Electrifying Home Affairs Stars in Coolmore Stud Stakes
31 October 2021
Sir Peter Vela has celebrated a scintillating Group One victory on arguably Australian racing’s greatest day.
The Pencarrow principal shares in the ownership of the ultra-talented Home Affairs (I Am Invincible), who scored a breathtaking victory in Saturday’s A$1.5m Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington – one of four Group One races on the world-famous Victoria Derby Day.
The Coolmore Stud Stakes has become renowned as one of Australia’s premier stallion-making races, with a roll of honour that features the likes of Encosta De Lago, Northern Meteor, Zoustar, Brazen Beau, Flying Artie and Merchant Navy.
But few members of that illustrious list of previous winners produced a performance like what Home Affairs did on Saturday.
Ridden by Sir Peter Vela’s close friend James McDonald, Home Affairs was prominently placed from the moment the gates opened. When McDonald pushed the button with just over 400 metres to run, the Chris Waller-trained colt exploded clear of his 16 talented rivals.
It was a one-act affair down the street as Home Affairs blazed to a three-length victory, stopping the clock at 1:08.73.
“This is what we come for – to ride such a special colt like this,” McDonald said. “He was electric today. I couldn’t believe at the furlong (200m) that I was so far in front. That is the acceleration of this horse, he just idled through his paces early. Nothing could keep up with him, and he ran out the six furlongs so strong. He is a weapon, this horse.
“Chris Waller is such a good trainer. We say it over and over, all the time. He just changed a bit of gear, got the horse to relax. I did a bit of work on him the other day, and gee he felt good up that straight. He just pricked his ears from probably the 600 metres on, and when I let him go, he let rip. He’s a beautiful specimen. He’s an absolute beauty. The temperament and mind, that is what makes these good horses.
“It means a lot to do it for these connections. Sir Peter Vela is involved as well, he’s a great supporter of mine. These people put a lot of money in, and these are the results we are after.”
Raced by Sir Peter Vela in a syndicate that also features the likes of Coolmore, Chris Waller Racing, Woppitt Bloodstock, Peachester Lodge and Rockingham Thoroughbreds, Home Affairs has now had seven starts for three wins, two placings and more than A$1.6 million in stakes.
“Home Affairs was absolutely amazing today,” Coolmore’s racing manager Rob Archibald told TDN AusNZ. “He delivered what we’ve always thought he was capable of, and he’s done it on the most important stage of all. For him to be so dominant against a field of that class was just incredible.
“There aren’t many Group One-winning colts by I Am Invincible, so he’s become hugely valuable. He’s always shown that sort of class and promised so much, and we’d targeted this race as his grand final.
“It’s become such an important race on the Australian calendar, and to win it with this horse means so much to the whole team and to everyone in the syndicate.
“Chris Waller is an absolute master of getting horses right for the biggest days, and he’s done it again. We’re all so grateful.”
Home Affairs is now an enormously valuable stallion prospect, and he could potentially earn the chance to add further shine to his CV in the northern hemisphere further down the track.
“This was always the grand final for this preparation, so the horse will go out for a break now,” Archibald said. “In a few weeks’ time, we’ll all sit down and come up with a plan for the autumn.
“If he comes up in similar sort of form again, a trip to Royal Ascot could potentially be on the cards. But that’s still a long way away, and we’ll just take things one step at a time for now.
“He’s done an amazing job for us. That was a really big one today, and we’ll take time to enjoy it for a few days before we start thinking about what races we might try to pick out for him in the autumn.”