Arrowfield’s night at Racehorse of the Year Awards

Winx justly filled the headlines when she won her third Australian Racehorse of the Year award, but it was also a very big night for Arrowfield which celebrated Champion Sire Snitzel and four other awards…

World champion Winx was naturally the centre of attention at the 2018 Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards, held at the Forum, Melbourne on 4 October.

No gift for prophecy was required to predict that she would be crowned Racehorse of the Year for the third consecutive season, joining the elite company of Sunline (2000, 2001, 2002) and Black Caviar (2001, 2012, 2013) as a three-time winner of the ultimate accolade.

Winx, unbeaten in her eight starts in 2017/18, six at Group 1 level, also won the awards for Champion Middle Distance Performer and Victorian Horse of the Year.

Outside Winx, though, it was Arrowfield’s night as the Stud celebrated its connections with five of the other seven national awards.

Snitzel claimed the Champion Sire Award for the second consecutive year, with all-time record prizemoney of $29.2 million and a record-equalling tally of 26 individual stakeswinners. It is the sixth time in the past 13 years that an Arrowfield stallion has won the coveted title, after Snitzel’s sire Redoute’s Choice (2006, 2010 & 2014) and Flying Spur (2007).

Arrowfield’s Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer accepted the award on behalf of the Stud and the Snitzel Syndicate, acknowledging the quality of Snitzel’s competition, “possibly the strongest stallion roster ever assembled in Australia” and thanking all who had supported his stud career.
 
However, Freyer noted that it hadn’t all been plain sailing. “In Snitzel’s fourth year at stud we were cajoling, coercing and downright pleading with breeders to send their mares  to him and fickle as this business can be, he garnered little outside support.

“In fact, a great number of his relatively modest 63 foals in 2010 were bred by Arrowfield – but the crop included the Cox Plate winner Shamus Award and the wonderful mare Sweet Idea, now a resident of Her Majesty the Queen’s broodmare band.

“That crop was conceived on a fee of $20,000 and today’s it’s $200,000. What a ride it’s been and how much we look forward to what’s yet to come with Snitzel.”

Snitzel’s dominance of last season was demonstrated when his progeny collected three of the category awards, which are decided by the votes of racing administrators and media.

It is the first time, in the 14 seasons since 2004/05 when the 3YO Filly & Colt awards were introduced, that progeny of the reigning Champion Sire 

Emirates Park’s filly Estijaab (Snitzel-Response by Charge Forward) was named Champion 2YO after winning three of her four starts last season, including the ATC Golden Slipper G1 and Reisling S. G2 and $2.3 million prizemoney.

The third foal of her dual Group 1-winning dam, Estijaab was bred by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm and purchased by Emirates Park & Bryan Carlson for $1.7 million from Arrowfield’s draft at the Inglis Easter Sale. She is trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes and is spelling after a setback cut short her 3YO Spring preparation. She is expected to return in the Autumn.

Also an Inglis Easter graduate, though not finding a buyer there, is the Champion 3YO colt Trapeze Artist (Snitzel-Treppes by Domesday). He won four of his 9 starts and $2.7 million in 2017/18, a record headed by three tremendous Group 1 victories, in the ATC T.J. Smith S. & All Aged S. against older horses and the Golden Rose  in his own age-group.

He is the second Snitzel son to be named Champion 3YO Colt, following Cox Plate & Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award in 2013/14.

Trapeze Artist is trained by Gerald Ryan for his owner-breeder Bert Vieira and success in The Everest, for which the colt is joint favourite, would be a timely boost for the Vieira family. Bert’s wife Gai is recovering in hospital from serious injuries suffered in a car crash on 5 September.  

The inaugural Everest winner Redzel (Snitzel-Millrich by Rubiton) won the Champion Sprinter title after a spectacular, five-win, $7.5 million season that also featured the VRC Darley Classic G1 and three other Group race wins. 

