Smart Missile story

It’s not easy being a Second Season Sire.

The sparkle of being the new boy on the block is gone – there’s a whole new bunch of young stallions for everyone to get excited about – but two crops of racing age is usually not enough to foot it with the big boys.

Yes, it’s true, two crops was all Redoute’s Choice needed to finish third on the 2004/05 General Sires’ list, behind Danehill & Zabeel no less, but he’s the exception, not the rule. The average General list finish for Australia’s leading Second Season Sire over the past dozen years is 25th, but the spread is wide, from Redoute’s Choice’s third & Fastnet Rock’s ninth to Artie Schiller’s 78th, with runner-up Written Tycoon 86th in 2011/12.

Making an impact against Australia’s current line-up of champion and well-and-truly proven sires looks especially difficult. Snitzel, Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock, I Am Invincible, Not A Single Doubt, Exceed and Excel, Sebring, Written Tycoon, Choisir, More Than Ready & Lonhro are all inside the top 20 with a collective 108 stakeswinners and close to $90 million earnings this season. All of them, except Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel, have 200 runners or more, and prizemoney of at least $5 million – twice the runners and at least $2 million more than the leading sophomore sires.

Add the progeny of dead stallions like last season’s champion Street Cry, High Chaparral – still among Australia’s top 10 sires – plus honourably retired two-time champion Encosta de Lago, and the competition for the stallions who began their stud careers in 2012 is very tough indeed.

This puts some context around the performance of the present cohort of Second Season Sires, led by Foxwedge, So You Think and Arrowfield’s Smart Missile who have pinched something of a prizemoney break on their rivals and are settling in for a winter battle….

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