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Kitchwin Hills has taken a clever and calculating decision to secure Duporth for stud duty in 2010.
Duporth (br h 2005, Red Ransom (USA)–Staging, by Success Express (USA)) was retired by owners Peter and Wendy Moran after his sixth behind Hot Danish in last Saturday’s Group 2 Canterbury Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
Duporth will complement Kitchwin Hills’ resident young sire Dane Shadow (br h 2001, Danehill (USA)–Slight Chance (NZ), by Centaine), who has emerged as one of the most exciting young stallions in the country.
The Kitchwin Hills team has been on the search for the right new stallion for Kitchwin Hills, near Scone, NSW, for some time, and Duporth has been on the radar since he won the Group 2 $1m Golden Rose (3YOs, 1400m, Rosehill) in the spring of 2008.
At the time, the handsome son of Red Ransom was touted as the best young sire prospect in the country, particularly because stallions free of Danehill blood – in this case Duporth is free of Danehill and virtually free Northern Dancer blood (x6) – are worth their weight in gold in the current situation in Australia where Danehill’s sons and grandsons continue to dominate.
Duporth earned himself a place at a leading Hunter Valley stud by following up his Golden Rose win with a win in the Group 1 BTC Cup (wfa 1200m) at Doomben during the 2009 winter carnival. It was a typical powerful finish that took him to victory over a crack field of older rivals, including the champion sprinter Apache Cat.
While Duporth has been competitive this season at the highest level, trainer Peter Moody has struggled to regain the stallion’s zest for racing. The Morans and Kitchwin Hills would have loved to be able retire the horse on a high note, but the timing of the retirement is just right.
Duporth is an exceptionally good-looking horse – almost jet black, he is more powerfully built than his Group 1 winning half-brother Excites (by Danewin), who stands at Vinery, and younger Group 2 winning half-brother Tickets (by Redoute’s Choice) (Tickets was win the G2 Phar Lap Stakes later on the Rosehill card) – and he possesses a very good galloping action. He ticks a lot boxes for broodmare owners.
Duporth joins two other Group 1 winning sons of Red Ransom to go to stud this year – All American (Arrowfield Stud) and Onemorenomore (Vinery).
It’s worth noting that Duporth is the only one of this high-class trio to win a Group 1 at the 1200m-sprint distance. All American won last year’s Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, while Onemorenomore won the 2009 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick as a 2YO.
That extra speed factor puts Duporth apart from them in what shapes as one of the most cut-throat competitive stud seasons we have seen for some years, with a wealth of proven, up-and-coming and new stallions for breeders to mull over as the breeding season approaches.
The addition of these three new sons of Red Ransom to the stallion ranks follows the recent stud success of Red Ransom’s sons Charge Forward (last year’s leading first-crop stallion from his Arrowfield base) and the Darley-owned Domesday, who has been a surprise-packet with his first-crop 2YOs this season.
Other Red Ransom sons at stud in Australia include Typhoon Tracy’s recently retired dual-hemisphere Stakes-winning brother Red Element (Glenlogan Park, Qld), Face Value (Lindsay Park Stud, SA) and Red Dazzler (Eureka Thoroughbreds, Qld) and in New Zealand Ekraar is the sire of the Group 1 winner Ekstreme.
There is nowhere else in the world where the blood of Red Ransom his held in higher esteem than in Australia, and it’s the plethora of Danehill blood that provides the nick.
Red Ransom (USA) (b h 1987, Roberto (USA)–Arabia (USA), by Damascus (USA)), died in November 2009.
All American (b h 2005, Red Ransom (USA)–Milva (USA), by Strawberry Road).
Onemorenomore (b h 2006, Red Ransom (USA)–Palia (NZ), by Last Tycoon (IRE))
Charge Forward (b h 2001, Red Ransom (USA)–Sydney’s Dream, by Bletchingly)
Domesday (br h 2002, Red Ransom (USA)–In The Mist (GB), by Zafonic (USA))
Red Dazzler (b h 2002, Red Ransom (USA)–Vain Hill, by Vain)
Red Element (b h 2004, Red Ransom (USA)–Tracy’s Element, by Last Tycoon (IRE))
Face Value (b h 2000, Red Ransom (USA)–Freckled face, by Polish Patriot (USA))
Ekraar (b h 1997, Red Ransom (USA)–Sacahuista (USA), by Raja Baba (USA))
Note: The Slattery Media Group supplies media services to Kitchwin Hills.
