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If the attitude of other Hunter Valley studs is any guide, Kitchwin Hills would have had every reason to feel comfortable had it decided to increase the fee of their emerging stallion Dane Shadow.
But Kitchwin Hills has caused a stir with its announcement today that it won’t be increasing Dane Shadow’s fee.
At only $16,500 (inc. GST), Dane Shadow (pictured) represents tremendous value considering his impressive start to his stud career – his oldest progeny, from limited books of average-class mares, are only three and include the top sprinter Shellscrape, the class filly Hurtle Myrtle and a host of other promising horses.
Last season, Dane Shadow covered a quality book of 160 mares – he had another 100 or so on the waiting list – at that fee, after increasing from a fee of $7700 in 2008.
“I know breeders will be surprised that we haven’t increased Dane Shadow’s fee,” said Kitchwin Hills’ stud manager Mick Malone. “It was something we discussed at length, but we wanted to ensure another 150 or so quality mares to back up last year’s book.”
“We are taking a long-term view by not pricing him where many are saying we could. We can see the future benefit by creating two solid books, back to back.
“We have huge plans for Dane Shadow and don’t want to risk anything in building his future. If breeders have a good win out of this then good luck to them, this will only help us all in the future.”
The Kitchwin Hills decision will be welcomed by breeders in the wake of two years of selling yearlings for little or no profit off the high fees of 2006 and 2007, and at a time when many others studs have gone “trigger happy” in increasing fees for some stallions when the general call has been for fees to come down, or at least stay relatively stagnant.
This year, Dane Shadow’s yearlings have given breeders a return of more than nine times the $7700 fee – and there is no signs the profit making will stop off the $16,500 fee, especially considering the better quality mare the stallion covered last season.
Kitchwin Hills also announced that their new sire, Duporth (by Red Ransom (USA)), will kick off his stud career at a fee of $22,000 (inc. GST), which places him under the fee of Vinery’s new Red Ransom-son Onemorenomore ($24,250), and more than Arrowfield’s new Red Ransom-son, All American ($16,500). All three young stallions won at Group 1 level – Duporth (2009 BTC Cup 1200m), Onemorenomore (2009 Champagne Stakes 1600m) and All American (2009 Emirates Stakes 1600m).
Nowhere else in the world is Red Ransom held in such high esteem as a sire of stallions – the fact that Red Ransom is a wonderful outcross, and proven cross, for Danehill-line mares has a lot to do with it, but also Red Ransom (who died in November last year) has been well support in his 11 years at Vinery Stud and his stock, which includes the champion mare Typhoon Tracy, are proven under Australian conditions – a fact that is starting to appeal more and more to Australian breeders.
Note: The Slattery Media Group supplies media services to Kitchwin Hills.
New Zealand father-son training partnership Murray and Bjorn Baker are planning a rushed trip to Sydney with their exciting 2YO Lion Tamer (pictured).
Murray Baker said he was seriously considering running Lion Tamer in Saturday’s Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick after encouragement from his son that the field for this year’s race was not of a high standard.
Bjorn is in Sydney looking after Baker team’s Sydney Cup contender Harris Tweed.
“Bjorn has spoken to a few experts and his thoughts are that this is a good opportunity to win a Group 1 in Australia,” Baker said.
The Bakers have good advice as this year’s Champagne Stakes does look to be substandard. None of the first four home in the Golden Slipper – Crystal Lily, Decision Time, More Strawberries and Hinchinbrook – is running. Beneteau finished fifth in the Slipper and is the only Slipper runner entered for the Champagne Stakes, and the son of Redoute’s Choice has been in training for a long time after placing third in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m, Caulfield) in February.
Baker said it was not his usual style to back up a 2YO within seven days, but Lion Tamer had come through his New Zealand win in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m, Ellerslie) win on Saturday as if he hadn’t had a run.
“He’s very tough and he’s a genuine stayer. If any horse can handle the back up and the trip across (the Tasman ) it’s him. We won’t have to work him,” Baker said.
Baker said that Lion Tamer’s only poor run – ninth in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m, Awapuni) – was to be forgiven. “He was flattened at the start by his stablemate and it was a leader-biased track that day. He never got into the race.”
Lion Tamer is by the first-season sire Storming Home, a son of Machiavellian, from Lioness, a mare by Generous (GB). His third dam is the outstanding staying mare My Blue Denim, who was second behind Beldale Ball in the 1980 Melbourne Cup. This is the same family as Harris Tweed.
Kalgoorlie mining investor and heavyweight thoroughbred owner and breeder Keith Biggs made his money – plenty of it – by picking the eyes out of the stock market.
