Aquis and Australian Bloodstock combine to secure high-class sprinter Graf
BY CHRIS HUMPLEBY | @ANZ_NEWS
Group 1-placegetter Graff (Star Witness) has been acquired by Aquis Farm and Australian Bloodstock as a racing and breeding prospect and will stand at Aquis when his career on the track concludes.
Replicating the partnership that combined to race dual Group 1 winner and Aquis’ current Hunter Valley resident Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom), Graff will continue to be trained by Kris Lees and is likely to resume in The Galaxy (Gr 1, 1100m) at Rosehill on March 21. “Having partnered with Australian Bloodstock in dual Group 1 winner Brave Smash, who covered an outstanding first book of mares last season, we’re excited about joining forces to race the very talented sprinter Graff,” said Aquis’ managing director Shane McGrath.
A three-time winner who was unbeaten as a juvenile, Graff landed the San Domenico Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) in August 2018 prior to running third in the Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) that September. Having represented slot holder Max Whitby when running fifth behind Redzel (Snitzel) in the 2018 running of The Everest (1200m), Graff was subsequently beaten a length into fourth in both the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Gr 1, 1000m) and Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) last autumn. Last seen running down the field at Newcastle in November, Graff’s new connections are confident the four-year-old can secure a top-tier success before retiring to the covering shed.
“As an unbeaten two-year-old, an explosive Group 3 winner and multiple Group 1-placed sprinter, the future prospects for Graff are very exciting, not just on the track as he targets Group 1 races, but also when he retires to stud,” McGrath continued.
Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett concurred. He said: “We were delighted to secure Graff recently with the backing of some of our most loyal clients and breeders. He is a proven Group 1 horse and we are confident he will retire a Group 1 winner. “He will be sought after by breeders and we were very keen to have Aquis involved in partnership from the outset.
We have seen firsthand the support Aquis has attracted for our Group 1 sprinter Brave Smash.” One of 15 stakes winners by Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) scorer Star Witness (Starcraft), Graff is the highest-earning colt by his sire having amassed $1,101,560 in career prize-money so far.
He was purchased by his former owner Alan Bell at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2017, realising $200,000 from the draft of Widden Stud.
A brother to the stakes-placed Steel Diamond, Graff is the best-performed of three winners out of Group 3 scorer Dinkum Diamond (Keep The Faith), herself the daughter of Group 3 winner Raja Lane (Devaraja). This is also the family of Aquis’ part-owned Rosebud Stakes (Listed, 1100m) winner Dawn Passage (Dawn Approach).