Miss Finland's son wins on debut

Miss Finland, the champion daughter of Redoute’s Choice, can now add another line to her illustrious CV: dam of a debut winner.

Her 3YO son Woodbine (by Hussonet) started favourite over 1000 metres at Hawkesbury today and did not let punters down, settling just behind the early leaders and driving forward on the turn to score handily by 2.5 lengths from Trent’s Quest and Earnest Desire.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse for a partnership headed by Blue Sky Thoroughbreds Stallion Fund No. 5, Woodbine trialled twice last season, in September, when he ran third to Va Pensiero and Whittington, and again in July. He then won a trial by 3.5 lengths at Randwick on 19 August, and on the back of that performance his trainer expected a big run from him today.

Miss Finland won eleven races, five of them at Group 1 level, during a splendid career that established her as a champion of her generation. Her first foal, the unraced Miss Helsinki (also by Hussonet) has been retired to stud this year, and Woodbine is followed by a pair of Street Cry fillies. Miss Finland is due to foal to More Than Ready this spring and will then visit Arrowfield’s latest acquisition, Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom.

Woodbine’s sire Hussonet was purchased in 2003 by Arrowfield where he stood for eight seasons before his transfer to Cornerstone Stud, South Australia. A multiple champion sire in Chile, Hussonet has a career tally of 88 stakeswinners, 30 of them from his Australian crops, with four (Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, Reaan, Gold Trail & Eagle Falls) successful at Group 1 level. 

Woodbine was purchased for $750,000 from the Arrowfield draft at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Sale by Blue Sky and Gai Waterhouse.

Snitzel opens new season in style

Leading young sire Snitzel opened the throttle on his new season campaign with three city winners and a pair of strong black type performances today.

At Warwick Farm in Sydney, 3YO Arrowfield graduate Sweet Idea (ex Flidais by Timber Country) put up an extraordinarily brave effort to finish second in the ATC Silver Shadow S. G2, beaten a short half head in race record time by Thump (Flying Spur’s 43rd stakeswinner as a broodmare sire). Forced to make not one but three runs during the race, Sweet Idea’s courage cost her dearly: she bled from both nostrils and will miss the rest of the spring. Her owners can take comfort from her splendid record to date: two wins, including the ATC Silver Slipper S. G2 and 5 placings, including a Golden Slipper third, and $882,200 from seven starts.

Flidais has a yearling filly by Snitzel and is foaling to him again next month.

Three races later on the same card a member of Snitzel’s 2009 crop, Windswept (ex Feather Duster by End Sweep) scored narrowly over 1300 metres for owner-breeders Arrowfield and John Leaver, and trainer Gerald Ryan. A three-quarter brother to dual stakeswinner She’s Clean, Windswept missed most of 2012/13 because of a serious pelvic injury, but is now fully recovered and ready for a rewarding season.

Feather Duster has a yearling filly by Not A Single Doubt and foals again to him this spring.

In Melbourne 3YO colt Shamus Award (ex Sunset Express by Success Express) was a little unlucky at his season debut to strike the very talented Cauthen in the MVRC Mitchell McKenzie S. LR, but there was plenty of merit in his 1.5 length second – his fifth black type placing in six starts.  

Snitzel’s excellent day was completed by victories in Adelaide and Perth by Hunger (ex Hollaback by Fusaichi Pegasus) & Modello (ex Sacred Model by Canonise) who have now won 10 races and more than $400,000 between them.

Winning debut for Moody's Redoute's Choice filly

Sensibility is only one of the 200 3YO fillies are nominated for the $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas G1, but she could not have done any more at Mornington today to encourage hopes that she will line up at Caulfield on 16 October.

The daughter of champion sire Redoute’s Choice powered home from a tricky midfield position to win her debut over 1227 metres by more than a length.