Biggs cashed in when the mining company Poseidon found copious quantities of nickel on his land in 1969, and the subsequent stock market rush saw Poseidon’s share peak at close to $300 before it crashed in early 1970.
He has been playing the stock market and the horse racing and breeding game quite successfully since. Biggs, a former butcher from Leonora in central Western Australia, has owned or part-owned more cup winners than he can remember – from Oradale, who won a bush cup at Laverton (WA) in 1958, to Doriemus’ famous Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double in 1995.
Biggs usually gets it right when it comes to matters mining, racing and making money. But he let the stallion Oratorio (pictured) slip through his fingers; for a man used to winning, it has been tough for him to admit to a mistake – and he has been kicking himself ever since.
Biggs bred the smart son of Stravinsky and raced him in partnership with good mate, WA meat exported Rod Russell, trainer Lee Freedman and a group that included a family of taxi licence holders from Sydney.
Oratorio, a stylish little colt from Biggs’ good mare Express A Smile (by Success Express (USA)) was a highly-talented juvenile, winning the 2004 Adelaide Magic Millions, before training on to win the 2004 Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley at three.
The colt was retired after injuring himself in the spring of his 3YO year.
Oratorio was sold to stand at Gray and Jan Williamson’s Mungrup Stud, at Narrikup, between Albany and Mt. Barker in south-east Western Australia. None of the original owners kept a share in the stallion.
Oratorio covered 86 mares in his first season at a fee of $6050 (inc. GST) – since then he has become something of a phenomenon, as his sons and daughters haven’t stopped winning. Last season he served a full book (142 mares) at $11,000 and there is talk his fee will nearly treble in 2010.
The young sire is hot property in the west. Don’t confuse him with the Coolmore-based Oratorio (IRE) (by Danehill (USA), whose Australian first crop are 2YOs.
Last Saturday, Oratorio’s exciting filly Motion Pictures won the $500,000 Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) at Ascot – WA’s version of the Golden Slipper – to give the stallion his second success in the race after Gold Rocks won it in 2009. Oratorio also is the sire of the Group 2 WA Guineas winner Clueless Angel and the exceptionally talented dual Listed winner Waratah’s Secret.
Motion Pictures also is a product of Biggs’ breeding venture. He bred her dam, Zabore Loch, a daughter of Marooned (GB) and Biggs’ frustrating Zabori (b m 1992, Zabeel (NZ)-Glorify, by Boucher (USA)).
I was working as racing manager for Lee Freedman when I met Biggs, and Zabori was one of the first horses he sent to Freedman to train in 1994, around the same time Doriemus entered the stable. The filly had enormous talent; she could run sizzling sectional times, but Freedman couldn’t get the headstrong runner into the barrier stalls.
All the best horsemen Freedman could muster had a go at educating the filly, but to no avail. Biggs ordered her back to Perth where he gave her to renowned educator Rod Bynder to train. Early reports were encouraging, but Zabori broke down before Bynder to weave his magic. (Bynder transformed another rogue filly, Belle Bizarre, into a star, who won the G1 Railway Stakes at Ascot in 2006. Bynder died of a heart attack in 2008 while educating a horse at the track).
Zabore Loch was Zabori’s first foal. This is a wonderful Australian family, tracing back to Zabori’s third dam, Better Half (Better Boy-Salma), a sister to the star gallopers Pterylaw (1966 Doomben 10,000) and Tolerance (1971 Blue Diamond Stakes).
Oratorio comes from another great Australian family. His fourth dam Kinmorin, bred by Stanley Wootton, is by the great Star Kingdom from the imported mare Morin (by Vilmorin (GB)), making her a sister to the brilliant juveniles Longwood (1964 Merson Cooper Stakes) and Domremon (1966 Debutante Stakes).
Biggs is not one to wallow in what might have been. This year, he will be supporting Oratorio with some nice mares. “I have decided to bring back some of my mares in the Hunter Valley to WA, and some will be going to Oratorio. I don’t own him anymore, but I did breed him and I think he’s a sensational sire,” he said.
Some of those Hunter Valley mares will visit Oratorio’s half-brother, the juvenile Stakes-winner Discorsi (by Galileo (IRE)), who has been retired and will stand in WA after an injury-plagued career.
“Discorsi is a magnificent looking horse, who was a Galileo with the speed to win a Stakes race at two,” Biggs said. “We will make an announcement shortly about where he will stand, but I think he will do very well in WA.”
The horse might have bolted with Oratorio, but Biggs is banking on his usual good judgement with Discorsi.
A study of the pedigrees of any weekend’s Stakes winners is usually a step down memory lane, and this week was no exception.
