Seven Group 1 winners head Arrowfield's 2016/17 season

The Arrowfield stallion roster has deservedly claimed most attention in 2016/17 season summaries, but the farm’s own graduate and sale results were equally spectacular.

Invader (ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce S. G1) and Secret Agenda (SAJC Robert Sangster S. G1) were only two of the Stud’s seven Group 1 winning-graduates in 2016/17. The other five were successful in South Africa (full brothers Rafeef & Mustaaqeem, Heavenly Blue and Whisky Baron) and Hong Kong (Contentment).

They head a group of 20 stakeswinners of 33 Group & Listed Races last season that were bred and/or sold by Arrowfield. All but two (Group-winning juvenile fillies Shoals & Teaspoon) were offered at Australian yearling sales: seven at Inglis Easter, four at Magic Millions Gold Coast, three at Inglis Melbourne Premier, two at Inglis Classic, one at each of the Magic Millions National and Adelaide Sales. 

Their prices ranged from the $1.75 million paid by Shadwell Stud for Mustaaqeem to the $23,000 trainer Shea Eden gave for dual Group 3 winner Ocean Embers at Magic Millions Adelaide, where she was offered under the banner of Cornerstone Stud. The median price of the 17 horses sold at auction was $210,000, and the average was just over $460,000.

Only Western Australian sprinter Rock Magic, winner of three Group 3 events and a Listed Race last term, failed to sell as a yearling. He was prepared by Paul Messara to win four races before his sale as a 4YO to clients of Perth trainer Chris Gangemi for whom he has now won more than $900,000.

Arrowfield’s Class of 2016 contributed eight stakeswinners: Invader & Mustaaqeem, Group 2 winners Gunnison & Shoals, Group 3 winners Pariah & Teaspoon and Listed winners Ardrossan (in New Zealand) & Azazel. All remain in training, although Gunnison, sold for $1.4 million at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale, is now in Hong Kong, and Ardrossan has been transferred to Mick Price in Melbourne. 

The season’s honour roll was completed by 3YOs Heavenly Blue, Kenedna and Detective, six 4YOs headed by Secret Agenda, Rafeef & Whisky Baron, 5YO mare Wild Rain, 6YO Contentment and 7YO Rock Magic.

Peter & Paul Snowden (trainers of Invader, Gunnison, Pariah & Detective) and James Harron (buyer of Detective, Gunnison & Pariah) enjoyed most success with Arrowfield graduates last season. The famous team of Shadwell Stud and champion South African trainer Mike de Kock earn a special mention for their Group 1 double with Mustaaqeem and Rafeef at Turffontein on 6 May.

Against this background of top-level performance, outstanding sale-ring results were achieved for the Stud and several long-standing clients. By the end of the yearling sales season Arrowfield had sold 138 lots for a total of $34.7 million, among them eight colts and a filly sold for $1 million or more. 

They included the top-priced Australian yearling of 2017, the $2.5 million Redoute’s Choice-Secluded colt bought at Inglis Easter by Tim Stakemire for Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed al Maktoum. 

Arrowfield sold the joint top-priced Redoute’s Choice-Ballet Blue colt at Magic Millions, secured for $1.3 million by James Harron, who also signed for three other colts from Arrowfield’s Magic Millions draft. 

Other buyers who bought multiple yearlings from Arrowfield were: Andrew Williams Bloodstock (6 lots), Darby Racing (5), Australian Bloodstock (4) and Shadwell Stud, Boomer Bloodstock & Cameron Cooke (3 each).

A Group 1 weekend for Arrowfield graduates

Arrowfield has had many Group 1 weekends in its 32-year history, but few better than 6-7 May 2017 when four sale graduates by three different stallions won elite races in three countries.

Heading the quartet were Mustaaqeem & Rafeef who achieved a rare sibling Group 1 double in the SA Nursery and Computaform Sprint on Turffontein’s Champions Day. The sons of champion sire Redoute’s Choice & South African Horse of the Year National Colour were both purchased from the Inglis Easter Sale by Shadwell Stud’s master buyer Angus Gold and are trained in South Africa by Mike de Kock.

Rafeef and Mustaqeem, bred by Arrowfield in partnership with leading South African farm Klawervlei Stud, are the latest of Shadwell’s four Group 1-winning Inglis Easter graduates by Redoute’s Choice. Champion South African filly Majmu, also trained by de Kock, was a $300,000 buy from Arrowfield in 2013, and the David Hayes-trained Blue Diamond winner Nadeem was bought for $700,000 from Edinglassie’s 2005 draft.

