Crosshaven scores strong Valley victory

Crosshaven looks to have earned himself a short break after maintaining his unbeaten record with a fighting win at The Valley.

The Lindsay Park-trained two-year-old followed an easy debut Geelong victory with success in the Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Handicap (1200m) on Saturday and sports the colours of Auckland property developer Daniel Nakhle, who bred the promising youngster.

Lindsay Park co-trainer Ben Hayes said he would discuss with fellow co-trainer Tom Dabernig whether to press on to the winter series of races at Flemington or give Crosshaven a break and bring him back for some early spring options in August.

Ridden by Kiwi expat Daniel Stackhouse, Crosshaven, a son of Smart Missile, started the $2.45 favourite in accounting for Island Joy ($9.50) with Not A Zac ($11) a half-head away third, with the trifecta all graduates of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales.

Hayes said Crosshaven did not appear comfortable on the tighter confines of The Valley and would appreciate a bigger track.

“I have to talk to Tom, but I have a feeling that he’ll be running sometime around mid-August,” Hayes said.

“He was a bit green and lost around this tight turning track but his class got him through.”

Stackhouse knows his time aboard Crosshaven is short-lived having replaced the suspended Luke Nolen who won on the gelding at Geelong.

“I wouldn’t mind staying on him, but Luke has been doing all the work and I was lucky to get the ride today and get the job done,” Stackhouse said.

“He raced really green and really new today. I had to guide him into a spot early and he didn’t travel as well as I thought he would through the race.

“I thought I’d bring him out early and work him into it with momentum.”

Crosshaven’s breeder and part-owner Daniel Nakhle.Photo: Trish DunellAn $80,000 yearling graduate of Haunui Farm’s 2019 Karaka Book 1 draft, Crosshaven was initially passed in before selling to Lindsay Park with Daniel Nakhle retaining a share.

Nakhle had enjoyed previous success with the Lindsay Park team after selling a half share in Spanish Whisper, who won the Gr.2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) for the combination.

“That began the association and we have become friends. They liked Crosshaven as a yearling and when he passed in, I had a chat with David Hayes and Mark Pilkington and they were keen to buy him so long as I stayed in for a share.

“I was more than happy to do that, knowing that he would be going to a good stable.”

Crosshaven is the fifth winner from Daniel and Elias Nakhle’s Group Two winning mare Irish Colleen, who is also the dam of Group Three winner Killarney and seven-race winner Neeson.

“Irish Colleen was actually the first horse I ever bought by myself,” Daniel Nakhle said.

“I bought her from the Fayette Park dispersal sale and she has proven to be a really lovely mare. I am sure it was more luck than skill.

“She just leaves a hell of a lot of heart in her foals, just one after the other. She is five from five now, which is no mean feat and Killarney picked up a Group Three for the mare this season and this boy seems to show a bit of potential as well.”

Irish Colleen is currently in foal to Vadamos, a stallion in whom Nakhle is a shareholder.

Nakhle paid credit to Westbury Stud General Manager Russell Warwick for the recommendation to mate the mare with Smart Missile.

“Russell said it would be a good mating for the mare and I have an immense respect for his judgement. He really knows his pedigrees like no one else and I burden myself on Russell every season and annoy him from about March onwards with various theories of mine.”

Nakhle said it was very satisfying to see his colours go around in Melbourne and salute.

“He will probably have a freshen up and be back in mid-August for the early spring three-year-old races and who knows, by then I might be able to get over there and watch him.

“Actually, Tom was quite keen on bringing him back over this way for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m),” said Nakhle, who is also a board member at Ellerslie where the three-year-old feature is run.

Nakhle said Carol Walker was the backbone of his breeding and racing team and much credit goes to her and the team at Byerley Park.

The astute businessman also revealed he was likely to be breeding as many as 20 mares this season and was ramping up his involvement in the industry.

“I appreciate there is probably not a huge amount of confidence at the moment in the New Zealand industry, but to my mind, it is the perfect time to invest,” Nakhle said.

“I have actually bought a couple of mares in the last month.

“It is the same with the share market, property or horses.

“I can see a scenario where if we don’t have enough mares bred this season it will come back to bite us in terms of foal crop numbers in three or four years’ time when hopefully the work that is going on through the legislative process, the property works at a place like Ellerslie and the consolidation of industry assets, could see us in a far better state and we will be looking around for horses at that point.”

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