Ascot trainer Shane Quilty has wheeled out several early-goers in trials this month and he rates Universal King as the stable’s leading candidate for Perth’s opening event of the two year-old season.
Universal King is a son of Scenic Lodge sire Universal Ruler and he’s on track for the $60,000 Westspeed Initial Plate (1000m) at Belmont on October 12.
“He’s a nice type, alright,” Quilty said. “Tall, athletic and with a beautiful temperament.”
Universal King (2c Universal Ruler – Royal Agenda by At Talaq) finished a half-head second to stablemate Fathing Fast (Fath) in a Lark Hill hit-out on September 9. “Fathing Fast is very fast and I thought he had four or five lengths on them – but Universal King served it right up to him! And he’s got more scope for improvement.”
An Irish expat who came out here as a jockey in 1995, Quilty rode in Perth and the Eastern States until a bad fall forced him out of the saddle. “I was with Fred Kersley during the golden era of Northerly,” he recalled. “I didn’t really see myself as a trainer but now we have over 20 in work.”
Quilty’s workload increased when he began training for Loloma Farms owner Kevin Fowler and his partner Kelly Everett. Besides Universal King and Fathing Fast, they race newcomers Superior Troy (De Troy), Roundhouse (Fath) and Buddy Lucky (Viscount) who have also been placed in trials at Belmont and Lark Hill.
The Perth couple bred Universal King after buying his dam Royal Agenda at the 2008 Inglis Great Southern Sale in Melbourne. She had won a Seymour 2YO Maiden and her dam Royal Accord (Imperial Prince) was a 2YO winner at Caulfield and Moonee Valley.
Scenic Lodge general manager Jeremy Smith said early reports from a cross-section of trainers about their Universal Rulers has been extremely positive. “Universal Ruler was an early running type himself with a lot of natural pure speed,” Smith said. “That was a big factor in securing him for Scenic Lodge.
“I’m optimistic that feedback will translate into what really matters and that’s results on the racetrack.”
Universal Ruler (Scenic) defeated Australian Horse of the Year Scenic Blast in the LR Perth 2YO Stakes at Ascot. Further black-type wins came his way in the G3 Belmont Sprint, LR Easter Stakes and LR Bunbury Stakes during a 12 start career.
Universal Ruler has been well supported at Scenic Lodge but a stallion’s fourth book is always the hardest to fill. To encourage breeders still considering their options, his fee has been reduced from $5,500 to $3,500 this year. (Picture:- Mare;Snowshoes with Universal Rulers first foal of the 2013 season.)