Trained by Peter Moody for his wife Sarah, Sensibility was a $260,000 purchase from the Widden Stud draft at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Sale. The filly was bred by Widden and Robert Anderson from the US-bred mare Fleeting Touch, purchased as a 2YO for $130,000 by Vin Cox from the 2006 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. 

Fleeting Touch (by Touch Gold), an unraced half-sister to champion US 2YO colt Midshipman, is already the dam of Group 2 winner Running Tall and stakes-placed winner Ephemera. Her fourth foal is a yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice. 

Redoute’s Choice was Australia’s leading sire of 3YO stakeswinners last season with a tally of nine, including Australian Oaks G1 winner Royal Descent. Seventeen of his 23 Group 1 winners have won at that level as 3YOs.  

City-winning trio aim for richer prizes

Richer prizes are in the offing for Saturday’s trio of impressive Arrowfield-sired city winners, Aussies Love Sport and Lilliburlero (by Redoute’s Choice) and Tornado Miss (by Snitzel).

Trainer Gai Waterhouse named the ATC Spring Champion S. G1 on 12 October as the likely target for Rosehill winner Aussies Love Sport, whose dam Miss Jakeo (by Unbridled’s Song) has been a splendid producer for breeder Gerry Harvey. She has already left Group 1 winner Mrs Onassis and Group winners Miss Judgement and Fifth Avenue Lady from seven foals to race.

Described by his trainer as “a very nice colt with stacks of ability”, Aussies Love Sport was a $450,000 Segenhoe Stud purchase from the Baramul Stud draft at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Fifth Avenue Lady and Miss Judgement both have 2YO colts by Redoute’s Choice.

Six races later on the same Rosehill card, 4YO mare Lilliburlero posted her third win at 1400 metres for owner-breeder Bruce Neill’s Cressfield and trainer David Payne. Spring targets for the daughter of dual Group 1 winner Regimental Gal (by General Nediym) are the Tibbie S. LR, over 1400 metres at Newcastle on 19 September, and the 2000-metre VRC Matriarch S. G2 on 9 November.  

Regimental Gal has a yearling filly by Charge Forward that is entered for January’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Aussies Love Sport’s win was also a good result for Cressfield which owns Miss Judgement and a 2YO filly from his second dam, Group 1 winner Lady Jakeo.  

At Doomben the Tony Gollan-trained 3YO filly Tornado Miss posted her second consecutive victory, this time over 1630 metres, for a group of owners including her breeders Ron & Deb Gilbert of Highgrove Stud. Her steady progress and ability to get a mile make the daughter of stakeswinner Stormy Miss (by More Than Ready) an attractive prospect for next year’s Brisbane winter carnival.

Stormy Miss is due to foal a full sibling to Tornado Miss this spring.

Another member of the Waterhouse stable, 3YO Arrowfield graduate Rockford (by Flying Spur) opened his season’s account with a healthy deposit when he carried topweight of 61.5 kg to victory over 1000 metres at Kembla Grange on Saturday. His record is most consistent, two wins and four placings from seven starts including a brilliant Listed stakes second on debut at Flemington last October. A return to stakes company for the newly gelded son of Ready Magic (by More Than Ready) will surely not be too far away.

Rockford’s stablemates include his 2YO sister Ravenwitch, owned by Greg and Donna Kolivos. Ready Magic has a yearling filly by Manhattan Rain and is foaling to Smart Missile.

Redoute's Choice returns to Arrowfield

J. R. R. Tolkien’s book, and Peter Jackson’s movie “The Return of the King” did come to mind when the truck carrying champion sire Redoute’s Choice came down the  driveway of Arrowfield Stud on Thursday afternoon.

The sentiment of Arrowfield staff was more directly expressed in the email sent by Operations Manager Sam Fairgray, “The big fella’s home!” 

A little over seven months ago Redoute’s Choice left his palatial box and familiar paddock at Arrowfield for the first time in 13 years to travel to HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in Lower Normandy.  This part of France has witnessed almost 1000 years of history, from William the Conqueror to Operation Overlord, that even the imaginations of Jackson and Tolkien might have struggled to invent.  