I notice the third dam of Golden Millennium, winner of the Listed Keith McKay Stakes (1200m) at Randwick, is the former fast filly Vienna (ch f 1963, Renegade (GB)-Blonde Rose, by Empyrean (GB)).
Anyone of my vintage – I’m 56 – will know Vienna. The filly was a sensation when she burst on the scene as a 2YO in the late spring of 1965, around the time my juices were starting to flow for racing after Light Fingers’ win in the Melbourne Cup. I first saw Vienna at the popular 2YO barrier trials, in those days run on a Sunday before a big crowd at Flemington.
Vienna, a powerful, imposing filly, had speed to burn. She went so fast her speed became as much of her trademark as her rich chestnut coat and flashy white markings.
Her rivals of the time were Valour (by Wilkes), Cendrillon (by Landau) and Golly (by Orgoglio). When Vienna lined up as top weight (9st 3lb – 58.5kg) in the Talindert Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in February 1966, she was unbeaten in three starts. The form comment in The Age (thanks to Google) read: “Brilliant filly and has had a slight let up. Easily beat Gold Chain and Miss Gilders MV 5f 2YO Nov 27, and then easily beat Cendrillon and St. Renown, Sandown 5f 2YO Dec 4. Hard to beat.”
Vienna went on to win the Talindert and she was labelled the best 2YO in Victoria. Unfortunately, she couldn’t sustain her form to win another race and she was retired to stud 12 months later.
Unlike Valour (dam of Stakes winners Artist Man, Worth and Sudden, the dam of 1992 Group 1 Golden Slipper winner Burst) and Golly (dam of the classy Gosh, who sired Group 1 Flight Stakes winners Goleen and Judyann), who went on to become wonderful broodmares, Vienna left only five named foals, none of whom amounted to much on the racetrack.
Her last foal was Etoile De Vien (by Kaoru Star), who was born in 1979 and left an orphan after Vienna died in December that year. However, Etoile De Vien produced two Stakes winners – the very slick Miss Kariba (by Lunchtime), who inherited her granddam’s speed to win the 1995 Group 2 Canterbury Stakes (1200m), and the 1990 Listed Rockhampton Cup winner Supersnack, also by Lunchtime.
Etoile De Vien’s last foal was Manyara, born in 1998, by Danehill’s moderately performed brother Eagle Eyed. Manyara, who died in 2009, was unplaced in one start, but produced Golden Millenium in 2007 from a mating to Darley’s Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium (GB)).
Golden Millennium, trained by Anthony Cummings (pictured) will be remembered by most as the first Australian Stakes winner by Dubawi, but for me she has brought back some wonderful memories of an exceptional filly and a time when racing made a big impression on a 12-year-old.
The Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale is chugging along to the sound of the grumblings from vendors at the famous Newmarket complex, but there are as many buyers also struggling to find a bargain in this difficult market.
The high-profile mares are selling for “the right money”, while there are many mares being culled from the big farms that even the small breeders are finding unattractive at a time when the yearling sale market is depressed.
Victorian breeder Andy Calvert is one buyer who can claim to have purchased wisely. Calvert, of Kornong Stud near Streatham, nearly an hour west of Ballarat, today paid $37,000 for Balalaika, a 9YO Stakes-placed King Of Kings (IRE) mare from the former top-class, multiple Group-winning mare Love Of Mary (by Zeditave from Morlin Maid (NZ), by Sir Tristram (IRE).
Balalaika is in foal to Exceed And Excel (by Danehill (USA)) to a November 10 cover. She’s a frugal buy, as Exceed And Excel’s service fee in 2009 was $110,000 (inc. GST).
But Calvert had other reasons than the good value of Balalaika to put up his hand. He is the breeder of the world champion Hong Kong sprinter Sacred Kingdom, who is by Encosta De Lago from Courtroom Sweetie, a sister to Love Of Mary.
In fact, Balalaika is very closely related to Sacred Kingdom, because her sire King Of Kings is a son of the great Sadler’s Wells (USA) (Northern Dancer-Fairy Bridge, by Bold Reason), a brother to Encosta De Lago’s sire Fairy King (USA).
Balalaika, who was placed as a 2YO in the Listed Waltzing Lily Handicap at Flemington, was sold as part of Darley’s annual reduction of mares. Her first foal, Domas (g 2005, by Encosta De Lago) is a winner, while her next two, by Commands and Lonhro, died. She has a 2008 colt by Lonhro, retained by Darley, and a 2009 weanling colt by Dubai Destination (USA).
