The ultra-talented performer Internal Affairs snapped a 17-year drought for 3-year-old colts in the February 19 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (G1), with the Chris Waller-trained set defying the odds against him to etch his name in the history books with a brave win in Group 1 from Flemington.
The drama began as soon as the gates opened, with Home Affairs stable mate several Group 1 winning favorites Nature Band , miss the start, get poorly controlled and end up at the back of the peloton in the first stages. Taking full advantage of Nature Strip’s early misfortune, James McDonald – who had sided with Home Affairs rather than his star stable mate – placed Coolmore’s son I’m invincible highlighted in the first part of the contest.
Going into the final 300 yards, Nature Strip had made up some of the deficit, appearing menacingly on the Home Affairs flanks and looking well placed to inject his usual electric kick and seal a victory over his stablemate. But when challenged, Home Affairs fought valiantly, finding another level under pressure to deny Nature Strip a second consecutive victory in the race by a nose. Group 1 winner Edward finished another length and a half in third place.
Waller said it was a gamble to bring Home Affairs to Melbourne to tackle Australia’s top sprinters first, but he was delighted to see him produce such a classy performance.
“He raced against the young horses and dominated the last prep and now he’s come back and beaten the best in weight for age,” Waller said. “So it’s pretty exciting to move forward.”
Waller said it would be up to the handicapper whether Home Affairs would take part in Newmarket Handicap (G1) in Flemington on March 12, while Nature Strip was expected to return to Sydney to continue its campaign.
“They will both go home for an ice bath and a beach tomorrow and reevaluate on Monday,” Waller said. “We might need a rematch. Whether it’s Newmarket, I don’t know, but he (Nature Strip) will have his chance to beat Home Affairs at TJ Smith in Sydney.”
“He’s an absolute superstar.” @mcacajamaz rides HOME AFFAIRS to victory in the G1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at @FlemingtonVRC in what used to be an Inglis grad quinella with Nature Strip a close second. It’s 3 years #InglisEaster 2nd victory in G1 for the graduate. Congratulations to all ! @cwallerracing pic.twitter.com/eTDvWbS2Fa
— Inglis (@inglis_sales) February 19, 2022
McDonald’s decision to partner with Home Affairs rather than the Nature Strip, which he led to victory on Everest in October, was vindicated yesterday and he praised the colt.
“He really is a star colt,” said the winning jockey. “I knew he would be up for the fight, even though the first half didn’t go to plan, but that’s how good he is. I’m glad I got a jump on him ten days ago I had a good idea of him.
“He didn’t do much that day, but I knew he was working brilliantly. Trained by Chris, who would have had both horses at the top of the day and there was a hair in it. So, Nature Strip is the world’s best sprinter at this point and this guy is knocking on the door.”
“(Home Affairs) is such an exciting prospect for this market. He’s got everything they want – he’s got speed, pedigree and looks, and he’s an extremely valuable potential stallion,” said Coolmore racing director Rob Archibald.
Winner of the 2021 Iron Jack Silver Slipper Stakes (G2), Home Affairs’ first foray into weight-for-age took place last year on Everest, beaten by five lengths that day by Nature Strip. However, the colt bounced back two weeks later against his own age group to win the Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1), a win that secured him a place on the prestigious Coolmore roster.
Archibald said the owners are aware of the huge task ahead of the colt on Saturday and hope to see him produce a good run ahead of bigger goals this preparation, which includes a trip to Royal Ascot in June.
“All we really wanted to see was that he was back in good shape and to see him pick up where he left off in the Coolmore,” he said. “He couldn’t have been better today. A trip overseas is on the cards, he obviously has to spend his next races here, but a trip to Ascot is still on the table.
“It’s really a huge reward for the group of people that the Magnier family and Chris have brought together in this colt and it has really achieved what they set out to achieve, I think it may have even exceeded what they set out to achieve You want you have stallions and you want the best horses at stud but this horse is now a two time Group 1 winner and Group 1 winner at weight for age , beating arguably the best sprinters in the world.”
Archibald was quick to praise Waller and McDonald, applauding them for the efforts with the 3-year-old.
“The way Chris has treated him has been incredible, he and James have been masters at relaxing him and that’s to their credit. It’s such an exciting prospect for the ownership group to have at the moment. future,” he said. “He’s so mature. A lot of these fast horses get excited in the foreplay and he doesn’t waste any energy at all and saves it for the race. For a young horse he’s really professional in the way he executes his shopping and that
coupled with his high cruising speed and will to win make him such a wonderful and exciting colt.”
Home Affairs no longer won three times flying spur the mare Miss Interiors, who was purchased by Damon Gabbedy’s Belmont Bloodstock on behalf of the Cornish family’s Torryburn Stud for AUS$625,000 (US$532,607) at the Newgate Farm Draft Breeding Prospects Sale of the President of Inglis in 2017. She carried the half-brother of Home Affairs Group 1 Aysar in utero at that time.
Miss Interiors herself is a daughter of Ballet D’Amour, making her a half-sister to the two-time Group 1 winner and now Newgate Stud-based first season sire russian revolution and Group 3 striker Turbo Miss.
The foal did not run Capitalist half-brother – now named Wilbury – was bought by James Harron Bloodstock for A$1.05 million (US$804,770) at Inglis’ Australian Easter Yearling Sale last year and he finished ninth on his debut in the Darley Maribyrnong Plate (G3) in November. Last year Miss Interiors produced a filly by Dundeel and it was covered again by I Am Invincible last October.