After two unsuccessful attempts to return four-year-old entire Needs Further to the racetrack, the lightly raced Group 3 winning son of Champion Sire Encosta De Lago has been retired.
Needs Further’s racing career only spanned five lifetime starts. At his first and only two-year-old start, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote pre-race, “Blake Shinn believes Needs Further will stake a claim as a Golden Slipper contender when he debuts in the Pagewood Handicap at Randwick today. “We think he is one of our [the Waterhouse stable's] top two-year-olds. He has just improved with every gallop,'' Shinn said. ''He took a big step forward after his first trial and surprised us a bit in his second trial. If he does that again I think you will see a smart one.'' Needs Further was to go on and finish an unlucky third to subsequent Group 1 winner Skilled. When the first Golden Slipper markets were released soon after this race, Needs Further was well in the markets with most bookies. Unfortunately his Slipper campaign was prematurely abandoned due to shin soreness.
On his return to Tulloch Lodge, Needs Further won a trial at Randwick in early July. On face value it appeared he had come back better than ever, however, a couple of weeks after the trial, some soreness appeared in a knee and on vet’s advice he was immediately spelled.
Needs Further was next seen the following January at the Randwick trials. Clinton Payne on the Racenet.com.au website wrote: “The Gai Waterhouse-trained Needs Further has been off the scene for over 12-months but he’s one that could make his presence felt over the Autumn. He won his trial by 1-1/4 lengths in 43.00 seconds. Needs Further was always on the speed in the trial but he did his best work over the final 200 metres when drawing away from his stablemate Master Of Reality. Needs Further finished third behind Skilled and Top Drop at his only start in January 2010 and I’m expecting him to storm through the grades. Black Book him for his first-up run for sure.”
Needs Further lined up twelve days later in another Randwick trial and Clinton Payne was once again extremely impressed writing, “The Gai Waterhouse trained Needs Further was wide early before dropping in behind the leaders and securing a good trail. In the straight, Needs Further was given a flick with the stick and he changed gears and charged to the front in a few strides, clearing out over the final 100 metres to win the heat by 2-1/4 lengths in 1.03.20. This is a horse that could charge through the grades in the Autumn. He was asked to work in the trial but he accelerated like only good horses can.”
First up Needs Further did not let Clinton Payne and his supporters down. Sent to Kembla Grange for what would hopefully be an easy kill, the $1.30 favourite didn’t give his connections or his backers one moment of concern. Leading all the way, he kicked clear at the 300m. Under hands and heals riding from Neil Paine, the colt was eased down near the line to blitz his rivals by 6 lengths over the 1200m.
Second up Needs Further was back to Randwick. Once again an odds-on favourite, firming from $1.90 into $1.65, he was able to salute over the 1400m. Gai Waterhouse told the waiting press, ““This is a very good horse in the making. You’ll certainly see him over the carnival and you’ll certainly see some wins from him. He’s got a lovely cruising speed and a great turn of foot.”
True to her word, Waterhouse lined Needs Further up three weeks later on first day of the AJC Autumn Carnival in the Group 3 AJC Carbine Club Stakes over 1600m. Heavily backed from $3.80 into a $2.70 favourite, Needs Further was yet again slowly away and was then pushed hard early to take a forward position just behind leader Shadows In The Sun. On straightening, Nash Rawiller pushed the button and Needs Further sprinted past the subsequent Group 1 winner, with the smart Group 3 winner Divorces battling on gamely past Shadows In The Sun to take second place.
Not known for his hyperbole when describing his mounts, Nash Rawiller was effusive in his praise for Needs Further. “This is a really serious horse,” Rawiller told the milling press on his return to scale. ““He has come a long way in a short time and gives me a really good feel. I think this horse would be the perfect horse now to just back right off and put him out and maybe bring him back for something in the Spring because for the sake of Frank Packer Plate, I think potentially he is a lot better horse than that.’’
The always informative Practical Punters Monthly commented post-race, “Gai Waterhouse reckons her Randwick winner Needs Further is a horse of the future and she's backed up by jockey Nash Rawiller. He says the colt shapes like a serious spring contender. They may be right. NF's Carbine Club Stakes win was impressive. Very impressive. Gai says: 'He's a very exciting horse in the making. You don't go through your grades from winning a maiden to midweek and then to a group race if you're not a good horse.”