Canny Lad (pictured) might be in his 23rd year and a “fossil” from the halcyon days of the Star Kingdom sire line, but he proved on the weekend that he still has a place to play in Australian breeding.
The Darley-owned stallion sired his 10th Group 1 winner when Small Minds, owned by Patinack Farm, put up a terrific staying performance to win the Schweppes Stakes (2000m) at Morphettville, to give trainer John Thompson and jockey Dean Holland their Group 1 success.
It’s Canny Lad’s first Group 1 winner since He’s No Pie Eater won the Chipping Norton Stakes and Rosehill Guineas double as an autumn 3YO in 2007.
The son of Bletchingly has produced 42 Stakes winners in a wonderful stud career that began at Woodlands Stud, Denman, in the Hunter Valley in 1991, a year after he won the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill. He transferred to Darley when Woodlands sold their operation to Sheikh Mohammed in 2008.
Less than 24 hours after Small Minds’ win, Canny Lad’s chunky son Sleepers, a 2YO colt owned by Darley and trained by Lee Freedman, showed tremendous speed to narrowly break his maiden at Yarra Glen.
Canny Lad’s legacy will live on through his daughters – he doesn’t have a commercial son at stud – and his memory will live on a long time after his passing, as he is best known as the sire of the dam (Shantha’s Choice) of champion stallion Redoute’s Choice, who threatens to leave a dynasty of sire-sons, just as his sire Danehill has done.
Last spring, Canny Lad covered only 53 mares at a fee of $16,500 (inc. GST), but he has a healthy batch of 90 yearlings on the ground.
Breeding lines: Canny Lad (b h 1987, Bletchingly–Jesmond Lass, by Lunchtime (GB).
Small Minds (br f 2006, Canny Lad–Princess Marigold, by Yeats (USA))
Sleepers (ch c 2007, Canny Lad–More Haste, by Brief Truce (USA))
Footnote: Canny Lad has five sons at stud according to the Australian Stud Book – Dodge, Grand Reve, Guiscard, Royal Charter and Spymaster.
I haven’t heard the cries of ‘foul’ from the Sydney media following the announcement that we have seen the last of Denman on a racetrack in Australia, following Darley’s announcement that the colt was to join Sheikh Mohammed’s racing stable, Godolphin, in Europe.
Denman (br/blk c 2006, Lonhro–Peach, by Vain) has been set for a possible run at Royal Ascot in June, but his mission is the Group 1 July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket in July.
When Darley sent nine quality 3YOs and 4YOs to Dubai early last spring, some of the media, particularly Ken Callander, were scathing in their attack on the Sheikh’s decision. The Dubai-nine were Time Thief, Sousa, Fravashi, Aichi, El Cambio, Desuetude, Caymans, Imvula and Marching. So far, those who have raced have failed to run to their best form during the Dubai carnival
Callander, writing in his Daily Telegraph column last December, attacked Darley’s decision with these incredulous, emotive words: “(the decision is) raping our top-class horses for the pleasure of the sheiks (sic) on the other side of the world”.
Apart from the obvious – that it is the Sheikh’s money and his horses and he can do with them what he likes – we should embrace the fact that some of our best bred thoroughbreds are now racing on the world stage in the colours of the world’s most influential owner.
Denman, a handsome son of Lonhro (and his best runner to date) is an outstanding galloper, who may well prove to be a sensation in the northern hemisphere.
There is a two-pronged advantage for Sheikh Mohammed and his international racing and breeding operation – Denman can entrench himself as a shuttle stallion with a Group 1 win, and at the same time give Lonhro (also owned by Darley after the purchase of the Ingham brothers’ Woodlands Stud) a profile in Europe that could see him join the shuttle train.
I agree it would be terrific for Denman to compete in Australia in the 2010 spring and beyond, but I, like many others, will get a huge thrill out of watching him strutting on the world stage.
Footnote: It will be interesting if Denman will race under a new name or with a prefix or suffix to differentiate him from the champion UK jumper of the same name.
Photo: Denman (Kerrin McEvoy) cruises home to win the Group 2 Autumn Stakes at Caulfield.
