Dundeel's half-brother wins impressively

Dundeel’s 4YO half-brother Diehard won at Pukekohe, New Zealand on Wednesday in the manner of a horse likely to make an impact over middle distances this season.

It was the fourth start for the son of Pour Moi and Stareel and capped his progress from educational 2YO start last December and two placings last month to stylish maiden winner.

Racing over 1600 metres on heavy ground, he settled back before improving wide around the turn. As his rivals began to struggle, Diehard began to do his best work and  picked up gamely to score by more than four lengths from Avant and Florence Ivy.

Watch Diehard win at Pukekohe.

Diehard’s owners include Arrowfield, Paul Favretto, Greg Ingham and his breeder Waimarama NZ Ltd, comprising several members of Dundeel’s racing partnership. He is trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman who also prepared Dundeel to win six Group 1 races. 

Stareel has a 2YO colt by Redoute’s Choice, bought by Paul Perry for $1 million from Arrowfield’s Inglis Easter draft and a yearling filly by Redoute’s Choice that’s now in New Zealand. The now 17-year-old mare is due to foal again to the three-time Champion Sire this Spring. 

Like Dundeel, Pour Moi is a Derby-winning grandson of Sadler’s Wells who has left two Group 1 winners, 2YO Sacred Elixir in Australia, and this year’s Epsom Derby winner Wings Of Eagles in England.  

Fifty-three yearlings from Dundeel’s first crop sold for an average of $132,330, just over five times his fee, and he was the Magic Millions Leading First Crop Sire with an average price of $272,500. His top-priced yearling, the Miss Finland colt, was sold for $900,000 to Boomer Bloodstock and is in training with Bjorn Baker. 

Other stables with Dundeel 2YOs on the books include Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Chris Waller, Kris Lees, Anthony Freedman, Ciaron Maher and Mick Kent.

Dundeel colt tops Magic Millions Day 1

The top price of the opening session of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale came shortly before the end of the day’s selling when Arrowfield horseman Jarryd Stennett led Lot 232 into the ring.

The Dundeel colt out of Arrowfield’s prized mare Miss Finland had attracted very strong pre-sale interest which was reflected in spirited bidding that eventually concluded on the $900,000 bid of Craig Rounsefell’s Boomer Bloodstock.

Rounsefell said, “He’s an absolute standout. We couldn’t find a fault in him physically.

“It’s a stallion we love and there’s been some pressure from Bjorn Baker – I’ve got some horses with him – so he is probably leading to be the trainer.

“If you look in the book he’s by a freshman sire but from a mare who was a champion and she’s proven to throw a Group One winner.”

Bjorn Baker’s father Murray prepared Dundeel to win six Group 1 races from 1600 to 2400 metres, while five-time Group 1 winner Miss Finland is the dam of Thousand Guineas G1 winner Stay With Me.

The sale of Lot 232 cemented both vendor and stallion on top of the first day sale lists. Dundeel heads the Freshman Sire averages after Day 1 with six lots sold for an average price of $291,667.

Arrowfield Stud, overall leading Magic Millions vendor in 2016, leads by aggregate after selling 14 yearlings for $3,395,000.

Boomer Bloodstock was second on the buyers’ table with four lots purchased for a total of $1,542,000, including another Arrowfield yearling, the $320,000 Not A Single Doubt-MIss Sharapova colt.

Breeders' judgement tips the Scales

Breeders are generally advised to avoid over-mating mares. Yet it can sometimes be exactly the right tactic to take a breeding program to a whole new level.

That’s the experience of Victorian breeders Gerard & Kathy Hammond who found themselves leaping off the couch last Saturday to cheer home their first Group 1 winner Scales Of Justice in the $1 million WATC Railway S. 1600m G1.

“It’s a nice feeling,” says Gerard, who made his first foray into horse breeding during the 1970s when he and his father Brendan bought shares in several stallions. That venture proved unsuccessful and, although he remained a “mad racing fan”, Gerard chose to concentrate instead on his career in corporate finance. He stepped up his breeding interests shortly before his retirement in 2008, eight years after dipping his toe back in the water with a yearling filly by Umatilla bought privately from breeder Thea MacKnamara.

“I got onto the filly via the internet and when I inspected her in the paddock, I fell in love with her straight away. I like horses that are well-balanced, staying types with a bit of length, and I liked the way she moved too.

“I needed a trainer for her, and Thea MacKnamara’s partner Bob Gard, a bit of a character who knew a lot, recommended a young trainer in Stawell named Darren Weir.”