Thankfully for Inglis and some of the lucky vendors, Patinack Farm has been bullish in its buying of the quality mares. So far it has picked up international champion mare Sun Classique (in foal to Oasis Dream) for $2m; Group 1 winner Bel Mer (in foal to More Than Ready) for $1.05m; Group 1 winner Serious Speed (in foal to Al Maher) for $900,000; Readydor (maiden) for $520,000; Stakes winner She Will Be Loved (in foal to Encosta De Lago) for $500,000; and the smart Olonana (maiden) for $475,000.
The buying spree is obviously a concerted attempt by Patinack’s Nathan Tinker to concentrate more on quality than quantity – he tried to do both when he burst on the yearling sale and broodmare-buying scene in 2008.
Patinack is going through another restructure – Tinkler wants to get out of the stallion-standing business, which is why his Aberdeen farm – where Casino Prince, Husson, Murtajill and Wonderful World stand – is on the market.
Tinkler bought a copious quantity of mares to support, and in some cases prop up, these stallions in their initial seasons, and he realises that continuing to follow that strategy in their third breeding season (in the case of Casino Prince, Wonderful World and Husson) is fraught with economic danger. It’s interesting that he didn’t want to downgrade the value of Casino Prince and Murtajill, as he withdrew all his mares in foal to these two stallions from the Easter sale.
Pictured: Bel Mer at the Newmarket sale complex.
Sun Classique (ch m 2003, Fuji Kiseki (JPN)–Elfenjer, by Last Tycoon (IRE))
Bel Mer (b m 2004, Bel Esprit–Drop Anchor, by At Talaq (USA))
Serious Speed (ch m 2004, Royal Academy (USA)–Twitter, by Kendor (FR))
Readyor (ch f 2006, More Than Ready (USA)–Satyric, by Danehill (USA))
She Will Be Loved (b or br m 2003, Strategic–Katie O’Neill (NZ), by Zabeel (NZ))
Olonana (b or br m 2005, More Than Ready (USA)–Arkadina, by Myocard (NZ))
The first call I had yesterday was from a prominent breeder who asked me the question: “What do you think of the Arrowfield fees?”
Arrowfield Stud, as usual, is the first commercial stud to release its stallions’ service fees for the 2010 season – and I’d say never before has such an announcement been so eagerly anticipated by breeders and fellow farms.
These are Arrowfield’s 2010 fees (including GST):
Redoute’s Choice $176,000, down from $198,000.
Flying Spur $55,000, down from $82,500.
Manhattan Rain $49,500 (new for 2010).
Starcraft $38,500, up from $22,000.
Charge Forward $33,000, up from $27,500.
Snitzel $27,500, up from $22,000.
Danzero $16,500, down from $22,000.
All American $16,500 (new for 2010).
Not A Single Doubt $13,750, no change.
Hussonet will cover mares on a foal-share basis only. In 2009 his fee was $71,500.
My reaction is that there is little about the announcement that surprised me, as it’s about where I thought Arrowfield would position its stallions. That said, Manhattan Rain at $49,500 is $10,000 more than I thought he deserved to be, but he’s going to be very popular and Arrowfield is capitalising on that.
It’s worth pointing out that because Manhattan Rain is son of Encosta de Lago and a half-brother to Redoute’s Choice – both out of the Canny Lad mare Shantha’s Choice – mares by the two headline stallions in Australia won’t be visiting his court, although he’s a perfect match for a host of mares by Danehill and other Danehill-line stallions, including Encosta de Lago’s close relation Flying Spur.
Redoute’s Choice at $176,000 gives breeders of Easter quality horses the chance to make money if Redoute’s Choice can continue to average around $480,000, as he did at Easter this year off a $330,000 fee (although he had 15 yearlings that made between $150,000 and $375,000, and another nine that didn’t make reserves between $150,000 and $400,000). Importantly, it’s a fee level that will help those with Magic Millions quality yearlings to get a return. But, even at this new price, over-mating your mare to get a Redoute’s Choice foal is a decision fraught with economic danger.
As is the case with these high-price stallions, breeders should not send “average” mares to the stallion in the hope that the stallion’s profile will lift the value of the progeny. It doesn’t work and there is a marquee full of breeders from this year’s yearling sales who will attest to that. There is no doubt that Redoute’s Choice has covered too many inferior mares in the past, and those breeders have suffered for that extravagance.
I believe Arrowfield has taken the unusual option of declaring Hussonet a foal-share stallion rather than try to find a fee for him. In 2008, Hussonet’s fee dramatically rose from $38,500 to $137,500, but the results since, on the racetrack and in the sale ring, haven’t supported such an increase, and he’s been tumbling since.
Foal-sharing – pay no fee, pay all costs and split the yearling sale return – is a risky proposition at any time; and where do those people, who want to go to the stallion for his bloodlines sit under this arrangement, if they don’t plan to sell the progeny in the sale ring. I suspect Arrowfield will negotiate a fee under those circumstances.