The fickle nature of racing 2YOs is never more evident than at this time of the year – Manalo Blahniks to thongs in the time it takes to blink.
The betting market for the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), run at Rosehill on April 3, was turned on its head following Saturday’s Group 2 lead-ups, the Todman Slipper Trial (C&G) and Reisling Slipper Trial (fillies).
All of a sudden, what seemed to be an open and competitive Golden Slipper Slipper is now shaping as a thin, average-quality race with seemingly only a couple of serious chances.
Out the door went the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Star Witness, who was on his toes in the parade ring before pulling up distressed at the tail (12th) of the field, behind previously unconsidered Masquerader, in the Todman. Trainer Danny O’Brien’s aversion to juvenile racing was re-affirmed with the flop – “I’d prefer to win a cup than a Golden Slipper any day,” O’Brien said pre-race, and he’d be thinking it even more stoutly afterwards.
O’Brien will be licking his wounds and also regretting his decision to send Star Witness to Sydney instead of a restful paddock, which was his firmly stated plan straight after the Blue Diamond. But the lure of the big dollars – the huge prize money, PLUS a $30 million price tag for a well-bred colt winning the Slipper – proved too much for O’Brien and his syndicate of owners.
Equally, the sometimes brooding John O’Shea will be doubting his high-profile filly Solar Charged after she was thrashed by the new Slipper favourite Military Rose in the Reisling. O’Shea said if he had the race over again, he’d have instructed jockey Hugh Bowman to let the filly run along; instead Solar Charged was reefing and tearing outside the leader to the home turn. She finished third behind runner-up Obsequious.
Military Rose, whose dam’s sire Flying Spur won the 1995 Slipper, is an outstanding filly with a foolproof attitude and a brilliant turn-of-foot. She will be attempting to become the first filly to win the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January and the Golden Slipper – only two other 2YOs have done it, the geldings Dance Hero (2004) and Phelan Ready last year.
If there is a doubt on this form it is the fact that the Victorian filly Yosei, a $61 chance, stormed home late to finish a close fourth. Yosei, who debuted with a win in a Benalla 2YO maiden (1100m) in February, came off a third behind Shamrocker in the G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 6, when she also hit the line hard. She’s a promising filly, but she doesn’t fit the profile of a Slipper winner.
The Todman and Reisling are intriguing races. They are promoted as the key lead-up races to the Golden Slipper – same track and distance and two weeks prior – but the history books show that winning the double is rare. Some star youngsters, including Alinghi, Triscay, Charge Forward, Exceed And Excel, General Nediym, Imagele and Octagonal, have won the Group 2 lead-up only to have failed in the Slipper.
Only three colts and geldings have completed the Todman–Golden Slipper double – Tierce (1991), Marauding (1995) and Luskin Star (1977). The fillies have faired a little better with five taking the Reisling-Golden Slipper double – Polar Success (2003), Belle du Jour (2000), Merlene (1996), Burst (1992) and Hartshill (1974).
On Saturday, the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m, fillies) and Pago Pago Stakes (1200m, C&G) are the last chance stakes for Slipper contenders to secure a run or to make an impact on the race. Both races have an identical history, in relation to the Slipper, to the Todman and the Reisling; three winning colts and geldings have backed up within a week to win the Slipper (Stratum, 2005; Rory’s Jester, 1985; and Inspired, 1984), while five fillies have claimed the double – Bint Marscay (1993), Bounding Away (1986), Dark Eclipse (1980), Century Miss (1979) and Toy Show (1975).
Photo: Real Saga, now standing at Glenlogan Park Stud, won last year’s Group 2 Todman Slipper Trial at Rosehill.
The breeding lines:
Star Witness (ch c 2, Starcraft (NZ)–Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter)
Masquerader (b c 2, Lucky Owners–Ion You, by Geiger Counter (USA))
Military Rose (b f 2, General Nediym–Bella Maddelena, by Flying Spur)
Solar Charged (b f 2, Charge Forward–Soul Singer, by Danehill (USA))
Yosei (b f 2, Invincible Spirit (IRE)–Fuji Fairy, by Fuji Kiseki (JPN))
Obsequious (br f 2, Lonhro–Sycophant, by Commands)
Shamrocker (b f 2, O’Reilly (NZ)–Bohemian Blues, by Blues Traveller (IRE))
Viking Legend, retired today due to injury, may not be the highest profile newcomer to our stallion ranks, but it will be interesting to see if a suitable commercial stud is interested in the son of Elvstroem.
