Horse Of The Month

Horse Of The Month

Betsfree.com.au Best Horse Of The Month

It is exciting to bring to you our BetsFree.Com.Au Horse of the Month. This page will be a chance to celebrate the horse that is making every post a winner and getting the heart racing for punters at the track and at home.

In most cases, our selected horse will be a local Aussie horse, but we will not be strictly limited to that basis and on rare occasions an international horse may force our hand due to exceptional performances on the race track. The criterion for selection is, quite simply, race winning performances that stand out from the pack.

Houtzen - Horse Of The Month January 2017

Admittedly, January is a quiet month for thoroughbred horse racing, so for our January Horse of the Month accolade, we had to take a liberal interpretation of the distinction. Winx has not raced this month and we have already used her on more than one occasion.

We could not pick a horse with three wins in the month, because the reality of the sport at this moment in time is that gallopers seldom run three times in a month, being considered far too valuable to be overworked, unlike in bygone days when the likes of Tulloch and Phar Lap seemingly raced every other day.

Houtzen - Horse Of The Month

We found that we had to fall back on the one major race that was held in January, the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, which makes Houtzen our January Horse of the Month.

She did win the race in an impressive fashion, jumping wide from barrier 16 and leading the field after crossing just after the start, leading all the way and beating Chauffeur by half a length, well clear of third place runner Madeenaty. She did wander a bit when pressured in the final 200 metres, but given that the Magic Millions was just her third start; a win by any means is still a win.

She is undefeated to this early point in her career, including a trial back in mid-December and one appearance at Doomben. She won at 1100 m at Gold Coast the week prior to the Magic Millions, so she deserves some credit for showing up to work on a week’s rest.

Bay filly Houtzen is by I Am Invincible from Set To Unleash and she is trained by Toby Edmonds. Tracing Houtzen’s lines back, New Zealand’s Zabeel is found on her dam’s side. The multiple Group 1 winner brought in less prize money with his 12 placings from 19 starts than Houtzen earned for winning the Magic Millions.

Edwards does not intend to run Houtzen again until the 1200 m Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill in mid-March. A win there would make Houtzen just the fourth to fill that double, in which case we could make a strong case for making her our March Horse of the Month. The others to make the double were Capitalist last year-that colt was retired rather than risk a destructive injury-Phelan Ready in 2009 and Dance Hero in 2004.

Congratulations and continued good fortune to Houtzen, our January Horse of the Month.

Oscietra - Horse Of The Month December 2016

Our December Horse of the Month is Oscietra, the first foal out of Black Caviar to make it to the track, actually, first foal, period.

The name, Oscietra, is a play on the filly’s heritage. Her dam, Black Caviar, was certainly worth every ounce, but Oscietra is a variety of caviar that is even more costly, so costly in fact, that it is considered priceless.

It seems like quite an original name, but there actually was a British horse from 1996 of the same name whose lines were predominantly of the United States, with connections to Canada’s Northern Dancer and Nearartic, with possibly her most famous ancestor being Bold Ruler of the U.S., that won the Preakness Stakes and was a three-year-old Champion Male and Horse of the Year in 1957 before going on to be the leading sire in North America eight times. Despite her impressive pedigree, however, this Oscietra did little of note, unless it was to finish third 17 times in 28 starts.

The current Oscietra, the one that is causing the stir in Australia, is a two-year-old bay filly by Exceed and Excel from Black Caviar.

Exceed and Excel was limited to 12 starts as a sprinter, his top win probably the Group 1 VRC Newmarket Handicap. He has virtually no Australian blood, at least for five generations back. What he does have are connections to Danehill, Danzig and 1948 U.S. Triple Crown winner Citation, winner of 32 races from 45 starts, for which he earned what is now considered a paltry $1.09 million U.S.

Dam Black Caviar, on the other hand, earned almost $8 million AUD for 25 wins against zero defeats and in most probability, would still be running and winning today had the decision not to risk her by racing not been made. Black Caviar also carries a lot of North American blood, with sprinter Vain being her most notable Australian ancestor.

Australian Oscietra certainly has caught the attention of the racing public, mainly for the vast expectations she has inherited from her mother.

Thus far, she has shown good potential in two trials and she has no compunction about getting out of the gate with alacrity, something her famous mother seemed to lack, seemingly almost out of a sense of fairness to the other horses, or perhaps out of a perverse delight in chasing them down.

Oscierta will race for real soon and everyone would like to see her in the Golden Slipper, but her training triad of David and B. Hayes and T. Dabernig will inform us at the appropriate time.

Congratulations to our December Horse of the Month, Oscietra.

