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  • Writer's pictureMapperley Stud


With a victory in the Gr.3 Schweppes Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick that took his career earnings past A$2 million, Lion’s Roar provided the cherry on top of a remarkable Boxing Day for Contributer.

The Mapperley Stud stallion had just five runners in action across New Zealand and Australia on Tuesday and came away with three wins including two at Group level. Lion’s Roar’s Summer Cup heroics were preceded by a brilliant Group One triumph by Campionessa in the Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2050m) at Pukekohe, while promising three-year-old Fire Tribe had earlier won on the Randwick undercard.

The A$250,000 Summer Cup was a long-awaited second stakes win for Lion’s Roar, who had previously won the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old in March of 2021. He had placed in five other Group races since then, including the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) and two editions of the Gr.2 The Ingham (1600m), and on Tuesday he had another day in the black-type spotlight.

The six-year-old gelding’s eye-catching finish for a last-start third in The Ingham on December 9 earned him $2.80 favouritism for the Summer Cup on Tuesday, and he lived right up to those expectations.

Lion’s Roar broke sharply from the starting gates and was one of four horses vying for the lead in the first 200m, but jockey Tyler Schiller was happy to settle into a smooth rhythm in second after Baby Rider won the battle for the front.

Lion’s Roar moved up alongside the leader at the home turn and sprinted past him with 300m remaining. Luncies provided a late scare by charging through the inside to make it close, but Lion’s Roar held him out by a long neck.

Lion’s Roar has now had 30 starts for five wins and eight placings, earning A$2.09 million in stakes for his Champion Thoroughbreds syndicate and trainer John O’Shea.

“He was probably one of the first horses we bought when I came back training in my own right again,” O’Shea said, referring to his departure from Godolphin in 2017.

“He’s always dancing the big dance and he hasn’t had a lot of luck barrier-wise either. We are very proud of him and if you have a stable full of those horses, life is easy. He’s now broken the $2 million mark, we got him for $65,000 out of New Zealand.

“And hopefully it hasn’t finished. This win is a little kick-along for him and he’ll go to the paddock now with his tail in the air. There’s no reason why he couldn’t pick up another race or two next season.”

Lion’s Roar was bred by Peter Gillespie and offered by Wellfield Lodge at Karaka in 2019. O’Shea, in conjunction with good friend Jason Abrahams of Champion Thoroughbreds, purchased him for $65,000.

O’Shea knew a thing or two about Contributer, having trained the son of High Chaparral to Group One victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and Ranvet Stakes (2000m) during his Godolphin tenure, and described Lion’s Roar as very much in the mould of his father.

Lion’s Roar is out of the four-time winning Black Minnaloushe mare Minnaleo, a half-sister to Group One performer Vaquera. Both are out of the Group One winner The Mighty Lions. Prima Park will offer a full-sister to Lion’s Roar in Book 1 of Karaka 2024. The filly is catalogued as Lot 229.

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