Name: Branksome Chimes
Sire: Canford Cliffs
Trainer: Darren Weir
Foal Date: 14/10/14
ONTRACK SENDING CANFORD CLIFFS COLT TO WEIR
Ontrack Thoroughbreds principal, Grant Morgan who was responsible for selecting dual Group 1 winner and Royal Ascot Diamond Jubilee Stakes runner-up Brazen Beau, is thrilled to add this colt to his stable.
Canford Cliffs was a top class galloper winning the Irish Group 1 2000 Guineas the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood all
of those races were over eight furlongs (or 1600 m.)
All up the son of Tagula won seven races from a short 11-start racing career and was placed second or third at the remaining four race starts. Canford Cliffs retired to stud duties in the Northern Hemisphere in 2012 as the leading older horse with an international federation ranking of 127 and shuttled to Blue Gum Farm in Victoria for the southern hemisphere spring later that year.
As of August 2nd, 2016 Canford Cliffs had 123 runners in the northern hemisphere for 55 individual winners including the Group 2 Railway Stakes winner Painted Cliffs (ex Luawin); the Group 3 winners Most Beautiful and Al Jazi and a Listed winner, Aktoria (ex Granadilla).
Canford Cliffs’ oldest Australian progeny are current season three-year-olds and as of August 2nd, 2016 only 14 of the horses’ progeny have raced in the southern hemisphere for one winner, Cliff Hanger (ex Crevasse).
NOT ENOUGH? The dam of this colt Optimizing, won four races over sprint distances that ranged from 1000 m. to 1200 m. By the Group 1 VRC Newmarket Handicap and MRC Invitation Stakes winner Exceed and Excel, this bay colt is the second foal with the first a current season three-year-old named Chapel Road (by Equiano) and owns a record of two wins from four-career starts.
As a broodmare sire Exceed and Excel’s daughters have produced 174 starters for 89 winners, 12 of those are stakes winners and include the New Zealand Group 1 Railway Stakes winner Bounding (by Lonhro), Group 2 winners Astern (by Medaglia d’Oro) and Scarlet Rain (by Manhattan Rain); Group 3 juvenile winner Prompt Return (by Beneteau) and the fast Petits Filous (by Street Boss).
The grandam, Joan’s Best (by Gold Brose) a Listed winner that hails from a female line that’s produced the Group 1 Australian Oaks winner Circles of Gold (by Marscay) in-turn the dam of the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and Dubai Duty Free hero Elvstroem (by Danehill); Group 1 Doncaster Handicap and Royal Ascot Queen Anne Stakes winner Haradasun (by Fusaichi Pegasus); Group 1 Golden Slipper winner Polar Success and for good measure the West Australian Derby winner, Markus Maximus (by Pentire).
This bay colt descends from a branch of a female family that’s produced some of the best horses seen at the track over the past 20-years.
First impressions of Darren Weir are of an amiable, laconic, laid back country horse trainer.
On closer inspection, the amiable and laconic don’t change, but Weir is anything but laid back when it comes to running a training operation that produces more winners than any in Australia.
“The difference between getting it right and getting it wrong, or winning and losing, so often comes down to the detail,” Weir says.
“Attention to detail is something I’ve always made a priority. That’s where the edge is.”
Weir’s rise to prominence in racing has been fast.
The former farrier took out an owner-trainer’s licence in 1997, a full licence in 2001 and little more than a decade later he trained more winners in a season than anyone in Australia.
Last season Weir’s stables at Ballarat and Warrnambool produced 298 winners, 101 of them on metropolitan tracks.
And in 2016 he’s likely to do it again, having led in his 277th winner for the season before the end of May, along with a season breaking five Group 1 winners, and will be leading the all-round Australian trainers’ championship.
“I know we’ve come a long way quickly and we’ve probably succeeded in winning a premiership a little earlier than we imagined,” Weir said.
Perhaps it’s less surprising than he makes out.
Weir came to training with a broad experience base. As well as working as a farrier and horse-breaker, he spent time with the late Colin Hayes at Lindsay Park as well as a stable hand in Ireland.
After starting his own business in 1997 with a handful of horses, he now has one of the biggest and most successful operations in the country.
Weir achieved every Australian trainer’s dream in the 2015-16 season, preparing Prince of Penzance to win the 2015 Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
If the success changed him, it doesn’t show. Neither did it tempt him to “come to town” and open stables in Melbourne.
“I’m a country boy and I want my horses trained in the country, just like any good European stable would,” Weir said.
“We’ve got fantastic facilities at Ballarat and we’ve got the beach at Warrnambool for the horses who need it. I couldn’t ask for better.”