Almandin - Horse Of The Month November 2016

The seven-year-old German bay gelding is an automatic consideration, given the 2016 Melbourne Cup win.

This lightly raced horse came through when it mattered most, winning the most prestigious race on the Australian thoroughbred racing calendar, in the process beating local favourites Hartnell and Jameka.

Almandin had been doing some degree of racing prior to winning the Melbourne Cup. He first made an appearance on Australian courses in June at Moonee Valley, where he was steered to a sixth place finish by Katelyn Mallyon in a 1600 m race on a soft track. He gave an 8 kg advantage to the winner of that race, Onpicalo.

Almandin - Horse Of The Month

When he ran at Flemington for the first time in August, it was over 2000 m, but this time the stewards saw fit to give him and Ms. Mallyon 60 kg, with the outcome being another sixth place finish in a handicap race.

It was back to Moonee Valley then, with another similar result, fifth in a field of 12, this time with Steven Arnold aboard. Almandin earned only $2,700 for that early September outing, but he would notch his first Australian victory near the end of September in a 2400 m outing at Caulfield racecourse, where he showed what he was capable of with a high calibre jockey Damien Oliver in charge. Almandin added $72,000 to the coffers that day by winning the Listed race.

Back at Flemington in early October, Almandin and Oliver paired again to take the 2500 m Group 3 Bart Cummings Quality Handicap, beating Zanteca from New Zealand and a British import named Excess Knowledge. Almandin came from seventh in the final 800 m and fourth at 400 m, perhaps demonstrating that his earlier results on shorter tracks did not fit well with his staying abilities.

He was one of 24 that made it into the field for the Melbourne Cup, where he was far behind the favourites in terms of pricing, just as he was going into the final 800 m of the race, where only 10 horses trailed him. His rider had been switched to Kerrin McEvoy, who had ridden Almandin only in track work prior to taking on the big race.

In the final 200 m of the race, it turned into a two-horse duel between Almandin and the French horse Heartbreak City. The two battled nose to nose, well ahead of the rest of the field. At the end, it required a photo to determine the true winner, which turned out to be Almandin.

For a lightly raced horse such as Almandin to come in and win the biggest race of his career with only two other attempts on Flemington turf to his credit would have to be considered almost as unlikely as the win by Prince of Penzance in 2015.

The $3.8 million payday represents over 90 percent of Almandin’s earning for a total of 12 races dating back to October of 2012.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Almandin, our November Racehorse of the month.

Jameka - Horse Of The Month October 2016

Our October horse of the month is Jameka. She has won something over $2 million to this point in the 2016 – 2017 Australian thoroughbred racing season, trailing Winx by just $118,000.

Yes, $1.9 million of that tally was the result of win the Caulfield Cup - but the bank will spend equally as well whether resulting from one win or 10, but she has shown well all season with another win at Caulfield in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes.

Jameka also ran second in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes, and it is not any reflections on her ability that those two races combined earned her judge a smidgen above $180,000, considering that she beat quality competitors in Gallante in the Naturalism and Scottish and Exospheric in the Caulfield Cup.

Jameka - Horse Of The Month

Jameka did not fare so well in the Melbourne Cup, running 15th, but she appeared to pull up lame early in the race. She also had to deal with an extra 1.5 kg as her penalty for winning the Caulfield Cup. Had she been able to overcome that penalty and carry her 53.3 kg burden to victory, she would have surpassed Bart Cummings first Melbourne Cup winner, Light Fingers, who saluted whilst carrying 52.5 kg in 1965.

The four-year-old bay mare by Ireland’s Myboycharlie out of Australia’s Mine Game has strong connections to the U.S., including Danehill, a nine-time Leading Sire in Australia, with similar recognition in Great Britain, Ireland and France. Five generations back, she has no fewer than three ties to Canada’s Northern Dancer, a stallion that has produced progeny that earned beyond $30 million in prizemoney.

Jameka has other significant wins to her credit. Her first big win was the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington, with Nick Hall performing jockey duties, as he was when she won the Caulfield Cup. Damien Oliver took the ride when she won the Group 2 AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley on the same day Winx was winning the Cox Plate.

Jameka beat the formidable New Zealand horse Tarzino on that occasion. Those two combined again the following month to take the post in Jameka’s next outing, the Group 1 Crown Oaks at Flemington, where she proved her versatility in handling a heavy track rated at nine.

Her trainer, Ciaron Maher of Cavallino Estate, has Jameka spelling at the moment. Future plans are being made, with no definite targets, although it is entirely reasonable to speculate she will defend her Caulfield Cup title in 2017.

She probably has another two seasons of racing in her future and she will doubtlessly get stronger as she matures, to the extent that a healthy Jameka could be expected to take out a Melbourne Cup before time is called on her career.

Congratulations and continued health and success to our October Horse of the Month, Jameka.

Capitalist - Horse Of The Month September 2016

Our horse of the month for September is truly a horse of the month from the perspective that it seems as though he only raced for a month, although we are taking slight liberties with the actual facts.

That is because we have chosen Capitalist, the three-year-old wonder colt with more owners than races, was retired in October. The Peter and Paul Snowden trained chestnut colt was considered too valuable to risk after receiving a Not To Race embargo from a veterinarian. He suffered a fetlock injury whilst doing track work at Flemington.

Capitalist - Horse Of The Month

Due to the prolonged recovery time required by such an injury, the decision to retire him and collect stud fees for well into the foreseeable future, as opposed to rehabilitating his injury and possible risking his destruction, was one of simplicity and logic. He will be standing at Newgate Stud.

He was the obvious choice as Australian Racehorse of the year in the two-year-old division.

He was a sprinter par-excellence, winning his debut at Randwick in October of 2015, when he teamed with Blake Shinn for the first time to win the Listed Breeders’ Plate at 1000 metres.

In December, he won the Magic Millions Classic at Wyong, followed by a win in the Magic Millions Classic, the race that more or less sets the expectations for promise amongst the two-year-olds. That win earned him over $1.2 million. Both times, he was piloted by Shinn.

In March of 2016, he ran second in the Group 2 Todman Stakes at Randwick, where Kiss And Make Up was the only one to best him. Fourteen days later, he served notice to the racing world by winning the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill, where he added over $2 million to his tote, beating Yankee Rose and Flying Artie.

Two barrier trials followed, both wins, with a switch in riders from Shinn to Kerrin McEvoy, but Shinn was back in the saddle for a fourth place finish at Rosehill in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes.

Capitalist came out only twice more, for a barrier trial in September of 2016 and the 1200 metre Group 3 Roman Consul Stakes, both at Randwick. He finished third in his last race on October 1, behind Russian Revolution and Astern.

A promising career cut short, but that is and has been the fate of many thoroughbreds and we feel that the $3.5 million he made in seven races, which works out to an average of almost $464,000 per race, qualifies him to be our September Horse of the Month.

Capitalist’s pedigree, combined with his youth would seem to indicate that he will in all probability contribute more to racing via his genes than through his abbreviated racing. His sire was Written Tycoon, currently standing at Woodside Park in Victoria. His dam was Party Miss, with Vain as her grandsire, himself a former STC Golden Slipper winner. Capitalist also has multiple connections to Danzig and Northern Dancer, representing the North American influence in his lines.

Black Heart Bart - Horse Of The Month August 2016

The Western Australian wonder gelding, Black Heart Bart, has captured the hearts and minds of punters across the nation with his Memsie Stakes win.

Ever since Bart came under the inspired tutelage of Australia’s best trainer Darren Weir, he has made every post a winner.

Now, on the eve of his attempt to take out the Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m at Flemington, we salute one of Australia’s most charismatic race horses. He might not be a Winx, or anywhere near her class right now, but this not so good looking equine beast has caught our attention.

Black Heart Bart - Horse Of The Month

Black Heart Bart With more than two million dollars in his kick bag from racing victories, he has made his owners a pretty penny or two already. There is more up ahead, much more, with Bart set to vie for this year’s Cox Plate. A showdown with the mighty mare, if everything goes according to plan; it should be a ripper. Brad Rawiller, Black Heart Bart’s usual jockey, has been suspended for careless riding (caring too much is more to the point I reckon), and so, step up to the plate Damien Oliver.

Two expat Sandgropers united in the saddle to compete for the Makybe Stakes; it could be the start of something beautiful. Bart is your ‘you can bank on’ each way horse, in that he always runs first, second and occasionally third. Darren Weir has Bart winning from 1200m, 1400m, maybe 1600m this weekend, and he will get the 2000m too. With his mind on the job this horse can get it done; as punters have come to expect and applaud. A 6 YO bay gelding, sired by the might Blackfriars out of the dam Sister Theresa; he is from a good Catholic home, you might say.

Thirty-two career starts for thirteen wins and eleven placings; you do the math; it is pretty rewarding. Just under a twenty percent return on your investment over the journey; sure beats bank bonds and shares in the mining industry. Eight wins or placings from his last ten starts, looks like he is on an upward spiral under Mister Weir.