Named Beymatilla, the filly unfortunately broke down before she raced, but Gerard and Kathy decided to breed from her. She left winners to Johann Cruyff, Grass Wonder and Spinning World, and unraced fillies by Good Journey and Al Maher before the Hammonds sent her to Not A Single Doubt in 2011 – the season his fee increased to $24,750 after six years at $13,750.

Gerard explains, “I’d been breeding for several years with Beymatilla and her progeny could all run, but they were very much like her, tall, angular and not a lot of muscle or bone, so they weren’t attractive to the Australian market.

“I was getting more serious about breeding and she needed to go to a stallion with far more substance. I was very keen on Not A Single Doubt, the absolute opposite of Beymatilla on physical type, but I was well aware it was probably over-capitalising the mare.

“However, I knew we’d get a foal with substance that would run, as well as line-breeding through Redoute’s Choice and Umatilla to Best In Show, so I thought the risk was worth it and I was very optimistic about it.”

The resulting colt, born in September 2012, sadly proved to be Beymatilla’s last foal, but he was everything Gerard hoped he’d be: an imposing, powerful, athletic type that presented superbly well at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Taken through the ring by Millford Thoroughbreds who agist and prepare the Hammonds’ horses, the colt was knocked down to agent Craig Rounsefell of Boomer Bloodstock for $180,000.

Raced by owners Chris Wells and Bill Andrews, the now 4YO gelding is prepared by leading Western Australian trainer Lindsey Smith who is confident he’ll be equally effective over the 1800 metres of the Kingston Town Classic G1 on 3 December.  

Gerard Hammond agrees. “The family’s distance range is 1800 to 2200 metres, and they don’t peak until they’re five or six, so the best is still ahead of him.” Not A Single Doubt’s progeny also train on and he’s already had four Group winners at 1800 metres and beyond: Single Gaze (ATC Storm Queen S. G1), Gypsy Diamond, My Ex Mate and 2011 Champion Older Horse in Singapore, Always Certain. 

Gerard acknowledges Smith’s management of his new stable star. “I’ve followed Scales Of Justice very closely and when I saw what he was doing at shorter distances, I thought he might be special. But he’s needed time to relax properly during his races and Lindsey has done a terrific job with him.”

Group 1 success won’t tempt the Hammonds to increase their broodmare band beyond an ideal number of five, but Gerard is planning to ring the changes by selling a couple of mares and bringing in some fresh bloodlines. However, Another Show (by Redoute’s Choice’s three-quarter brother Al Maher from Beymatilla) is definitely not for sale!    

Group 1 quinella for Not A Single Doubt

Not A Single Doubt is back in pole position as Australia’s leading active sire after Scales Of Justice and Good Project claimed most of the $1 million prizemoney attached to Saturday’s WATC Railway S. 1600m G1 in Perth.

Scales of Justice, backing up from his 1500-metre Group 3 success a week, and champion Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte took early control of the race and never looked like losing it. He won by 2.75 lengths from last year’s winner Good Project, who completed a Group 1 quienlla for Not A Single Doubt.

Watch Scales Of Justice win the WATC Railway S. G1

Douglas Whyte said, “Lindsey gave me all the confidence in the world. He said, ‘If no one leads you lead and if you lead they won’t beat you’.

“He led and put his ears up. He was always going to be a hard nut to crack. When I got to the 300 and pressed the button, he really let down and he’s not done with yet. He’s going up.”

Bred by Gerard & Kathy Hammond, Scales Of Justice is the sixth and final foal of the unraced mare Beymatilla (by Umatilla) and was a $180,000 purchase by Craig Rounsefell’s Boomer Bloodstock from Millford Thoroughbreds at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. He has now won seven of his 13 starts and more than $940,000 for his owners Chris Wells & Bill Andrews, who turned down a substantial Hong Kong offer for the 4YO gelding earlier this year.

Scales Of Justice is Not A Single Doubt’s fifth Group 1 winner and his second this season, after Extreme Choice, brilliant winner of the A.J. Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley in September. With total earnings of almost $4.1 million, Not A Single Doubt is Australia’s current leading active sire, ahead of Fastnet Rock and Snitzel, who shares table lead by stakeswinners with Exceed and Excel – they have eight apiece.

New record price for Not A Single Doubt

It’s tempting to say that Not A Single Doubt’s new status as a boom sire has been conferred belatedly, because he’s been one of our most valuable and consistent sires for several seasons. 

That said, he was initially something of a “slow burn” and, for a stallion renowned for getting precocious, readymade athletes, he was surprisingly tardy to post his first stakeswinners. His first-crop representative Doubtful Jack was almost four when he won the VRC Winter Championship Final LR in July 2010 and a month later 3YO Squamosa became his first Group winner.

