Missile on target for Derby

By Michelle Saba

11 Jan 2023

Missile on target for DerbyCruz Missile (Michael McNab) bursts between runners to win the Gingernuts Salver.

Rapidly developing three-year-old Cruz Missile is on target to give his breeder and part-owner Jim Barlow his first runner in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Derby.
Barlow, who has been in the racing game for more than 30 years, has had runners in the New Zealand Oaks, 1000 and 2000 Guineas, but never a Derby.
“Just to be in the race would be an awesome outcome, and a win the icing on the cake,” Tauranga-based Barlow said after Cruz Missile had won the Listed ATR Barfoot and Thompson Gingernuts Salver at Pukekohe Park.
Trained by Stephen Marsh, the Savabeel gelding was having only his fourth start having cleared maiden grade at Rotorua just 11 days earlier. After tracking the pacemakers into the long Pukekohe straight, he bumped and bounced his way to finally get clear and cross the line with a long head over Devildom (Almanzor) and a nose to Bitcoin (Tarzino). His last 600 was clocked at an impressive 33.3s.
Marsh has won the Salver twice previously, with Scorpz in 2019 and Milford in 2021. Scorpz went on to finish third in the Derby while Milford was second. Savabeel has already left two Derby winners in Australia in Brambles and Sangster, but has yet to claim one here.
Cruz Missile became Savabeel’s 129th stakes winner, rather fittingly at a time when his sire Zabeel and grandsire Sir Tristram have been in the news following the passing of Sir Patrick Hogan. Cruz Missile can lay claim to some impressive sires on his dam-side as well, being out of a mare by the champion sire Centaine out of a stakes-winning Zephyr Bay mare.
The latter, Soda Stream, was bred by the late Graeme Setchell and won three races in Australia, headed by the Gr. 2 Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick. She was a proven broodmare when she was purchased in 2001 by Fusion Bloodstock, an entity co-owned by Barlow and Tony Joyce.
The first foal the partners bred from Soda Stream was Cruz Control, who won four races. She in turn is a half-sister to six winners including Soda Watch, the dam of the Australian stakes winners Camena and Jai’s Jump.
The partnership bred two more foals out of Soda Springs including the two-race Jayasuriya, and they went on to breed half a dozen foals out Cruz Control before Barlow took full ownership. Three were winners, including Silverton Wings, the winner of six races and stakes placed in Singapore and Malaysia.
“Tony opted out of the breeding and I took over,” Barlow recalled, “although he is a fellow owner of Cruz Missile with JML Bloodstock, my cousin Max Brown (Brown Bloodstock).
“I am a shareholder in Savabeel and I was getting to the point in life that I was hoping to get a filly so I sent Cruz Control there. She was quite a big rangy type of mare who leaves a nice staying type, despite all the speed in her pedigree.
“Unfortunately, I missed out on the filly as this horse was her last foal. It’s a good family but we hadn’t got the best outcome for the mare until he came along. It’s the end of the line with Cruz Missile!
“Cruz Control was purchased from me for $160,000 at Karaka by for JML by Bruce Perry, who has a pretty good eye for a horse, so we all went in to race him.”
Barlow also shares in the ownership of a number of mares with this group and Little Avondale Stud, including descendants of Vedodara, the quality filly he raced in the 1990s. She was a stakes winner and Group One placed, and went on to leave 11 winners including the Group One winner Sharvasti and the Group Three winners Shastri and Bhandara.
Sharvasti and Kumari, a winning Zabeel daughter of Vedodara, are amongst the broodmares in the band. Besides Savabeel, Barlow also has shares in fellow Waikato Stud sires Tivaci and Ardrossan.
“I was very lucky to get in on Savabeel right from the word go,” he said, “and hopefully we have another good sale at Karaka where I have two Savabeel colts to sell.”
They are among the six yearlings in the Little Avondale draft that Barlow has an interest in. The colts are Lot 317 out Navapura, and Lot 568 out of Super Power, thus a full brother to the dual Sydney stakes winner in Sydney Mighty Beel.
The other members of the Little Avondale draft are two by Per Incanto a, colt out of Sharvasti (Lot 505) and a filly out Los Vargas (Lot 314), along with a pair by Time Test, a colt out of Baradevi (Lot 57) and a filly out of Kumari (Lot 284).