Viking Legend (b or br c 2006, Elvstroem–Innocent Baby, by Jugah (USA)) bows out of racing on the verge of a career-defining campaign in which he was one of the favourites for next month’s Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
The colt broke down – tore a hole in a foreleg tendon – in his game second behind the exciting Queenslander Shoot Out in last Saturday’s Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick; it was a courageous effort considering the injury.
The loss of Viking Legend is a blow to the colt’s owners, some of which are media identities Peter Blunden (Managing Director of the Herald & Weekly Times) and the voice of Harness Racing Dan Mielicki (a co-breeder) and, and also to trainer Gai Waterhouse, who has been having a slow season – in her terms.
But the biggest hit has come for Elvstroem (by Danehill (USA)); the young Victorian-based stallion – at Blue Gum Farm, Euroa – can ill afford to lose a headline act in this current cut-throat breeding game.
Viking Legend won the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1800m, Randwick) in the spring before finishing consecutive thirds in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m, behind Monaco Consul), Group 1 AAMI Vase (2040m, behind Hanks) and Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m, behind Monaco Consul).
In what is an encouraging sign for a prospective buyer of Viking Legend, Waterhouse had him up and running early – he was beaten as a 2YO at his debut at Randwick in January 2009 by top colt Real Saga before winning at Moonee Valley (1200m) in February.
Viking Legend will join a plethora of new, Australian-bred sires that will go to stud in the 2010 spring – Newmarket Handicap winner Wanted (Widden Stud), former stablemate Manhattan Rain (Arrowfield Stud), Starspangledbanner (Coolmore Stud) and I Am Invincible (Yarraman Stud) will all commence duties later this year.
Viking Legend has an interesting pedigree – both his sire and dam are bred on the Northern Dancer–Star Kingdom cross. Elvstroem is by Danehill (by Danzig) from the Marscay mare Circles Of Gold, whereas Innocent Baby is by Northern Dancer’s underrated son Jugah from Jackson’s Affair, a Jackson Square mare bred 3×3 to Star Kingdom through his sons Biscay and Red God.
Viking Legend’s precocious brother Innocent Gamble, who throws more to his Star Kingdom heritage – was an impressive debut winner in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Caulfield last month.
There is enough stamina and speed in this pedigree for Viking Legend to nick well with the wealth of speed mares in Australia, although he also looks an ideal fit for a stud in New Zealand.
Photo: Viking Legend (rails) holds out Dominguin to win at Moonee Valley in February 2009.
It was Easter 2004 and I was where anyone with an modicum of interest in thoroughbred breeding in Australia would want to be – scouting the Inglis sales complex at Randwick in Sydney inspecting the cream of Australia’s yearlings.
Certainly, Inglis at Easter can be a time for play, jumping from marquee to marquee, but I was in work mode doing the inspections for a close friend, who was on the search for a well-bred filly.
In 1999, we had bought a Marauding (NZ)-Voltage (Whiskey Road (USA) filly, later named Eldarin, at the same sale for $130,000. The filly was a sister to Lee Freedman’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate winner Drum. It was a toss up between her and an athletic Bigstone filly that really caught our eye (we looked at her five times), but we let the Bigstone filly go in favour of the better pedigree.
Eldarin proved a talented racehorse, winning three races as a 3YO, but a severe back injury prevented her from reaching the racetrack heights her ability deserved. The Bigstone filly had her pedigree boosted a week or so after the sale when her half-brother Kinzaffra (by Kinjite) won the Group 3 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick. The Bigstone filly raced as Lady Mulan and won the 2001 Group 2 Light Finger Stakes (1200m) and the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m), both at Randwick.
Eldarin was retired in 2001 and went to Arrowfield to be covered by a young Redoute’s Choice (by Danehill (USA)). Her first foal, a colt, sold at Easter for $1.1 million and went on, as Mearas, to win the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle and the Listed Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at Randwick.
Sheikh Mohammed’s men made an offer for Eldarin that was too good to refuse, so missing out on Lady Mulan was well forgotten.
But I digress. As I was building a nice list for my buyer, I arrived at the small draft of New Zealand breeder John Thompson, from Rich Hill Stud, Matamata.