He doesn’t like it heavy going underfoot, and so with the weather we have had lately, keep that in mind. BetsFree congratulates Black Heart Bart as our Horse of the Month for August. Keep racking up those wins Bart!

Dartmouth - Horse Of The Month July 2016

Dartmouth is the BetsFree Horse of the Month for July. Owned by The Queen of Australia (does that title rankle you?) and Great Britain, Dartmouth saluted three times in a row, before running third in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Highland Reel, a place getter in last year’s Cox Plate, took the chocolates in that Group 1 race, prior to losing a close one to Dartmouth in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes. Australian officials are hoping to lure Dartmouth down under for the coming spring carnival in Melbourne. Could we see a rematch between Highland Reel and Dartmouth in the Caulfield and/or Melbourne Cups? It would be particularly special being in The Queen’s 90th Birthday year.

Black Heart Bart has been placed 22 times from 30 career starts, and this season 5 wins and 3 seconds from 10 starts. He has won $1, 699, 580 in prize money, and seems to be just getting going in this department. This was his maiden Group 1 win, after going close a number of times. He is currently on the second line of betting favourites for the Stradbroke.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the 4 YO bay colt is out of Dubawi and Galtee by Galileo. From 13 starts, Dartmouth has had 7 wins and 2 placings.

Dartmouth - Horse Of The Month

Olivier Peslier drives Dartmouth to the line to narrowly win the Hardwicke Stakes. Picture: Getty Images

Top breeding and an excellent start to his career suggest that this horse could be anything. Royal Ascot was a sea of excitement during the summer carnival to see the very best horses and the cream of British society. The Queen has been a long-time supporter of English racing and, now, her son, Prince Charles has an interest in a couple of horses. The Royal patronage gives a buzz to the whole scene over there.

Dartmouth is still a young horse by staying standards and the best of him is yet to come, if injury does not hinder his long term future. Imagine The Queen as Melbourne Cup owner receiving the Cup on that first Tuesday in November, it would be very special indeed. The international horses, now, regularly competing in Australia during the spring, have revitalised horse racing in this country.

Fingers crossed we get to see Dartmouth out here competing in the world’s richest race over two miles. The Queen and trainer Sir Michael Stoute may be inclined to run Dartmouth in October’s Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe, which would probably preclude coming down under in 2016.

Whatever and wherever Dartmouth is set to run in, we are confident he will give a top notch account of himself. BetsFree congratulates Dartmouth as the July Horse of the Month. Australian racing fans and punters would love to see this potential champion testing himself against the best on the antipodean stage.

Also, it is great to hear that Prince Charles, the loony vegetarian, has been bitten by the racing bug; perhaps there is hope for the future King of Australia yet.

Black Heart Bart - Horse Of The Month June 2016

This 5YO bay gelding out of Blackfriars is a ripper. Not quite in the league of some of our most recent BetsFree Horses of the Month, but a stand-out in terms of toughness and consistency.

I must make an admission, first up, I love the name of this horse, it reeks of melodrama, and is structured as an end rhyme. Black Heart Bart, you say it out loud once and you just want to say it again. Plus, he hails from the wild west, Western Australia. Great name, great background and a great gelding, who it seems, is just getting going, in terms of winning Group 1 races.

Black Heart Bart - Horse Of The Month

Consistency is top 2 finishes in your last 5 starts, including a Group 1 win in The Goodwood last start. These 5 races have all been Group races, with the All Aged and Newmarket both Group 1s.

Black Heart Bart has often carried top weight in these Group races and performed accordingly. Currently under the aegis of the nation’s most winning trainer in 2015/16, Ballarat based Darren Weir. Black Heart Bart will be lining up next start as the top weight contender in Brisbane’s premier race the Stradbroke Handicap.

This will be another real test, up against the favourite, Azkadellia, and a host of other top line contenders. Doomben 10, 000 winner Music Magnate backs up for another crack at glory. Will the ‘Bart’ be able to bring his best form to bear, carrying top weight in this handicap event, and gets the chocolates?

Black Heart Bart has been placed 22 times from 30 career starts, and this season 5 wins and 3 seconds from 10 starts. He has won $1, 699, 580 in prize money, and seems to be just getting going in this department. This was his maiden Group 1 win, after going close a number of times. He is currently on the second line of betting favourites for the Stradbroke.

Ridden by Brad Rawiller in The Goodwood, Black Heart Bart showed enormous courage to get to the line in a fierce contest over 1200m at Morphettville. Jockey Rawiller was quoted as saying about that winning run, “He’s a bit of a lad when he gets to the front – he just does what he needs to.” What else would a horse called, Black Heart Bart, do when he gets on top?

Previous Horses of the Month