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News 2018

First Stakes Winner for Epaulette

Mark Smith - Saturday, 30 December 2017

A week after Epaulette registered his first winner in Australia with Magic Millions 2yo Classic aspirant Katy's Daughter, the Darley based stallion chalked up his first stakes-winner when the Lee Curtis-trained Meryl proved too strong in Saturday's $200,000 Group III Magic Millions Bruce McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben.

Given the run of the race by Christian Reith from the inside barrier, Meryl hit the line strongly to defeat the fast-finishing Hopes Eternal (Jet Spur) by three-quarters of a length with the high-priced Exceed And Excel filly Witherspoon a neck back in third.

Given a let-up following a debut sixth in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick back on September 30, Meryl was solidly backed on the strength of two impressive barrier trials in Sydney.

"She wasn't at her peak in the Gimcrack," Curtis said. I was probably a bit remiss in running her, she was starting to go off. We saw in the barrier trial the other day she is a good strong filly.

"She's just coming into her own now. She has thrived in the three days she's been here and I'd say she will just keep going on from here. It's going to be tough in the Magic Millions but we will be having a go."

Racing for a lady's syndicate headed by Christine Cook, Meryl was a $150,000 purchase by Randwick B'Stock/Mystery Downs from the Riversdale draft at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

A half-sister to the stakes placegetters Miss Idyllic (Exceed And Excel) and Chosen Idol (Choisir), Meryl is the sixth foal of the winning Made Of Gold mare Academy Idol who is a sister to multiple Listed winner and Group 1 placed Cosmic Strike.

Riversdale Farm's Nick Hodges purchased Academy Idol for $6,500 off Kulani Park at the 2009 Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale. Riversdale will be offering an Exceed And Excel colt out of Academy Idol at the upcoming Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Academy Idol foaled a colt by Headwater in September.

Darley Stud's Group 1 ATC Golden Rose Stakes and Group 1 BRC Doomben 10000 winner Epaulette (Commands) has 10 yearlings heading to the Gold Coast Magic Millions, 18 catalogued for the Inglis Classic and 7 at the Inglis Premier.

Meryl pictured as a yearling at Riversdale

Riversdale will be offering Lot 476 an Exceed And Excel colt out of Academy Idol at the upcoming Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale