Champion sire Encosta de Lago was in hot form on Saturday with a two state winning stakes double courtesy of up and coming stayer Polish Knight (3g Encosta de Lago x Polish Princess, by Polish Precedent) and seasoned campaigner Smokin’ Joey (4g Encosta de Lago x Dalzing, by Blazing Sword).
Three year-old gelding Polish Knight stunned racegoers when zooming home from last to win the Group II ATC Tulloch Stakes by three-quarters of a length as a rank outsider for the Hawkes Team.
Gelded “because he wasn’t going the right way”, Polish Knight has repaid the owners’ decision and looks a bright staying prospect in the making.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes paid tribute to his owners for their faith in the horse.
“We’ve always had an opinion of him. I’d like to thank the owners because we bought him as a stallion proposition but he wasn’t going the right way as a colt. They parted with $420,000 for him so it was a big decision,” Hawkes said.
“He’s a serious horse. I said to one of the owners this morning he should have won his last three (starts) and if he had have done so, he would have started shorter than $34.
“We ran a little horse called Maluckyday in this race. He mightn’t be as good as him but he’s a lovely staying horse going somewhere.
“The big question is, do we back up next Saturday (in the Australian Derby)?”
A $420,000 purchase from the Windsor Park draft at the 2010 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Polish Knight has won twice and run second once from just five starts earning $120,725.
Polish Knight is the first stakes-winner for Polish Princess (GB), an imported daughter of Polish Precedent, who won four races in New Zealand including a Listed race and was also third in the Group I ARC Champions Mile.
Polish Princess is a half-sister to the dam of Group I winner Lyric of Light and traces to celebrated producer Reprocolor, whose many Group I winning descendants include Operan House and Kayf Tara.
Polish Knight is the 89th stakes-winner for Encosta de Lago, who made it a stakes double when in-form four year-old Smokin’ Joey captured the Group III MRC Victoria Handicap over 1400 metres at Caulfield by two and a half lengths.
Retained to race by his breeders, Smokin’ Joey is trained by Anthony Freedman and has won four races and run second four times from 19 starts earning just $315,663 in prizemoney.
Smokin’ Joey is a full brother to multiple Group II winner Our Smokin Joe, who won 10 races and more than $1.6 million in prizemoney with multiple placings at Group I level.
He is one of five winners from the Blazing Sword mare Dalzing, who was retired from stud duty on 2009, Smokin’ Joey being her final foal.
Encosta de Lago has had nine individual Australian stakes-winners this season and has over 40 entries for the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.