What makes a Topgun finalist?

Caption: Victorian superstar Aston Rupee on the way to victory in the 2021 Group 1 TAB Topgun (525m) at The Meadows. (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)


JUST like the thoroughbred version, the Cox Plate, the Group 1 Topgun is an invitation event that pits only the very best of the year in a one-off race for huge prizemoney.

The Cox Plate is called the greatest two minutes in Australian sport.

If that’s the case, then surely the Topgun is ‘a half-minute to glory’.

Just like the Cox Plate which boasts legendary winners like Sunline, Winx, Kingstown Town, Northerly, Phar Lap, Gunsynd and Tulloch, the Topgun hasn’t done too badly.

Greats like Fernando Bale, Bombastic Shiraz, Shima Shine, Whiskey Assassin, Cindeen Shelby, Up Hill Jill, Poke The Bear, El Grand Senor … superstars every one.

Just what makes a Topgun finalist?

Bloodlines, the right pedigree mix and top-class damlines all go to providing eight of the best. The Topgun 2021 was no different. A quick look at the pedigrees of the finalists shows why.


(Fernando Bale-Alpha Demeter by Cosmic Rumble)

The litter brothers by the Topgun winner Fernando Bale from Alpha Demeter who was second in the G3 Silver Bullet and a winner up to 600m at The Meadows. This is the famed Queen Of Cyprus damline Queenslander Chris Georgiou has nurtured for the past decade and more. It’s the direct damline of champion Queen Lauryn and a line established so long ago by everyone’s mate Jim Madigan at Junction Hill outside Grafton. The Fernando Bale/Cosmic Rumble cross is responsible for other greats like Poco Dorado and her wonderful littermates, G1 winners West On Augie, Lakeview Walter etc etc etc.


(KC And All-Aston Miley by Barcia Bale)

The Sandown TR breaker’s mother was third in the G2 Geelong Cup but also a finalist in the G1 Melbourne Cup and G2 Warragul Cup. And she is a litter sister to champion Aston Dee Bee (G1 Melbourne Cup, multiple TR breaker and now top sire). The mating of KC And All to a daughter of Barcia Bale was fabulous. That’s because champion Orson Allen is by KC And All from Desalle Bale a litter sister to Barcia Bale. An awesome dog, Aston Rupee is virtually guaranteed a successful stud career.


(Aussie Infrared-Zipping Lilly by Don’t Knocka Him)

Kyrgios is the result of leading breeder Marty Hallinan giving young, unproven stud dogs their chance. He did this with Kyrgios’s sire Aussie Infrared and Don’t Knocka Him his damsire. It worked both times. Kyrgios’s pedigree shows a 3×3 cross of Head Bound (damsire of Aussie Infrared) and Sirocco Lass (third dam of Kyrgios), who are bred on a reverse cross of Head Honcho and Sobbing Sal. Kyrgios’s mother Zipping Lilly won to 565m. She won the G3 Ladies Bracelet and was third in the G3 New Sensation.


(Fernando Bale-Miss All Class by Where’s Pedro)

The dam Miss All Class was a Wenty winner but also infused with four crosses of the famed Osti Lee direct damline. Two came through half-sisters Paris Match and Shadow Osti. She also has seven crosses of another famed broodbitch line, that of Promises Free. When Miss All Class was mated to Fernando Bale it introduced a 3×2 cross of Rosemary Bale and She’s So Pretty, who are both bred on the Light Of Fire/Head Honcho cross but balanced.



(Dyna Double One-Tiggerlong Dot by Spring Gun)

The veteran of the Topgun field and deserving of his place after winning, being placed or making the finals of 11 G1s. His mother was a multiple city winner and finalist in the Dapto Oaks and from a powerful damline even now still on the improve. This bitch is bred on the very same Bombastic Shiraz/Big Daddy Cool/Token Prince/Bearability cross as G1 star No Donuts etc. Her mating to Dyna Double One brought in the proven Hallucinate/Pure Octane cross the famous half-brothers being found in G1 winner Mepunga Hayley’s pedigree.


(Fernando Bale-Bombshell Bandit by Collision)

His mother was third in the G3 Xmas Gift but more importantly was a finalist in the G1 Easter Egg. She is a litter sister to G1 winner Crash Bandicoot. Their mother, J’s Robin, was an absolute superstar in the US. Just being able to get her to Australia for stud was a coup. The mating to Fernando Bale was a bitch of “a risk” considering Bombshell Bandit raced at 25kgs. Her son Bandit Ned is 30.5kgs … just right! Putting the Collision bitch to Fernando was recreating the G1 proven nick found in Dyna Patty, Whiskey Riot, Fernando’s Riot and Trouper Monelli. Ned also has a double of Gable Dodge 3×4.


(Barcia Bale-Serena Fly High by Bit Chili)

Several Topgun finalists have Bit Chili in their damline. Dam Serena Fly High was a finalist to G3 level in WA and won to 715m, at Cannington. Her first litter, by Fernando Bale, produced champion Tommy Shelby. Just like Tiggerlong Tonk’s mother, Serena Fly High is also bred on the Bombastic Shiraz/Big Daddy Cool/Token Prince cross. Jungle Deuce carries no fewer than five crosses of the brothers Walkabout Sid, Amerigo Man and West Cape but, significantly, he also has a 5×5 double and balance of English Derby winner Farloe Melody in his pedigree.

ANYONE who takes the time to look at the pedigree of top-class athletes should make special time to study what made champion Verry Elleegant.

The winner of 10 G1s including the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups and $14 million along the way, she is by Zed-Opulence by Danroad.

Her sire Zed was a $400,000 yearling by champion Zabeel from a G1-winning mother. He raced four times for a win but at one time was hot favourite to win the NZ Derby. At stud, he once stood for $500 and served Clydesdale mares … until his first progeny started racing.

Verry Elleegant’s pedigree shows a 2×1 cross of the virtual sisters Emerald Dream and Opulence. They are both from the Danehill sireline and both trace directly to Hall of Fame broodmare Eight Carat both via her daughter Cotehele House.

The breeders of Verry Elleegant purposely paid $14,000 for Opulence to mate her to Zed to bring in such intense in-breeding.

Verry Elleegant also has a 4×4 cross of champion sires Nureyev and Sadlers Wells, who are virtual brothers.



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