After serving his first outstanding book of just over 100 mares at Haras de Bonneval, Redoute’s Choice now has the opportunity to make history in European racing and breeding as he has done in Australia over the past decade.  

Mares confirmed in foal to Redoute’s Choice are headlined by the unbeaten Horse Of The Year and Arc de Triomphe heroine Zarkava, Group 1 winners Almerita, Alpine Rose, Rosanara, Sagawara, Shareta and Vadawina, and the dam of champion Goldikova.  

Redoute’s Choice ended the 2012/13 season with 20 stakeswinners worldwide including his 22nd and 23rd Group 1 winners, two sons alongside him among Australia’s top 10 sires, his ninth consecutive year as the Easter Sale’s leading sire and the all-time Australasian record yearling price of $5 million for the Helsinge colt. His 2013 fee is $137,500 inc. GST.  

Redoute’s Choice, Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom and the rest of Arrowfield’s powerful nine-stallion roster will parade at the Stud’s August Stallion Open House, 22-25 August. All breeders, guests and other visitors are welcome – click here for session times. 

 

An Early Charge into the New Season

A pair of impressive winners at Sydney’s Canterbury track on either side of the season rollover confirm the quality of Charge Forward’s 2010 crop. 

Debutant gelding Charge Missile scored a stylish victory over 1100 metres on Wednesday for trainer Tim Martin and a partnership including his breeders at Luskin Park Stud.

Two weeks earlier, the Peter Horwitz-bred filly Dream Forward won at the same track, after two good placings during the summer, including a third in Assail’s Wyong Magic Millions 2YO S. LR, for the From the Track Syndicates which race her on lease. 

They both look fine prospects to extend the excellent record already compiled Charge Forward’s crop of just-turned 3YOs.  

Luskin Park’s John Whelan says of Charge Missile, “He was a lovely foal, a real racehorse right from the start and a dead ringer for his sire Charge Forward.

“There was strong competition for him at Easter, with Tim Martin eventually winning out with a bid of $200,000. He now races for a syndicate that includes his breeders Paul Whelan, Wilf Mula, Mal McGuiness and David Carter.

“We’ll now look for some black type for him and there are plenty of Group and Listed three-year-old races to choose from over the next few months.”

Charge Missile is from the stakes-winning US mare Dyna Slam (by Gone West’s son Grand Slam), purchased at Keeneland for Luskin Park by Vin Cox. Canterbury is proving a lucky track for her as well as Charge Forward: her first foal Red Dynamite (by Charge Forward’s sire Red Ransom) won there last month.

Charge Forward ended a superb 2012/13 season in Australia’s top ten sires of 2YOs with three stakeswinners among his 11 winners, and earnings of almost $900,000. He stands at a fee of $22,000 inc. GST in 2013.

Simply Brilliant is simply impressive in Rosehill trial

Simply Brilliant is an intriguing addition to the Bjorn Baker stable, but there was no mystery about her impressive trial win at Rosehill on Monday morning.

The 6YO daughter of Starcraft won a strong 1030-metre trial comfortably under a hold, more than a length ahead of last season’s Group 1-placed colt Honorius and the Baker-trained stakeswinner Cantonese.

Baker said afterwards, “Simply Brilliant is a pretty smart horse, and she appeared to win effortlessly. She has lots of quality and plenty of scope, and provided she pulls up well, she will probably start at Warwick Farm next Wednesday.”

Although Simply Brilliant arrived at the young trainer’s Warwick Farm establishment little more than two months ago, he knows her very well because this is the second time he has trained her. However, the mare has taken a distinctly circuitous route back to Baker’s care.

Simply Brilliant was bred in Australia by Paul and Lyndall Makin who raced Starcraft, and then supported his stud career by buying  mares specifically for his first two books, as well as mares in foal to the champion miler.

