Beneteau Confirmed for Blue Diamond

The owners of Beneteau have issued a statement to the media confirming their intention to target the G1 Arrowfield Stud MRC Blue Diamond Stakes in Melbourrne, a race won by champion filly Alinghi, who is a full sister to his dam Slice of Paradise.

“Members of the Blue Sky Stallion Syndicate which races boom 2YO colt Beneteau have elected to contest the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes with their colt. He will have his last prep race in the Blue Diamond Prelude on the 6th February.

“The colt has pulled up so well from his maiden win at Randwick that he has earned his way into the Diamond. Obviously if he gets through that race unscathed, he’ll come home for the Golden Slipper Carnival – but that’s to think about a little later,” said trainer Paul Messara.

“It’s great for the Blue Sky Stallion Syndicate that we have a talented colt such as Beneteau. He has the style and pedigree to be a stallion. A Group win would now make him a valuable stallion prospect,” added Julian Blaxland from Blue Sky Thoroughbreds.”

A $1million Inglis Easter purchase by champion sire Redoute’s Choice, Beneteau won brilliantly on debut at Randwick on Australia Day

Danzero youngster streets rivals

Blue Diamond plunge horse Tricky Tricky has stepped out in style in his first official barrier trial at Cranbourne this morning.

Backed from $81 into $15 last week in pre-post betting for the Blue Diamond, the Leon Corstens-trained son of Danzero streaked his rivals, winning an 800m trial by eight lengths.

After jumping from a wide barrier, Tricky Tricky crossed the field to lead by a length settling down before racing away to win in the fast time of 46.33 secs on a dead track.

Tricky Tricky’s time compared favourably with the two-year-old standard set by General Truce and Secession.

Brilliant Debut for $1million Colt

The dogs have been barking Beneteau for some time now and the eye-catching son of Redoute’s Choice lived right up to expectation when cruising home to win what looked a very strong juvenile maiden at Randwick on Australia Day.

Impressive in winning two Randwick barrier trials on January 4 and again on January 15, the Paul Messara trained colt was sent out favourite for the 1000 metre dash and did pretty much everything right.

Ridden by leading apprentice Daniel Ganderton, Beneteau jumped well and was content to settle behind the leader Georgette Silk and when asked for an effort in the straight accelerated quickly to win by the best part of three lengths in 57.62 seconds (a class record) despite still racing a touch greenly.

Nicely bred Flying Spur filly Georgette Silk boxed on well to hold second with the God’s Own filly Dreamcoat surging late to grab third a further neck away, both fillies looking to have considerable potential for the future.

“He has a great turn of foot and down the track he might be a horse that will improve with blinkers or some type of assistance, but at this point in time he is coming along well,” said Paul Messara.

“We will just see how he pulls up and we will go from there with no set plans.

“We will have a chat with the owners and decide which way we go,”

After the dust settled later in the day, connections indicated the colt would remain in Sydney for a campaign aimed at the Golden Slipper, rather than chasing immediate returns in the Blue Diamond.

Purchased for $1million from the Arrowfield draft at the 2009 Inglis Australian Yearling Sale by Blue Sky Thoroughbreds, Beneteau (pictured as a yearling) races fro a partnership that includes the Blue Sky Stallion Fund, Arrowfield Stud and partners.

He is the second foal and first winner for stakes-placed Encosta de Lago mare Slice of Paradise, a full sister to champion mare and four-time Group One winner Alinghi, who is also a member of the Arrowfield broodmare band.

Slice of Paradise joined Arrowfield when purchased off the track at the 2004 Inglis Broodmare Sale for $375,000 by Grant Pritchard-Gordon. She has no yearling this year, but did produce a filly foal by Redoute’s Choice last spring and was again covered by the champion sire.

The Redoute’s Choice x Encosta de Lago cross has not been as widely carried out as you might imagine, however it has already produced a Group One winner in South African based colt Musir and Beneteau may well add further to it’s merit.

