Warmonger (NZ) Stars in Flemington Feature

8 November 2023

Warmonger (NZ) (War Decree).

Less than a year after going through the sale ring at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale, the lightly raced Warmonger (NZ) (War Decree) stepped on to Australian racing’s biggest stage with a black-type victory on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington.

The gelding scored a superb win in Tuesday’s A$175,000 Listed TAB Trophy (1800m). He has had three starts for two wins and a placing, earning A$125,250 with the prospect of much more to come. Warmonger was bought for $75,000 from Book 2 at Karaka 2022, then cost $165,000 at the Ready to Run Sale last November.

Third on debut at Seymour in September, Warmonger cleared maiden grade at the second time of asking with a comfortable victory at Mornington on October 10. Trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr saw enough in those performances to step him up into stakes class during the Melbourne Cup Carnival for start number three, and Warmonger was more than up to the challenge.

Ridden by Damian Lane, Warmonger settled in second-last in a race that was run at a slow pace through the early stages. Warmonger worked through his gears and launched an irresistible finish down the straight, overhauling Queen Of Dragons (Pierro) for a narrow but authoritative win.

“When the speed came out of the race, he got his head up and it got a bit awkward and it took me a little bit to find a rhythm,” Lane said. “Then we took off a long way from home and he was chasing.

“It was all a little bit the wrong way around, but we got there in the end and he pleasantly surprised me. I thought he won a moderate race at Mornington last start and I was hoping more than expecting that he would step up to this level. He has acquitted himself well.”

Price and Kent believe they have uncovered another quality Kiwi-bred racehorse for major syndicators OTI Racing, who have previously teamed up with the stable with the likes of Group One star I’m Thunderstruck (NZ) (Shocking).

“We love OTI,” Kent said. “We’ve got a big team for them, and a win on Cup Day is worth times ten.

“It was a very good win by the horse. They were going 13 to the furlong, and the leader nicked away in the straight.

“When this horse won at Mornington, he spotted them two lengths at the furlong and won by three. He had a very woolly coat, and since the run he’s come out of it and his coat bloomed, his work improved, and he has been a horse on the up.

“We thought the big track at Flemington and rise in distance would suit, and it did. He’s a typical Kiwi horse who improves with time. I’m not sure what his best distance is yet. His sister was placed in a Guineas in New Zealand.”

The second stakes winner for Inglewood Stud stallion War Decree, Warmonger is a half-sister to last year’s Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) third placegetter Blue Solitaire (NZ) (Almanzor) and is also closely related to the Group performers Merion (NZ) (O’Reilly) and Mackenzie Lad (NZ) (Vespa).

Warmonger is the third stakes winner to come out of last November’s 2022 Ready to Run Sale. Solidify (NZ) (Redwood) won the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1200m) and placed in this spring’s Group Two Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), while Dolphin Skin (NZ) (Telperion) won the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington earlier in the year.

The 2023 edition of the Ready to Run Sale will be staged at Karaka on November 22 and 23.

Vendor Karaka 2022: Valachi Downs
Ready to Run Sale: Prima Park
Purchaser Karaka 2022: Prima Park/Bevan Smith Bloodstock (Waikato)
Ready to Run Sale: Mr SJ Kennedy (Canterbury)
Breeding War Decree – Princess Sapphire
Sale Lot 1003, Karaka 2022 Book 2, $75,000
Lot 221, 2022 Ready to Run Sale, $165,000
Bred by K J Hickman ONZM