Simply Brilliant’s dam She’s A Pretender, a stakes-placed sister to Nothin’ Leica Dane, both by Danehill, was purchased at the 2007 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale with Simply Brilliant in utero and re-sold a year later, again in foal to Starcraft.

The Makins retained Simply Brilliant along with a chestnut filly out of We Can’t Say That from Starcraft’s first crop and sent them both as early 2YOs to Murray & Bjorn Baker, then training in partnership in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Bjorn Baker recalls, “We had a super group of young horses that year. The other Starcraft filly was We Can Say It Now, we had Lion Tamer at the same time, and Simply Brilliant was right in the mix.”

The two fillies began their careers as late 2YOs at the same Matamata meeting, on 19 May 2010, and nearly completed a perfect double, when We Can Say It Now won her race and Simply Brilliant ran a close second in her debut.

We Can Say It Now won a stakes race three starts later and trounced both her own age-group and the older New Zealand milers at Group 1 level in the spring of 2010. She was retired later that season and sent to the UK where she foaled a colt by Montjeu in February this year.

Meanwhile, Simply Brilliant resumed in October 2010, placing at Taupo before notching up two wins, including a 5.5 length defeat of older horses over 1600 metres at Awapuni, on the same day that Lion Tamer won the Victoria Derby.

An injury suffered when she shied at a bird during trackwork ended Simply Brilliant’s 3YO campaign and in July 2011 the Makins sent her to the United States to be trained by Christophe Clement in New York. Unfortunately, Simply Brilliant’s career was again derailed by injury and she was sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Mixed Sale in February this year. 

And so Simply Brilliant returned to Australia in May, almost four years after her first departure, to race in the ownership of Bob Guth’s Galaxy Breeding. Bjorn Baker is clearly delighted that fortune’s wheel has delivered her back to him, but his first concern is to keep her free of injury, take her through the grades and give her a chance to fulfil the ability she showed three years ago. 

Starcraft stands at Arrowfield in 2013 at a fee of $22,000 inc. GST.

Interview with John Messara

The Arrowfield Story concludes with John Messara, Chairman and owner of Arrowfield Stud, and Chairman of Racing NSW, answering ten questions put to him this week.

If you have a question for John, please tweet it to @ArrowfieldStud and he will tweet his answers there.

What attribute do you refuse to compromise on when considering stallion prospects?
JM:
I seek much the same attributes as other stallion managers do, but I generally will not compromise on the pre-potency of the subject horse’s sire line.

How do you define what makes a colt a must-have stallion prospect?
Stallions do come in all shapes and sizes and I have to say that a sixth sense comes into play when you come across the “must have” animal. Danehill is a case in point.
We undertook extensive research to determine which son of the pre-potent sire of sires of the time, Northern Dancer, would provide the most suitable line to acquire for Australia. Danzig shone out for us because of his progeny’s aptitude for sprinting and their effectiveness on grass surfaces. He also boasted an outstanding strike rate of elite runners.
However, at the time Danzig was by no means the most popular of Northern Dancer’s sire sons and this presented us with an opportunity. We tracked all of Danzig’s live runners and zeroed in on Danehill, with his impeccable stallion’s pedigree and sprinting prowess. As soon as he broke through for his Group 1 win in the Haydock Sprint Cup, I flew over from Australia with our vet Dr Percy Sykes to inspect him. The colt had taken but half a step out of his box and the decision was made!

Which major race success has meant the most to you personally, and why?
You get the most satisfaction when you make a judgment call and it comes off against the odds.
My first Group 1 winner was a purchase I made as a foal walking through a paddock in New Zealand in 1980. I had gone there to inspect a race filly which was for sale and I was drawn to this other filly galloping in a paddock of foals. I made a bargain with the breeders to buy both fillies, and the foal I picked out of the paddock ,which I named Starzaan, went on to win the Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks.
We set her for that very race from the start and she was an outsider in a very competitive renewal. So certain was I that she could win the race, that I invited all my family, as well as close friends from the US and all my office staff to come and watch her win. It was an unforgettable day. It’s difficult to describe to a non-racegoer the feeling that overcomes you when your silks go past the post first in a circumstance such as this!

