Arrowfield loses exceptional broodmare

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.

Andy Williams to join Arrowfield sales team

Arrowfield Stud is pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Williams to its Sales & Nominations team.

Born in the heart of New Zealand’s thoroughbred industry, in the Waikato, Andy’s early interest in racing and breeding was fostered by family friends Alan Jones, a leading trainer, and his wife Linda, who helped pave the way for female jockeys in the 1970s.

Andy, 26, graduated in 2007 from the University of Otago with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Marketing & Accounting. During his time at university, Andy gained practical equine experience with Darley Australia, and experience in sales with Lion Nathan and New Zealand Bloodstock.

In 2007 he gained a place on the Darley Flying Start programme, a two-year international management training programme for potential leaders of the thoroughbred industry. Andy’s work placements on Darley Flying Start included Keeneland Sales in Kentucky, top trainers Michael Jarvis in Newmarket and David Hayes in Australia, and the Dubai strategy company Falcon & Associates.

Since graduating from Darley Flying Start in 2009, Andy has worked with the Darley nominations team, principally in the United States, but also in Australia. He is currently working at the UK & US yearling sales with Blandford Bloodstock.

Andy will fill the vacancy left by Louis Le Metayer who worked with Arrowfield for four years, and departed earlier this month to establish his own bloodstock agency.

Andy takes up the position of Arrowfield Sales & Nominations on 2 January 2013.

Charge Forward colt wins rich Inglis Banner

Charge Forward ‘s 2YO son Crack A Roadie opened Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley in great style by winning the $250,000 Inglis Banner over 1000 metres on debut.

Pictured: Crack A Roadie (pink colours) responds generously to Craig Williams’ urging at Moonee Valley today. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Jockey Craig Williams settled the bay colt at the rear of the field and brought him wide through the turn. Crack A Roadie took a while to get balanced, and with 100 metres to go still had two lengths to make up, but make them up he did, in time to score by a short half head.

Arrowfield’s influence was also evident in all three horses behind Crack A Roadie: runner-up Diva Dee is from a Redoute’s Choice mare and third-placed Shamus Award is by Snitzel, while the fourth placegetter Direct Charge is also from Charge Forward’s 2010 crop.

Crack A Roadie, bred by Arrowfield in partnership with Planette Thoroughbred & Belford Productions, is trained by Stephen Theodore who purchased him for $40,000 from the Bellerive Stud draft at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Stephen also trains the colt’s year-older full brother Road Trippin’, a Group 2-placed winner who has similarly returned six-figure prizemoney on the $22,500 paid for him at the 2011 Melbourne Sale.

Both colts are from the Flying Spur mare Road to Damascus, who has a yearling colt by Manhattan Rain, and visits All American this spring.

Craig Williams told Thoroughbred News after Crack A Roadie’s win, “Steve has put a lot of work into this horse and ever since….his first trial he got in touch with my agent Mark Guest and told us what he thought of the horse.

“He is very solid and he took a lot of riding but every time I asked him he responded really well.”

Crack A Roadie is raced by a group of owners including Scott Brown, Ken Fagan, Trent Murphy, Hit The Line Racing, and Frank & Shirley Welsford, who can now look forward to a possible Listed Race start at Flemington on 10 November.

3YO fillies confirm promise at Moonee Valley

A trio of Arrowfield-sired 3YO fillies confirmed their promise this evening in the $220,000 MVRC Moonee Valley Fillies Classic 1600m G2.

The race was won by Red Ransom’s daughter Kazanluk from Stella Lante (by Starcraft) and Arrowfield graduate Moreau (by Snitzel), with Charge Forward’s daughter Balaclava Lady a fast-finishing fourth.

All four fillies are progressive, with Kazanluk possibly VRC Oaks-bound, and the other three fillies all capable of enhancing their records during the season.

Stella Lante, bred by Tori Park Stud from Villa Lante (by Filante), won and was placed in black type company as a 2YO and has added three seconds from her five starts at three.

For the maiden Moreau (ex Francophile by French Deputy), this was her first time out in city, as well as Group class racing.

Her effort impressed jockey Michael Rodd whose post-race comments were noted by Racenet, “Really nice progressive filly. Nice staying type and there might be something for her over the carnival if they want to back her up again.”

Moreau is the 29th stakes performer by Snitzel, who has four Australian crops of racing age.

Balaclava Lady’s rider Michael Walker said simply, “If she doesn’t hang she wins.” Raced by her breeders Ross Wilkinson & Sandra Lawrence, Balaclava Lady (ex Deep in the Woods by Danewin), was an impressive maiden winner at Caulfield last month.

Chateau Margaux impresses in Geelong Cup

Gerry Harvey‘s home-bred mare Chateau Margaux confirmed the progress she has made this season with an excellent second in today’s $295,000 Geelong Cup 2400m G3.