As for my breeder mate, he’s not happy at all. He is the one who has been spending the big money in recent years on service fees, and he believes they are still too high. “I expected Starcraft to go up a little bit, but he’s risen 75 per cent on the strength of the success of one top 2YO (Blue Diamond winner Star Witness), some good yearling sale results and a lot of hype,” he said. (At the time of writing, Starcraft has sired only two winners from his first Australian crop).
It’s true, but Arrowfield believes it is on a winner with Starcraft, and I’m a big fan (I declared 12 months ago that he was the young sire to watch). Arrowfield’s expectations are that $38,500 will be cheap when the results of 2010 matings are being sold as yearlings in 2013. Time will tell in this game that mirrors the risks and gambles of the stock exchange.
The popularity of the underrated Danzero rises and falls like a Bondi swell. At $16,500, he’s tremendous value for anyone wanting to breed to race, and especially for a breeder wishing to kick off a young mare’s breeding career by using a proven stallion. Danzero had five yearlings (plus one passed in) average $166,000 at Easter.
At $55,000, Flying Spur, rising 18, a year younger than Danzero, is in a position to make him very commercially viable. His fillies, especially those from good families, are well sought after, but his colts can be a hard sell, although his colts and fillies have shared equally billing at the 2010 sales – Flying Spur has had 38 yearlings sell for $150,000 or more from a band of mares that would rank as one of the best he has covered in a spring in which his fee rose from $44,000 to $99,000.
John Messara, Arrowfield’s larger than life principal, is a businessman, and he controls a big share of the thoroughbred breeding business. Pricing his stallions is an important part of his acumen, and fortunately the aberration of Hussonet’s $100,000 fee rise in 2008 is one of his few misjudgements.
Picture: Hussonet parading at Arrowfield.
The absence of the big players certainly had an effect on the results of Inglis’ Sydney Easter Yearling Sales.
The moment Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s head-buyer John Ferguson decided against catching a plane from Dubai to Sydney was the moment some of the vendors with the top-bracket yearlings would have taken to a stiff whiskey.
With Darley’s Ferguson at home, the international conglomerate bought only two yearlings. In 2008, Darley, Bob Ingham and Patinack Farm spent more than $40 million between them; this year the leading buyer (Hawkes Racing) spent only $4 million.
Ingham Racing spent $3 million and Patinack Farm $2.5 million in a much more subdued piece of buying.
But also noticeable was the fact that the South African and Hong Kong buyers were not playing at the high end. Of course, the Hong Kong Jockey Club kept its word and boycotted the NSW sale over Racing NSW’s decision late in 2008 to license jockey Chris Munce before his HK ban ran out.
The Easter sale concluded with an average of $220,975, down 8 per cent on 2009 – not bad considering the fact that the international buying bench was down.
There were rumblings from a number of trainers and prospective buyers that the quality of the yearlings didn’t match the pedigrees. “Too many ordinary types with faults, and too many with x-ray issues for a sale of this type,” one leading trainer said.
The fees are still too high: Of course, many vendors were not happy – and why should they be considering this crop of yearlings came from a year of ridiculously high stallion fees. It’s incredible that Easter quality yearlings were being passed in short of the stallion’s service fee.
The cry has been for some time that fees must come down, but the stallion owners have been too slow to react. There is no doubt that further cuts are needed, especially now that there is such a broad choice for broodmare owners in 2010.
If they can get the fees down, then broodmare owners should also campaign to force stallion owners to reduce the numbers of mares served by individual stallions.
Freedman’s filly: Lee Freedman will train the top-priced filly for owner Peter Carrick. The Zabeel-Gin Player filly cost Carrick $1.3 million. The plumbing contractor has been a major buyer at yearling sales in recent years, but never before has he opened the purse strings to this extent on one horse. It was a case of “she’s the one I want and this time I am going to get her” for Carrick.
Gerald’s colt: Gerald Ryan has been announced as the trainer of the top-priced colt for a syndicate of owners put together by stud farm Kitchwin Hills. The colt, by Redoute’s Choice from Regrowth (by Unbridled’s Song) was widely regarded as one of the most impressive looking yearlings to go through a sale ring in Australia. He cost Kitchwin Hills $1.875 million in another case of “I must have it” buying.
It’s fee time: Arrowfield Stud will announce their service fees for 2010 on Monday – and as usually all the other studs are hanging out for the release so that can set their fees. The word around the traps is that Flying Spur is in for a significant reduction in fee. The 18-year-old stallion stood at $82,500 in 2009 and attracted 112 mares. It will be very interesting to see what Arrowfield does with Hussonet, who last year stood at $71,500, after a heady increase from $38,500 to $137,500 the previous year on the back of Weekend Hussler’s wonder 3YO campaign. Hussonet covered only 78 mares last season.
