Published 24 February 2023
It’s a world apart from the Rockhampton Showgrounds to Melbourne’s Sandown racecourse (2040 km) but unwanted yearling sales filly Party For Two has made the transition with aplomb.
Less than a year ago on April 10, 2022 a brown filly by Telemon Thoroughbred’s Sidestep from the Pins mare Ponte Roma (NZ) entered the Robert Schwarten Pavilion to be sold at the annual Rockhampton yearling sale (CYS).
She failed to make her reserve price of $30K and when bidding stopped at $24,000, her breeder, former Central Highland’s Dan Fletcher opted to keep and race her with family and friends.
What a fortuitous decision for Fletcher as at Sandown tomorrow (25/2) the filly now named Party For Two contests the $2M GR 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and is rated as a prominent chance.
Party For Two has raced on four occasions for a Sunshine Coast debut placing and win as well there and a Brisbane winning romp.
Buoyed by her effortless 2.6 lengths Doomben win on January 21, Sunshine Coast trainer and part-owner Damian Batters aimed high and took Party For Two to Melbourne seeking gold.
Lo and behold in the GR 2 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Sandown on February 11, Party For Two did connections proud finishing a length second and increasing her stakes money to $168,425.
Now, Dan Fletcher and Party For Two’s syndicate of 14 owners are Living The Dream as out of the blue they are chasing GR 1 glory.
Speaking on Friday morning while in a queue at Brisbane airport awaiting a flight to Melbourne, Fletcher shared their excitement trying to express the emotions of all.
“It’s a big thing (Blue Diamond) for us all. A big moment and we are proud of her (PFT). You just have to enjoy the ride and this was unexpected. We have no doubt the filly will put her best foot forward.
She is only an average size filly in stature and I suppose small in comparison to some of her big rivals in the Blue Diamond”, Dan said.
In keeping with the well-worn axion, “it is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that wins”, Fletcher said “Party has a big motor and that’s what counts’’.
Sunshine Coast trainer Damian Batters has been a believer in Party For Two since first setting eyes on her and his judgement has been vindicated by her performances.
Just over month ago Fletcher and co had genuine aspirations of bringing Party For Two back to Rockhampton being set for the $150K Capricornia Yearling Sale 2yo Classic (1200m) on April 1.
“We definitely had those plans in mind to be at Callaghan Park for the big 2YO race but the filly (PFT) had other plans and here we are in Melbourne”, Fletcher said.
For thoroughbred breeders such as former Emerald couple Dan and Rae Fletcher who conduct Telemon Thoroughbreds, Innisplain where Party For Two came to life on October 5, 2020 just having a Blue Diamond starter is akin to the ultimate.
“We have a full sister to Party For Two (Lot 121) for sale at the Magic Millions March Gold Coast Yearling Sale and a half-brother a top younger colt by Astern. Yes, it’s all very exciting especially when you breed them as well”, Dan Fletcher said.
Indeed and as well for PFT’s jockey Nikita Beriman who linked up with the filly after making a riding comeback at the Sunshine Coast in November last year after a three years absence,
Nikita is best remembered for her GR 1 win on Tears I Cry the 100/1 victor of the 2007 Emirates Stakes at Flemington, so she will be unfazed by the pressure pack atmosphere the Blue Diamond will create.
Oh, what a party it would be in Melbourne on Saturday night if Cinderella filly Party For Two ($18.00) could gate crash the aspirations of the colossus stables and win the Blue Diamond.
The certainty is if that was forthcoming, it definitely wouldn’t be a party for just two!
HOOFNOTE: A number of yearlings by Sidestep will be sold at the Capricornia Yearling Sale in Rockhampton on Sunday, April 2. The RJC’s Ian Mill advises catalogues will be available soon.