Should Converge win the J J Atkins (Gr 1, 1600m) at Eagle Farm, he will become the third Group 1 winner in Australia for Juddmonte Farm’s Frankel (Galileo) and the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained gelding is set to face 13 rivals in Saturday’s race and of which, seven are by first season sires.
The strength of the current crop of first seasons sires in Australia has been well documented, with Newgate Farm’s Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt) sitting at the head of the leading first season sires table in Australia by earnings and occupies the same position in the leading two-year-old sires table by earnings ahead of his barnmate Capitalist (Written Tycoon). Extreme Choice’s progeny have earnt $3,285,085 so far this season, $165,052 ahead of Capitalist.
First season sires have provided the winners of three of the four juvenile Group 1 races this season, with Artorius (Flying Artie) winning the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m), Stay Inside (Extreme Choice) taking out the Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) while Captivant (Capitalist) landed the ATC Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) and runners by first season sires make up 50 per cent of the field in the J J Atkins.
Arrowfield shuttler Maurice (Screen Hero) is double handed with Port Louis and Invisible Tears, Flying Artie (Artie Schiller) has GIannis, Astern (Medaglia d’Oro) is represented by Dark Rebel, Divine Prophet (Choisir) has Three Wise Men, Rebel Dane (California Dane) has Subterranean and Extreme Choice will be represented by the Richard and Michael Freedman-trained Tiger Of Malay.
Raced by a partnership that includes Newgate Bloodstock and China Horse Club, Tiger Of Malay comes into the race having won the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 29 when he beat Converge by a head.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott however, believes that Converge was unlucky last start and can turn the tables on Tiger Of Malay.
"Converge is quite a small horse and he'd be just over 15 hands but he's got a very big heart," Bott said.
"He was a bit unlucky in the Sires when he got further back than we expected and his options were limited.
"He got caught in an awkward position on the home turn but he did well to make up so much ground."
Converge’s sire Frankel was represented by his 300th winner on the flat on Wednesday when Sadmah won on debut at Haydock Park in England. The filly is the first winner out of 2014 Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Mossfun and is raced by her breeder Emirates Park.
The sire of 70 stakes winners globally, Frankel has enjoyed tremendous success in Australia to date with 25 of his 36 runners winning in the country and seven of those scoring at stakes level to give the son of Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) a strike rate of 19.4 per cent stakes winners to runners. Hungry Heart and Mirage Dancer have both won at Group 1 level this season for their sire.