Messara looks back and forward with Snitzel

Bred by Francois Naude from the stakes-winning Snippets mare Snippets’ Lass, Snitzel was purchased for $260,000 by Gerald Ryan for owners Damion & Camilla Flower at the 2004 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Snitzel won his first three starts as a Spring 2YO, including the ATC Breeders’ Plate LR, and progressed to win the ATC Skyline S. G3 in February 2005. He then returned at three to win two Group races in Sydney, and defeat Virage de Fortune and Takeover Target in the 2006 MRC Oakleigh Plate G1. He retired to stud at Arrowfield with 7 wins, four placings and just over $1 million prizemoney from 15 starts.

As he celebrates Arrowfield’s fifth Australian General Sires’ Premiership in a dozen years, John Messara remembers when Snitzel first crossed his radar, back in the 2004/05 season.

“I could see he was a precocious two-year-old and a talented sprinter with a pedigree to match and of course, sired by Redoute’s Choice. While he was not very big, he had great balance and was exactly the type of horse that makes a successful stallion in Australia.

“I believed at the time that he was a Group 1 winner-in-waiting, and I had faith in his trainer Gerald Ryan who has proved himself a whiz not only with Snitzel, but also with his progeny.”

The son of Snippets’ Lass wasn’t built in the same mould as his imposing sire, but that was only a fleeting concern for Messara, who bought into the colt before his Autumn 2YO campaign.

“I liked him, and I liked his natural speed. I was slightly concerned about his height, but I looked at him as an individual and, while he didn’t have the imposing size of Redoute’s Choice, he was a most athletic type. He has since developed into a lovely, beautifully balanced stallion.

“Having Snippets, who had stood at Arrowfield, as his damsire was another bonus for me, and you can see that influence in him too.”

Messara’s selection from the records Snitzel has set or equalled in 2016/17 won’t surprise anyone who knows he’s the man who found the breed-shaping multiple Champion Sire Danehill and launched him in Australia.

“While he broke a number of records this season, I think matching Danehill’s record of 26 individual Australian stakeswinners in a season was a magnificent achievement.”

Although Snitzel has now set the bar very high on prizemoney, stakeswinners, 2YO winners and multiple premierships, Messara is confident he will continue to be a major force in Australian breeding and racing for some years to come.  

“He’s actually built up to this level of performance over several years. Bill Oppenheim’s APEX ratings first identified him in 2012, so the past year isn’t a flash in the pan.

“Snitzel’s achievements this season were so dominant and so widespread that I believe his success will spill over into subsequent years.

“Many of his current best sons and daughters remain in training, and he has great work in progress in terms of the quality and numbers of foals in utero, yearlings and two-year-olds.

“I can’t wait to see what he does next!” 

Champion Sire Snitzel dominates every category

Such was Snitzel’s history-making 2016/17 Championship season in Australia, that it’s easier to list what he didn’t do.

He’s not the Champion Broodmare Sire, but otherwise, Snitzel dominated every category he contested.

Arrowfield’s new superstar headed the key columns of the General Premiership table, with $16.1 million prizemoney (breaking Street Cry’s 2015/16 record by almost $3.2 million), 159 winners (one short of Lohnro’s record, set in 2013/14) and equalling Danehill’s 2001/02 record of 26 stakeswinners. 

Snitzel’s first Premiership completes an unprecedented three-generation sequence of Champion Australian Sires, following Danehill’s nine titles (won between 1995 and 2005) and Redoute’s Choice’s three titles (2006, 2010, 2014).

He is the fifth Arrowfield resident to become Australia’s Champion Sire, following Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur (2007), Danehill (1995) & Last Tycoon (1994). 

Across-the-board prizemoney increases, especially in New South Wales, have certainly made it easier for Snitzel and a record six other stallions, including his barnmate Not A Single Doubt, to crack $10 million. However, Snitzel is the only one among the top five whose major earner, Redzel with $962,000, didn’t win $1 million or more, and his 26 stakeswinners contributed only 43% of his total earnings – a good indication of the deep quality that characterises Snitzel’s stud record.

Nine fillies and mares joined the list of Snitzel’s stakeswinners in 2016/17, headed by Group winners French Emotion, Elle Lou, Sweet Redemption, Teaspoon & Diddums. Like most of his Championship season’s best male performers, they all remain in training.

Invader was his top-earning juvenile, contributing $960,125 to the $4.9 million that won Snitzel the 2YO Sires’ Premiership by a comfortable margin from his former Arrowfield barnmate Manhattan Rain, sire of the Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.

Remarkably, Snitzel’s list of 31 Australian stakes wins during the season includes only one of Australia’s million-dollar races, the ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce S. G1. He made the most of it though, siring the first three horses home, Invader, Summer Passage & Trapeze Artist to complete the country’s first single-stallion Group 1 2YO trifecta since 1982.