Redzel was bred by Lee Fleming and initially sold as a weanling, then offered by Marquee Stud at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale where he was bought for $120,000 by Triple Crown Syndications’ Chris & Michael Ward. He is trained by Peter & Paul Snowden for a large group of Triple Crown owners and is at single-figure odds for this year’s $13 million second running of The Everest on 13 October.

Snitzel, his sire Redoute’s Choice (with Lankan Rupee in 2013/14) and  grand-sire Danehill (with Exceed and Excel in 2003/04 & Fastnet Rock in 2004/05) are the only three stallions in the past 20 years to claim the Champion Sprinter in at least one of their own championship seasons. 

And it is the first time, in the 14 years since 2004/05 when the 3YO title was split by gender, that progeny of the reigning Champion Sire have won the 2YO, 3YO Colt or Filly & Sprinter awards in the same season.

Arrowfield’s trophy haul was completed by Shoals (Fastnet Rock-The Broken Shore by Hussonet), bred and raced in partnership with Jonathan Munz and trained by Anthony Freedman. She was voted Champion 3YO Filly after a stunning season against older mares, winning the Myer Classic G1 at Flemington, Surround Stakes G1 at Randwick and the Sangster Stakes G1 at Morphettville.

She is the second Arrowfield home-bred filly to win the title after Miss Finland in 2006/07.  

In all, Shoals won four of her 7 starts and $1.4 million last season while her full brother – cleverly named Groundswell – was the top-priced Australian yearling of 2018, knocked down for $2.3 million at Inglis Easter. 

Groundswell and another full sibling, 3YO filly Tides join their big sister in the Freedman stable, and The Broken Shore is due to foal again to Fastnet Rock this month. 

Snitzel & National Colour honoured with TBA Awards

Arrowfield’s Champion Sire Snitzel and Klawervlei Stud’s wonderful broodmare National Colour were honoured with three 2016/17 awards presented by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia at Coolmore on Sunday morning.

Snitzel secured the coveted Champion Australian Sire award after establishing a new Australian record for progeny earnings of $16.2 million, and equalling Danehill’s record of 26 Australian stakeswinners for the season. They included Group 1 winners Invader, Redzel & Russian Revolution.

Snitzel was also crowned Champion Sire of 2YOs with eight individual juvenile stakeswinners and total earnings of almost $5 million. The son of Redoute’s Choice also set a new Australian record of 35 2YO winners, including three in New Zealand.

Leading broadcaster and breeder Alan Jones AO accepted both awards on behalf of Arrowfield.

He said, “It’s been a wonderful year for Arrowfield and I’d like to thank the whole team there who have done a wonderful job, as they do in all studs. We couldn’t survive without the work of the staff and they do a fantastic job.

“It’s been a remarkable year for Snitzel, he equalled Danehill’s record for the most stakeswinners in a season which is quite extraordinary, so we are very honoured, very privileged and very thankful.”

Following the TBA National Awards, Thoroughbred Breeders New South Wales (TBNSW) made two presentations.

The title of NSW Champion Broodmare Of The Year was awarded to the South African-bred National Colour, dam of Sheikh Hamdan’s colts Mustaaqeem and Rafeef, both by Redoute’s Choice, both bred by the Arrowfield & Klawervlei Stud partnership and both prepared by Mike de Kock to win at Group 1 level on Champions Day at Turffontein on 6 May.

Foaled in South Africa in 2002, National Colour (National Assembly-Rainbow Cake by Mr Eats) was herself a three-time Group 1 winner and Joint South African Horse of the Year in 2005/06. She is the dam of three winners, including Rafeef and Mustaaqeem, from four named foals, has a yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice and is due to foal again to the three-time Champion Sire this Spring. Her just-turned 2YO filly by Snitzel was bought for $675,000 by Paul Messara at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

The full list of 2016/17 National and NSW Award Winners is:
TBA Award Winners
Champion Australian Sire: SNITZEL
Champion Australian Sire of 2YOs: SNITZEL
Champion Australian First Season: PIERRO
Australian Broodmare of the Year: VEGAS SHOWGIRL – dam of Winx, unbeaten in eight starts inc. six Group 1 races last season
Breeder of the Australian-bred Exported Racehorse of the Year: MR ENRIQUE COJUANGCO – breeder of Hong Kong Champion Rapper Dragon.
TBNSW Award Winners
NSW Champion Broodmare: NATIONAL COLOUR
President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: MR ROB MANWARING – breeder of Group 1 winner Capital Gain & dual Listed winner Grande Rosso.

