"White's great hopes for Gr1 Double"

May 01, 2015

"White's great hopes for Gr1 Double"

GREG White is the envy of every thoroughbred owner with key runners in the two Group 1 feature races at Morphettville on Saturday.

The South Australian has Fenway — second favourite in the $400,000 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) — while Sabatini tackles the $400,000 William Hill Classic (1200m).

“It’s rare to have two horses in Group 1 races on the same day,’’ White said.

“If they win it’s a bonus. Just being there is great, especially in your home state.’’

Seeing his horses race in Adelaide is a rarity for White, who sells and races the bulk of his horses in the eastern states.

(Fenway with Dee Hope & Sabatini with Alisha Parish)

White has developed a strong partnership with the Victorian father-and-son combination of Lee and Shannon Hope and his pair of three-year-old fillies have established themselves as above-average horses, despite coming from vastly different backgrounds.

White bred Sabatini from his former smart racemare Royal Sash, who started her career in SA for David Jolly before winning five consecutive races and the 2004 Group 3 Mannerism Stakes at Caulfield for Shannon Hope.

In contrast, it was a case of love at first sight when White spotted Fenway at the 2013 Inglis Yearling Sale in Sydney.

But that love come at a price, White winning a bidding war against global thoroughbred giant Qatar Bloodstock before parting with $700,000 for the filly.

“I’ve been to a lot of sales in all my years in racing and it’s probably the only sale I’ve been to where I had to have the horse,’’ White recalled.

A daughter of High Chaparral, Fenway is a half-sister to Group 3 winner War out of Zabeel mare Deedra, a sibling to multiple Group 1 winners Tuesday Joy and Sunday Joy, the mother of champion mare More Joyous.

“(John) Singleton sells very few out of that family and I like the High Chaparral-Zabeel cross,’’ White said. “And I just loved the animal. Conformation-wise she was a striking individual. You don’t come across them very often.’’

Fenway provided White with his first Group 1 success when she won the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill last month — but he missed the milestone moment. He was instead attending to his young horses at home in the Adelaide Hills.

“I was actually weaning my foals that weekend,’’ he said.

And while a foot abscess ruled Fenway out of the Group 1 ATC Oaks, co-trainer Shannon Hope is confident the filly is well positioned to take Saturday’s Oaks right up to $3.80 favourite Fontein Ruby.

“I’m very happy with her. It looks an ideal race,” Hope said.

Sabatini takes on her more experienced rivals in the William Hill Classic and Hope said the classy filly would be suited by the 1200m at Morphettville.

“That race has been in our plans for sometime,’’ he said.

“If the pace is on, and you’d think it would be, it should suit her but it’s a pretty good field.

“She finished on well at her last start over 1100.”

Lincoln Moore @ The Advertiser

Adl Pictures from Calum Robertson