When I asked to see “his filly”, Thompson hesitated. “We are just starting to walk her out as she had a bit of an accident. There’s a bit of skin missing, but she’s starting to move well now.”
The “bit of an accident” was an understatement. The filly, by Zabeel from the classy Stakes-winning Centaine mare Arletty, was lucky to be alive. When she flew in from New Zealand to Sydney, she spooked while being unloaded at the airport, got away from her handler and charged around grounds at Mascot airport.
This was a worrying and dangerous time for all involved. The filly was proving hard to catch and she had slipped on the tarmac. Take offs and landings from Australia’s busiest airport were put on hold. Airport officials alerted the ground staff that if the filly couldn’t be caught quickly, there was no other option other than to destroy the rampaging horse.
Fortunately, the terrified filly ran herself into a corner, enabling the frantic handlers to grab her.
Thompson said that the gun was virtually cocked. “Much longer and she was a goner,” he said.
This beautifully-bred filly came through her ordeal remarkably well. She had lumps and bumps all over her but she paraded like a professional. Tall and athletic, she walked with enormous strides. I loved her and when my mate arrived, she went to the top of the list.
I remember our strategy was that the filly, because of her visible injuries, was likely to go through the ring under her value, so we expected her to be inside our budget’s extreme of $250,000.
Sheikh Mohammed’s men and others must have had the same idea, and had, of course, a bigger budget. The filly sold to the Sheikh’s John Ferguson for $480,000 and we left empty handed.
The filly’s fateful story provided her with the clever name Lucky Mascot.
But the story didn’t have a happy twist; the filly was very slow, placing only once in seven starts before she was retired to stud. Lucky Mascot’s first mating to Exceed And Excel (by Danehill (USA)) failed to produce a foal and her second, to Shamardal (USA) (by Giant’s Causeway (USA)), also was a disaster when her filly foal died soon after birth.
The mare’s luck may have well have been used up dodging planes on the Mascot tarmac.
Third time lucky. Lucky Mascot returned to Exceed And Excel, producing another filly, a fine specimen like her mother. Last Saturday, that first live foal, named Koala Bear (pictured), won the Listed Cinderella Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville for Darley and trainer Lee Freedman.
The news this week that Manhattan Rain is to join his half-brother, champion sire Redoute’s Choice, at Arrowfield Stud draws our attention to another wonderful producing mare, who will have multiple sons at stud – Peter and Wendy Moran’s Staging.
Manhattan Rain (by Encosta De Lago) will be Shantha’s Choice’s (by Canny Lad) fourth son to retire to stud; she also is the dam of Platinum Scissors and Superior Sateen, brothers to Redoute’s Choice (by Danehill (USA)).
Shantha’s Choice is the only active Australian mare to have three Group 1 winners to her name (Redoute’s Choice, Platinum Scissors and Manhattan Rain), but Staging is hot on her tail.
Staging (by Success Express (USA)) is a top-flight racemare – she won 10 races, four at Group 2 level and placed four times in Group 1s – who has gone on to be a broodmare blue hen.
Staging, who already has her Group 1 winning son Excites (AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes) at stud at Vinery, will have two high-profile sons – Duporth and Tickets – possibly fighting out Saturday’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
The magnificent-looking Duporth (pictured) , by Red Ransom (USA), became Staging’s second Group 1 winner when he brilliantly won the BTC Cup (wfa 1200m) at Doomben in April 2009, and Peter Moody, who trains both horses, believes Tickets (by Redoute’s Choice), already a Group 2 winner, is a Group 1 quality galloper. Both horses are owned by the Morans.
Duporth was a top-class juvenile, who trained on to win the 2008 $1 million Group 2 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill as a spring 3YO. The Golden Rose became a Group 1 event in 2009.
Duporth, with his blood free of Northern Dancer, is one of the hottest young sire prospects in the country. The near-black horse returned to racing in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (wfa 1000m, Flemington) last month with an excellent sixth behind Nicconi.
Moody has reserved Duporth for the Newmarket, a race in which the horse last year finished a luckless eighth, beaten only 3.5 lengths, behind Scenic Blast, before going on to win his Group 1 in Brisbane.
Duporth is in his last campaign before he is retired to stud. Studmasters are clamouring to sign him up – watch this space – as an announcement on a home for this exciting stallion prospect will be made shortly.