Source: Tara Madgwick, Breednet

Starcraft youngsters have never say die attitude

Starcraft colt Starstreamed showed tremendous fight last Saturday to hold on and deadheat with Flying Spur’s grandson D’Jet in the 1000m juvenile event at Eagle Farm. This bold effort came on the back of a runner-up performance on debut back in the Spring to subsequent Magic Millions winner Military Rose.

Starstream’s pedigree reveals a less than common duplication of Epsom Derby winner Never Say Die, a son of the great Aga Khan-bred sire Nasrullah. Starcraft’s granddam Lucky Heiress, was by the very good NZ-based sire Battle-Waggon, a modestly performed son of Never Say Die. Gay Performance, the dam of Starstreamed, is a granddaughter of the Mellay mare Melodeon. Mellay, who also stood in New Zealand, was an unraced Champion Sire son of Never Say Die.

Starcraft’s other Australian first crop winner – Star Witness – has a very similar pedigree pattern in that in his case it is Battle-Waggon himself which is duplicated at 4 x 5.

Starcraft’s pedigree features a 6 x 5 x 5 duplication of Nasrullah with one of these lines significantly being a daughter named Nas-Mahal, the dam of Pompeii Court’s sire Tell. In addition Pompeii Court also features a line of Nasrullah’s three-quarter blood-brother Royal Charger while Starcraft’s sire Soviet Star features female linebreeding to Mah Mahal, a half-sister to Mumtaz Begum, Nasrullah’s dam.

It’s no surprise then that more lines of Nasrullah or duplications of the conduit lines within Starcraft’s pedigree might show up in his successful progeny.

Starstreamed happens to boast 3 additional lines of Nasrullah other than Never Say Die including her own duplication of Nasrullah’s son Grey Sovereign at 4 x 4. Starcraft’s UK Stakeswinner Don’t Tell Mary also features a line of Grey Sovereign through her dam while the dam of Star Witness carries no less than 5 different sons of Nasrullah.

It’s early days yet but it would appear that Starcraft’s female lines of Nasrullah and Royal Charger, not to mention his sire’s Mah Mahal female linebreeding may provide a strong pointer to getting the best results when breeding to Starcraft.

Magic Millions Sale: Thoughts from JM

The 2010 Magic Millions Sale provided a stabilizing influence on the industry with its average virtually unchanged from last year. The middle market was especially strong, although there seemed to be a bit of a cap at the higher end of the market. Perhaps this is a function of the GFC and the effect it had on the high hitters.

Our trio of young stars, Charge Forward, Starcraft and Snitzel fared well, while our heavyweights Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur and Hussonet made heavier going of it – but that was the nature of the beast! Buyers were quite happy to forgo “proven” horses and divert their buying to the “prospective” younger brigade. I believe that this trend will balance out by Easter time, provided the economy stays sound.

The month of February will see the judgment on the wagering court case come down, and if it’s in favour of Racing NSW, this will give the market a dose of optimism – as stakesmoney would see a significant uplift.

####MM SALE: HIGHLIGHTS

– Redoute’s Choice supplied 3 of the top 10 lots including the sale topping lot – the colt out of They Say (consigned by Strawberry Hill Stud) and purchased by Mark Pilkingtron Bloodstock for $925,000

– Off a 2007 service fee of $24,750 Charge Forward averaged $174,643 (top price $500,000)

– He may be getting older but he consistently produces a solid return in the yearling ring – Danzero (off a fee of $27,500) returning an average of $103,333

– Flying Spur yearlings sold to $400,000

– Hussonet yearlings (off a 2007 service fee of $38,500) averaged $105,714 and sold to $330,000

– Snitzel yearlings averaged $121,591 and sold to $240,000 off a fee of $33,000

– Starcraft yearlings sold to $340,000 and averaged $120,000 off a fee of $33,000

Inglis Premier Sale Grads. Salute

In 2006 Arrowfield consigned a plain bay colt by Hussonet (USA) at the Melbourne Premier Sale for $80,000. That colt – named WEEKEND HUSSLER – went on to claim 7 Group 1 wins, more than $3m, and Australian Racehorse of the Year honours.

