Aquanita had a dubious pedigree, being a non-Stud Book horse. His dam, Reinata, was not admitted to the Stud Book because her second dam was not registered there. As a result Aquanita’s own progeny were not eligible for the Stud Book, and he failed to attract good quality mares when he himself stood at stud.
TRAINER: Reg Treffone & Roy Shaw
OWNERS: W & J Thomas
RACE RECORD/STAKE MONEY: 70 starts: 28 wins, 10 seconds, 9 thirds/£60,936
- WATC Railway Stakes (1959)
- WATC Lee Steere Stakes (1960)
- BATC Doomben 10,000 (1961)
- MRC Underwood Stakes (twice) (1961, 1962)
- VRC George Adams Handicap (twice) (1960, 1961)
- VRC Mackinnon Stakes (1962)
- VATC Futurity Stakes (1962)
- MVRC Cox Plate (1962)
The jet-black Aquanita (officially brown or black) was the greatest racehorse of his generation bred in Western Australia. Racing in that state in the early part of his career, he proved to be almost unbeatable and became a great local favourite. Relocated to race in the eastern states, he was soon acknowledged as one of Australia’s champion racehorses in the early 1960s.
He was foaled at Perringa Stud, Serpentine, south of Perth, in 1956, sired by British import Wateringbury. His dam, the locally-bred Reinita, was classified as ‘a non stud book mare’ because of an uncertain ancestor in her pedigree dating back twelve generations to a ‘colonial mare’. This made Aquanita ineligible for classic races such as the Sires Produce, Derby or St Leger. It was one reason why he was sold cheaply at the 1958 Perth yearling sales. For his new owners, Bill and Jack Thomas, he proved to be a bargain. Trained by Reg Treffone, Aquanita won nine races in Perth at two and three years culminating in the 1959 Railway Stakes.
Impressed, his owners transferred him to trainer Roy Shaw in Melbourne. Aquanita promptly won the prestigious George Adams Handicap at Flemington at the 1960 VRC spring carnival, beating Sky High. More victories followed in 1961, notably Brisbane’s Doomben Ten Thousand and a repeat George Adams.
In 1962 Aquanita was almost invincible in weight-for-age races in Sydney and Melbourne. His string of victories included the Underwood and Turnbull Stakes, the Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes, and a special one-mile race, the VRC Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. In many of his wins he was ridden by Western Australian jockey Frank Moore. With Roy Higgins as rider, Aquanita won the VATC Futurity carrying 10 stone 7 pounds (66.7 kg)
His bravest run was his third in the Melbourne Cup, an unsuitably long distance for the horse, behind Even Stevens and Comicquita. He won further races in 1963, before retiring to the stud in Western Australia after 28 career wins. His pedigree restricted his opportunities, but he did sire winners.
Image Source: Bradley Photographers