Q4. What are your still-to-be-fulfilled racing and/or breeding ambitions?
I would like to win Group 1 races at Longchamp and Ascot, both iconic courses with long, wide stretches that present a serious test of class for the very best horses. As in all other sport, elite international competition is the ultimate challenge. There’s nowhere to hide at those two venues and winners of their best races are proper horses.

How do you respond to the inevitable setbacks in business?
People respond to setbacks in different ways. After the initial disappointment, I go into a phase of self- examination to see how I could have avoided it. Generally, setbacks spur me on.

Who has inspired you most throughout your business career?
There is no one particular person, but I have learned much from the many individuals with whom I have dealt. I believe that everyone has something to offer. Within racing, Robert Sangster was a true pioneer, I doubt that many appreciate the role he played in developing today’s international approach to racing and breeding…I have always admired him for that. Percy Sykes, the world renowned vet and a close friend and mentor, has X-ray vision when it comes to horses….I have learned so much from him.

What are the most significant changes you have seen in thoroughbred racing & breeding over the past 30 years?
Thirty years ago in Australia, thoroughbred breeding was mostly the domain of farmers and in many cases secondary to their other business activities. Since the 1980s, with advances in communication technology, it is so much more professional in nature with volumes of statistics and information freely available for analysis.
Rightly or wrongly, thoroughbreds have become something of a commodity, and a growing proportion of horses are now bred for sale, and purchased for re-sale rather than racing.
More recently, we have the international dynamic of owners prepared to race in multiple jurisdictions.
The biggest change though, might be the competition our sport now faces from other forms of leisure and gambling. In Australia, at least, racing was a mainstream sport, but today we are fighting hard to hold our position.

Q8. What advice would you give to an ambitious 20-something man or woman beginning their thoroughbred industry career now?
It’s tough to find positions in our industry. I think a stint at one of the leading auction companies is probably the fastest way to learn a lot about the horse business. You must remember, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that matters. However, a bit of scholarship to start with provides a good launching pad. Courses such as the Marcus Oldham program in Australia or Darley’s Flying Start Program provide a valuable base of knowledge. Darley Flying Start will surely prove to be one of Sheikh Mohammed’s enduring legacies to the thoroughbred industry. (Arrowfield employs three Flying Start graduates.)

What will Arrowfield be doing in 2018?
I would like Arrowfield to be doing what we do now, but in an even bigger and better way than today, with a strong profile as a globally successful business based in Australia. This year we launch a truly global stallion in Animal Kingdom.

How do you see the NSW and Australian racing industries in five years’ time?
I envisage NSW and Victorian racing as the twin hearts of a vibrant Australian racing industry that is irresistibly attractive to international owners, because of its excellent prizemoney, competition, facilities and integrity.

Interview with John Messara

The Arrowfield Story concludes with John Messara, Chairman and owner of Arrowfield Stud, and Chairman of Racing NSW, answering ten questions put to him this week. 

If you have a question for John, please tweet it to @ArrowfieldStud and he will reply on Twitter.

What attribute do you refuse to compromise on when considering stallion prospects?
JM: I seek much the same attributes as other stallion managers do, but I generally will not compromise on the pre-potency of the subject horse’s sire line.

How do you define what makes a colt a must-have stallion prospect?
Stallions do come in all shapes and sizes and I have to say that a sixth sense comes into play when you come across the “must have” animal. Danehill is a case in point.
We undertook extensive research to determine which son of the pre-potent sire of sires of the time, Northern Dancer, would provide the most suitable line to acquire for Australia. Danzig shone out for us because of his progeny’s aptitude for sprinting and their effectiveness on grass surfaces. He also boasted an outstanding strike rate of elite runners.
However, at the time Danzig was by no means the most popular of Northern Dancer’s sire sons and this presented us with an opportunity. We tracked all of Danzig’s live runners and zeroed in on Danehill, with his impeccable stallion’s pedigree and sprinting prowess. As soon as he broke through for his Group 1 win in the Haydock Sprint Cup, I flew over from Australia with our vet Dr Percy Sykes to inspect him. The colt had taken but half a step out of his box and the decision was made!

