First-crop Stakes winner for Alabama Express

Yulong’s first-season sire Alabama Express, has made a huge impression in his fledgling career, and on Thursday, he chalked up his first stakes victory when the Richard and Chantelle Jolly-trained Karavas made it two from two. Karavas triumphed in the G3 Ottawa S., scoring by 1l under Jake Toeroek, with Eneeza (Exceed And Excel) second and Arabian Summer (Too Darn Hot {GB}) third.

“To get a stakes winner so early on in the season is great for Alabama. I think everyone probably wasn’t expecting them to be as early, but they’ve got the right constitution, and they’ve got the speed,” Yulong’s Chief Operations Officer Sam Fairgray told The Thoroughbred Report.

“To get a stakes winner so early on in the season is great for Alabama (Express).” – Sam Fairgray

“She was his first winner and has turned into his first stakes winner, it’s a fantastic result.”

Alabama Express – a Group 1-winning son of Redoute’s Choice – now has three wins on the board from just three runners; two victories are courtesy of Karavas, while the other came via Kirkham Plate victor Shangri La Express. That colt has the chance to add to his winning tally, and that of his sire, in Saturday’s Inglis Golden Gift at Rosehill.

“Obviously, they (Alabama Express’ progeny) were really well-received as yearlings and then by the pre-race educators as well. The feedback from trainers has been very positive, saying they’re good movers with great brains, and now the feedback is that they also have the speed and turn of foot.

“It’s exciting, especially given that he’s a son of Redoute’s Choice. We know what a good sire of sires he has been, so for Alabama to have come out hitting the ground is great.

“It’s exciting, especially given that he’s (Alabama Express) a son of Redoute’s Choice.” – Sam Fairgray

“She was reared off the farm; we’ve also had Blue Stratum, who ran second in the stakes race on Cup Day, and Shangri La Express was also bred and reared on the farm, so it has been a really nice start and gives us confidence that the system is going well.”

Yulong Stud bred Karavas and then offered her at the 2023 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where Richard and Chantelle Jolly Racing paid $260,000 for her. The filly is owned by Neville Morgan, who has enjoyed Group 1 success in recent times with Kovalica (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}).

Karavas as a yearling | Image courtesy of Inglis

Richard Jolly told there was a lot to like about the filly at Oaklands.

“She’s a real athletic filly, well-muscled, always looked like she would go early, and here she is,” Jolly said.

“She’s (Karavas) a real athletic filly, well-muscled, always looked like she would go early, and here she is.” – Richard Jolly

“We paid a bit of money, we don’t usually spend that much for them to be honest, but I had the backing of Nev Morgan.”

Karavas won on debut at Murray Bridge on October 7, and Jolly claims that experience held her in good stead.

“I think it means a lot, and you see a lot of them improve after a run. She had the benefit of that run at Murray Bridge,” he said.

Karavas winning the G3 Ottawa S. at Flemington on Thursday | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

It is the second Ottawa S. success for the Jollys in the past three years, having won the race in 2021 with See You In Heaven (Divine Prophet).

“This girl is probably a bit more precocious than See You In Heaven was as a 2-year-old, but she’s out to a trip now, where this filly will probably be a sprinter.

“We can put her out now and look at some nice races in the autumn.”

Karavas is from the winning Pierro mare All Of Me, and she herself is a half-sister to the stakes winners Star Of Giselle (Reset), Solicit (Street Cry {Ire}) and the stakes performer Ducal Castle (Domesday). Star Of Giselle has produced the Group 2 victress Starelle (More Than Ready {USA}).

The filly’s grandam is the dual Listed scorer, Princesa (Danehill {USA}), and she is closely related to the Group 3 winners Nayeli (More Than Ready {USA}) and Kaphero.

This is an edited version of the TTR Aus NZ article written by Trent Masenhelder