Dirty Work sprinting his way to becoming the Victorian heir apparent for sire

October 11, 2020

Dirty Work ridden by William Pike wins the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on October 10, 2020 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Article courtesy of TDN AusNZ
Bren O’Brien

The relocation of Australia’s hottest sire, Written Tycoon, to the Hunter Valley is set to open up significant opportunities for his sire sons in his previous home of Victoria, including Saturday’s G2 Schillaci S. winner Dirty Work who has secured his stallion future at Spendthrift Australia.

Written Tycoon’s start to the 2020/21 season has been nothing short of remarkable, with eight stakes-wins from six different progeny, including four Group 1 successes. Saturday’s Group 1 double of Ole Kirk and Odeum in the Caulfield and Thousand Guineas, plus Dirty Work’s impressive victory helped frank Written Tycoon’s lead on the Australian Sires’ Table, which now stands at nearly $2 million over I Am Invincible.

It’s an outstanding result for Arrowfield Stud, who brought the son of Iglesia to New South Wales this season to stand for $77,000 (inc GST) as part of a deal with his previous home at Woodside Park Stud in Victoria.

The halo effect of that run of success should flow on to his sons at stud, of which there are five in Australia, but just one, Rich Enuff at Woodside, located in Victoria.

That presents an opportunity for Kerrie-based Spendthrift, which was delighted to see Dirty Work stamp himself a future stallion with his impressive win for Team Hawkes and jockey William Pike at Caulfield on Saturday.

“That’s the most important part of the equation. We brought him to Melbourne and got a Group 2 win on his resume and the response from everybody in the industry has been huge,” Spendthrift Australia’s General Manager Garry Cuddy said.

“There have been text messages, emails, phone calls, you name it. It’s been an enjoyable last 24 hours that’s for sure.

“It’s funny how it works out, they take Written Tycoon out of Victoria and all of a sudden, he’s a fireworks display. We will quite happily bring this bloke to our farm next year to be the headline son of Written Tycoon in Victoria.”

While Dirty Work’s job on the track is far from done, and Spendthrift and Team Hawkes will be searching for that Group 1 victory with the 4-year-old, it is a satisfying moment for Cuddy and his team, whose strategy has involved a targeted approach at elite colts at yearling sales with a view to building Spendthrift Australia’s stallion roster.

“I said it when we bought him as a yearling, you have to buy the best-looking sons of the best stallions, and Written Tycoon, at that point, was the up-and-coming stallion in Victoria,” he said.

“Sons of his were obvious choices and we are sitting here now thinking, happy days, we have a Group 2 win on the board and the horse is a 10 out of 10 physical.”

Spendthrift paid $800,000 for Dirty Work from the Sledmere Stud draft at the 2018 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, which at the time was the second-highest price ever for a yearling son of Written Tycoon.

Decisions like that can make or break a fledgling operation, even one with considerable international backing such as Spendthrift.

“There’s pressure when you make those decisions standing there at the yearling sale thinking ‘what is this horse going to look like on our stallion roster in two or three years’ time?’” Cuddy said.

“It’s always difficult to play that game, but as I look at our roster now, I’m proud of what we have been able to do as a team. We now have three horses we purchased as yearlings on our roster and we aren’t buying a large volume of yearlings like some of the colt groups.

“We can’t go to the sale and buy ugly yearlings. We have to show them off as stallion prospects at the end of the day. The first time we looked at him, he stood out, and we kept on going back to look at him and we were lucky enough to get him at the end of the day.”

As an $800,000 yearling from a family that has produced stakes winners Meidung (Bernardini {USA}), Banish (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}), Pinwheel (Lonhro) and West Point (Danehill {USA}), there were considerable expectations of what Dirty Work might produce on the track.

After being placed on debut, he would run third in the G3 Vain S. at just his third start. He found winning form at the end of his 3-year-old autumn campaign, with three straight victories, including the Listed Ortensia S.

Dirty Work has taken on the best sprinters in three runs this campaign, storming home to win impressively on Saturday in a race which has also been won in recent years by current stallions, Coolmore’s Rubick and Vinery’s Star Turn.

“He’s always shown the ability but it’s been his last six runs that have made him,” Cuddy said.

“He’s won four of them and placed third behind Gytrash and Nature Strip and then fourth behind Classique Legend, Eduardo and Bivouac where he had an interrupted run and was unlucky not to finish closer. It’s been quite a few months for him, and we’ve enjoyed it that’s for sure.

“He’s a horse that has always been an amazing physical athlete. He just took a bit of time and the Written Tycoons can do that. He’s there now and we don’t need to introduce him to people anymore. People know who he is and that’s fantastic.”

Cuddy said Spendthrift and Team Hawkes were in no rush to determine Dirty Work’s remaining spring campaign, but that the G1 Manikato S. at Moonee Valley loomed as a logical next step.

“There is that Group 1 there in two weeks, and as a Group 2 winner, you only improve your record by going and taking on those Group 1s. We will aim for that, but at the same time, the horse always comes first,” he said.

Cuddy said there were a range of Group 1 races which Dirty Work could look to target in the autumn.