Redoute's Choice & Elzaam strike in Europe

Arrowfield’s ambition thirty years ago was to bring the best of the world’s bloodstock to Australia and, eventually, to send Australia’s best back to the world.

The acquisition of Danehill in 1989 fulfilled the first part of that “big hairy goal” and 14 breed-shaping years later his grandson Choisir – from a female family based in Australia since the 1920s – signalled the achievement of part two. His victory in the 2003 Royal Ascot Golden Jubilee Stakes G1 woke the world up to the quality of Australian-bred sprinters.

A succession of stars turned the Choisir story into a national novel. World champion Black Caviar, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast, Starspangledbanner, Ortensia, Brazen Beau & Alverta have all won or competed with distinction at Group 1 level in England. A Royal Ascot campaign for Australia’s top sprinters is now mentioned in the same breath as a tilt at The Championships in Sydney or the Spring Carnival in Melbourne. 

But Arrowfield’s ambition always extended beyond the racetrack. The eyes of the Australian industry are now fixed on another contest: the First Season Sires’ premierships in Great Britain, Ireland and France.

Four of the top ten sires on the Great Britain & Ireland table are by sons of Danehill: Elzaam (3rd; by Redoute’s Choice), Bated Breath (6th; by Dansili), Helmet (7th; by Exceed and Excel) and Foxwedge (8th; by Fastnet Rock). 

Better still, all of that quartet except for Bated Breath are Australian-bred, with Elzaam the result of Kia Ora Stud’s 2007 decision to send the Kingmambo mare Mambo In Freeport to Redoute’s Choice for a northern time mating.

A €280,000 buy for Sheikh Hamdan from the Arqana August Yearling Sale, Elzaam earned black type with a strong win in the Newbury Carnarvon S. LR as a 3YO. Better indications of his class were his close second, at his second start, in the 2010 Royal Ascot Coventry Stakes G2, and his fourth place finish, beaten two lengths by Society Rock, in the following year’s Golden Jubilee Stakes G1.

Elzaam stands at Ballyhane Stud, Ireland at a 2016 fee of €3,500 which looks very attractive after eight winners from his first 22 runners, including Clem Fandango (Group 2-placed at Royal Ascot) and King Electric (two wins and 4th, Curragh Railway S. G2).   

The Danehill theme is repeated on the French First Season Sires’ table, which features Bated Breath again (5th), Redoute’s Choice (6th), Requinto (7th; by Dansili) and Excelebration (9th; by Exceed and Excel).

Redoute’s Choice gets his second chance to appear on freshman sires’ lists thanks to his two-season stint at HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval. His first three runners include the filly Deep Inside (ex Well Spoken by Sadler’s Wells), successful over 1400m at Compeigne on 25 June for MD Bloodstock Ltd and trainer Gianluca Bietolini, and the colt Celestial Spheres (ex Copernica by Galileo), second on debut at Sandown for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby.

Arrowfield is not the only stud watching the Danehill and Redoute’s Choice story unfold in Europe. Leading French stud Haras d’Etreham has already committed to stand Arrowfield’s new son of Redoute’s Choice, Scissor Kick, for the 2017 Northern Hemisphere season.

His sire and Elzaam have certainly paved the way for the dashing Group winner’s shuttle career,  but European breeders need no introduction to Scissor Kick’s stellar female family. He shares his mitochondrial DNA, and some of his paternal genetics, with Danehill’s champion sire son Dansili, whose remarkable dam Hasili is a half-sister to Scissor Kick’s grand-dam.

Scissor Kick to shuttle to France in 2017

Arrowfield’s freshman sire Scissor Kick (Redoute’s Choice-Back Pass by Quest For Fame) will shuttle to leading French stud Haras d’Etreham for the 2017 Northern Hemisphere season after he completes his first book in Australia this coming Spring.

International interest in the Group-winning colt has been sparked by the global success of Danehill’s great sons Redoute’s Choice and Dansili. Dansili’s celebrated dam Hasili is a half-sister to Scissor Kick’s grand-dam Skiable.

Nicolas de Chambure, General Manager of Haras d’Etreham, inspected Scissor Kick during a recent visit to Arrowfield and immediately began negotiations to shuttle him to France.