Invader headed Snitzel’s eight list-topping Australian 2YO stakeswinners this season, a quarter of his national record-setting tally of 32 juvenile winners of 46 races. (Three New Zealand winners from his 2014 crop gave him a final tally of 35.)

It was the same story on the 3YO Sires’ Premiership, where Snitzel ended the season on top by earnings (just over $6 million, more than $1.3 million in front of Sebring), winners (68), wins (120), stakeswinners (9) and stakes wins (11).

His principal 3YO earner was Russian Revolution, winner of the ATC The Galaxy G1 in March, and two other Group races last Spring. He was one of ten Snitzel stakeswinners who emerged in the first five months of the season and, along with Redzel, he progressed to elite success in the Autumn.

Snitzel’s Australian stakeswinners were prepared by 13 stables with Peter & Paul Snowden enjoying most success, thanks to Group 1 winners Invader, Redzel & Russian Revolution, Snitzel’s last stakeswinner of the season, Calanda, and Detective, who will do his future racing in Hong Kong.

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott sent out five Snitzel stakeswinners, including Group winners Farson & Sweet Redemption, while Diddums, Trapeze Artist & Samantha took Gerald Ryan’s career tally of stakeswinners by his former stable star to twelve.

Snitzel did his bit to promote the Australian thoroughbred offshore, with the help of Group 1 winners Heavenly Blue (South Africa) & Summer Passage (New Zealand) and dual Group 3 winner Young Man Power (Japan). They boosted his 2016/17 worldwide statistics to 29 stakeswinners (5 at Group 1 level and nine of them juveniles) of 36 Group & Listed Races, for total prizemoney of $20.4 million.

Snitzel’s dominance of the 2016/17 season extended to Australia’s major yearling sales. He was the Leading Sire by aggregate at the Magic Millions & Inglis Easter Sales, and ended the auction season with total sales of $41.7 million and 111 lots sold for an average price of $375,732.

His five million-dollar yearlings were headed by the Top Cuban colt and the Response filly, both sold for $1.7 million by Arrowfield at Inglis Easter.

Snitzel’s achievements are magnified by the class of the stallions behind him in the top 15, among them six other Champion Sires (Street Cry, Fastnet Rock, Lonhro, Redoute’s Choice, Exceed and Excel and Encosta de Lago), his fellow Redoute’s Choice sons, Not A Single Doubt & Stratum, and an impressive group of emerging younger sires.

Snitzel has set the bar exceptionally high for all of them, as well as himself, but with three large, superb quality crops in the pipeline, and a dazzling book of mares visiting him at his 2017 fee of $176,000 inc. GST, his passage to greatness may have only just begun.

Smart Missile takes aim at the new season

A stream of late-season results highlights the firepower Smart Missile has assembled to continue his excellent progress into 2017/18.

The brilliant son of Fastnet Rock has ended the 2016/17 season with a series of eye-catching performances by 3YOs Damaging, Special Missile, Launch Code and Brahmos, and 2YO Smart Coupe in Australia and 3YO Encore Boy in Hong Kong.

Sixty-six winners  have sealed Smart Missile’s status as Australia’s leading Second Season Sire by that measure. Exciting Group 3-winning juveniles Debellatio and I’ll Have A Bit, and stakes-winning 3YO Exocet are the main contributers to his $3.1 million prizemoney which has secured third position on the earnings Premiership, behind Foxwedge and So You Think.

Another notable feature of Smart Missile’s season is that his 57 second-crop winners place him fourth among all Australian 3YO sires, with plenty of heavy hitters behind him.  

His newest 3YO winner is the Gerald Ryan-trained Damaging (ex Sequinella by Catbird), who broke through at his fourth start for a comfortable, ears-pricked maiden win at Newcastle on Thursday. 

Stable representative Blake Ryan says, “He was a big, backward type early on, but now he’s a strong, straightforward horse that’s a pleasure to do anything with.

“This prep we’ll probably just try and pick off his grades for prizemoney for the owners, and then see where he sits next time around, but he is improving all the time.”

After two unplaced runs in his first campaign during the summer, Damaging has clearly benefited from development time. He returned to finish third at Hawkesbury eleven days before his Newcastle victory, which completed a sequence of three wins in three days for Smart Missile.

Watch Damaging win at Newcastle on 27 July.

Smart Missile’s latest Sydney metro winner of the season is Special Missile (ex Quiet Meadow by El Prado), who took his record to three wins from 3 starts with a stylish effort, carrying second topweight of 60.5 kg, over 1550 metres at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Special Missile’s trainer John Thompson says, “He’s going well, he’s come through the race well and he’ll line up again at Rosehill in two weeks’ time. We’ll take him through the grades and if he measures up in town, we’ll look at stakes options for him.”

