Wednesday, 13 June 2012
: Memories of the great race mare Chiquita were revived when her descendant Lights Of Heaven powered to a three lengths win in last Saturday's G2 Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm.
Chicquita was trained at Flemington by her leasing part owner Tony Lopes and her name lives on thanks to the many race callers who refer to race fields passing his Chicquita Lodge stables at the back of the course.
Chiquita raced over 60 years ago, being a 1946 foal by Blank, a winner up to 2¼ miles in England. She was being carried by her dam Starr Faithful when that mare was purchased by Sir Gordon McArthur at a depletion sale for T.C. Manifold's Talindert Stud.
Starr Faithful came with a foal at foot, a brother to Chicquita. He raced as Double Blank and finished second in the Sydney Cup and third in the Melbourne, Adelaide and Doomben Cups.
Chiquita was offered as a yearling by McArthur at the Melbourne sales but when he couldn't get his reserve of 400 guineas he leased the filly to Lopes and his client F. Dimattina for four years.
In that time she became a champion performer on a par with former those great mares of the 1940s Flight and Tranquil Star.
Chiquita won16 races, including eight in succession in Melbourne at three including the Thousand Guineas, Wakeful Stakes, VRC Oaks and Edward Manifold Stakes and in the spring of 1950 she was second in both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.
In the Melbourne Cup she chased home the great stayer Comic Court in Australian record time but during her career she recorded four wins over that stallion.
After their great racetrack rivalry they came together in the mating paddock in 1956 and to produce Comicquita, the Lopes trained stallion who finished second to Even Stevens in the1962 Melbourne Cup.
Chiquita was used at stud by Sir Gordon McArthur until she was 25 for 11 foals resulting in eight winners, one of them becoming a juvenile champion.
A first crop Todman product, he was the big striding black colt Eskimo Prince, raced by Sydney gambling man Perce Galea.
He won the AJC Breeders' Plate, AJC Sires' Produce Stakes, the inaugural STC Silver Slipper Stakes and the Golden Slipper Stakes at two and came back to add the Rosehill Guineas and Hill Stakes at three.
He was sent to America and is believed to have ended in obscurity in Mexico.
Much of the genes which produced Eskimo Prince were possessed by his three-quarter sister Starquita, a daughter of Todman's sire Star Kingdom and Chicquita.
She only won two minor races but her descendants have kept the name of Chicquita to the fore as the dam of quality performers including NZ Derby Mansingh (Wilkes), VRC and AJC Oaks winner With Respect (Rego) and Ciquita (Oncidium), the fourth dam of Lights Of Heaven.
New Zealand bred Lights Of Heaven (Zabeel) has raced 14 times for six wins including the Brisbane Cup, Australasian Oaks, Moonee Valley Oaks and Eagle Farm Cup, and seconds in the Doomben Cup, Liston Stakes and Gold Coast Hollindale Stakes.
She is from I'm In Heaven, a Volksraad winner of six races up to 1640m, out of Cent From Heaven, a Centaine mare who was third in the Geelong Oaks Trial.