Then his brilliant third-crop daughter Karuta Queen appeared, to waltz away with the 2011 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (R) LR and launch her $1.8 million career. It was as if the cork had popped out of the bottle, and Not A Single Doubt’s winners and stakeswinners have been flowing ever since.

He was 18th on the 2011 General Sires’ Premiership table, 13th two years later and last season cracked the top 10 with prizemoney of $7,014,757. This season he’s lengthened stride again and is already on $5.1 million, little more than $400,000 behind the deceased Street Cry and almost the same margin ahead of champion sire Fastnet Rock.

On the winners & wins list, Not A Single Doubt holds a clear lead with 91 winners of 125 races, ahead of Fastnet Rock, Written Tycoon, Lonhro & Choisir. He hit top gear in the Carnival period of October & November with 46 winners of 53 races including five new stakeswinners: Good Project (WATC Railway S. G1) & Let It Slip in Perth, and Secret Agenda, Don’t Doubt Mamma & his 11th juvenile stakeswinner, Jackson, all in Melbourne.

Not bad for a stallion that stood his first six seasons at a fee of $13,750 inc. GST! He is also mastering the sometimes difficult trick of lifting his game with the commerically appealing mares a higher fee usually commands. Not A Single Doubt’s two crops conceived on a fee of $24,750 inc. GST are now two and three and they have already thrown up 49 winners, six stakeswinners & six other stakes performers. 

His fee was raised again, to $33,000 inc. GST in 2013. but on the evidence of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, breeders who have used Not A Single Doubt at that level have nothing to worry about.

He had twenty-six lots sold in Books 1 & 2 for an average of $191,730 and Arrowfield’s stunning filly from Miss Sharapova smashed his previous sale record of $380,000 when she was knocked down to Tim Stakemire for $650,000. A few hours later, Twin Palms sold their filly out of Street ‘Em Sheila for $400,000 to Boomer Bloodstock.

In all, Not A Single Doubt had 10 lots sell for $200,000 or more and posted a median price of $160,000. Buyers included trainers Gai Waterhouse, Gerald Ryan, Tony Gollan, Mick Price, Robbie Griffiths, Lee & Anthony Freedman and Nick Olive; agents Blue Sky Bloodstock & Belmont Bloodstock; and international owners Shadwell Australasia, Sun Bloodstock, David Ellis & the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Not A Single Doubt’s 30 stakeswinners, headed by Miracles Of Life & Good Project, another 20 stakes performers and his 67% winners/runners strike rate all signal that he’s a fixed star, not a fleeting comet among Australian sires. As he hunts the coveted No. 1 spot on the General premiership, it’s also clear that his own constellation is far from completed yet.

Not A Single Doubt has six lots catalogued for next month’s Inglis Classic Sale, including Arrowfield’s grand-daughter of Group 1 winner Macedon Lady. Arrowfield will also offer a full brother to stakes-placed Perth winner Make Your Move and Hong Kong winner Winning Novel among Not A Single Doubt’s 7 lots for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.  

Miss Sydney marks champion sire's milestone

The aptly named Miss Sydney brought up an important milestone for her champion sire when she made her debut at Newcastle on Saturday 11 July.

The Gerald Ryan-trained 2YO filly is the 1000th southern hemisphere runner by Redoute’s Choice and she did well at her first raceday start, finishing second to the gelding Balboa Park.

Raced by Miller Thoroughbreds & Aaron Lamshed, Miss Sydney was a $150,000 Boomer Bloodstock purchase from the Evergreen Stud draft at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.  Her stakes-winning dam Permissive (by Snippets) is a grand-daughter of Confidentially, making Miss Sydney a five-eighths sister of Golden Slipper winner and successful sire Danzero.

Exactly 12 per cent of those 1000 runners are stakeswinners. Add his northern hemisphere performers and that statistic holds steady, 123 from 1024 runners. In fact, Redoute’s Choice has lifted his SW/Runners strike rate over the past five seasons, from just under 11 per cent at the end of the 2009/10 season.

Fifteen of his 123 stakeswinners have won 25 black type races in 2014/15, the tenth of 12 seasons that Redoute’s Choice has compiled 20 or more worldwide stakes victories.

Not a month of the current season has gone by without at least one stakes success by Arrowfield’s superstar sire and, not surprisingly, the major carnival months of November and April have been most fruitful for him, with four wins each.

It has also been the most extended season of his career to date, producing his earliest & latest stakes wins, Scissor Kick’s ATC Rosebud H. LR on 9 August, and Rock Magic’s win last weekend.

Of course, there’s a good chance these statistics will be overtaken in the next few years as his Australian-bred runners are supplemented by two crops conceived at HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in France. The first 15 yearlings from Redoute’s Choice’s 2014 European crop will be offered at Arqana’s August Sale next month.