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Ability maintains the Rewarding run!
August 7, 2017 Dwayne Dunn & Ability after winning the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (Reg Ryan-Racing Photos)

The Robert Smerdon trained Ability and his sire Reward for Effort have given TBV plenty of content to report on when it comes to Victorian breeding success during the winter.

And both were in no mood to finish that trend when the five-year-old gelding took out the rescheduled Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes at Sandown on Sunday.

Ability, showed he is well worthy of his moniker, by swooping from last to first and winning by a neck from former Australian champion Lankan Rupee.

Ability has now won four on end: a reversal of fortunes which has largely been put down to a decision to geld the 5YO son of Reward For Effort.

Raced by the family of the late and very popular, Phil Sly, Ability’s Bletchingly Stakes was the biggest win of his career which now reads seven wins and four placing from 16 starts for $368,250 in prizemoney.

Peter Moody became a household name for his prowess as a trainer, but takes a bow on this occasion as Ability’s breeder, sending his Dubai Destination mare Paeroa to the Chatswood Stud based Reward For Effort back in 2011.

A half-sister to the Group Two Matriarch Stakes winner, Well Rounded, Paeroa’s only foal to race at this stage is Ability, who was sold to Matchem Racing, from the Yallambee Stud draft, for $150,000 at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Christie Woodard, who ran Yallambee Stud (now Spendthrift Australia) with husband Rick, for over 30 years, well remembers Ability and is not surprised as to his continued rise.

“Pete (Moody) had a few mares on farm and Paeroa was a very tough gal and had produced a very nice foal in Ability. ‘Moods’ made the decision to send her to Reward For Effort and clearly pulled the right rein there.”

Now managing the YuLong Investments property at Bayles in West Gippsland, Woodard adds that Ability was destined to be popular at the Inglis Premier.

“He (Ability) came together well as a foal and then all the way through his yearling prep and I guess that showed in the price he brought. He really had the right nature from day one and, as it turns out, he was worth every penny.”

After Ability, Paeroa produced a Sebring filly (an unraced 3YO colt with Henry Dwyer called April Sun In Cuba) but was later sold at the 2016 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale to Hancox Bloodstock, on behalf of the Esplin family, for $70,000.

Paeroa was in foal to Helmet and produced a three quarter brother to Ability last September and is now in foal to Reset.

In terms of the Helmet three brother to Ability, Hamish Esplin revealed that the colt would be offered at a major 2018 sale, adding:

“I saw him the other day and he is in much the same mould as Ability: a big, strong colt and I said to Peter (Moody) that I would sell it back to him for $200,000 … he didn’t find that funny at all!”

Meanwhile, Chatswood’s Reward For Effort was basking in the success of a record breaking racing season. He produced no less than 77 individual winners in season 2016/2017, more than any other Third Season Sire.

His progeny earnings, which included five stakes successes, were just a tick over $3.7 million, a Victorian Third Season Sire record.

Reward For Effort stands this season at Chatswood Stud for a fee of $16,500.


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