Yesterday EXCUSE MY FRENCH (French Deputy ex Trois Couleurs, by Carnegie (IRE)) further underlined the quality of the horses consigned by Arrowfield at Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale when the 3YO gelding won the Listed Hobart Guineas (following a win in the Listed TTC Tasmanian Guineas 2 weeks earlier) and took his earnings to $190,875. A day earlier 2 other 2008 Premier graduates provided a metropolitan double: ABSOLUTE FAITH (Not A Single Doubt ex Tender Saint (USA), by St Jovite) winning a 3YO Fillies Handicap at Flemington (taking her prizemoney past $108,000) and SWEEPSTAKING (Not A Single Doubt-Tennessee Sunrise, by End Sweep (USA)) collecting her 4th career win – her 2 length victory in the 1200m 3YO Handicap at Eagle Farm taking her prizemoney to $116,880. Given the collective price of these 3 yearlings was $185,000 – their prizemoney pool of $416,355 is eye catching!

Other recent Melbourne Premier graduates include stakes placed BRAZEN HUSSEY (Hussonet (USA) ex Lady Danette, by Danehill) – 6 wins and $211,231.

Arrowfield has 16 yearlings catalogued for the 2010 Melbourne Premier Sale including:

Lot 35 – a colt by 6-time G1 winner DEEP IMPACT (JPN) out of the dam of 2-time G1 winner TAWQEET

Lot 107 – A Hussonet (USA) half brother to YAMMER and BLAB

Lot 208 – a full brother to Brazen Hussey

Lot 320 – a Snitzel half-brother to 7 winners including SMYTZER’S TRISH (dam of SWISH TRISH) and STELLA ARTOIS (dam of FREESTYLE and Bawaardi).

Lot 428 – A Flying Spur half brother to Distinctive Lass from the immediate family of 3-time G1 winner SPECIAL

Bellerive will consign 15 yearlings including:

Lot 46 – The Snitzel half-brother to FIBBER

Lot 254 – A filly by Redoute’s Choice out of G2 winner MAZE

Lot 305 – A granddaughter of the G1 winner SILVER CHALICE

Freshman Sires Unstoppable

There’s a reason Snitzel holds the title of Leading First Season Sire 2009/2010:

– 2 Snitzel quinellaed the STC Golden Slipper Festival on Sale Handicap (1100m) on the first Saturday of the New Year: ONE MORE GRAND (ex Lambada Lady (USA), by Seattle Slew) came into Saturday’s race a 5.5 length winner of his previous start. Like his sire – who won the G1 Oakleigh Plate in similar conditions – he demonstrated no difficulty in transferring his form to a rainswept Rosehill track and won by an easy 3.8 lengths. ROCK MY HEART (ex Helisseous, by Helissio (Fr)) made up considerable ground to run second after badly missing the start, a performance prompting commentators to remark that the colt’s first win will not be far off.

– Prior to this duo’s performance, INTERTIDAL (ex Miss Rainmaker, by Hurricane Sky) had already accrued dual metropolitan wins, joining fellow city winner CHANCE BYE (ex Rouge Femme, by Red Ransom) who trounced her rivals by 3.5 lengths in the $250,000 Inglis Nursery Handicap.

– BOUZY ROUGE (ex Blurrta, by Bahhare (USA)) has a win and two placings from four starts.

– On 9 January THIRD MAN (ex Missing Sheets, by Western Symphony (USA)) finished third (just 0.3 lengths behind the leader) in a 1000m 2YO Handicap at Randwick.