With a new lifetime tally of 32 individual Group 1 winners, Redoute’s Choice has edged past the great US sire Giant’s Causeway (31 G1 winners) on the global Group 1 sires’ list. It’s a figure now bested only by Galileo (64 G1 winners) among active international sires.
 
Arrowfield’s third success on Saturday came in Adelaide when Blueblood Thoroughbreds’ $120,000 Magic Millions purchase Secret Agenda  overcame a wide draw to win the Robert Sangster S. G1. She is Not A Single Doubt’s sixth Group 1 winner and his third this season after Extreme Choice (MVRC A.J. Moir S. G1) and Scales of Justice (WATC Railway S. G1).

Secret Agenda was bred by the long-standing partnership of Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones, also successful at Group 1 level with Miss Finland and her daughter Stay With Me. Arrowfield has a record that includes all five Group 1 2YO races and six Australian Guineas winners.

Not A Single Doubt is on track to match or better his career-high 2015/16 performance, with 12 winners of 18 Group & Listed Races – just three black type wins short of his total last season.|

Three new Group 1 winners were enough to make the weekend memorable, but Contentment made it spectacular with a dramatic victory in the The Champions Mile G1 at Sha Tin on Sunday evening.

Contentment was described in post-race interviews as “quirky” by his jockey Brett Prebble, but it’s not a word that matches his quality record of 10 wins, six placings and more than $6 million from 29 starts, 21 of them in Hong Kong Group company.

His breeders Paul Favretto, Tony Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn are certainly proud of the 6YO son of Hussonet and their mare Jemison, who has yearling & weanling fillies by Animal Kingdom & Dundeel, and is again in foal to Dundeel.

A $65,000 purchase by John Foote from Arrowfield at the 2012, Contentment is trained by John Size for Benson Lo Tak Wing and, with a new figure of 126, is a top five performer in Hong Kong this season.

Rounding out the weekend’s graduate results were a couple of meritorious Group 1 placings, by Kenedna (Not A Single Doubt-Miss Dodwell), runner-up in the Australasian Oaks G1, and  Heavenly Blue (Snitzel-Simply Carina), third in the South African Derby G1, and a New Zealand Listed stakes win by 2YO Ardrossan (Redoute’s Choice-Miss Argyle).

Performance & value offered at Inglis Classic

It’s a given that every vendor wants to sell yearlings as profitably as possible, but for most buyers the big question is “Where is value to be found?”

The Inglis Classic Sale has been supplying the right answers to that question for some time now. For example, the seven Group 1 winners that have so far emerged from the 2012-16 Classic Sales were bought for an average of less than $55,000.

The price range of those star graduates is bracketed by the sensational Arrowfield-sired pair Extreme Choice (by Not A Single Doubt; bought for $100,000) and Yankee Rose (All American; $10,000). They’ve since returned $3.7 million prizemoney and hefty residual values for their owners’ investments.

Ditto Arrowfield’s contribution to the Classic Sale honour roll, Group 1-winning sprinter-miler Contentment (Hussonet-Jemison), bought for $65,000 by John Foote from the 2012 auction.

The now 6YO gelding has fashioned a superb record in Hong Kong for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing and trainer John Size, winning nine of his 25 starts, including the 2016 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup G1, and around $4 million.

Contentment’s quality is underlined by a slew of excellent placings, among them a second to international champion and new Arrowfield stallion Maurice in the 2016 Champions Mile G1m and a very game fourth in December’s Hong Kong Mile G1.

Other recent Arrowfield graduates encourage Classic Sale buyers to consider yearlings by an emerging sire that has the backing of a major stud.

Back in 2012, when Snitzel was on the cusp of “hot sire” status, Ross & Clint Price spotted his daughter out of Deputy Lil in the Arrowfield draft and bought her for $80,000 on behalf of Perth owners Frank & Josie Fiore.

She notched up a Listed success at three and has since added four more victories and a Group placing for earnings of more than $250,000.

My Sister Lil’s younger sister Ygritte proved an even better investment for owner Carl Holt who gave $135,000 for her at the 2013 Inglis Classic Sale. A Listed win, multiple Group placings and more than $300,000 prizemoney later, she was re-sold for $800,000.

Those results are matched by a pair of Snitzel colts from Arrowfield’s 2014 Inglis Classic consignment: Spill The Beans, passed in & raced to Group 2-winning, $500,000-earning success and a stud career; and $25,000 buy Odyssey Moon, a arecent Group 3winner and Group 1-placed at two with more than $600,000 on his record.

Snitzel, along with champion sire Redoute’s Choice and Group 1 sires Not A Single Doubt and Charge Forward are all represented among Arrowfield’s 39-lot offering for this year’s Classic Sale, which begins onSaturday evening. So are All American, sire of Yankee Rose, and popular Hong Kong sire Starcraft.

