the rail in about 6th placing as they headed into the back straight with Octagonal again right behind him. Around the turn Nothin Leica Dane hit the front with Filante the first to challenge as Saintly then Octagonal started to run on from the back. At the 200m Filante hit the front with Octagonal on the outside and Saintly charging in the centre. This trio went stride for stride and for a stride or two it looked like Saintly would get there as he clawed past Octagonal with 75m to go but in the final 25m Octagonal fought back to win by a long head.
After a spell Saintly returned to racing a bigger stronger animal who had matured during his winter break. He also had a new jockey for the spring as Darren Beadman committed to Saintly for his 4yo campaign after being the rider of Octagonal the previous autumn. Saintlys first race back was the Warwick Stakes at Warwick Farm over 1400m and a return bout with Nothin Leica Dane and Filante. Despite being sent out as 13/8 fav Saintly could not quite match the dash of Filante who bolted in by 3 lengths with Saintly in second. Filante again had too many guns in the Chelmsford Stakes holding Saintly to a 1 3/4 len margin. As Filante headed to the Epsom Hcp (a race in which he won eased down on the post) Saintly continued on his path to the big spring races in Melbourne.
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