Arrowfield Stud and long-time friend & client John Leaver lost one of their very best broodmares this week when 19-year-old Urge to Merge was euthanased after it became clear the intensive and devoted care of farm & veterinary staff was no longer enough to manage her laminitis.
Pictured: Arrowfield’s broodmare gem Urge to Merge whose progeny shone on the racetrack as well as the sale-ring. (PHOTO: Katrina Partridge)
Urge to Merge was one of only two mares that have left two yearlings sold for $2 million or more in Australasia (the other is Oceanfast). Urge to Merge and Diamond Lover are the only two mares that have so far produced a Group 1 winner sold in this yearling price bracket from an Australian or New Zealand sale.
Bred in 1993 by Akron Securities, the attractive, dark brown daughter of Last Tycoon and Princess Tracy raced eight times, winning a maiden at Seymour in April 1997.
She was retired to stud later that year, and in 1998 foaled a Woodman colt for Vinery Australia. Named Term, he won ten races, mainly in Darwin.
In April 1999 Arrowfield and John Leaver purchased Urge to Merge, in foal to Octagonal, from Vinery’s owner George Hofmeister, in a package that included Singles Bar, later the dam of Not A Single Doubt.
Urge to Merge’s second foal, also a colt, was sold by Arrowfield for $55,000 as a weanling. After re-sale as a yearling to David Payne, he went to South Africa where he was named Suntagonal and won 5 races, including the Greyville Premier’s Champion S. G1 and Turffontein Protea S. G2.
A further six yearlings from Urge To Merge followed Suntagonal through the Inglis Sydney Easter & Magic Millions Gold Coast sale-rings, selling for the remarkable total of $4,795,000.
They included two of the most expensive yearlings ever sold in Australia, her 2004 and 2005 colts by champion sire Redoute’s Choice. As it happens, the more expensive yearling also proved to be the better of the pair. Named Master of Design, he was purchased for $2.1 million in 2007 by John Ferguson in 2007 and retired to Swettenham Stud in Victoria this year as the winner of 7 races from the David Payne stable, including the ATC T.J. Smith S. G1 & Theo Marks H. G2.
Urge to Merge was a member of one of the most distinguished modern families in the Australian Stud Book. Her Group 3-winning dam Princess Tracy (by Ahonoora) produced 7 winners from ten foals, including South African Champion 2YO Filly & Older Classic Mare Tracy’s Element, Group 1 winner & sire Danasinga, Group 2 winner Topasannah, and Group 3 winners & sires Towkay & Cullen.
Tracy’s Element has enhanced the family’s record as the dam of 2010 Australian Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy, dual stakeswinner Red Element & Group 1-placed Kylikwong, dam of Redoute’s Choice’s daughter Chateau Margaux, who was a brave second in last week’s Geelong Cup G3.
Urge to Merge is the dam of six winners to date, including her two Group 1 winners, from 8 runners, and she leaves John Leaver & Arrowfield with two final fillies, a yearling by Charge Forward, and a foal by Not A Single Doubt.