18 AUG 21 | TDN Aus/NZ

Wednesday's Kensington meeting uncovered a very promising colt for the Gai Waterhouse Racing-Bott stable, one with old and successful Windsor Park blood.
Sydney’s midweek meeting was on the Kensington track at Randwick on Wednesday, with the first two races aimed squarely at the 3-year-olds.
The first was for the fillies over 1250 metres, won by the Anthony Cummings-trained Chill (Vancouver), while the second was for the colts and geldings over the same distance and it turned up an interesting winner in Aeecee Express (NZ) (Savabeel).
Trained locally by the Waterhouse-Bott partnership, Aeecee Express was stepping out for just the second time in his career. He had last raced in mid-April, running third in a Hawkesbury maiden, but he was noticeably more experienced on Wednesday.
Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, the colt had a wide berth in barrier 10 but jumped keenly, and in the early parts of the race he was hustled up among the leaders. Fire (Fastnet Rock) set the pace and, swinging for home, Aeecee Express tracked him steadily ahead of Devil’s Throat (Snitzel) and Notabadbuy (NZ) (The Bold One {NZ}).
In the straight, it was anyone’s race until the 100 metres, when Aeecee Express knuckled down and pulled away for Avdulla.
Down the outside, the eye-catching, fast-finishing Money From The Sky (Frankel {GB}) challenged briefly, but the winning post came too soon. Aeecee Express won by 0.32l to the Frankel (GB) colt, with Fire 1.1l to third.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott was trackside and said the win was creditable for this time of year.
“I know he wasn’t fancied that well in the market today, but I think it’s worth noting that in his first start he did go around a $2 favourite, so we’ve always had quite an opinion of the horse,” Bott said. “It may have just come a bit too soon for him last campaign, but you could see this time around he has really furnished, really filled out and developed physically.”
Bott said Aeecee Express has always been mentally mature, so it was a case of catching up the body to the brain.
"Mentally, he’s (Aeecee Express) always been a very professional type of horse. He’s got a lot of scope, plenty to go on with, and I think he’ll continue to progress as he gets over a bit further with us." - Adrian Bott
Aeecee Express arrived in Australia as a New Zealand yearling purchase by Waterhouse, Bott and Mitchell Bloodstock. He was bought at the 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale, costing NZ$150,000 from the draft of Windsor Park Stud.
By Savabeel, he is the first foal from the Thorn Park mare Nymph (NZ) and, as such, he is particularly well-bred.
He is a three-quarter brother to Savvy Oak (NZ) (Savabeel), who was second in the G1 South Australian Derby, and it’s the immediate family of stakes winners Field Dancer (NZ), Just A Dancer (NZ), who won the G1 Sydney Cup, Blanchard (NZ) (Kaapstad {NZ}) and Zara Dancer (NZ) (Savabeel).
Nymph herself is at Windsor Park Stud, and long-time General Manager Steve Till remembers Aeecee Express well.
“We bred Savvy Oak out of Fairy Oak, and he was a half-brother to Nymph,” Till said. “Nymph was a very talented filly we had in work at the time with Stephen Marsh, and she had showed some ability but went amiss.”
When it came time to select a breeding path for Nymph, Till said Savabeel was a logical option.
“We’ve got shares in Savabeel, and we’ve had a lot of success in the sale ring and on the track with horses we’ve bred by him,” Till said. “He’s been a great stallion for us from that perspective, and we’ve tended to send younger mares to him to get them a good start, so we thought we’d use the same principle with Nymph.”
Till said the result of that strategy was Aeecee Express, and he loved what he saw when the colt arrived in November 2018.
“We ended up getting a really well-made colt,” the general manager said. “He was a lovely individual, beautifully balanced and very correct with a great attitude. He was typical of the progeny of Savabeel, and very like his dad.”
Till said Savabeel had done a marvellous job of tidying up Nymph, who was a rangy sort of mare.
In subsequent seasons, she went to Shamexpress (NZ), dropping a filly, and her last foal is now a yearling filly by Charm Spirit (Ire). That horse will likely be pointed at the Karaka Yearling Sale next year.
Till said the family is one that is tied up nicely with Windsor Park, with the stud importing from England many years ago Conduct Unbecoming (GB) (Silly Season {USA}), the dam of Field Nymph (NZ) (Northfields {USA}). The latter was the dam of Blanchard, Field Dancer and Just A Dancer.
“The family has bred on subsequently, so it was great to see Aeecee Express do that at Randwick,” Till said. “He’s in good hands with Adrian and Gai, and he’ll go on and work a pathway towards those good races in the spring.”