Pictured: Chateau Margaux after winning at Caulfield on 30 September 2012, Luke Nolen up. (PHOTO: Martin King)

The 4YO daughter of Redoute’s Choice was the only Australian-bred runner in the 7-horse field and found plenty during the final, punishing 600 metres, run by the winner, British-bred Gatewood, in a remarkable 32.09 seconds.

Chateau Margaux finished less than a length away, and just shaded the US-bred Brigantin, having his first start in Australia. Both Gatewood and Brigantin are likely Melbourne Cup starters.

Trained by Peter Moody, Chateau Margaux had two starts has a late 2YO, then returned last summer to win three consecutives races, including two in Melbourne.

Her current campaign opened with placings at 1400 and 1600 metres, before a third in last month’s MVRC W.H. Stocks S. 1600m G2, then city wins at 1800 and 2040 metres in preparation for today’s race.

Chateau Margaux has now won five times and placed three times in 11 starts, earning almost $250,000.

The quality of her pedigree is expressed in her name – one of the great wine estates of Bordeaux. She is from the Red Ransom mare Kylikwong, a Group 1-placed sister of Australian Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy. That makes her a relative of Group 1 winners Master of Design (also by Redoute’s Choice), Danasinga and Suntagonal, and Group winners Topasannah, Cullen, Towkay, Happy Morning, Fatal Attraction & Prince of War.

Kylikwong is due to foal a full sibling to Chateau Margaux this spring.

Basketballer-turned-breeder enjoys first stakes success

Former US professional basketballer Todd Lichti enjoyed his first major success as a thoroughbred breeder last week when the 2YO filly Villa Verde won the $120,000 MRC Debutants S. LR at her first start.

Pictured: Michael Rodd pilots Villa Verde to a fine debut victory at Caulfield last Wednesday. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

The grey daughter of Not A Single Doubt and Young and Free (by Kenmare) is from the first group of yearlings that Todd and his Australian-born wife Sue have offered at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Villa Verde represents a very satisfying result of a calculated punt Todd took at the Inglis Australian Breeding Stock Sale in June 2010.

Todd says, “I wouldn’t normally look at a 16-year-old mare, but Young and Free was in foal to Not A Single Doubt and I thought he was a young sire on the up with good things just around the corner for him.

“I also liked that Young and Free was from Rory’s Jester’s family, while Not A Single Doubt is from a Rory’s Jester mare. She was a well put together mare and good value at the money.”

It didn’t take long for the $10,500 Todd paid for Young and Free to look even better value. Squamosa, Doubtful Jack and Karuta Queen quickly put Not A Single Doubt on the map in the spring of 2010, and on 8 November the mare delivered an attractive, correct filly.

Kiah Glenn’s Janita Edwards prepared Villa Verde as a yearling and remembers her as “a big, strong, robust filly with a bit of attitude who was very busy at the sale.”

The successful buyer at $95,000 was trainer Shaun Dwyer who did not hesitate after last Wednesday’s win to compare Villa Verde with his former stable star Regimental Gal.

“Before her first race she has shown me more than Regimental Gal did before her debut. She is very good and her times on the track have been enormous.

“She has a long way to go to be as good as Regimental Gal, but if we can hold her together she has the class to be something special.”

Although nominated for the $250,000 Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley this Saturday, Villa Verde’s next target has been confirmed by her trainer as the VRC Ottawa S. LR on Melbourne Cup day. She will then be spelled before preparing for an autumn campaign.

In the meantime, Todd will present 7 yearlings in the Kiah Glenn draft at the 2013 Melbourne Premier Sale. He is reducing his broodmares to a similar number while steadily increasing their quality. Young and Free, now 19, has already been sold, to ACT-based Harford Farm.

He says, “We’re aiming to produce at least one stakes horse and two or three city winners each year, and to offer nice, tight drafts of good types that will sell well.”

Todd, who works with premium wine distributor Sant? Wines, acknowledges the generous assistance he’s received from several experienced industry people, including Adam Sangster, Ian Rimmington, pedigree specialist Brian Messner, Inglis bloodstock consultant James Price, and the farms that care for his horses: Kiah Glenn in South Australia, Goulburn Park in Victoria and Oaklyn Farm in New South Wales.

Californian-born Todd’s interest in thoroughbred racing and breeding was sparked when he came to Australia in the late 1990s to play basketball with the Perth Wildcats, and again when he and Sue settled in Melbourne ten years ago.

He says, “Horse-racing isn’t followed by many people in the United States, but in Australia it’s much more part of the culture. Every morning, getting a coffee, you’ll meet someone who owns a horse or knows something about racing.

