A new Classic era at Arrowfield

Arrowfield's young sires Maurice have already posted four Group 1 Classic winners between them. (PHOTOS: Bronwen Healy & Joan Faras)

For a stud that has stood 7 Golden Slipper sires, Arrowfield’s launch of Dundeel in 2014  and Maurice in 2017 marked a major shift to the Classic end of the breeding spectrum. 

Physically and genetically very different, Maurice & Dundeel nevertheless have much in common. 

They each won six Group 1 races, and both earned Horse of the Year titles, Dundeel in New Zealand (though most of his racing was in Australia) and Maurice in Japan.  

They both won elite races at 1600 and 2000 metres, with Dundeel extending to win the 2400-metre Australian Derby by six lengths.

Their finest victories were achieved at their final starts,  over 2000 metres under weight-for-age conditions. Dundeel was devastating off the hectic pace of the 2014 Queen Elizabeth S. G1, and Maurice majestic as he claimed the 2016 Hong Kong Cup G1 by 3 lengths. 

The early-blossoming talent of their first 2YOs surprised even the team at Arrowfield, but for both stallions, juvenile form is proving to be the appetiser for main-course Classic success.  

Maurice’s six first-crop 2YO stakes performers have been followed this Spring by 3YO Listed winner Mazu and last Saturday’s stunning  Victoria Derby G1 winner, Hitotsu. Maurice now leads an exceptional group of Australian Second Season Sires with almost $2 million prizemoney.

Dundeel also had a say in the Derby result. His son Teewaters – like Hitotsu, having only his sixth start – finished third, becoming Dundeel’s sixth Group 1 Classic performer after Castelvecchio (Rosehill Guineas), Super Seth (Caulfield Guineas) Atyaab (Cape Derby in South Africa), Hit The Shot & Let’s Karaka Deel. 

Dundeel’s other stars this season, Group 3 winners Entente & She’s Ideel (both also Group 1-placed) and Listed winner Cerberus, take his career tally of stakeswinners to 16 from 273 runners. That’s an almost exact match with Champion Sire Snitzel’s statistics at the same stage of his career, with one significant difference: Dundeel has left five Group 1 winners to Snitzel’s two.   

Breeders’ support for Maurice and Dundeel in their early seasons, and the readiness of owners & trainers to allow their progeny extra development time have given both stallions a tremendous start. 

Dundeel has already done the work on the next phase of his career, thanks to the exceptional mares – including 22 Group 1 winners among 122 stakes performers – that breeders sent him in 2019 and 2020. Maurice is similarly poised to capitalise on his breakthrough year.

As the Australasian industry celebrates an Oaks, Caulfield & Melbourne Cup-winning Horse of the Year, breeders backing Dundeel and Maurice in 2021 can expect the resulting progeny to meet a marketplace primed by the growing appreciation of home-grown Classic bloodlines and performance.

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