Out In Style! Melbourne Cup Winner Retired To Stud

LUCKIE Karabitsakos has announced that his track record breaking Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup winner Hard Style Rico has been retired to stud.

Adam Dobbin

30 November 2020

LUCKIE Karabitsakos has announced that his Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup winner Hard Style Rico has been retired to stud.

On Friday night, Karabitsakos was on top of the greyhound racing world when Hard Style Rico blew away an all-star cast of sprinting heavyweights in the $435,000-to-the-winner Melbourne Cup.

And in doing so the son of Bella Infrared set a new Sandown Park track record, running a mind-boggling 28.91 for the 515 metre journey.

“There’s been a lot to think about the past 48 hours but in the end I asked myself what else does he have to prove?” Karabitsakos said.

“And to me he’s got nothing left to prove. To beat a field like that on Friday night the way he did in track record time showed everyone what I’ve already known for a while.

“And that is he’s the fastest greyhound in the world.”

Hard Style Rico retires to stud as the winner at 21 of his 40 career starts with prize money of $627,000.

His Sandown track record sits beside the Shepparton 450 metre time-standard of 24.77 he set when winning a heat of the Group 2 Shepparton Cup in March, a series he went on to win in emphatic fashion.

“I’ve already had a lot of calls about using him at stud and in the end I decided retirement was the right option,” Karabitsakos said.

“I’ve got no doubt he could have gone on to big things in the next six months, the best was still ahead of him. But the fact is it doesn’t get any better than what he did on Friday night. So why wait – especially coming into the breeding season.

“I’ve had his fertility tested and that’s come back great. He’ll stand at $2,200.” 

A ten-time group race finalist, Hard Style Rico’s list of times are something to behold.

The monster sprinter carved out 29.46 to win the Group 3 Silver Bullet at The Meadows earlier this month while he also recorded 23.38 at Bendigo over the 425 metres.

“He just ran time everywhere he went,” Karabitsakos said.

“When I was breaking him in as a pup he went 5.06 and 18.70 at Sandown. I left that day shaking my head – he was only 15 months old.

“And to walk away winning the Melbourne Cup on Friday night is the greatest achievement the dog could have. I couldn’t be prouder and I’m sure he’ll be a success at stud.

“He’s one in a million.”

David Brasch speaks about Hard Style Rico’s stud prospects

As a son of Bella Infrared, Hard Style Rico has all the ingredients to make a huge dent at stud.

Smashing the Sandown Park track record was not the cream on top of Hard Style Rico’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup victory … it was the greatest attribute the now stud dog could achieve.

That’s because there is overwhelming evidence to show track record breakers generally make the best stud dogs.

Hard Style Rico’s track record at Sandown in the Melbourne Cup was as devastating as his Cup win over a field of superstars.

And, there is evidence to say he can make the highest of grades at stud.

He’s a son of Bella Infrared, whose son Aussie Infrared, is already a stud success via Catch The Thief, Playlist and Ebby Infrared.

His dam Bella Rico was a high class race bitch, multiple city winner in her 13 track victories, and a sister to Group 1 winner Black Mumbo (33 wins, $263,000).

They are Stagger-My Path Princess by Path To Power.

Bella Rico and Black Mambo are bred on an identical cross to leading sire Fabregas … another key to Rico’s chances at stud.

Rico’s third dam Octare was also a Melbourne Cup finalist … it runs in the family.

The Pure Octane/Big Ginger Boy cross in Rico’s damline lends itself to numerous line breedings.