Three words sum up Gio Ponti

The 14 July edition of US BloodHorse includes an interesting feature on the experience trainers have had with the best progeny of leading Storm Cat sire son Tale of the Cat. Leading US trainer Christophe Clement makes the following comments on Tale of the Cat’s best son Gio Ponti , who will stand his first season at Arrowfield this year:

“I can sum up Gio Ponti in a few words. The first word would be athleticism. He always showed a great amount of athleticism since he was a 2-year-old.

“The second word would be class. I have always thought at any stage of his life – in his training, in his stall, the way he behaved around the barn – he always showed a tremendous amount of class.

“The third word would be soundness. From 2 to 6 he was a very sound horse. And he was a very uncomplicated horse to train from the beginning to the end.”

Pictured: Gio Ponti at Castleton Lyons Farm, Kentucky, just before he entered quarantine. (PHOTO: EquiSport Photos)

These attributes were obviously noted by US breeders who filled his book within a week of his first parade last November.

They sent him an enviable collection of mares headed by Arch’s Gal Edith, dam of the Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another. Other Grade 1-producing mares now in foal to Gio Ponti are Shandra Smiles (dam of three-time Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger), Reduced Sentence (dam of Hot Cha Cha) and Moonstar (dam of Miss World).

Gio Ponti has also served a further 34 Graded & Listed Stakes-producing mares and 28 half-sisters to Graded Stakes winners.

That’s in addition to 28 Graded and Listed Stakes winners, among them Catchascatchcan (Yorkshire Oaks G1, and dam of Group 2 winner Antonius Pius) and dual US Grade 1 winner Voodoo Dancer.

The outstanding quality of Gio Ponti’s first Kentucky book is matched by the list of breeders supporting him. They include Lael Stables (owner-breeders of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro), Overbrook Farm (home of Gio Ponti’s paternal grand-sire, the late, great Storm Cat), Moyglare Stud (celebrated source of many Group 1 winners including 2002 Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle) and Brookdale Farm (vendor of I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister).

Arrowfield Stud’s bloodstock manager Jon Freyer says, “The size and quality of Gio Ponti’s first book guarantees him plenty of attention when his first yearlings come to market, and give him a great chance of making a big impact with his first crop.

“We have set Gio Ponti’s fee at the same level as Castleton Lyons, $22,000 inc. GST and Australian breeders are also recognising the tremendous value that represents for a horse rated by Timeform above Lonhro, Sunline, Makybe Diva and Sepoy.”

The different compositon of the Australian broodmare population expands the opportunities for Gio Ponti and may even load the genetic dice in his favour.

Jon Freyer says, “We think he’s perfect for mares carrying the dominant Australasian blood of Danehill and Sir Tristram, as well as mares by stallions like Red Ransom, More Than Ready and Hussonet whose sire-lines have been very successful with Storm Cat and his descendants.”

Gio Ponti is now in quarantine and will arrive at Arrowfield next month.

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