You heard it here, first! The Indiana Jones of the Thoroughbred industry, Canadian Chuck Fipke has set his sights on the Melbourne Cup!
In my years of advising, dining, traveling and partying with Chuck, I’ve seen first hand how he has turned his dreams into reality.
Chuck’s first major goal in the thoroughbred business was to win the Queen’s Plate, which he accomplished in 2008 with homebred Not Bourbon! The Canadian-bred is a son of – can you believe this? – a horse named Not Impossible! He was an unraced son of Sadler’s Wells who also was bred by Chuck.
Not Impossible’s full brother is Perfect Soul, a Grade 1 winner who stands at stud at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky.
Chuck spends a lot of time studying pedigrees, and years ago he decided that he was going to breed a mare by the best broodmare sire to the world’s best sire. Consequently, he decided to buy a Secretariat mare he could send to Sadler’s Wells. He purchased who he believed was the best Secretariat mare in the 1996 Keeneland November sale and shipped her to Coolmore in Ireland and kept her there, breeding her year after year to the champion son of Northern Dancer!
In Perfect Soul, now, Chuck has the stallion he wants to accomplish his second goal: To win the Kentucky Derby. To accomplish this, Chuck has spared no expense in building a broodmare band he thinks will fit Perfect Soul.
One of those mares he purchased, in 2004, was the Japanese-bred Sunday Silence mare Silence Beauty, in foal to Tale of the Cat. That foal turned out to be none other than Tale of Ekati, who won the G1 Wood Memorial last year and was a legitimate classic colt.
In 2007 and 2008, Darby Dan owner John Philips began a tradition for Chuck’s November sale advisors to dine at Dudley’s on the Monday night of the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Chuck got hooked watching the endurance race from Dudley’s, and it didn’t hurt that a group of Aussies at the table next to us this past November got us – and especially Chuck — hyped with their slurred chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!!” (Chuck was buying the rounds!)
The winner in 2007 was Efficient, by the great Cambridge Stud sire Zabeel (sire of three Cup winners!), and the winner in 2008 was Viewed, trained by the legendary Bart Cummings.
After the race last November, Chuck stood up and declared, “That’s it, I wanna win the Melbourne Cup.” He was dead serious, and I knew better than to say, “You’ve got to be kidding!”
Memo to Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan of Cambridge Stud in New Zealand: Chuck is considering sending Perfect Soul’s and Not Impossible’s full sister Perfect Secretary to Cambridge Stud in 2009 to be bred year after year to Zabeel! (I will be calling to confirm the booking to Zabeel!) From a pedigree standpoint, Zabeel/Perfect Secretary looks like a “Special” mating. Chuck also wants the resulting foals to be trained by Cummings!
If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, when Chuck sets a goal, it’s not impossible!