Many goodbyes are difficult, but some are harder than others.
Danzero‘s departure on 5 August from Arrowfield to Rosemont Stud in Victoria was poignant for everyone who has worked with him at Arrowfield where he has lived since his return eleven years ago from his sole northern hemisphere season in England.
Pictured: Danzero, with Arrowfield Operations Manager Sam Fairgray and Chairman John Messara, before his departure from the farm. (PHOTO: Katrina Partridge)
Danzero holds a special place, not only in the story of Arrowfield, but also in Australian thoroughbred history. His dam, the Kaoru Star mare Confidentially, had been raced by John Messara and Danzero was bred by the Arrowfield Group at the original Jerry’s Plains farm.
Foaled on 15 November 1991, the dark bay colt was one of the 52 foals in the first crop of Danehill, whose acquisition by Arrowfield in 1990 changed the destiny of Australian racing and breeding.
Forty-two of those first crop foals raced, ten became stakeswinners, and five won at Group 1 level. Danzero won the VRC Maribyrnong Trial S. LR at his debut on 2 October 1993, becoming Danehill’s first Australian stakeswinner. A little more than five months later, on 26 March 1994, Danzero opened his sire’s international Group 1 record when he triumphed in the STC Golden Slipper S. G1. Danehill’s final tally of Group 1 winners stands at 89, well ahead of his nearest rival Sadler’s Wells (73).
In all, Danzero won four of his nine starts and just over $1.3 million before returning to Arrowfield where he stood his first two seasons in 1995 & 1996. He then transferred to the Willis family’s Chatswood Stud in Victoria for the 1997 season.
After selling the yearling Danzero for $55,000, and buying him back two years later for $2.5 million, John Messara famously declared “We’ll go broke if we carry on like this.”
But Arrowfield’s future was in safe hands with Danzero, who once again led the way for Danehill, this time as a sire of sires, by leaving Champion 3YO Fairway and Group 1 winner Danglissa in his first crop. Danzero was crowned Australia’s Champion First Season Sire of 1998/99 and steadily built a reputation for quality performers at a wide range of distances and ages.
In 2004 he made history again when his champion son Dance Hero won the Golden Slipper, defeating Charge Forward , Alinghi and Fastnet Rock in race record time of 1.08.60. That helped Danzero to his second stallion premiership, this time for the country’s Champion Sire of 2YOs.
Danzero leaves Arrowfield as the sire of 37 stakeswinners (7 G1) among 544 winners and progeny earnings of more than $58 million. Last season’s stakeswinners Danzylum, Hidden Wonder and Zero Rock are all typical of the talented, competitive, thoroughly admirable horses Danzero leaves. He’s also making his mark as a broodmare sire, with 10 stakeswinners from his daughters, most recently the European Group 3-winning filly Dalarua, from the French-bred mare Djenanne.
The Arrowfield team’s sadness at seeing Danzero leave the farm last week is tempered by the knowledge that he will be very well cared for at Rosemont, and warmly appreciated by Victorian breeders.
Rosemont’s owner Anthony Mithen says, “The reaction to Danzero coming back to Victoria has been quite extraordinary. I have been run off my feet taking bookings since the day we announced his move to Rosemont. As a farm standing their first stallion, it has been humbling to have breeders show faith in what we can provide, but I’ve got a funny feeling the stallion chooses himself.
“With seven G1 winners, nearly 40 stakeswinners, champions produced and a $10,000 fee priced for the market we are in, it’s little wonder he’s virtually booked out and ready to cover his 85 mares this season.
“We’ve done a power of work around the farm to be ready for him including building a new stallion box. It’s not quite the dimensions of Redoute’s Choice’s salubrious surrounds, but not far off!”
Anthony adds, “Many thanks to the Arrowfield staff who have made his relocation so easy for us at Rosemont. Trust us, we will do your magnificent stallion proud.”
To which we can only add: Danzero, thank you and farewell.