He says, “Redoute’s Choice was really well received when he spent two years in France and I think French and European breeders were very impressed by the quality of his stock. He is a champion sire and the best sire of sires from the Danehill line.

“I was therefore very keen to find one of his sons and Scissor Kick has everything I was looking for. He hails from one of the best families in Europe, he is an outstanding individual and he was a Group 1 performer with class and courage.

“It didn’t take me long to make up my mind about him and I am very pleased to be working with Arrowfield to offer such an exciting prospect in France next year.”

Redoute’s Choice was resident for two Northern Hemisphere seasons in France at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in 2013 and 2014. Haras d’Etreham consigned the top-priced Redoute’s Choice yearling colt in 2015, the son of Group 1 winner Vadawina, bought for €950,000 by John Ferguson at the Arqana August Sale. 

The Gianluca Bietolini-trained filly Deep Inside became the first winner from that crop when she scored over 1400 metres at Compiegne in France last Saturday. 

John Messara, Chairman of Arrowfield Stud, says, “Redoute’s Choice is the dominant Australian sire of the last decade and he remains at the top of his game, with three Group 1 winners this season.

“Arrowfield has a perfect record with Redoute’s Choice sire sons and I believe Scissor Kick has all the physical, mental and genetic attributes to extend it, here and in France.”

Pressing the case for Redoute’s Choice in Europe is his Australian-bred son Elzaam, with eight first-crop winners already this season, among them Clem Fandango, third in the Royal Ascot Queen Mary S. G2 earlier this month.  

Arrowfield launched Danehill’s international record-setting career in Australia and 27 years later is the richest source of his stallion sons and grandsons. Arrowfield’s current line-up features sensational sires Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt, both by Redoute’s Choice.

Not A Single Doubt, Snitzel and Redoute’s Choice all hold top ten positions on the current Australian General Sires’ list. Together they have compiled a worldwide tally of 35 stakeswinners (7 Group 1 winners) and more than $38 million (€26 million) prizemoney during the Southern Hemisphere season that concludes on 31 July.

The de Chambure family has owned and operated Haras d’Etreham for more than 70 years, raising Group 1 winners Almanzor, Maximova, Urban Sea, Septieme Ciel, Anabaa Blue, King’s Best and many other fine performers. The 2016 stallion roster includes Europe’s current leading Second Season Sire Wootton Bassett and leading French sire Elusive City.

€775,000 for Redoute's Choice filly at Arqana

Soon after Howard Be Thy Name became the 30th Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice, a 2YO Irish-bred daughter of the champion sire very nearly topped Saturday’s Arqana Breeze Up Sale in France.

The filly, out of Listed winner Sunday Nectar (by Footstepsinthesand), was a pin-hooking triumph for UK-based Oaks Farm Stables, which sold her for €775,000. That’s more than ten times her weanling price in the same ring last October, and a record price for a 2YO by Redoute’s Choice.

She was bought for Tengku Abdal Rahman by agent Stephen Hillen who said, “She’s by a champion sire out of a stakes winning mare and she did, from what I could see, the fastest breeze.”

View the filly’s pedigree & breeze up video.

Hillen had earlier been the under-bidder on the sale-topping Frankel filly, knocked down for €800,000 to Mandore Agency on behalf of Al Shaqab Racing.

Redoute’s Choice was based for the 2013 and 2014 Northern Hemisphere seasons at HH The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in France. 

His first 2YO runner is yet to appear, but in the meantime, his first season sire son Elzaam has made a big impression with a trio of winners, King Electric, Clem Fandango and Berkshire Boy, from his first seven runners. 

Elzaam (out of Mambo In Freeport by Kingmambo), and bred to northern time in Australia by Kia Ora Stud, won at Listed level for his owner Sheikh Hamdan, but his best performances were at Royal Ascot. He was a thrilling second in the Coventry S. G2 at two, and was the first 3YO home when fourth in Society Rock’s Golden Jubilee S. G1. An injury ended his 4YO campaign before it began and he retired to Joe Foley’s Ballyhane Stud in 2012.

Mambo In Freeport has subsequently produced Rajamani and Ravi, full sisters to Elzaam and both city winners. Sadly, Rajamani has died, but 3YO filly Ravi remains in training with Peter & Paul Snowden for Kia Ora and is down to run at Randwick on Wednesday.