Meet Arrowfielders Michelle Nichols & Nigel Bentley

Arrowfield’s Stud Secretary Michelle Nichols has been with us for almost 20 years and is a mainstay of our business and community. Her special gift is liaising with owners, other farms and our breeding staff every Spring to fulfil more than a thousand bookings to the Arrowfield stallions.
Michelle is the 2017 winner of the Hunter Valley Thoroughbred Breeders Association Employee of the Year (Administration) award.

All-time favourite Arrowfield horse, and why. 
Redoute’s Choice, because he’s such a good coverer and very fertile which has made doing the stallion bookings easy, especially in his busiest years. He always brings a sense of calmness.

Most exciting Arrowfield racing moment.
Miss Finland winning the 2006 Golden Slipper.

Your saddest day at Arrowfield.
When some of my fantastic workmates like Sam Fairgray and Melanie Caban left us, but I’m grateful to see them go on to further their ambitions and dreams.

Favourite place on the farm, and why.
It’s the bridge at the Pages River below Cath’s Barn, it’s always so peaceful and forever changing.

Favourite time of the year at work.
Funnily enough, it’s early September when the stallions start covering mares, everyone is enthusiastic and excited.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
Meeting and talking to people.

Most satisfying personal achievement.
That my children Heath and Abbey have grown up to be great people and have excelled in their chosen fields.

Particular people who have helped you during your career, and how.
Many fantastic people I have worked with over the years, too many to mention!

How would you describe Arrowfield?
Arrowfield is a constantly changing, challenging but enjoyable place to be.


Nigel Bentley joined Arrowfield in 2007, initially working at the Training Centre before taking on the role of Broodmare Farm Manager in 2014. Nigel’s outstanding horsemanship, dedication and approachability make him a valuable member of the farm management team, with responsibility for around 180 broodmares & young horses and up to eight staff.
Nigel was a Finalist for the 2017 Hunter Valley Breeders Association Employee of the Year (Horsemanship) award.

All-time favourite Arrowfield horses, and why.
Beneteau and Scissor Kick, I had the privilege of working with these two amazing colts while they were in training. They both had wonderful natures and personalities.

Most exciting Arrowfield racing moment.
When Alverta, Arrowfield-born, -raised and –raced, won the 2010 Coolmore Classic. [Alverta, now at stud at Arrowfield, was Paul Messara’s first Group 1 winner as a trainer.]

Your saddest day at Arrowfield.
The day Battlefield broke down. [Battlefield was a charismatic and gifted sprinter who won five of his 7 starts from the Paul Messara stable, but suffered serious injuries during a trial and was subsequently euthanased.]

Favourite place on the farm, and why.
Bellerive of course, it’s so quiet and secluded. [Bellerive is the name of Arrowfield’s Broodmare Farm, adjacent to the main Stud property.]

Favourite time of the year at work.
When the first foals start to hit the ground.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Working with the horses and getting to know their different personalities and quirks.


Most satisfying personal achievement

Visiting China for three months, breaking in 30 horses there and teaching students how to do it.

Particular people who have helped you during your career, and how.
I’ve worked with a lot of great people along the way, too many to list, but my main mentor would have to be my father Kel Bentley. He was a very successful horse breaker and trainer, and he taught me most of what I know.

How would you describe Arrowfield?
A beautiful stud and a wonderful place to work.