Top American third-crop sire Artie Schiller's reputation as an international stallion continues to grow with a Australian Group stakes double on the final day of March, highlighted by Laser Hawk's stirring victory in the Group 1 win in the Rosehill Guineas, and followed up with 2-year-old his two year-old daughter Big Chill capturing the Group 3 SAJC Marsh Breeders S. in Adelaide.
The black-type double moved Artie Schiller to the top of Australia's second-crop sire list. The WinStar stallion shuttles to the southern hemisphere to Independent Stallions, where he stood in 2011, covering a book of 118 mares at a fee of $13,200.
Laser Hawk, a southern hemisphere foal of 2008, won the 2000 meter (about 1 ¼ miles) race by a head, digging in stoutly to hold off a charge of three challengers. Laser Hawk settled close to the lead early, forged to the front halfway down the straight and held on to win by a half neck from New Zealand raiders Ocean Park and favorite Silent Achiever.
“He has beaten the best Australasia has to offer,” winning trainer Gai Waterhouse said. “He did what he is bred to do. It's wonderful. This horse took a big step today and it's just super.”
"You won't find a better three-year-old stayer,” Waterhouse added.
Laser Hawk, a half-brother to multiple Group 1 winner Desert War, scored his fourth career win in five starts and took his prize money past $400,000. He will make his next start in two weeks in Australia's premier race for sophomores, the the $1.5 million ATC Australian Derby at 2,400 meters (about 1 ½ miles) at Randwick Racecourse.
Big Chill, who has the unique distinction of having two trainers: Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra, took the 1,200 meter (about 5 ½ furlong) Marsh S. against eight juvenile fillies. Coming from off the pace, she took over with about a quarter mile to run.
“The way she traveled today was excellent. She jumped well, raced handy on the pace before showing a nice little turn of foot,” said Zahra. “We couldn’t have asked for more from her and we think she will improve again off that win. She will gain a lot of confidence from that and will only get better with time.”
The victory was the second in three lifetime starts for Big Chill. She has now earned $88,475 for her owners Nick & Gayle Psaltis.