Triple Crown Syndications a winner as brothers Michael and Chris Ward drag hundreds into industry
THIS would make a catchy headline: “Triple Crown’s grand slam”.
The odds of it happening are nearly 900/1 but don’t count against it at the Scone stand-alone meeting on Saturday.
Michael and Chris Ward’s Triple Crown Syndications’ very familiar racing colours of red with white logo will be omnipresent at Scone with four big-race chances, all trained by Peter and Paul Snowden.
They begin the meeting with Military Zone, the $2.60 TAB Fixed Odds favourite for the $300,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m).
Military Zone is joined by Brave Song, a $5.50 chance in the Listed $140,000 Luskin Star Stakes (1300m), Moss Trip is the $5.50 equal favourite in the Group 3 $180,000 Arrowfield Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) and Dothraki is rated at $10 for the Listed $140,000 Coolmore Ortensia Stakes (1100m).
Remarkably, the quartet of classy Triple Crown sprinters were inexpensive yearling purchases who have made spectacular returns on their initial investments.
Military Zone came with a $120,000 price tag but from just eight starts the three-year-old has won over $320,000 in prizemoney with the promise of more to come.
Moss Trip cost only $32,000 as a yearling and already she has earned more than $475,000, and Brave Song was bought for just $67,500 and he has amassed $373,000 in prizemoney.
Dothraki is a great advertisement for Triple Crown.
The rising nine-year-old was purchased for just $45,000 as a yearling.
He’s won more than $1.63 million and is still racing at a very high level.
“Better to get them (yearlings) cheaper, it’s the only way I can sleep at night,’’ Michael Ward said.
“We have a process where we look at yearlings genetically and we usually end up with a fairly long short-list of horses we believe have the capacity to race at the elite level.
“Then at the sales complex we individually look at those horses we have identified and try to find the best athletes we can.
“Chris and I do all our selections but we work in very well with Peter and Paul.
“We have a different skill set to them but it is a very complementary skill set. We work well as a team.
“Over time we have refined things but it is a process that works for us.’’
Triple Crown makes racehorse ownership affordable and the success of the syndication business since it was formed 15 years ago is impossible to ignore.
The brothers, whose parents had shares in racehorse ownership — including dual Group 1 winner and 2005 Cox Plate runner-up Lotteria — have also introduced many thousands of first-time owners into the sport over the years. Triple Crown currently has more than 800 individual owners in the 65 race horses it has either in training or in the spelling paddock.
“You don’t need to own a large percentage of a horse to have 100 per cent of the fun,’’ Ward said.
“It’s just about involvement and having an enjoyable experience.
“Hopefully, the people we get into our syndicates will hang around the industry as long as we do.’’
The Scone Race Club should be rolling out the red carpet for the Ward brothers on Saturday as they will be directly responsible for boosting the attendance with their four runners bringing many syndicate members trackside for the stand-alone meeting.
So, does Ward believe a “Triple Crown grand slam” is possible at Scone on Saturday?
He is hoping Military Zone can set the tone by winning the Inglis Guineas in the Scone opener and complete a unique treble by complementing his wins in the Gosford Guineas and Hawkesbury Guineas this season.
“Military Zone is showing a fair bit of promise,’’ Ward said. “Peter and Paul have always had a good opinion of the horse and they have been very patient with him.
“They have placed him beautifully so far, he is going to Scone third-up and should be ready to peak.
“His win in the Hawkesbury Guineas last start was very good.
“To hold off a very nice horse like Trope was no mean feat. Military Zone does look well placed in the Scone Guineas and hopefully he can continue to improve.’’
Brave Song comes out of the Hall Mark Stakes where he was a fast-finishing second to Trekking with Redouble third.
The trio clash again in the Luskin Star Stakes.
Ward said Brave Song’s first-up effort at Randwick didn’t surprise connections as the sprinter had been trialling so impressively.
“We feel he has returned better than ever,’’ Ward said.
“He’s a very progressive horse, improving with time and he’s showing that with the way he has come back.
“All the reports from the stable are the horse is going particularly well so he should be hard to beat in what looks a very competitive race.’’
Moss Trip and Dothraki are Scone stand-alone “veterans” — both racing well at this meeting previously.
The talented Moss Trip was outstanding winning the Inglis 3YO Guineas last year but she hasn’t won in four subsequent starts leading into the Dark Jewel Classic.
She ran an encouraging first-up fourth in the Millie Fox Stakes but after her failure in the Coolmore Classic the Snowdens decided to freshen the mare for Scone.
“We were chasing our tail to some degree to get Moss Trip up and ready for the Coolmore because she had throat surgery in the off season,’’ Ward said.
“But Peter and Paul have freshened her up since and they are very happy with her.
“Hopefully this is a start of a bit of a run through the rest of her campaign and Scone was good for us last time she raced there.’’
Dothraki is contesting his third Ortensia Stakes on Saturday after finishing eighth to That’s A Good Idea in 2015 and third to Quatronic two years ago.
But the resilient chestnut is back at Scone again as a rising nine-year-old and, arguably, racing as well as ever.
Dothraki won the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality earlier this season, has been placed in the Expressway Stakes, Southern Cross Stakes and Magic Millions Sprint, and ran a close fourth to Sunlight in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes two starts back.
“He’s been an absolutely incredible horse,’’ Ward said.
“As a two-year-old, he ran in the (2013) Golden Slipper and he’s the only horse from that Slipper still racing today.
“He’s been sound every day of his life except when he hurt his hamstring in that Golden Slipper.
“When you see horses like Winx and Redzel that are blessed with ability is one thing, but to have complete soundness and longevity is fairly unique.
“Dothraki is not in their class but he is still racing at a very high level after 56 starts.
“This season has won a Group 2 and just missed in the William Reid at Group 1 level.
“He is a marvel and he has raced well at Scone before.”