– On 16 January in a 2YO Handicap at Randwick the Gerald Ryan-trained TOP DROP (Fine Red, by Red Ransom (USA)) was never closer than four wide for the entire trip of the Spring Valley Smart Energy Handicap (1100m) but found enough to repel the challenge of Testarhythm by a short neck with 2 ¾-lengths back to Much Much More in third place. Ryan was effusive in his praise for Snitzel after Top Drop’s brave win and made a startling comment about a few Snitzel progeny we have yet to see “I’ve got five of them [by Snitzel] in the stable and this bloke is probably the worst one out of the lot of them. I’ve got Intertidal, Rock My Heart and a couple of unraced ones I rate above him. Having said that, he’s done a terrific job today.”

– Yesterday TOUGH DIAMOND (ex Sound Reason, by One Pound Sterling) ran 3rd in the TRC Food Lovers on Albert 2YO H.

They are impressive statistics for any sire let alone a first season stallion: 5 winners and 3 placegetters from 11 starters for $461,510 in prizemoney. The early precocity of the Snitzel stock have prompted comparisons with the stallion’s own racetrack performance – a record-breaking 2YO who won his first start in the Listed Breeders Plate (1000m) by three lengths, who trained on at three to claim G1 glory against the older sprinters including Takeover Target and Virage de Fortune.

Starcraft has also produced exceptional results for a first season sire -each of his 5 runners to date finishing in the first 3 past the post.

– In Australia he has 2 metropolitan winners: STARSTREAMED (ex Gay Performance, by Bataan) and STAR WITNESS (ex Lion Hunter, by Last Tycoon) plus 2 metropolitan placegetters from 4 starters, and in New Zealand a placegetter from 1 starter.

– The stallion’s early results add to his results in Europe which saw his first ever starter – DON’T TELL MARY (ex Polar Falcon, by Master Willie) – win a Listed race whilst KEEP COOL (ex Darshaan, by Sadler’s Wells) is G3 placed in Germany.

Flying Spur Emerging Broodmare Sire of Note

In 2009 Flying Spur was responsible, as broodmare sire, for Golden Slipper winner Sebring (More Than Ready (USA) ex Purespeed, by Flying Spur). In 2010 he added the Magic Millions 2YO winner Military Rose (General Nediym ex Bella Maddelena, by Flying Spur) who has now won all four of her starts – two of them at Listed level – and after her Magic Millions 2YO success her earnings total $1,332,000 – a fine return on the $155,000 she cost as a yearling.

There is a strong Arrowfield connection to this filly’s family – Military Rose’s granddam Zest (resident Arrowfield mare – currently in foal to Not A Single Doubt) is a half-sister to five stakeswinners, notably G1 winner Zeditave, while notable winners descended from Summoned, the third-dam of Military Rose, include South African G1 winner Grey’s Inn, G2 winning sprinter Jet Spur (Flying Spur), high-class New Zealand filly Shikoba and the Silver Slipper Stakes winner Melito (Redoute’s Choice).

As broodmare sire Flying Spur is responsible for 3 G1 winners, 3 individual earners of more than $1m in prizemoney, and in terms of juvenile speed, the winners of the 2009 Golden Slipper and the 2010 Magic Millions.

35th Stakeswinner for Danzero

DANZYLUM (ex Political Asylum, by Plush (NZ)) won Saturday’s $151,000 Chester Manifold Stakes LR (1410m) at Flemington. The 6YO gelding has now won 10 races and been placed on 13 other occasions for prize money over $380,000. Danzylum (one of nine winners from his dam) becomes the 35th stakeswinner for his sire.

Danzylum’s Listed win follows the success of 2 other Danzero progeny on Magic Millions Race Day last weekend: 5YO mare and 2006 Bellerive Sales Graduate HIDDEN WONDER (ex Princess Shorna, by Last Tycoon) made it 3 successive wins with a 0.75-length victory in the $250,000 Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) whilst 4YO mare ZERO ROCK (ex Broc ‘n’ Roll, by Brocco) finished 2nd in the $500,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m).