ANZ Bloodstock News in their weekly Sectional Times column wrote, “Needs Further looks a progressive sort…..he ran home quicker than Black Caviar with a final 200m in 11.93. Needs Further ran the 1600m in 1:35.90 on a track rated a Dead (4) and he was strong over the final 600m in 34.92 and last 400m in 23.21.” That afternoon Black Caviar had appeared three races later in the Group 1 AJC TJ Smith Stakes. This was the day she blasted past Hay List in the home straight to defeat him by 2 ¾ lengths. You could say for a young horse having only their fourth start and their first start in a black type race, Needs Further’s effort that day was simply quite stunning.
Nash Rawiller didn’t get his way and Needs Further was backed up two weeks later in the Group 3 AJC Frank Packer Plate. Racing on a surface rated a Heavy 9, his first start in wet conditions, Needs Further led them to the 250m, before losing his action in the very soft ground, with jockey Tim Clark letting him coast to the line back in the pack. Needs Further was then sent to the paddock.
Gooree Stud’s manager Andrew Baddock thought Needs Further was about to embark on a four-year-old season that would include a Group 1 victory. He wasn’t the only one either. Knowledgeable form student Nathan Exelby wrote in Queensland’s Sunday Mail, “We already know Black Caviar, More Joyous and Sepoy will be major players in the big Spring races. Classic winners Jimmy Choux, Shamrocker and Scarlett Lady are high up in betting charts for the Cups and Cox Plate. But who will be the new faces? Which horses have shown the potential to take the next step and make an impact in the big races?” Nathan then listed five horses he thought would make their presence felt in the Spring of 2011. Included in these five was Needs Further. Nathan wrote, “Obviously not one to be backed on wet ground, as he was tailed off in the Packer Plate, but his previous form pointed him to being top shelf. Jockey Nash Rawiller earmarked him as a genuine big race prospect after winning the Carbine Club Stakes. Behind him were subsequent stakes winner Divorces and SA Derby surprise Shadows In The Sun. Having proven himself over the Randwick mile, he is in the right stable to pick off a big 1600m race at the venue, so Gai Waterhouse may have him primed for an Epsom tilt.”
Racing can at times be a cruel game and in Needs Further’s case his luck suddenly deserted him with the onset of a joint condition which curtailed his Spring campaign and then a subsequent Autumn campaign. Andrew Baddock explains, “I really thought Needs Further was a Doncaster or an Epsom horse. He was a very good colt who I was confident had Group 1 ability if he had remained sound. It’s such a tragedy that he’ll never get to show the world just how good we thought he was. From birth he was always a bit of a stand out. He’s a lovely big strong type. He’s best foal we’ve had to date from Crowned Glory, a Danehill mare we bred and raced and was unlucky not to win a Golden Slipper. His grand dam is by Bletchingly and she’s a half-sister to Zabeel. When our better colts retire from racing, for example Northern Meteor and Smart Missile, it is our policy to retain an interest in them at stud. In Needs Further’s case we will also be doing exactly that. I have no doubt he can make the grade as a sire.”
Gai Waterhouse on hearing of Needs Further’s retirement wrote, “Needs Further was a quality colt from day one. He was a natural talent that found galloping easy. It took Group 1 winner Skilled to beat him on debut at two. At three he won the Group 3 Carbine Club, and this season he was to be my Doncaster Handicap horse. That’s how highly I rate his ability as a racehorse.” No one could question Gai in respect of knowing what type of horse it takes to win a Doncaster, and as we now know, Gai in the end didn’t require Needs Further’s services, as she was still able to pick up her seventh Doncaster with More Joyous. Gai then finished up by adding, “He is a tremendous physical and I urge all breeders to inspect Needs Further in the flesh. Seeing is believing.”
A stud career now beckons Needs Further where he will now have the opportunity to realise his true potential. Brett Howard from Randwick Bloodstock has been appointed to handle the next phase of his career. Howard commented, “Everyone who came into contact with Needs Further during his racing days thought he was extra special. People like Andrew Baddock, Blake Shinn, Nash Rawiller and Gai Waterhouse. These are people who have been involved with any number of top class horses, so their words and opinions cannot be taken lightly. Racetrack ability is one precursor with regards to whether a colt has a real chance to be a success as a sire. The others are pedigree and physique. On the pedigree front, Needs Further is hard to fault. A son of twice Champion Australian Sire Encosta De Lago, out of a Golden Slipper placed daughter of nine times Champion Australian Sire Danehill. His grand dam is by three times Champion Australian Sire Bletchingly and a half-sister to twice Champion Australian Sire Zabeel (14 times Champion NZ Sire – Australian & NZ combined). In this day and age most breeders are attempting to produce a good looking correct yearling. If Needs Further can replicate himself in his foals, he’ll make many a breeder very happy.”
Click here for more information on 'Needs Further' or contact Brett Howard on +61 2 4998 6488.