Arrowfield’s young sires Starcraft and Snitzel are doing well with their first crops this season, but well enough for a jump in fee? Both stood in 2009 at $22,000. Certainly, Snitzel is getting the numbers (seven individual winners) and Starcraft has had the one “big” horse in Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Star Witness, but Arrowfield has been criticised for being too “trigger-happy” with Hussonet, so breeders will be hoping for a more measured approach this time.
Domesday for Victoria: The talk from Darley is that the promising Domesday (by Red Ransom (USA)) is “almost certain” to stand in Victoria at their Northwood Park farm. The almost black Domesday has been based at Darley’s Cootamundra farm, Twin Hills, has sired three winners from his first crop of only 30 named foals. His exciting maiden filly Divorces is one of the favourites for tomorrow’s Group 1 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes. Domesday stood last season for a fee of only $5500 (inc. GST).
In the other hand, expect Darley to increase the service fees in 2010 of their rising stars Lonhro (by Octagonal) and Shamardal (by Giant’s Causeway (USA)). Lonhro had his fee reduced in 2009 from $55,000 to $33,000, but he has had exceptional results since then to become one of the most sought after stallions in Australia. Shamardal stood in 2009 for only $27,500 after starting at $55,000 in 2005 before dropping in $44,000 in 2008. His stocks have risen on the back of some exceptional offspring, including Group 1-winning star Faint Perfume, Shamoline Warrior and Marquardt.
The good news for breeders is that Darley is adamant that the books of the two stallions will be restricted to offset the rise in fee – last year demand for Lonhro was so great that he covered 212 mares.
The sales pitch never stops: As 5pm plane to Melbourne filled on Thursday afternoon, there was one distinct and familiar voice above all else – Troy Corstens getting a last minute phone call into a prospective owner for one of the yearling he had purchased in Sydney: “Bill” has 10 per cent, “Joe” has got 7 per cent, you can have …”
The best for Bester: Leading agent James Bester was in full swing buying for his new client, Ananda Krishnan’s Kia Ora Stud. The former long-time Coolmore employee paid $1.2 million for a colt by Redoute’s Choice from Asian Reef, a half-brother to Group 1 winner Bon Hoffa and two other Stakes winners. Bester’s new position has given him some firepower as he also bought the top-priced colt from the Karaka Yearling Sale in New Zealand – by Zabeel from Diamond Like (by Danehill) – for NZ$2 million for the same group.
At the Sydney sale, Bester was flanked by representatives of Kia Ora and well-known owner-breeder John Camilleri, who also has taken a slice of the Redoute’s Choice colt. offered by Kitchwin Hills on behalf of client Carl Holt. Ironically, it was Kitchwin Hills that paid $1.875 for the sale-topping Redoute’s Choice-Regrowth colt (sold by Segenhoe Stud) on day one.
Bester made a point that he felt his colt was the image of his sire, if not better quality. “He has remarkable pelvic length and a hind leg action (the swagger) as good as I have seen on a yearling in recent years,” Bester said.
The master is popular: Rodney Schick, from Windsor Park Stud, Cambridge, New Zealand, said new stallion Mastercraftsman has a book that is nearly closed. “We have about 70 outside mares booked to him,’ Schick said.
“In many ways, he’s a lot more suitable for New Zealand breeders than High Chaparral, who would have attracted a lot of mares from Australia.”
Coolmore Stud has decided that High Chaparral will spend the 2010 season in Australia, and sent the four-time Group 1 winner Mastercraftsman (by Danehill Dancer) to Windsor Park as a replacement. The grey stallion’s fee is NZ$25,000.
In a summary of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale in January, I made a point that yearlings by Stratum were “off the boil” compared to the previous year, when his first crop of impressive youngsters was hot property.
Musing 1. Last year the big hype stallion was the first-season sire Stratum – thanks partly to some pushing by trainer Gai Waterhouse, who declared his yearlings the best she had seen from a new sire in years. The Golden Slipper winner averaged $110,000 (off a $33,000 fee, same in 2007) last year, but this year his average dropped to $85,000. Most people expected the first crop of Stratums to be up and running as 2YOs, but a NSW provincial winner and a Tassie winner from 23 starters aren’t flattering outcomes. The hype was certainly off the Widden Stud-based stallion at the sale despite him again being represented by some impressive yearlings. It’s too early to knock Stratum as, like his sire Redoute’s Choice, his first crop might emerge later in the season and as 3YOs, but at least a Golden Slipper contender in 2010 probably needs to be on his scorecard.