Firmly in the emerging sire category is 2015/16 Champion First Season Sire Smart Missile, now leading the Second Season list by winners and earnings.

Hard on their heels come Dubai World Cup champion Animal Kingdom, represented by three colts and two fillies from his second crop,  and six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel, with five first-crop yearlings on offer under the Arrowfield banner.

Buyers keen on yearlings out of young mares will find 10 first foals in Arrowfield’s Classic draft, including the only Redoute’s Choice in the Sale, a filly out of Group 3 winner Pretty Pins. That makes her a three-quarter sister to Group 1 winner Allez Wonder and a relative of dual Group winner Tivaci.

Sun Jewellery seals a sparkling Hong Kong season

Snitzel’s 4YO son Sun Jewellery sealed a super Hong Kong season for Arrowfield stallions & graduates when he took out the last of the Club’s feature races, the Premier Cup 1400m HK-3, on Sunday evening.

Already winner of the HK-1 Classic Mile & Classic Cup earlier this year,  Sun Jewellery scored with panache if not dominance, after jumping well to take up the inside running while Dashing Fellow pressed on from his wide gate towards the lead where was soon joined by Dundonnell.

Joao Moreira angled Sun Jewellery out at the 350-metre mark and he wound up to tackle Dashing Fellow just as Dundonnell began to fade. Dashing Fellow would not concede and Sun Jewellery had to produce all of his superior finishing speed to get the better of him by a short head, with Rewarding Hero 2.5 lengths away in third place.

Watch Sun Jewellery’s Hong Kong Premier Cup HK-3 win.

Dashing Fellow’s jockey Chad Schofield was in a good position to assess the quality of Sun Jewellery’s performance.

He said, “We had a very easy time up front, and with his light weight he sprinted hard. I thought the way he quickened we would be hard to beat, but that winner is very good. Even though we had another picnic out front, he still ran us down.”

Sun Jewellery’s trainer John Size agreed. “The pace suited the leader, but to get past him, he really had to sprint and work hard and sustain the run.

“He’s aimed at a race like the Hong Kong Mile in December, so we’ll ask him to do a little bit more in the new season and see if he shapes up for it.”

Not that Sun Jewellery (ex Tan Tat Star by Umatilla), with nine wins and $3.2 million from 13 starts, has to do any more to delight his owner-breeder Tung Moon Fai. Tan Tat Star has an unraced 3YO son Tan Tat Nova (by Not A Single Doubt), a weanling filly by Bel Esprit and is in foal to Manhattan Rain.

Sun Jewellery and Arrowfield graduates Contentment (Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup G1 & Sha Tin Trophy G2) & Not Listenin’tome (Bauhini Sprint Trophy G3) have won five Hong Kong feature races this season.

Contentment and Not Listenin’tome, both rated on 125, are among Hong Kong’s leading performers, while Sun Jewellery (110), Redoute’s Choice’s son Thewizardofoz (111) & Arrowfield-sold Blizzard (105) all look capable of improving their figures next season.

It’s been a busy month for Snitzel’s tribe with 22 wins around the world in 19 days, including the QTC Cup G2 victory by his newest stallion son Spill The Beans, bred & raced by Arrowfield and now standing at Aquis Farm in Queensland. 

Snitzel has also taken his season tally of Australian 2YO winners to 25 (26 including the South African-owned Heavenly Blue). With 42 days to go until the end of the 2015/16 season, he has a great chance to better the 32-year record of 26 Australian 2YO winners, set by Rory’s Jester in 1997/98.

Tribute to Champion Sire Hussonet

Champion sire Hussonet, responsible for 30 Group 1 winners among 96 lifetime stakeswinners, died at Cornerstone Stud, South Australia on Monday morning.

The 25-year-old son of Mr. Prospector leaves an imposing stud record in Chile and Australia, and son & daughters creating a wonderful legacy in both countries.

Hussonet was bred by Peter Brant & Julian Schnabel from the 1987 Champion US 3YO Filly Sacahuista, the grand-daughter of a sister to US Hall of Famer Shuvee and later the dam of Group 1 winner & sire Ekraar. 

Trained by Bill Mott for Sheikh Mohammed, Hussonet achieved the modest status of stakes-placed winner on the racetrack, but proved a spectacular success at stud, winning seven premierships in Chile before his purchase by Arrowfield Stud in 2003. He stood seven seasons at Arrowfield before his 2010 sale to Cornerstone.

