Up And Coming Stakes: The extraordinary story behind the Colt Subterranean brings hope and inspiration to all homeowners.


The story behind Subterranean has so many twists and turns that it seems like an unbelievable movie script, but it’s a reminder of why this sport gives everyone hope because it can produce the fairy tale.

Subterranean, one of the top opportunities in Group 3 $ 160,000 Up And Coming Stakes (1200m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday, is the product of a mating between a stallion rejected by breeders and a brood mare that no one wanted.

Caves, the Subterranean dam, was bought by accident.

Owner and breeder Steve Grant’s business partner, Kenny Lowe, was at a broodmare sale with specific instructions to purchase a Bernadini mare named Shoepeg.

Lowe eventually bought that mare, but Grant acknowledges that his close friend must have gotten a bit bored waiting for her to step into the ring while successfully bidding on two more mares.

He wrote a check for just $ 1000 to secure Caves, also by Bernadini, and just $ 500 to buy Auckland Beauty, a daughter of Redoute’s Choice.

“Kenny was supposed to buy a mare, but he comes back with three cheap mares, it’s like Jack And The Beanstalk,” Grant said.

“We took them all back home and found that Caves was a pretty nice mare, but she had a clubfoot.”

Grant, co-owner of former standout sprinter Rebel Dane, was purchasing a potential brood mare to send out the double winner from Group 1 who was now at Glen Eden Stud.

“I was trying to get some mares to help Rebel Dane get started on the stallion,” Grant said.

Caves was a moderately performing mare that won only four races in 67 attempts, but Grant based his decision to send her to Rebel Dane on solid reasoning, as she created a 4×4 cross to Seattle Slew, supported by a 6×6 to Northern Dancer and 6×6. to Buckpasser.

Grant had 10 mares pregnant with Rebel Dane that first season, including Caves.

The foals were raised on the owner’s magnificent Silverdale Farm near Bowral in the southern highlands, and this is where the story takes another unexpected turn.

“We took them to the one-year stage and Rob Petith, my stud manager, said we have to start cleaning up some of the years,” Grant said.

“I had 10 Rebel Dane pups that we sent to the trainers, where we kept 25 percent and they found other owners to buy them.

“Rob said we should do the same with the Caves foal and (Maurice’s) Auckland Beauty filly that we were unable to send to sales.

“But I liked the little colt in the Caves, so I told us to stay with them and send them to Rick Worthington to come in.”

Broodmare Caves with her firstborn Subterranean at Silverdale Farm.
Camera iconBroodmare Caves with her firstborn Subterranean at Silverdale Farm. Credit: Supplied

Worthington was an outstanding trainer and master rider, particularly adept at taming young racehorses.

Grant’s two years were the last horses Worthington broke on. Sadly, he passed away in September last year after a long battle with cancer.

“I remember at the time Rick told me that little colt Caves and filly Auckland Beauty were good guys,” Grant said.

“We were even thinking of selling them both for about a year, but for some reason I didn’t dare to do it.

“So, I sent a note to all my regular coaches, every response was ‘thank you, but no thank you.’ ”

But wait, there is more.

By chance Grant, a former head of the Australian Turf Club, was helping trainer Matthew Dunn establish a stable base at Warwick Farm and asked if he was interested in training the Caves colt now named Subterranean.

Dunn’s wife, Keira, inspected the colt, liked what she saw, and agreed to train him.

“Matt took the horse back to Murwillumbah and put it to work,” Grant said.

“Then he called me one day and told me that his colt is doing very well, I like the way he moves and that he was going to test him against an older, more useful horse that he trained at a track gallop.

“The story goes that the oldest horse is owned by a union, Mitch Lowe, who went out to see his work that morning and Subterranean wins it five lengths.

“Mitch asked ‘what’s that’ and Matt tells him it’s a colt that Steve Grant is trying to sell for half a share. He asked how much, Matt told him $ 14,000 and Mitch said I’ll take it. ”

Then there was another twist in the story. It turns out that Kenny Lowe and Mitch Lowe, who had never met before, were related.

“When they started emailing each other, Ken asked where Mitch’s family came from and he said from the Quirindi area,” Grant said.

“Ken’s grandparents came from Willow Tree and they end up being related. All this for a $ 1000 mare. ”

The story does not end there.

Subterranean had a busy youth season, competing in eight races winning twice, including the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic on the Gold Coast in May.

In a tight finish, Subterranean scored a huge win at stake, a significant boost for his sire Rebel Dane, as he outscored the practical Chris Waller-trained colt Ranch Hand, ridden by champion jockey James McDonald.

QLD_GCB_SPORT_GCRACING
Camera iconMatthew Dunn agreed to train Subterranean after his wife liked the look of the colt. Richard Gosling Credit: News Corp Australia

A few weeks later, Grant was having lunch with McDonald and his partner Katelyn Mallyon when the conversation turned to the Gold Coast run.

“James said he saw Ken Russell replay multiple times and was sure the Ranch Hand had beaten Subterranean,” Grant said.

“Then I brought up the story behind the colt and her calf when Katelyn said ‘wait, I rode Caves.’ We checked and she won the mare at Seymour in 2014. ”

Caves’ firstborn Subterranean resumes in Up And Coming Stakes on Saturday and is rated $ 7 on TAB’s first fixed odds bets behind Tiger Of Malay at $ 2.60.

Grant hopes to get his hands on the Up And Coming Stakes trophy for the second time; In his previous position at ATC, he had to present to Scissor Kick Connections in 2014.

But there was also drama that day.

It was a controversial race that included a very close photographic close between Scissor Kick and his stablemate Panzer Division, three protests, two defended and a runner relegated from third to fifth.

All of this meant that the presentation was delayed and eventually abandoned.

“He had no one to present the trophy to,” Grant said.

“Maybe I can keep the trophy with Subterranean.”

There is one more element to this story.

Subterranean is proving once again that there was no better judge than a thoroughbred than Rick Worthington.

He told Grant that the little Cuevas colt had a lot of natural ability and potential. He was correct.

But what happened to the Auckland Beauty filly that Grant kept together with Subterranean?

“She is now working with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and is close to testing,” Grant said.

“We call her Miss Worthington.”


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