Danzero was also in the news last week as the sire of 2 horses who appeared on the latest International Federation Of Horse Authorities 2009 World Thoroughbred Ranking. To merit inclusion, a horse must have been rated 115 or above & of the 333 horses listed, 50 were Australian-trained (a record in any World Thoroughbred Rankings over a 12-month period). HAPPY ZERO (ex Have Lad, by Canny Lad) rated 119 for his win in the HK-2 Cathay Pacific International Sprint Trial (1200m). 3-time G1 winner NICONERO (ex Nicola Lass, by Scenic (IRE)) received a rating of 116.

Standardbred study Dispels Alleged A.I. Benefits

Would the introduction of Artificial Insemination (A.I.) improve overall fertility in the Thoroughbred herd? Would A.I. cause a narrowing of the Thoroughbred gene pool?

Pro-A.I. supporters will state that A.I. improves fertility rates and that it does not narrow the gene pool.

New research conducted by Arrowfield Group’s pedigree analyst, Peter Jenkins – using the Australian Standardbred industry as a model – has uncovered some interesting results. Jenkins’ research shows that overall fertility, as manifested in the live foal rate, diminished with the use of A.I. and that there has been a significant narrowing of the gene pool since its widespread introduction into the Standardbred industry.

The use of the Australian Standardbred industry as a model to study the effects of A.I. carries strong credibility due to identical geographical and climatic conditions and a common pool of veterinary expertise.

In 1994 the live foal rate for Thoroughbreds in Australia was 63.4%, trailing by 6.4% the Standardbred rate of 69.8%. However, by 2008 the Thoroughbred live foal rate had risen to 67.0%, eclipsing the Standardbred rate of 61.3% by 5.7%. Interestingly, the very first year that imported frozen or chilled semen was used on more than 100 Standardbred mares – 1998 – was the very year that the Standardbred live foal rate fell below that of the Thoroughbreds. The evidence indicates that there is no overall fertility benefit to be gained by allowing A.I. usage within the Thoroughbred industry.

It is also evident, as seen by the comparative study of the top 20 most popular stallions in the Standardbred code, in both the pre-A.I. and current era, that stallion numbers in the Standardbred industry have been reduced by more than half with the most popular stallions serving vastly more mares. Disturbingly, the top 5 Standardbred sires averaged 341 mares served per season (incl. chilled semen services in NZ) and the top 20 sires covered 42% of the total broodmares bred not just in Australia but in Australia and NZ combined. This compares with 15.8% of mares bred being covered by the top 20 stallions in the pre-A.I. Standardbred era. It would therefore be very difficult to argue that a similar pattern would not develop if A.I. were introduced in Thoroughbreds.

“In fact, if the Australian Thoroughbred industry was overlaid with the Standardbred model, we could see the top 20 Thoroughbred stallions ‘covering’ over 550 mares annually on average” said Peter Jenkins.

“This reduction of stallion numbers and the enlarged books served by the most popular sires (as evident in the Standardbred industry) would logically result in a significant genetic narrowing which, using sirelines as a marker, is confirmed by our research” added Jenkins.

Further, given that overall genetic narrowing in the Standardbred code is tempered somewhat by mainly colonial damlines, the impact of A.I. on the Thoroughbred code is liable to be more dramatic in terms of genetic narrowing due to the high numbers and the very strong commercial impact imported mares have enjoyed in Australian Thoroughbred breeding in recent years.

“I believe the Standardbred experience confirms that an A.I. regime in Thoroughbreds would result in genetic narrowing, a likely significant reduction in stallion numbers together with a large increase in the number of mares being bred by popular stallions leading to a greater concentration of power among stallion owners, and added to this no fertility advantage for the general broodmare population”, said Arrowfield Chairman John Messara.

“Not surprisingly, the reproduction vets are supportive of the introduction of A.I. because it can assist them with sub-fertile breeding stock – the bane of their lives. However, as can be seen in Standardbreds, the application of A.I. would not improve the fertility figures industry wide.”

“While the most established stallion operators, such as Arrowfield, would be the major financial beneficiaries from the introduction of A.I, my belief is that A.I. would have serious negative impacts on our sport and the Thoroughbred industry as a whole”, concluded Messara.