Mad, bad Mamselle Corday

Mamselle Corday ‘murders’ Rockhampton Cup opposition


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


“MAD, bad, and dangerous to know” was a phrase used by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe English poet Lord Byron.

It could equally apply to Charlotte Corday. Mention her name and historians will tell you she was the woman who assassinated French Revolution leader Jean-Paul Marat in Paris on July 13, 1793.

Skip forward to last Saturday, July 7, 2018 – almost 225 years to the day – and her equine namesake 6YO mare Mamselle Corday ‘murdered’ her opposition with an all-the-way win in the Centenary Rockhampton Cup (1600m) for local trainer Tony McMahon.

McMahon admits that the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ description also fits his mare. “She was barred at the barrier as a filly and is still often temperamental,” he said.  

Corday believed Marat was responsible for many of the mass executions associated with the revolution and stabbed him to death in his bath. "I knew that he, Marat, was perverting France. I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand," she said at her trial prior to her execution by guillotine four days after she killed Marat.

Corday was given the posthumous nickname “l'ange de l'assassinat (Angel of Assassination)”. Tony’s wife, Jean McMahon, names all the horses so when she searched for a  name for the filly by Masked Assassin from Chiconi – named after a French commune on the island Mayotte in the Indian Ocean – Mamselle Corday was a natural fit for a French female assassin.

Indeed the name continues clever word association as Masked Assassin is by Golden Slipper winner Danzero from Listed Toowoomba Cup winner, Duk Duk. Bred by the Barnes family at Canning Downs Stud, Warwick, Duk Duk was named after a secret society, which is part of the traditional culture of the Tolai people of the Rabaul area of New Britain – the largest island in the Bismark Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. Male members of the former society wore long faceless masks and meted out severe punishment which included burning houses and killing people.

Winner of the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm (the year after it was downgraded from Group 1 status), Masked Assassin also was runner-up in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas before beginning stud duties at Burwood Stud. With patronage limited to just 96 mares across seven seasons, Mamselle Corday has been the most successful offspring of his 14 winners with 10 wins and 17 placings from 48 starts. 

Mamselle Corday managed an all-the-way win in the Centenary Rockhampton Cup for trainer Tony McMahon. Picture - Taron Clarke/Return To Scale

Mamselle Corday managed an all-the-way win in the Centenary Rockhampton Cup for trainer Tony McMahon. Picture - Taron Clarke/Return To Scale

A member of his first foal crop, Mamselle Corday is from the winning Akaaber (USA) mare Chiconi and was bought by Tony McMahon for $5000 at the 2013 Magic Millions QTIS March yearling sale. A former central Queensland racecaller and journalist who called 16 Rockhampton Cups before training his Cup winner, McMahon has a policy of only buying and syndicating fillies – his most other notable success being last season’s QTIS Horse of the Year Paradis Imperial (Instinction/Hennessy Beau). The smart filly collected $125,400 in QTIS 2YO bonus prizemoney with seven QTIS victories in the 2016/17 season. She has now won nine of her 21 starts and more than $360,000 – a significant return on her $9000 yearling price at the 2016 Magic Millions March yearling sale.

Peacock has winning colours

A LISTED 3YO stakes win at Caulfield and three other metropolitan wins at Randwick, Rosehill and Sandown plus earnings of almost $287,000 would make many owners as ‘proud as a peacock’.

But for Sheik Mahommed Al Maktoum – head of the international Darley/Godolphin breeding/racing conglomerate – that record wasn’t sufficient to keep 4YO gelding Peacock racing in the Godolphin colours.

So the last start Sandown all-the-way-winner on May 26 ended up at the Magic Millions National race horse sale almost two weeks later on June 6 where he was sold for $80,000 to Jack Pakis. In fact, Godolphin also sold his dam Iridescente eight days earlier at the Magic Millions National Broodmare sale for $320,000 to Harry McAlpine Bloodstock. Now, just two starts later, Peacock has recouped $61,000 of his purchase price by winning the 1300m Rockhampton Newmarket Handicap for his new Beaudesert-based trainer Diane Murphy.