Stratum, like his sire Redoute’s Choice, has mustered some impressive figures as the season progressed – he now has eight individual winners – and of course, he did more than find a Golden Slipper contender, he sired the brilliant winner Crystal Lily (b f 2007, ex-Crystal Snip, by Snippets).
Crystal Lily remains Stratum’s only Stakes winner so far (the Slipper was her third Stakes win), but there are some very impressive youngsters by the stallion – from his 150-foal first crop – lining up to improve that figure. Also on Saturday, his offspring Éclair Mystic and Stratcombe quinella-ed the first race at Caulfield; the very green Stratcombe, on debut, looked a horse with a terrific future.
The Widden Stud-based Stratum, who won his Slipper in 2005, became the eighth previous winner to sire a winner, and the third past winner to produce a Slipper winner with his first crop, joining Todman (won in 1957; sire of Eskimo Prince 1964) and Marauding (won in 1987; sire of Burst 1992).
The list of winners to sire a winner is:
Todman (1957) – sire of Eskimo Prince (1964), Sweet Embrace (1967).
Vain (1969) – Sir Dapper (1983), Inspired (1984).
Baguette (1970) – Dark Eclipse (1980).
Marscay (1982) – Bint Marscay (1993).
Marauding (1987) – Burst (1992), Prowl (1998).
Danzero (1994) – Dance Hero (2004).
Flying Spur (1995) – Forensics (2007).
Part-owner and breeder David Moodie is responsible for two of the hottest winning families in the Stud Book at the moment – the “Crystal” family that produced Crystal Lily and the “River” family founded by Moodie’s wonderful broodmare Ride The Rapids (br m 1988, River Rough-Kilmarie, by Bletchingly).
Crystal Lily’s granddam, Crystal Century (b m 1980, Century–White Flakes, by Vain) is the foundation of a dynasty that also includes Saturday’s impressive Caulfield winner, Amaethon (b g 2006, by Al Maher), a half-brother to Crystal Lily. Other Stakes winners in the family include Crystal Finale, Crystal Hawk and Crystal Wit.
(The “River” family includes Group 1 Oakleigh Plate winner River Dove, the exciting First Command, Hong Kong star One World and Moodie’s Group 2 Magic Night Stakes winner Willow Creek, who is likely to contest the Group 1 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick on Saturday).
In an interesting sidelight, Crystal Lily is not the first horse of that name that Moodie has bred and owned – Crystal Century’s first foal, a 1986 bay filly by Irish Playboy (USA), also was named Crystal Lily. She died, unraced, in 1995 without producing a foal.
Crystal Finale (by Hurricane Sky) is the only male member of this immediate family at stud; he stands at vet Dr Ian McLeod’s stud, near Hamilton. The Breed featured a story – “The right start for Finale” – on this Victorian-based stallion in December, after he had sired his first promising winner, Crystal Tiger.
A lot was made in the media of Moodie’s previous failed attempts to win the Golden Slipper with Paint (2nd in 1996 behind Merlene) and Hurricane Sky (5th behind Danzero in 1994), but Moodie’s wife Jenny was a part-owner of Flying Spur, who won the 1995 Slipper.
Stratum (b h 2002, Redoute’s Choice–Bourgeois, by Luskin Star).
Redoute’s Choice (b h 1996, Redoute’s Choice–Shantha’s Choice, by Canny Lad)
Éclair Mystic (b g 2007, Stratum–Leica Smile, by At Talaq (USA))
Stratcombe (ch c 200, Stratum–Catecombe, by Papal Power (USA))
Crystal Finale (ch h 1997, Hurricane Sky–Crystal Century, by Century).
Sir Patrick Hogan told me late last year that he has one ambition left in racing – to win a Melbourne Cup as an owner.
“I am desperate to win it, and I have only 10 or 12 years to achieve it,” he said. “You can have your Golden Slipper, there is only one race and it’s the Melbourne Cup.”
Hogan’s champion sires, Sir Tristram (IRE) and his son Zabeel (NZ), have three Melbourne Cup winners each, but not owned or part-owned by Hogan. In recent years, he has taken shares in many of the Zabeel sons he has sold as yearlings, especially those bought by “lucky Cup winners” such as Lloyd Williams and Dato Tan Chin Nam. Williams has owned or part-owned three Cup winners, whereas Dato Tan has four cups in his trophy cabinet.
One of those is the promising stayer Precedence, part-owned by Dato Tan. Hogan said last spring that of all the horses he owned Precedence was the one “most likely” to fulfil his dream. Since then, trainer Bart Cummings has gelded the son of Zabeel and, last Saturday, Precedence (pictured) earned himself Sydney Cup favouritism by winning the Listed Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill, following strong handicap wins at Flemington (2000m) and Moonee Valley (1600m).
