Big Brown three year-old Southern Icon began fulfilling his potential with an explosive 11 length victory in the Cal Isuzu Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The Australian bred gelding was coming off a couple of below-par performances at Ruakaka. “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect,” trainer Alan Tait said. “He hung badly in both of those losses but he’s gone out there today and gone as straight as a die.
“He does things wrong but when he puts his mind to it, he’s a very talented horse.”
Southern Icon (3g Big Brown – Cataclopse by Catbird) is raced by the Matamata trainer and his wife Gaylene with long-time stable client Mike Collinson. They bought him for $55,000 out of the Vinery draft at the 2013 Gold Coast magic Millions.
Big Brown got him from a half-sister to Zabeel’s Group 1 winner stayer Greene Street.
Jockey Mark Hills has kept faith with Southern Icon and kept him up to the mark in the final furlong despite the hollow margin. “He’s been beating himself so I wasn’t going to die wondering,” he explained. “Keeping him happy is the key – he travelled kindly in front and bolted in.”
In Australia, Big Brown is a Top 10 second-season sire with 23 individual winners and is bubbling just under $1 million in prizemoney.
Southern Icon has an unraced 2yo half-brother by Congrats named Forty Four Red. He is based in Perth with trainer Chris Gangemi and was placed in a Belmont trial last week.