By Commands from the winning Ideal Planet mare Beauty Belle, Iridescente is a winning half-sister to two Group 1 winners – Hong Kong champion sprinter Absolute Champion and South Africa Derby winner Wylie Hall. Bred at the Kelly family’s Newhaven Stud, Iridescente was bought by Darley for $300,000 at the 2009 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale, and subsequently sold in foal to Group 1 winner Exosphere at this year’s Magic Millions National broodmare sale. This will make the resultant foal a three-quarter sibling to Peacock as Exosphere is also by champion sire and multiple Group 1 winner Lonhro.

However, Godolphin has retained her unraced 3YO daughter Festive (Street Cry) and yearling filly Pavonine (Lonhro).

Stayers Series nearing completion

SIX year old gelding Beach Head and his Tolga trainer Sharlee D’Avila remains in the lead  after seven rounds of the Magic Millions FNQ Up and Coming Stayers Series. The final race in the series is a 2100m Benchmark 70 handicap at Cairns on Tuesday, July 17.

Beach Head (G6 Commands/Ancelin (Ire) and D’Avila now have seven points each courtesy of running third in a 600m Benchmark 60 handicap at Oak Park last Saturday, July 7 – the second day of its iconic two-day race carnival. The winner was 4YO gelding Captains Way (Captain Sonador/Pearly Way) trained by Mackay-based John Manzelmann who trained five winners over the two day carnival.

Captains Way, Smoking Lady (QTIS Maiden Plate) and Hot Tempo (Class 4 handicap) provided a Saturday treble preceded by Friday’s double of Hard Love (Maiden Plate) and Marseille Roulette (Class 3 Plate).

Atherton trainer Roy Chillemi also gained major Saturday success when 5YO gelding I Wanna Break Free (Real Saga/Kashkow (NZ) won the 1000m Class 6 Plate – a qualifying race for the Race to the Reef series.

Bush Caviar wins Stamford Cup

BUSH galloper Bush Caviar – narrow runner-up in the recent Battle of the Bush final at Doomben – has bounced back to winning form with a 3.75 lengths victory in the 1200m Stamford Cup on Saturday, July 7.

Stamford is situated 61 kilometres south of Hughenden on the Kennedy Development Road to Winton, dubbed the 'Dinosaur Way'.

Owned and trained by Illfracombe-based Henry Forster, Bush Caviar qualified for the Bush final by winning his heat at Aramac in late May. The 7YO gelding by Tycoon Ruler from the Yeats (USA) mare Precious Verse now has 18 wins and 12 placings from 58 starts. Notable among those victories is the 1200m Corfield Cup  – not to be confused with the 2400m Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Melbourne!

Entries open for Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale

ENTRIES are now open for the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale.

To be held at the Gold Coast on October 9 and 10 after four breeze up sessions at three venues, the sale will attract a first class domestic and international buying bench looking for their next racetrack star. Last year’s sale was a great success with 33 lots selling for $100,000 or more with buyers returning to the auction where the graduates record real success.

In 2017 the sale boasted an outstanding depth to the buying bench with $6.1 million of stock sold to Asia including $2.8 million to Hong Kong. The domestic market spent just under $4 million. With an average price around $60,000 and a median price climbing 23 percent, last year's auction was well received by buyers around Australia and across the globe. Graduates over the past five years include 641 winners – among them an impressive 42 individual black type performers.

Nominations can be made online at Entries close on July 27. 


  • Thursday, September 13 – Breeze Ups at Warwick Farm, NSW
  • Friday, September 14 – Breeze Ups at Seymour, VIC
  • Monday, September 17 –  Breeze Ups at Gold Coast Turf Club, QLD
  • Thursday, September 20 – Breeze Up Footage Available for Online Viewing
  • Monday, October 9 – Breeze Ups at Gold Coast Turf Club, QLD
  • Tuesday, October 10 – Day 1 of the Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale
  • Wednesday, October 11– Day 2 of the Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale

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