His ten Australian-bred crops of racing age have produced the winners of more than $53 million, including 36 stakeswinners headed by six Group 1 winners: Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler, Eagle Falls (MRC Oakleigh Plate G1), Gold Trail (ARC Railway H. G1), Hong Kong stars Glorious Days & Contentment and MRC Blue Diamond S. G1 winner Reaan, as well as multiple Singapore domestic Group 1 winner Stepitup.

Given that Hussonet’s progeny tend to improve with age, the runners to come from his last few crops, his sire sons Husson, Host & Rios and his excellent broodmare daughters (49 stakeswinners, including 10 Group 1 winners), his record is well short of final. 

Arrowfield Chairman John Messara says, “Hussonet was probably the most left-field stallion purchase Arrowfield has ever made – even I took some persuasion to consider a Champion Sire from Chile! However, when I analysed South American racing, his performance and his pedigree more closely, I realised he was something special.

“His very significant contribution to Australian breeding and racing remains evident this season, when he’s been represented by Hong Kong Group 1 winner Contentment & Singapore Horse of the Year Stepitup, and as a damsire by 2YO Group winner Honesty Prevails, Listed winner Selenia and, of course, the Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice.  He’s also the damsire of our exciting new stallion Panzer Division.

 “From all of us at Arrowfield, thank you Hussonet for a great job well & truly done.”

Arrowfield graduate treble at Sha Tin & Kranji

October began with notable wins in Hong Kong & Singapore by Arrowfield & Inglis sale graduates, and it’s ended the same way, with successes by Stepitup, Contentment & Blizzard on Sunday evening. 

Stepitup has book-ended the month with the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown, adding the $500,000 Raffles Cup to his Kranji Mile win on 4 October.

Hope of a Raffles Cup victory seemed forlorn until the very end of the 1800-metre contest when Stepitup and jockey Michael Rodd found clear air and went after the leader Fastnet Dragon. They caught him in the final 20 metres, winning by a half-length with Quechua more than two lengths back in third place. 

Watch Stepitup win the Raffles Cup Sgp-1.

Stepitup’s trainer Laurie Laxon said, “He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but he just has this amazing mindset, he just has to get the win.

“He’s only a small horse and is the quietest in the stable, you wouldn’t notice him, but what a motor he has. He will now go for the Gold Cup and I guess he would get the top weight of 58 or 59kg now, but he will be a big chance.”

The son of Hussonet and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was  has now won 15 races, ten of them at domestic Group level, and well over $S$2 million for his owner the Tivic Stable.

Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup was purchased by Cliff Brown for $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling filly by All American and a filly foal by Dundeel.

At Sha Tin another son of Hussonet, 5YO Contentment, turned in a sub-1.34 time to win the 1600 metres HK$4 million Sha Tin Trophy HK-2, showing he’s right on target for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1. 

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Trophy HK-2 win.

A $65,000 John Foote purchase from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, Contentment has now won eight of his 11 starts and the equivalent of $1.7 million for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing.

Contentment’s trainer John Size said, “He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is from the Commands mare Jemison, also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a 2015 filly by Animal Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year Able Friend scored a brilliant victory in the next race, the Premier Bowl HK-2, and a quinella by Blizzard and Thewizardofoz in the last race, a Class 2 event over 1400 metres, signed off a big night for Australian-breds. 

Thewizardofoz (by Redoute’s Choice) was impressive at his season debut and first try beyond 1200 metres, but Blizzard (by Starcraft) was sensational, carrying a kilogram more than his rival, sitting wide for much of the race and rocketing down the centre of the track to win in 1:21.96. He ran the last 400 metres in 22.26, faster than any other winner on the ten-race program. 

Watch Blizzard & Thewizardofoz quinella the Zenith Excellent H.

A son of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stormy Choice, Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  He’s now won six of his 10 starts and returned HK$5.3 million (~$960,000) to his owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Hong Kong Group double for Arrowfield & Inglis

Not Listenin’tome and Contentment have more in common than being highly impressive Australian-bred Group winners at Sha Tin on Thursday evening. 

Both are also Arrowfield graduates of Inglis yearling sales.

The Hong Kong International Sprint G1 is the obvious target for Not Listenin’tome after proving way too strong for his rivals in the National Day Cup HK-3.

The 5YO gelding jumped smartly and initially settled in a group behind the early leader Amber Sky, but when jockey Neil Callan pushed the button 400 metres out, the race was all over as Not Listenin’tome instantly sprinted clear to win by two lengths from Super Jockey in 55.90.

Watch Not Listenin’tome’s National Day Cup HK-3 win.