John’s 2017 yearling purchases include a Smart Missile filly out of Danahere (by Dehere) bought for $70,000 in partnership with Proven Thoroughbreds.  He says, “We like a bit of scope in our horses and she’s a nice, well put-together filly.”

Watch Special Missile win at Canterbury on 26 July.

Gooree Stud’s Launch Code (ex Dearness by Snippets) was even more impressive on Tuesday at Wyong where he took charge of the 1000-metre Class 2 event round the home turn and raced away to score by 3.2 lengths in 56.96, cutting out the last 600 metres in 32.96.

Watch Launch Code win at Wyong on 25 July.

Transferred to Kris Lees after winning at Warwick Farm on 31 May for James Cummings (now with Godolphin), Launch Code obviously impressed jockey Glyn Schofield who said after Tuesday’s win, “There was plenty in the tank and it was simply lovely.” 

At Sandown on 19 July Brahmos (ex Jannah by Carnegie) produced a debut victory to match his good looks when he rocketed home over 1300 metres for a group of owners that paid $420,000 for him at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.

Watch Brahmos win at Sandown on 19 July.

Brahmos’ trainer John Sadler said, “I was very impressed with the way he handled himself. He always looked like he was going to be a winning chance.”

Melbourne filly Smart Coupe (ex Coupe by Spinning World) confirmed the promise of her 2.75 length debut win at Wangaratta with a slick win at Sandown on 5 July. Prepared by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra for a First Light Racing syndicate, she will be set for the VRC Red Roses S. G3 down the Flemington straight on Oaks Day in November.

Watch Smart Coupe win at Sandown on 5 July.

First Light’s Tim Wilson says, “She’s a lightly framed filly who surprised us a bit, she really furnished in the last six weeks of her campaign. She can sprint off a hot speed, her times stack up and her wins have been franked by the form out of Wangaratta and Sandown.

“She’s now in the fourth week of a six-week break, so will start at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate eve and then head to Flemington 13 days later.”

First Light, whose owners have celebrated 34 wins in 2016/17, also has a rising 3YO son of Smart Missile in the Ellerton/Zahra stable, Fallen Empire (ex Annlea by Canny Lad).

Tim Wilson says, “He’s a lovely horse with the best temperament, the most relaxed horse in the stable. He’s an Autumn three-year-old type, and is about two weeks away from a jumpout.”

Arrowfield graduate Encore Boy (ex Miss Bellezza by Flying Spur) capped his first season in Hong Kong with success at his fifth start, over 1000 metres at Sha Tin on 9 July.

Watch Encore Boy win at Sha Tin on 9 July.

Trainer Ricky Yiu, who bought Encore Boy for $210,000 from the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, said, “I think he’s still not ready to go around the turn but after giving him a couple of runs down the straight next season, I think naturally he’ll be ready for it. He’s very honest and he deserved that win.”

Smart Missile has also been represented in Hong Kong by 2018 Derby prospect Rocketeer (ex Some Girls Do by More Than Ready), successful over 2000 metres in June for the John Moore stable, and Sam’s Love (ex Dashie Diva by Dash for Cash), whose three starts this season included a win and a second. 

To this abundant talent, and the leading stables managing it, Smart Missile can add another significant advantage: numbers. With more than 450  foals in his first three crops, now rising four, three and two, he is perfectly primed to add major prizes to his stud record in 2017/18. 

Quality wins by Animal Kingdom 2YOs

As Arrowfield prepares to welcome Animal Kingdom back for the 2017 season, excitement is growing about his future as a sire, thanks to six first-crop winners in Australia and two, including a Listed winner, in the United States.

His latest winners, one in each hemisphere in the past week, have advertised his prospects with quality maiden victories for leading stables.

The second day of Saratoga’s famous Summer Meet, on 22 July, brought up Animal Kngdom’s second winner from his first five US runners. 2YO colt Untamed Domain joined Animal Kingdom’s Australian daughter Earth Angel as a TDN Rising Star when he overcame a mid-race hold-up to power home for a stylish win over 8.5 furlongs on turf.

Watch Untamed Domain win at Saratoga. (courtesy of TDN)

Fourth at his debut on 2 July, Untamed Domain is in the care of his sire’s trainer, Graham Motion and is raced by West Point Thoroughbreds, which purchased him from the 2016 Keeneland September Sale for $US90,000.

Motion, who visited Australia in January 2016 to see Animal Kingdom’s first yearlings sold at Magic Millions, said, “I’m so impressed with Untamed Domain who got stopped in his tracks three furlongs out and won for fun.

“He showed his Dad’s turn of foot and seems to have his calm demeanour. I hope to run him back in the Grade 3 With Anticipation later in the meet which is a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.”

The $US150,000 With Anticipation Stakes G3, also run over 8.5 furlongs on turf, will be held on Wednesday 30 August.

