Scarlet Oak (white cap) winning the Gr.2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.  Photo: Grant Peters (Trackside Photography)

Early breeding setback overcome in style

Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
27 May 2024

A nightmare start for the Smithies family with Tactless’ breeding career has turned full circle following the emergence of high-class filly Scarlet Oak.

Under their Monovale Holdings banner, they purchased the well-related broodmare in foal to Kermadec at the Inglis Digital Sale in 2020 and the result of that mating was Saturday’s impressive Gr.2 The Roses (2000m) winner.

Scarlet Oak’s progress has provided significant compensation for an early setback following the loss of the mare’s next foal by Street Boss.

“That was so heart breaking, he was a belting colt and one of our stand outs,” Max Smithies said.

“He had an x-ray issue that we unfortunately couldn’t get right, he had a serious infection as a foal in his hock.

“It was a big loss, but she’s got a nice Contributer yearling that we’ll be looking to sell and has a weanling colt by Tarzino.”

Tactless is now in foal to Deep Impact’s Group One-winning son Profondo and breeding plans for later this year will be firmed up after Scarlet Oak runs in the upcoming Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2200m).

“We’re still working out where the mare will go this year. We’ll wait and see what happens in two weeks before we make a decision on that,” Smithies said.

A daughter of Commands, Tactless is a half-sister to the Gr.1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) winner and sire Complacent and was secured by Monovale for A$10,000.

“We liked the pedigree and always liked Kermadec so we thought she was pretty good buying,” Smithies said.

“We liked the look of her from all the photos and spoke to the vendor, so we got a good feel for her.

“We thought she was relatively cheap to access a good pedigree like that.”

Scarlet Oak was originally destined to be sold at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale but luck of the draw, or bad luck in this case, resulted in her being withdrawn.

“What happened was that she was prepped really well by Ross MacKay of Leanach Lodge and she was Lot 1 at Karaka,” Smithies said.

“We felt that she wouldn’t get what she deserved, we always really liked her and based on that we were happy to push on and take her to the next stage.

“It’s okay if you’re Lot 1 with a really big hitter, but when it’s a middle market horse it can be a bit risky to be right at the start of the sale and we thought she was better than that.”

Scarlet Oak was subsequently placed with trainers Ken and Bev Kelso and following a debut victory at Matama in March was sold to clients of Chris Waller’s stable.

“There are so many what ifs in racing, but we’re in the business of breeding and selling horses and we hope that they can go on and perform at the elite level,” Smithies said.

“She’s ticking all the right boxes, so we’ve certainly got no hard feelings and hope she goes right on with it, that’s for sure.”

Scarlet Oak has won two of her three Australian starts and finished runner-up in the Gr.3 James Carr Stakes (1400m). She currently heads the Queensland Oaks market as a $3.20 favourite.

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