Open Minded (NZ) Dominates John Dillon

27 January 2022

Open Minded (NZ) wins the A$160,000 Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Coming up against an American import who had never tasted defeat on Australian soil, the step up to stakes level for Wednesday’s A$160,000 Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield loomed as a daunting challenge for Open Minded (NZ) (Jimmy Choux), but he made it look easy. 

Offered by Te Runga Stud in Book 2 of Karaka 2018, Open Minded fell short of his $50,000 reserve. Four years later, he has earned almost 10 times that amount on the racetrack – winning nine of his 18 starts and A$443,365 in stakes.

Pre-race attention on Wednesday was dominated by the $1.95 favourite Lighthouse (Mizzen Mast), who had won all of her four Australian starts including this month’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington. It was expected to be more of the same in the John Dillon at Caulfield, but no one told Open Minded and jockey Damien Thornton.

Open Minded threw down the gauntlet from the moment the gates opened, charging out to a clear lead and never relinquishing that advantage. The five-year-old kicked away in the straight, and Lighthouse could only get within half a length by the time Open Minded swept past the finish line.

“He’s got good gate speed and can go along at a high tempo,” Thornton said. “He pricks his ears and relaxes quite well. He’s such a good horse to ride in that respect. He can quicken off a good speed, and that’s where Caulfield suits him so well. He can kick off that bend and they can’t catch him. He keeps getting better. The horse is flying.”

Open Minded is now unbeaten in four starts at Caulfield, and trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman are considering the Group One CF Orr Stakes (1400m) over the same course and distance on February 12.

“This is a big thrill for his owners,” Sam Freedman said. “He’s a horse that has gone to a new level. Today was his biggest test, and he’s passed that test.

“His rating is going to go up again. Really, 1400-metre races at Caulfield are ideal – a race like the Orr Stakes or something like that might suit.”

Vendor Te Runga Stud
Breeding Jimmy Choux – Hidden Passion
Sale Lot 857, Karaka 2018 Book 2, Psd (Res $50,000)
Bred by T O Harrison