Untamed Domain’s stakes-winning dam Ciao (by Roberto’s son Lear Fan) is descended from French Group 1 winner Smuggly whose daughters have been successful producers in Japan, South Africa and Brazil as well as North America.

Animal Kingdom has already sired his first US stakeswinner, the Ken McPeek-trained filly Sunny Skies who followed up her April debut win with success in the Debutante S. LR at Churchill Downs on 30 June.

Godolphin’s 2YO gelding Animalia tackled 1600 metres at Gosford on 20 July and gave those who backed him into favouritism no worries at all as he began sharply, took an easy sit behind Dashing Special and sprinted clear to win by 7.5 lengths.

Watch Animalia win at Gosford.

Animalia is the sixth winner left by Royal Ascot stakeswinner Hold To Ransom (by Red Ransom), already the dam of Group winner Retrieve and Listed winners Reparations & Abduction. This is also the family of Prince Bishop who, like Animal Kingdom, won the Dubai World Cup G1.

Animal Kingdom’s other Australian winners this season include Flemington winner Royal Phoenix, Earth Angel (also fourth in the ATC Fernhill S. LR), and Group 3-placed Lord Cecil.

Redoute's Choice filly wins Prix Chloe G3

Viktor Timoshenko’s home-bred filly Ibiza went into Sunday’s €80,000 Chantilly Prix Chloe 1800m G3 as a stakes-placed winner. She came out of the race as the second Group winner from the first of Redoute’s Choice’s two European crops, and the 149th stakeswinner on his specacular lifetime record.

Ibiza jumped smartly to settle third on the fence as Monroe Bay took up the lead, then responded positively when asked to challenge 400 metres out. Both fillies had plenty to give, but Ibiza was sharper in the final stages and prevailed by three-quarters of a length, with Monroe Bay securing the runner-up spot by a half-length from Dallas Affair.

Another Redoute’s Choice 3YO filly Gold Luck, already winner of the Chantilly Prix Vanteaux G3 this season, finished third in the Prix Jean Prat G1 on the same card.

Watch Ibiza win the Chantilly Prix Chloe G3 – courtesy of TDN.

Ibiza’s trainer Nicolas Clement said, “She’s an improving filly…there is probably room for more improvement and I imagine I will bring her back for the Prix de la Nonette.” That Group 2 race is at Deauville on 19 August.

Raced by her breeder Viktor Timoshenko with Andriy Milovanov, Ibiza is out of Kingmambo’s winning daughter Olga Prekrasa, also dam of last year’s Prix Jean Prat G1 winner Zelzal (by Sea The Stars) and herself a grand-daughter of Lancashire Oaks G3 winner State Crystal. This is the family of dual Sydney Group winner Libran, Crystal Music (Ascot Fillies Mile G1) and, further back, the 1967 Epsom Derby G1 winner Royal Palace.

Ibiza is one of 17 stakeswinners from 128 runners by Redoute’s Choice out of mares by sons of Mr. Prospector, and it’s a quality list, headed by champion fillies Miss Finland & Majmu, dual Group 1 winner Gallica (also from a Kingmambo mare), this season’s star juvenile Pariah and young Arrowfield sire Panzer Division.

Redoute’s Choice’s marvellous sons Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt have justifiably attracted much of the limelight in 2016/17, but his 18 stakeswinners worldwide is the second-highest season tally of his own stellar career, surpassed only by the 20 stakeswinners he compiled in 2012/13. And 31 July is still three weeks away…

Animal Kingdom's first stakeswinner

Animal Kingdom’s US-bred daughter Sunny Skies has become his first stakeswinner with a decisive victory at Churchill Downs on Friday evening.

A thunderstorm made the skies anything but sunny, and the subsequent 50-minute delay made the six-furlong $US100,000 Debutante S. LR for 2YO fillies more than usually testing. However, Sunny Skies  took it all in her stride, taking up an early lead alongside Rockin’ Royalty and skipping clear in the straight to hold off Upset Brewing’s late challenge by 1.75 lengths, with Waki Patriot third.

Watch Sunny Skies win the Churchill Downs Debutante S. LR (TDN Race Replay)

Sunny Skies gave Animal Kingdom the perfect start to his northern hemisphere stud career when she won her Keeneland debut by nine lengths on 27 April. Bred and raced by Nancy Polk’s Normandy Farm, Sunny Skies is out of the unraced Marquetry mare Skyscape, and is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Sky Cape. 

Animal Kingdom’s first Australian 2YOs have given him a good start “downunder” with 12 of his 16 runners  weighing in this season. His five winners include Group 3-placed winner Lord Cecil, Flemington winner Royal Phoenix and TDN Rising Star Earth Angel, who has major Spring targets on her 2017/18 agenda.

Animal Kingdom has completed his fourth northern hemisphere season at Darley America and returns to Arrowfield where he will be available this Spring at a fee of $27,500 inc. GST.