“I always wanted to try it, and Australia seems like the best place in the world to do it. And the Melbourne Spring Carnival is fairly intoxicating!”

Sacred Falls boosts record of Redoute's Choice mares

Champion sire & sire of sires is the most common description of Redoute’s Choice and with two General Premierships and three sons joining him among Australia’s current top 20 sires, it is well & truly earned.

Pictured: Redoute’s Choice at Arrowfield in April 2012. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

However, his daughters are making sure he appears regularly in the bottom half of stakes-winning pedigrees too, and have already notched up 11 stakeswinners, seven of them successful at Group level.

The most recent of them, 3YO New Zealand colt Sacred Falls, looks a fine chance of becoming the first Group 1 winner from a Redoute’s Choice mare.

Today he extended his unbeaten record to five in a very strong renewal of the Waikato RC James & Annie Sarten Memorial 1400m G3, an important lead-up to the NZ 2000 Guineas G1 at Riccarton on 10 November.

Sacred Falls’ winning margin was only a long neck, but his time was a slick 1:22.48 on the Dead6 Te Rapa track, and his rivals included the Group 1 winner Warhorse (6th), Group 2 winner Rollout The Carpet (2nd) & Redoute’s Choice’s daughter Pure Elegance (4th), last-start winner of the Gold Trail S. G3.

Sacred Falls also took out the Hawke’s Bay Guineas G2 in spectacular fashion on 6 October, after slipping at the start and circling the field to win going away.

Bred by Waikato Stud 2001 Ltd, Sacred Falls is trained by Tony Pike & Mark Donoghue for Malaysian construction millionaire Dato Yap Kim San, whose Cambridge-based Raffles Farm & Australasian bloodstock interests are managed by Bruce Sherwin.

The pedigree of Sacred Falls, by Last Tycoon’s son O’Reilly, reverses the proven Redoute’s Choice/Last Tycoon cross that has produced a remarkable 8 stakeswinners, including Group 1 winners Dariana and Master of Design, from only 39 named foals.

His dam Iguazu’s Girl, the dam of Sacred Falls is a first-crop daughter of Redoute’s Choice, from the dual Group winner Iguazu, also dam & grand-dam of Group winners Splashing Out and Shopaholic.

Redoute's Choice follows son's example at Caulfield

For Arrowfield, Wednesday at Caulfield belonged to Not A Single Doubt who kicked off the card with an early double including a Listed Race win by 2YO filly Villa Verde.

Today his champion sire Redoute’s Choice followed suit with a similar double on Caulfield Cup day, and impressive supporting performances at Randwick & Eagle Farm.

Pictured: Alzora’s big run earns her black capital status at Caulfield today. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

3YO Redoute’s Choice filly Alzora broke her maiden in the best possible fashion with victory in the $120,000 MRC Ethereal S. 2000m LR – a race won last year by Flying Spur ‘s daughter Gliding.

Bred & sold by Emirates Park, Alzora was purchased for $115,000 by Mark Pilkington at the 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, and is trained by David Hayes for Rob & Yvonne Crabtree’s Dorrington Farm.

She is the 94th individual stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice, and his 7th this season, after Albrecht & Dystopia (Australia), Packing OK (Hong Kong), Abidewithme & Pure Elegance (New Zealand) and Shaqira (Germany).

The $1 million VRC Oaks G1 on 8 November beckons for Alzora, who is from the Gulch mare Bryce Canyon (USA), in her turn from a Sadler’s Wells mare. This is the same pedigree pattern as champion filly and 2006 VRC Oaks winner Miss Finland, from a mare by another Mr Prospector son in Woodman, and the Sadler’s Wells mare Moonshell as her second dam.

A Time for Julia, also from Redoute’s Choice’s 2009 crop, opened the Caulfield Cup day card with her second win from three starts, defeating Ciao (by Not A Single Doubt) and Real Stolle.

Trained by Peter Moody for owner-breeders John & Deb Camilleri of Fairway Thoroughbreds, A Time for Julia is the 5th stakeswinner from the wonderful broodmare Procrastinate, by a third Mr. Prospector son, Jade Hunter.

An easy win at Eagle Farm by the brilliant 3YO colt Reflectance (ex Lady Capel by Last Tycoon), King’s Rose‘s second placing in the MRC Moonga S. G3, and a very pleasing debut 3rd at Randwick by 2YO colt Citations (ex Pure Joy by Fusaichi Pegasus) completed a tremendous day for Redoute’s Choice in Australia.

Snitzel & Starcraft shine in Sydney

While Redoute’s Choice was taking care of business in Melbourne today, his barn-mates Snitzel and Starcraft were supplying three of the 8 winners on the Randwick card.

