search the site
Let’s not sugar coat the stud career of God’s Own—from chocolates to boiled lollies is a fitting description.
Well, that was apt until late last year, when, suddenly, God’s Own performed something of the “resurrection”. In the space of six weeks from December to mid-January, the 2005 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas hero sired 18 individual winners of 21 races—that’s an average of three new winners a week.
As comebacks go, this one would make Lazarus smile. In the stallion game, you can’t be more “gone” than God’s Own, and while he may not get back to reach the expectations when he first hit the stud hustings, he certainly has regained a lot of credibility.
God’s Own retired to stud in 2006 in a joint venture between neighbouring Kerrie (near Romsey) studs, Yallambee, who had the standing rights to the son of Redoute’s Choice, and Eliza Park. God’s Own resides at Eliza Park where his has covered 824 mares in six seasons.
God’s Own deserved his accolades and a harem of classy mares lining up for a meeting, albeit without the chocolates and the roses. He emerged as a star under the guidance of trainer, and part-owner, Bart Cummings, who had other reasons to appreciate the big colt—Cummings made God’s Own’s family famous having trained the fourth dam, Dark Queen, and her champion son Taj Rossi, and Angel In Disguise’s sire, the Group 1 winner Sky Chase, and her “cousin”, the great Saintly, who also boasts Dark Queen as his fourth dam.
At his fifth start, God’s Own produced one of the most amazing performances ever seen on an Australian racetrack, when he over came a series of severe checks before regrouping to storm home for a win in the 2005 Group 1 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield) that had jockey Glen Boss looking to the heavens for thanks.
The colt had a dip at the Group 1 Cox Plate (WFA, 2040m), but finished eighth to Makybe Diva, before a spell. He returned in the autumn to produce another barnstorming finish to beat all but the wonderful sprinter Takeover Target in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m, Flemington), and then chased home the rising star, Apache Cat, in the Group 3 Schweppes Cup (1400m, Caulfield). God’s Own was injured in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes in Sydney that forced his retirement.
God’s Own, a son of the champion sire Redoute’s Choice—one of his best sons—was a headline act in his first stud season, handling 142 mares at a fee of $33,000. In 2007, he covered 204 mares and 196 at an increased fee of $38,500—up due to the quality of his yearlings—in 2008, and another big band of 168 mares in 2009 (at $33,000). Few stallions get a better start.
However, his stock just didn’t run early, which is a suicide result in the cutthroat, impatient, unforgiving, commercial stud scene in Australia. In the past two seasons, as the disciples of Australian racing waited for a sign that God’s Own was worthy, the stallion has covered books of only 65 and 49. Last spring, mares produced only 37 God’s Own foals.
Part-owner Dato Tan Chin Nam continued to support him, but others had faith, too, and they are the ones that could find themselves on a winner.
God’s Own won’t be the first stallion to bounce back after an ordinary start. You only need to look across the Tasman at Savabeel, who has suddenly emerged as a serious stallion when his oldest progeny are now five. In fact, God’s Own fits his own profile. He wasn’t a precocious horse, and he’s not from a fast, early running family. Many of his progeny were big, raw, heavy yearlings—especially the colts—and most astute bloodstock agents were wary of them for that reason. “They will need time” was the call. Correct.
I remember Redoute’s Choice’s first crop of yearlings—big and unspectacular—but it didn’t take long to breeders to realise that the smaller, quicker mares were better suited to him. The results flowed. God’s Own also is far better suited to smaller, compact mares, and it is the progeny of these mares that are starting to run a bit earlier than the first crop.
In all, God’s Own (to Jan. 25) has 233 names foals, 138 starters for 47 winners. Two of his progeny have black type—the Stakes-placed Vatican and Utah Saints—but others will follow as they mature, including the exciting gelding, Godwilling (b g 2007, ex-Millrich, by Rubiton), who scored impressive city wins in Sydney over the summer; Jason Warren’s Lady Rum Drum (b or br m 2007, Lyford, by Royal Academy (USA)), three wins from four starts; and the promising dual-winner Bartholomew (b g 2008, Harrow, by Dehere (USA)).
God’s Own has risen up the third-season sires’ ladder to be 12th (prizemoney) and eighth (winners) … already there are signs of acceptance of the stallion at a commercial level; a colt by him, a half-brother to smart sprinter Canali (from the Barathea mare Angora), fetched $75,000 at the Inglis Classic Sale in Sydney in January.
When asked for an answer about God’s Own’s return from oblivion, Yallambee Stud’s Peter Woodard said: “Resurrection? I didn’t realise he was dead! Yes, he might have been a little slow getting out of the blocks, but this is no Lazarus job … his oldest are only four and he’s getting a nice mix of precocious types and horses that train on. I’m still getting a lot of really good feedback from trainers.
“He won’t having many going through the sale ring this year, I’m extremely confident that 2012 is going to be his year—the amount of his winners since December seems to bear that out and as I keep telling everyone … believe in God!”
Over the years, Woodard and Greg Tobin, the clever spin doctor at Eliza Park, have all but exhausted every biblical catch-phrase to promote God’s Own. Maybe it’s time to let the horse’s progeny do the selling … heaven knows he deserves it.
This story appeared in the latest February 2012 issue of Inside Racing magazine.