Group One Glory for Sierra Sue (NZ)

20 September 2021

Sierra Sue (NZ) stormed home to win the A$1 million Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m). Photo: Bruno Cannatelli.

An outstanding performance by Sierra Sue (NZ) (Darci Brahma) in the A$1 million Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield completed a phenomenal Group One double on Saturday for two horses who cost only $5,000 between them at Karaka’s May Sale.

Sierra Sue was bought for just $2,000 from Ardsley Stud’s draft at the 2019 May Sale. She has now had 18 starts for eight wins, a placing and A$1.125 million in stakes – more than 500 times her purchase price. Earlier on Saturday afternoon on the other side of the Tasman, the $3,000 purchase Callsign Mav (NZ) won the Group One Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and boosted his earnings to $439,550.

Sierra Sue had previously shown her X-factor qualities with superb Group Two victories in the PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Rose of Kingston Stakes (1400m), and she was a luck

less seventh in the Group Two Feehan Stakes (1600m) two weeks ago.

But she went to a new level on Saturday with a career-defining victory over a star-studded Rupert Clarke field that featured three Group One winners and a further four placegetters at the elite level.

Sierra Sue and jockey Daniel Moor settled just behind midfield among that star-studded line-up through the early stages of the race, and as everyone fanned out across the track to make their bids for glory in the straight, they still sat in 10th place with just over 200 metres to run.

But then Sierra Sue pinned her ears back and went into overdrive, charging down the outside and lunging for the line to score by a short head.

“You watch people win good races and get emotional, and you think, ‘Bloody hell, they’re softies,’ but this hit me a bit,” said Moor, who celebrated his 37th birthday with his first Group One victory in Australia.

“I rode a Group One winner in Mauritius, but it’s been a life’s work here (in Australia).

“This was a pretty good edition of the Rupert Clarke. There can be some that are only just editions, but this year was strong. She dug in deep for me, and I’m just so proud of the mare.”

For expat New Zealand trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, Saturday’s triumph set the record straight after Sierra Sue was hopelessly blocked in the Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley.

“We were unlucky last time,” Busuttin said. “If she got a break, she would have won the Feehan – but then she might have had an extra couple of kilograms on her back for this race and might not have won it. Today we got a Group One, it’s beautiful.

“It’s fantastic for Daniel (Moor), and the team at home have done a great job. It’s good to win another big Group One like this.

“We’ll probably look at the Empire Rose Stakes (Group One, 1600m) later in the spring. She’s doing plenty of racing, but copping it very well.”

Vendor Ardsley Stud
Purchaser Mr PW Lock (Waikato)
Breeding Darci Brahma – Centree
Sale Lot 767, Karaka 2018 Book 2, Psd (Res $30,000)
Lot 174, 2019 Karaka May Sale, $2,000
Bred by J E Fokerd