Vale Shantha's Choice

Arrowfield has two very special reasons to mourn the death on 19 April of 19-year-old Shantha’s Choice (Canny Lad-Dancing Show (USA) by Nijinsky II).

Pictured: Shantha’s Choice, dam of five stakeswinners, including three Group 1-winning colts. (PHOTO: Katrina Partridge)

However, beyond our gratitude to Shantha’s Choice and her owner Mr Muzaffar Yaseen for producing Arrowfield’s champion sire Redoute’s Choice and young stallion Manhattan Rain , we share the Australian thoroughbred industry’s appreciation of the lifetime achievement of a truly extraordinary broodmare.

Bred in 1992 by the Evening Star Breeding Venture, Shantha’s Choice was purchased by Mr Yaseen for $220,000 at the 1994 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, in the wake of her two Group 1-winning half-brothers Umatilla & Hurricane Sky. It was an investment Shantha’s Choice was to repay many times over, although she won only the first of her two raceday starts, and none of her progeny was offered for sale at public auction.

Sent to champion sire Danehill in the spring of 1995, she foaled a strapping bay colt on 15 August 1996. The 102 foals by Danehill born that year also included Group 1 winners Blackfriars, Catbird & Emerald Dream and Group 3 winners Commands & Cullen, but Redoute’s Choice was unquestionably the star of the crop, winning the Blue Diamond S. G1 at his second start, an epic Caulfield Guineas G1 and two other Group 1 races in a stellar racing career.

Redoute’s Choice has maintained that alpha status at stud, as the exceptional champion sire of 86 stakeswinners (21 Group 1 winners), with an ambitious bunch of sire sons and broodmare daughters rapidly building his own dynasty.

Shantha’s Choice went on to deliver another 12 foals in the following 14 years, among them two more Group 1 winners Platinum Scissors (by Danehill) and Manhattan Rain (by Encosta de Lago), Group 3 winner Sliding Cube (by Rock of Gibraltar) and stakeswinner Echoes of Heaven (by Encosta de Lago). Another two foals, Superior Sateen & Monsoon Wedding were stakes performers, while Choice Song was a three-time winner.

In perfect broodmare fashion, Shantha’s Choice’s first four foals were colts, and her last three are fillies: 3YO Ten Carat Rock (by Rock of Gibraltar), the yearling Taste of Heaven (by Encosta de Lago), and 2YO The Broken Shore (by Hussonet), placed in three of her four starts this season. This trio, as well as Shantha’s Choice’s earlier daughters Monsoon Wedding, Sliding Cube and Unspoken Choice have all been retained by Mr Yaseen’s Teeley Assets Ltd.

The likely sources of Shantha’s Choice’s prepotency are not hard to find. She was by a wonderful great-grandson of Star Kingdom out of a Nijinsky mare that left two Group 1-winning and -siring sons, Umatilla (33 SW) & Hurricane Sky (19 SW), and several other fine broodmare daughters.

Shantha’s Choice was also a tail-female descendant of Best in Show, the 1982 US Broodmare of the Year described as one of the most important thoroughbreds of the past half-century. The role of Shantha’s Choice as a key link between her illustrious great-granddam and the family’s success in the next half-century is already assured.

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