The Manion Cup win, worth $65,000 to the winner, will mean little to Dato Tan, a bit more for the frugal Irishman-Kiwi Hogan, but importantly the amount will qualify Precedence for a run in the 2010 Melbourne Cup – the 150th running of the famous race.
The complete Patrick Hogan interview, including his thoughts about the future of Cambridge Stud, was in the last issue of The Thoroughbred magazine: Success and successions.
The Breeding lines:
Precedence (b g 4, Zabeel (NZ)–Kowtow (USA), by Shadeed (USA))
Photo courtesy of dgrracing.com.au
Windsor Park has come out of its loss of High Chaparral to the “A-Team” in Australia quite nicely – as usual – following the overnight announcement that the brilliant Mastercraftsman will stand at the Cambridge (NZ) stud in 2010.
Coolmore Stud’s decision to transfer High Chaparral (by Sadler’s Wells (USA)) to Australia wasn’t a surprise. The stallion had become an exciting prospect, with his first crop from Windsor Park including the star 3YOs So You Think (G1 Cox Plate) and Monaco Consul (G1 Victoria Derby).
The Coolmore-Windsor Park exchange of stallions has worked brilliantly so far. It started with Tale Of The Cat (by Storm Cat (USA), who stood in New Zealand before Coolmore decided he deserved a place on their Australian roster. In his place came the wonderful stayer Montjeu (by Sadler’s Wells (USA)).
Windsor Park was then “compensated” with High Chaparral after Coolmore’s decision to keep Montjeu in Ireland after four seasons of shuttling – the stallion had become the leading sire in Europe. Nothing lost for Windsor Park in that exchange. At the time, Montjeu’s light was fading in Australia, before the sudden rush of winners came as trainers, who had been patient with the stock, realised he was not just a northern hemisphere wonder. On Saturday, in the Group 1 The BMW (wfa 2400m) at Rosehill, Montjeu is the sire four of the 12 starters – Roman Emperor, Harris Tweed, Growl and Speed Gifted.
Mastercraftsman is a nice fit for the Nelson and Rod Schick-owned stud, although he is a sprinter-miler compared to the stoutness of Montjeu and High Chaparral. He is a grey son of the supreme shuttler Danehill Dancer (IRE), who stands at Coolmore Australia alongside his son Choisir, and he comes from a sire-producing family – his relations include top-class sires Broad Brush and Capote.
Mastercraftsman won four times at Group 1 level and he is rated by Timeform on 129, 3lb higher than Choisir. His Group 1 wins were in the Phoenix Stakes (2YOs, 1200m, The Curragh), Irish National Stakes (2YOs, 1400m, The Curragh), St. James’s Palace Stakes (3YOs, 1600m, Royal Ascot) and the Irish 2000 Guineas (3YOs, 1600m, The Curragh). He also was second behind the freakish Sea The Stars in the G1 Juddmonte International (2100m) at York, beaten a length.
I saw Mastercraftsman at Royal Ascot. He’s an athletic, imposing horse of great length and substance; not the usual chunky Danehill type.
He will appeal as an ideal prospect for the stout daughters of Montjeu, High Chaparral and Zabeel, as well as providing a Danzig-double cross for owners of mares by Windsor Park’s resident seven-times New Zealand champion Volksraad (by Green Desert (USA)).
Whether High Chaparral’s move to Coolmore is the right move remains to be seen. He has proven himself with the New Zealand bloodlines, but will he nick as well with the wealth of speed mares, particularly Danehill-line mares, he will get in Australia?
The Montjeu blood hasn’t been lost to New Zealand, as one of his few entire sons Tavistock (raced in Australia as Lord Tavistock), a Group 1 winner at 1600m, has been snapped up by the astute Sir Patrick Hogan to stand at Cambridge Stud.
The breeding lines:
High Chaparral (b h 1999, Sadler’s Wells (USA)-Kasora (IRE), by Darshaan (GB))
Montjeu (b h 1996, Sadler’s Wells (USA)-Floripedes (FR), by Top Ville (IRE))
Mastercraftsman (gr h 2006, Danehill Dancer (IRE)-Starlight Dreams (USA), by Black Tie Affair (USA))
Tale Of The Cat (br h 1994, Storm Cat (USA)-Yarn (USA), by Mr. Prospector (USA))
Tavistock (b h 2005, Montjeu (IRE)-Upstage (GB), by Quest For Fame (GB))
Footnote: Tavistock (Lord Tavistock) is listed on the Australian Stud Book as a gelding – we doubt that Sir Patrick has made the mistake of not looking at the undercarriage. Expect a correction very soon.