It was the second Hong Kong stakes win for Not Listenin’tome, also successful in last season’s Sha Tin Vase HK-3 after an excellent 3YO year for the Hawkes stable in Australia where he won the MRC Zeditave S. G3 and was twice Group 1-placed, behind Zoustar and Appearance.  With five wins & 5 placings from 15 starts, his earnings now exceed $A1 million.

John Moore, who prepares Not Listenin’tome for Matthew Wong Leung Pak, could not have been happier with the gelding’s performance.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked – he’s finally done what I wanted him to do. This should take him on his way to become Hong Kong’s top sprinter.”

Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas-Flame Of Sydney by Encosta de Lago) was bred by Michael Pitt & Mark Read and bought by George Moore for $270,000 from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale. Flame Of Sydney, herself a Flemington stakeswinner, has an unraced filly named She’s Got Power and a 2YO filly, both by Redoute’s Choice, a yearling colt by Snitzel and is foaling again to Snitzel this Spring.

Just over an hour later it was the turn of Contentment, Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse last season and a $65,000 John Foote purchase from Arrowfield Stud at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale.

He lined up in the Celebration Cup 1400m HK-3 where he settled comfortably in fourth spot for Joao Moreira while Beauty Flame and Divine Calling rolled along in front. Set alight round the turn, Contentment picked up strongly to hit the lead 200 metres out and win by a half-length from Giant Treasure in 1:21.17.

Watch Contentment’s Celebration Cup HK-3 win.

Moreira said, “He is a much more mature horse than he was last season and he showed us what we were expecting.

“I don’t think he is at his best at the moment and he still won, so we are very excited about what he will bring to his next races. Wherever he goes he will be competitive – he has heart.”

It’s the chestnut gelding’s first stakes victory among seven wins in Hong Kong, and takes his career prizemoney for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing to more than $A1.3 million.

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is a new stakeswinner for champion sire Hussonet, from the Commands mare Jemison, a relative of champion 2YO colt Align. Jemison is also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a recently foaled filly by Animal Kingdom.

Completing a tremendous night at Sha Tin for Inglis & Arrowfield was Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice by Redoute’s Choice) who sustained a big run to catch Go Baby Go close to the finish of the Class 2 Beijing Handicap over 1200 metres. 

Watch Blizzard’s win at Sha Tin.

Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000.  Five wins from 9 starts have now returned almost $A680,000 to Blizzard’s owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Thewizardofoz & Contentment win Hong Kong awards

The classy John Size-trained & Arrowfield-connected pair Thewizardofoz and Contentment featured on the list of 2014/15 Hong Kong award winners announced at last week’s end-of-season ceremony.

Brilliant 3YO Thewizardofoz was named Hong Kong’s Champion Griffin of 2014/15 after Sunday’s season finale at Sha Tin.

The son of Redoute’s Choice and multiple Group 1 winner Princess Coup (by Encosta de Lago) burst on the scene with three dominant wins over 1200 metres in May and June for owner Martin Siu Kim Sun.

The gelding’s progress through the ratings to a figure of 89 allows a comparison with champion Silent Witness, rated 95 after his first three wins in 2002/03.  The two-time Horse of the Year won a Hong Kong Group 2 event at his fifth start – a path that Thewizardofoz may well follow in the new season, which opens on 3 September.

Watch Thewizardofoz’s third Hong Kong win on 21 June here.

Redoute’s Choice has had 16 winners in Hong Kong, the best of them being dual domestic Group 3 winner Packing Ok, also third to Ambitious Dragon & Glorious Days in the 2012 Hong Kong Mile G1. In addition, his Mike de Kock-trained son Musir was third in Xtension’s 2011 Champions Mile G1.

The Most Improved Horse was 4YO gelding Contentment (Hussonet-Jemison by Commands), a $65,000 John Foote purchase from Arrowfield Stud at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale and raced by Benson Lo Tak Wing.

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment improved his rating during the season by 49 points to 101 with five wins from nine starts. He franked the award with a really brave win in Sunday’s Sha Tin Mile Trophy, taking up an early lead and defying the challenges of Beauty Only and Fantastic Kaka to win by a neck in 1:33.62. Previous winners of the race include subsequent multiple Group 1 winners Dan Excel & Designs On Rome, named Champion Middle Distance Horse of 2014/15.

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Mile Trophy win here.

Jemison has a rising 3YO half-brother to Contentment, named Alabama Charge (by Charge Forward) in the Robbie Laing stable, a rising 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a Charge Forward weanling colt. The mare, from the family of Champion 2YO Colt Align, is in foal to Animal Kingdom.

Australian-bred horses took out five awards for the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s 130th anniversary season, including the Horse of the Year trophy won by four-time Group 1 winner Able Friend.