Which major race success has meant the most to you personally, and why?
You get the most satisfaction when you make a judgment call and it comes off against the odds.
My first Group 1 winner was a purchase I made as a foal walking through a paddock in New Zealand in 1980. I had gone there to inspect a race filly which was for sale and I was drawn to this other filly galloping in a paddock of foals. I made a bargain with the breeders to buy both fillies, and the foal I picked out of the paddock ,which I named Starzaan, went on to win the Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks.
We set her for that very race from the start and she was an outsider in a very competitive renewal. So certain was I that she could win the race, that I invited all my family, as well as close friends from the US and all my office staff to come and watch her win. It was an unforgettable day. It’s difficult to describe to a non-racegoer the feeling that overcomes you when your silks go past the post first in a circumstance such as this!

What are your still-to-be-fulfilled racing and/or breeding ambitions?
I would like to win Group 1 races at Longchamp and Ascot, both iconic courses with long, wide stretches that present a serious test of class for the very best horses. As in all other sport, elite international competition is the ultimate challenge. There’s nowhere to hide at those two venues and winners of their best races are proper horses.

How do you respond to the inevitable setbacks in business?
People respond to setbacks in different ways. After the initial disappointment, I go into a phase of self- examination to see how I could have avoided it. Generally, setbacks spur me on.

Who has inspired you most throughout your business career?

There is no one particular person, but I have learned much from the many individuals with whom I have dealt. I believe that everyone has something to offer. Within racing, Robert Sangster was a true pioneer, I doubt that many appreciate the role he played in developing today’s international approach to racing and breeding… I have always admired him for that. Percy Sykes, the world renowned vet and a close friend and mentor, has X-ray vision when it comes to horses. I have learned so much from him.

What are the most significant changes you have seen in thoroughbred racing & breeding over the past 30 years?
Thirty years ago in Australia, thoroughbred breeding was mostly the domain of farmers and in many cases secondary to their other business activities. Since the 1980s, with advances in communication technology, it is so much more professional in nature with volumes of statistics and information freely available for analysis.
Rightly or wrongly, thoroughbreds have become something of a commodity, and a growing proportion of horses are now bred for sale, and purchased for re-sale rather than racing. More recently, we have the international dynamic of owners prepared to race in multiple jurisdictions. 

The biggest change though, might be the competition our sport now faces from other forms of leisure and gambling. In Australia, at least, racing was a mainstream sport, but today we are fighting hard to hold our position.

What advice would you give to an ambitious 20-something man or woman beginning their thoroughbred industry career now?
It’s tough to find positions in our industry. I think a stint at one of the leading auction companies is probably the fastest way to learn a lot about the horse business. You must remember, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that matters. However, a bit of scholarship to start with provides a good launching pad. Courses such as the Marcus Oldham program in Australia or Darley’s Flying Start Program provide a valuable base of knowledge. Darley Flying Start will surely prove to be one of Sheikh Mohammed’s enduring legacies to the thoroughbred industry. (Arrowfield employs three Flying Start graduates). 

What will Arrowfield be doing in 2018?
I would like Arrowfield to be doing what we do now, but in an even bigger and better way than today, with a strong profile as a globally successful business based in Australia. This year we launch a truly global stallion in Animal Kingdom.

How do you see the NSW and Australian racing industries in five years’ time?
I envisage NSW and Victorian racing as the twin hearts of a vibrant Australian racing industry that is irresistibly attractive to international owners, because of its excellent prizemoney, competition, facilities and integrity.