Snitzel ‘s 2YO daughter Sweet Idea put herself squarely in the 2013 Magic Millions Classic frame with a smart debut win over 1000 metres in class record time of 57.39 seconds.

Pictured: Arrowfield-bred and -sold filly Sweet Idea, Tommy Berry up, scoots to victory on debut at Randwick today. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Sweet Idea was bred by the Arrowfield/Jungle Pocket partnership and purchased from the Arrowfield draft at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale for $240,000 by Gai Waterhouse & James Harron. Her ownership group overlaps that of last season’s Waterhouse-trained Magic Millions runner-up No Looking Back, and includes David & Luke Henderson.

Sweet Idea’s dam Flidais (by Timber Country) foaled another Snitzel filly on 2 October and returns to the outstanding son of Redoute’s Choice.

Three races later came the day’s second success for the Arrowfield-Jungle Pocket joint venture, when 4YO entire Snitsky stopped the clock in 1:22.11 for 1400 metres. This was also a class record and Snitsky’s 5th win from nine starts, achieved in a manner that suggests black type is well within his reach.

Snitzsky (ex Bandolera by Dehere) was purchased by Darby Bloodstock for $55,000 from the Bellerive Stud draft at the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, and he is one of Gerald Ryan‘s remarkable tally of 18 winners by Snitzel.

Next, it was the turn of Starcraft . He fielded his resolute 5YO daughter Crafty Irna in the $100,000 City Tattersalls Club Cup 2400m LR and she showed real courage to prevail in a tight finish for her second black type victory.

Her record now reads four wins and 8 placings from 25 starts, and a healthy return of $410,735 on the $125,000 outlaid for her at the 2009 NZ Premier Sale. Crafty Irna is raced by Peter Kearney, Clement Lee, Tony Andreacchio, Tom Lamond, Paul Fitzgerald, Charles Dowsett, Paul Young, John Osmond, David Lamond, Jane Brandis & Tim Noonan.

Crafty Irna (ex Zirna by Deputy Governor) is Starcraft’s second Australian stakeswinner this season after the Flemington Group 2 winner Hallowell Belle.

Snitzel holds 9th position on the Australian General Sires’ list with $1,417,880 and, like Starcraft, has two stakeswinners on the board, multiple Group winner Snitzerland and Flemington stakeswinner Pronto Pronto.

Redoute's Choice closes on a century of stakeswinners

The odds on Redoute’s Choice reaching his century of stakeswinners this season have shortened again this week, after results in Germany and New Zealand have taken his lifetime tally to 93.

Pictured: Champion sire Redoute’s Choice, now the sire of 93 stakeswinners, at Arrowfield in 2012. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

Today Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan‘s home-bred 3YO filly Abidewithme made it two-from-two with a determined victory in the Ashburton RC John Grigg S. 1400m LR.

She is the second Redoute’s Choice filly to win this race in the past three years: King’s Rose won it two years ago before winning the NZ 1000 Guineas G1 and the 2011 New Zealand Filly of the Year title.

The manner of Abidewithme’s win today confirmed her trainer Jason Bridgman‘s pre-race opinion that the Guineas distance of 1600 metres will not trouble her.

He told Jeff Dore afterwards, “I’m really chuffed with that and she is a filly going places.

“She has a nomination for both Guineas races and if she comes through the race well then more than likely we will press on to one of those two. The bottom line is how much ability you have, and she has a big motor and has that top gear. Good horses can win at shorter trips and she is going the right way.”

Like four of Redoute’s Choice’s other six New Zealand stakeswinners, Abidewithme is from a daughter of New Zealand’s reigning supersire, Zabeel – in this case, the Group 2 winner Crimson, the last of four black type winners from the grand producer Bourbon Lassie.

Crimson has also been a fine broodmare, already responsible for Group 1-placed stakeswinner Miss Scarlatti and stakes-placed A Fairy’s Kiss among her six winners.

Abidewithme’s success came five days after Redoute’s Choice’s 4YO daughter Shaqira scored by 3 lengths in the Munich Nereide Rennen LR over 2000 metres – her sixth win from 13 starts.

Shaqira is her champion sire’s 5th stakeswinner from only 33 northern hemisphere runners, following Musir (UAE & Turkey), Elzaam, Tazahum (England) & Clianthus (Japan).

Bred by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum from the stakes-winning Darshaan mare Hammiya, Shaqira is trained by Wolfgang Figge for the Munich Syndicate.

The tally of Redoute’s Choice’s worldwide stakeswinners in the 2012/13 season now stands at six in four countries (Albrecht & Dystopia in Australia; Packing OK in Hong Kong; Pure Elegance & Abidewithme in NZ; and Shaqira in Germany).

Few bets in racing are utterly sure, but the career milestone of 100 stakeswinners is surely within the champion sire’s grasp this season.