Melton winner a grandson of Oaxaca Lass

By Peter Wharton

The Vincent gelding Classic Mission, an end-to-end winner at Melton on March 16 and who is undefeated in two starts at the Melbourne headquarters’ track, was bred in New Zealand by close friends Neil Hamilton and Graham Pearson and is a grandson of the former outstanding racemare Oaxaca Lass.

Classic Mission
(c) photography: Stuart McCormick

Trained throughout her career by Hamilton, Oaxaca Lass totted up 19 wins and 13 placings from 48 starts for $426,585 in stakes. Among her successes were the Chariots of Fire, Queensland Derby, Australian and Southland Oaks and the NZ Sires Stakes’ 2YO Championship.

At the stud Oaxaca Lass, one of the best daughters of a champion sire and broodmare sire in Holmes Hanover, left 12 foals for 10 winners including five in 2:00 and four winner-producing mares.

Perhaps the best of her produce was the Bettor’s Delight gelding Condrieu, who reached cup class in Western Australia. He won 22 races and $269,520 and took a mile record of 1:51.5.

Others from Oaxaca Lass to win were the Devonport Cup winner Illegal Immigrant ($157,343), Acuto ($153,835), the Menangle and Albion Park victor Intrepid Traveller, Kusadasi, Senorita Margarita, Weka Lass, Puerto Escondido, Meursault and Gino D’Acampo.

A lightly raced daughter of Oaxaca Lass was Verde Lima (by Bettor’s Delight).

“Verde Lima was offered at the yearling sales at Auckland and didn’t sell. Graham brought her home and I ended up buying a half share in her,” Hamilton said.

“She showed ability but bowed a tendon as a three-year-old and only had two starts. If she had been sound she would have won races.”

Verde Lima produced four live foals, all of whom emerged successful – all inside 2:00.

Her first foal was Oaxacan Dream (by Big Jim).

“She won three races in NZ, went 1:51.7 at Albion Park and later won in 1:50.8 in America,” Hamilton said.

Neil Hamilton

“Her second foal Valerie Verde (by Sir Lincoln) won one race in Queensland and the third foal Dark Eclipse (by A Rocknroll Dance) won two races here and went 1:51.6 in America.”

Classic Mission is Verde Lima’s fourth and last foal.

The Vincent colt was sold for $17,500 to clients of Brad Williamson’s Oamaru stable at NZ Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Christchurch in 2021.

“I thought I might have got a bit more for him as a yearling. He wasn’t very big but I knew that would never be a worry because he is out of a Bettor’s Delight mare and a lot of them are small,” Hamilton said.

Classic Mission won three races in the ‘deep south’ from 24 starts for Williamson before being bought in February by award-winning Melbourne harness racing scribe Neale Donnelley, his son-in-law Damian Troy and John Morahan, long-time clients of premier Victorian trainer Andy Gath.

Hamilton, who once trained full-time but now drives for Majestic Horse Transport, is widely recognised as one of the best judges of a young horse in NZ.

He is credited with doing all the early work with the triple Oaks and seven-time Group winner Under Cover Lover, who was bred, owned and trained by Pearson.

“I’ve been mates with Graham forever. I used to break lots of horses in for him,” Hamilton stated.

Pearson also bred and raced Albuquerque, the dam of the brilliant unbeaten mare Millwood Nike, rated the best of her age, sex and gait in Australasia today.