As Wandjina prepares for the Royal Ascot Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the Hunter Valley farm that bred him is getting ready to expand its business off the back of a spectacular season.
Arrowfield Stud has completed the construction of an additional 40 yearling runs at its Sales Centre to create one of the best yearling preparation units in the southern hemisphere. Further work is being undertaken to improve internal roads and paddock layouts, and enable the Stud to stand up to 16 stallions. Arrowfield currently stands ten stallions, headed by Redoute’s Choice and his sons Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt.
Paul Messara, who took up the Stud Manager’s role a year ago, says, “We achieved record fertility on the farm last Spring and we’ve had a wonderful run with the stallions on the track and in the ring this season. Stallion-making is our core business and we plan to keep investing in it.”
Arrowfield, selling in its own right and on behalf of clients, was the leading yearling vendor in Australasia this season, grossing more than $18 million at the major sessions of the Magic Millions Gold Coast, Inglis Melbourne Premier & Inglis Easter Sales. Yearlings by stallions on the Stud’s current roster have returned almost $70 million to their vendors in 2015.
Wandjina was purchased from Arrowfield by James Harron for Edmund & Belinda Bateman at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale for $1 million, making him Snitzel’s first seven-figure yearling. Paul says, “He was an outstanding colt, as good as you’d ever see at a sale.”
The Australian Guineas winner is one of four Arrowfield-bred and -sold Group 1 stars this season, alongside Hot Snitzel & Sweet Idea (also by Snitzel), and brilliant South African filly Majmu (by Redoute’s Choice). Arrowfield’s thirty-year record of Group 1-winning graduates now stands at 54 – forty of them bred by the Stud.
La Bamba, dam of Wandjina, Inspiration (Hong Kong Sprint G1) and stakeswinners Lucky Unicorn and Provence, is the fourth Arrowfield mare to leave two Group 1 winners, after Eloquent Edition (dam of Daney Boy & Magic Of Sydney), Lady Giselle (Baryshnikov & Zabeel) and Urge To Merge (Suntagonal & Master Of Design). Now rising 21, La Bamba has a lovely weanling filly by Snitzel that will be retained by Arrowfield.
Messara is very familiar with what’s required to compete in major UK races, as the trainer of Ortensia (2012 York Nunthorpe S. G1 & Goodwood King George S. G2) and Alverta (3rd, 2010 July Cup G1).
He says, “It’s important for Australian horses to keep competing in England, but it’s a very tough task to win any of their big sprints.
“The main challenges are the tracks and their style of racing, because the pressure comes on very early and doesn’t let up, and the undulating tracks make it difficult for horses to maintain their balance. Wandjina’s ability to lead and win over 1600 metres is a plus for him and Gai has kept him fresh, so he’s set to produce his best effort.”
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes will be shown on Sky Racing 1 & Sky Thoroughbred Central at 1.20 am AEST on Sunday morning.