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Darby Racing hoping Mafia proves a steal

Scott Darby discusses new acquisition Mafia, a talented Written Tycoon juvenile colt Darby Racing purchased on Wednesday via Inglis Digital, and who lines up for his new owners in a $150,000 race at Flemington on Saturday, promising a near-instant return if he wins.

Such is the beauty of the online sales platforms, Darby Racing will on Saturday get the chance to recoup a large chunk of the purchase price for the lightly raced 2-year-old Mafia, just days after buying the son of Written Tycoon.

Darby Racing secured Mafia on Wednesday, going to $180,000 for the Newgate Farm-consigned colt at the Inglis Digital June (Late) Online Sale.

“You don’t often get that opportunity,” Scott Darby of Darby Racing told TDN AusNZ.

“It’s a great platform, both Inglis Digital and Magic Millions Online.”

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained sprinter will contest Race 1 at Flemington on Saturday - the $150,000 Next Generation Sprinters Series Final (1200 metres). Just six juveniles will race for the $82,500 winner’s cheque, while a SUPER VOBIS Nominators Bonus of $7000 and a SUPER VOBIS Owners Bonus of $23,000 for qualified horses (Mafia is one of those) is also on the table.

“With the VOBIS bonuses, he’s racing for about half the money he was purchased for, so it’s very exciting,” Darby added.

“These horses are great for our ownership groups, the ones that are lightly raced with plenty of upside. Hopefully, they have a lot of fun with him.

“The stable is really happy with him, but I guess the 1200 metres is the query; he’s never been out to that trip before.

“There’s a couple of first starters and it’s hard to get a read on them.

“It’s a small field, he will probably lead them up, there won’t be a lot of pressure on him and he should have every chance up the Flemington straight.

“It would be a great story if we could knock it off, that’s for sure.”

Bred by Woodside Park Stud, Mafia was a $510,000 purchase by Rosemont Stud at the 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Weanling Sale. He was then bought by China Horse Club / Newgate Bloodstock / Trilogy Racing for $850,000 at the 2022 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

The colt is the second foal from Hell Or Highwater (Not A Single Doubt) - an eight-time winner who scored at Listed level in the 2017 Heatherlie S. Hell Or Highwater is a half-sister to Holiday Bertie (USA) (Harlan’s Holiday {USA}) and she herself is the dam of the Listed victress and Champion Imported 2YO Filly in Panama in 2017 Tamborera (Can) (Maclean’s Music {USA}).

His grandam, Get Ready Bertie (USA) (More Than Ready {USA}), also saluted in Listed grade. She is a sister to Uptown Bertie (USA) and a half-sister to Whirlie Bertie (USA) (Stormin Fever {USA}) - both Group 3 winners.

Mafia is yet to finish outside the top three in four starts, notching one win and two placings. He knocked off his maiden at Wyong on June 1, before finishing second to the talented Links (Spieth {NZ}) at Sandown-Hillside nine days later.

Darby said Mafia has so much going for him, so the decision to buy the colt for the right price was a relatively easy one.

“Obviously, Newgate and their partners race these colts to win those top-end races and then stand them at stud. If they feel they’re not heading that way, they will sell them on. For our owners, even a good Saturday horse at that sort of price is obviously good value,” Darby said.

“He’s a cracking-looking horse, he was an $850,000 yearling.

“He’s already placed at the midweeks and Saturday, so for what we paid, you could spend that on a horse that you have no idea about their ability and they can end up in the country or you can purchase off a great stud like Newgate and partners and know you’ve got a fully educated, sound horse.

“Peter and Paul really wanted to stay with the horse after he was sold, so it was a bit of a no-brainer.”

Darby said Mafia would remain a colt, at least in the short term.

“Yeah, he will for now. That’s the upside I guess our owners have got, we’ve got the gelding up our sleeve,” he said.

“He’s only two and you’d imagine there’s more maturity to come.

“We’ll work closely with Peter and Paul and just see how he comes through this preparation and see what his attitude is like.”

Mafia wasn’t the only purchase Darby Racing made on Wednesday, with the leading Group 1-winning company paying $155,000 for 3-year-old gelding Bunker Hut (NZ) (Savabeel). He too was offered by Newgate.

The Michael Freedman-trained gelding boasts two victories and four placings from 10 starts and is a last-start Warwick Farm winner.

Bred by Waikato Stud, China Horse Club / Newgate Bloodstock / Mitchell Bloodstock (FBAA) paid $520,000 for him at the 2021 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the Sledmere Stud draft.

“He’s by Savabeel and bred to get out over that mile to 2000 metres,” said Darby.

“Michael Freedman is one of our trainers and he believes he is definitely a Saturday horse, maybe even a stakes-class horse.”

Riding the crest of a wave

There’s been plenty to cheer about within the Darby Racing camp in recent times.

Locally, the Darby Racing-owned, Bjorn Baker-trained Ozzmosis (Zoustar) has in recent months emerged as a likely big-race spring contender.

Ozzmosis had his two starts in impressive fashion, and a fortnight ago, Newgate Farm, in conjunction with its usual colts syndicate partners (China Horse Club, Trilogy Racing, et al.), purchased a stake in him.

“We’re buying their (Newgate) tried horses and they’re buying into one of our very promising colts. They’re great to deal with, Henry (Field) and the team do a fabulous job,” Darby commented.

“To have Newgate on board is very exciting.”

Darby believes the colt, who is currently enjoying a well-earned break ahead of a spring campaign that will be aimed at the G1 Coolmore Stud S. at Flemington in November, could be something special.

“When you’ve had horses like Yankee Rose and She Will Reign… they were able to do things that were bordering on a bit freaky. I think this bloke has a lot of those attributes. Although he hasn’t beaten much at this stage, that we know of, all the signs are that he could be top-class.

“What we’ve seen, he’s all athlete. He’s a great mover and his recovery from work and races is just phenomenal.

“He’s a really exciting horse, one of the most exciting I’ve been involved with for a while.

“Fingers crossed he can stay sound and live up to his potential.”

Meanwhile, in Japan, Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}) has taken the racing world by storm. The filly has won four of her five starts, with her past three triumphs all in top company.

Liberty Island is a daughter of Yankee Rose (All American), who Darby Racing bought for just $10,000 from the Widden Stud draft at the 2015 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale (Summer Book). She won four of her 10 starts, including the G1 Sires’ Produce S. and G1 Spring Champion S. in 2016, while in the same year, she also finished second in the G1 Golden Slipper S. and third in the G1 Cox Plate.

Yankee Rose was retired in late 2017, having amassed in excess of $2 million in prizemoney.

She was later subsequently purchased by Shadai Farm for an undisclosed sum and sent to Japan to take up a career as a broodmare.

“It’s phenomenal to see a mare you raced produce such quality,” said Darby.

“The sky’s the limit for that filly.

“Yankee Rose was no Winx, but she won two Group 1s and did have some freakish attributes. She wasn’t a sound horse, but she had the biggest heart and could run some amazing sectionals.

“I think if she was sound and able to race on… we hadn’t seen the best of her.

“I’m not surprised to see that she has thrown such a good horse over there, one that could be a superstar.

“It’s very exciting and I know her owners are very proud of what she’s done so far.”


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