Arrowfield graduates honoured in South Africa

Four  Group 1-winning Arrowfield graduates, all purchased from the Inglis Easter Sale, were the only Australian-bred finalists for South Africa’s 2016/17 Equus Awards, and two of them won their respective categories.

Sheikh Hamdan’s brilliant colt Mustaaqeem was named Champion 2YO Colt, and Whisky Baron won the Champion Middle Distance title at the Awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

Like his sire Redoute’s Choice, Mustaaqeem made only two juvenile appearances, but achieved maximum impact with a runaway debut win, followed by a four-length victory in the Turffontein South African Nursery G1 on 6 May. 

That performance very quickly turned into a rare piece of history when Mustaaqeem’s older full brother Rafeef – now standing at Highlands Stud in South Africa – won the Computaform Sprint G1 on the same Champions Day card. Rafeef was a finalist for the Champion Sprinter award won by Carry On Alice.

Mustaaqeem and Rafeef are sons of South African Horse of the Year National Colour, both of them bred by Arrowfield and Klawervlei Stud, both offered at successive Inglis Easter Sales and both purchased for Shadwell by master buyer Angus Gold. It took $800,000 to buy Rafeef in 2014, and more than twice that amount, $1.75 million, to secure Mustaaqeem two years later. 

National Colour has a 2YO Snitzel filly bought for $675,000 by Paul Messara at Inglis Easter and now part of Arrowfield’s racing team, and a yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice. The mare is in foal to Snitzel.

Whisky Baron (Manhattan Rain-Tazkara by Sinndar), a product of the Aga Khan Studs’ partnership with Arrowfield, was also bought from the 2014 Easter Sale, for just $50,000 by Craig Roscoe & Joey Ramsden. Trained by Brett Crawford for former international cricketer Craig Kieswetter and his brother Ross, Whisky Baron progressed dramatically from three to four, winning all five of his starts last season, which ended with a stunning success in the R5 million Kenilworth Sun Metropolitan H. G1 over 2000 metres. 

Tazkara is now in France, but has two daughters in Australia including Whisky Baron’s full sister Downtown Manhattan whose first foal is a yearling colt by Olympic Glory. 

The fourth Arrowfield graduate among the Equus Award finalists was 3YO colt Heavenly Blue (Snitzel-Simply Carina by El Prado), bred by the Stud in partnership with Cloros Bloodstock and bought for $200,000 by Jehan Malherbe’s Form Bloodstock.

Winner of both his 2YO starts, Heavenly Blue raced exclusively in Group company at three, winning the Turffontein South African Classic G1, and finishing third in the South African Derby G1.

He also hails from the yard of champion trainer Mike de Kock who received a Special Achievement Award after reaching the milestone of 3,000 career wins in March.

Simply Carina has a 3YO daughter, Play That Song (by Smart Missile), in the Mike Moroney stable, a 2YO filly by Snitzel and a yearling colt by Smart Missile. 

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).

Champion Sire Snitzel dominates every category

Such was Snitzel’s history-making 2016/17 Championship season in Australia, that it’s easier to list what he didn’t do.

He’s not the Champion Broodmare Sire, but otherwise, Snitzel dominated every category he contested.

Arrowfield’s new superstar headed the key columns of the General Premiership table, with $16.1 million prizemoney (breaking Street Cry’s 2015/16 record by almost $3.2 million), 159 winners (one short of Lohnro’s record, set in 2013/14) and equalling Danehill’s 2001/02 record of 26 stakeswinners. 

Snitzel’s first Premiership completes an unprecedented three-generation sequence of Champion Australian Sires, following Danehill’s nine titles (won between 1995 and 2005) and Redoute’s Choice’s three titles (2006, 2010, 2014).

He is the fifth Arrowfield resident to become Australia’s Champion Sire, following Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur (2007), Danehill (1995) & Last Tycoon (1994). 

Across-the-board prizemoney increases, especially in New South Wales, have certainly made it easier for Snitzel and a record six other stallions, including his barnmate Not A Single Doubt, to crack $10 million. However, Snitzel is the only one among the top five whose major earner, Redzel with $962,000, didn’t win $1 million or more, and his 26 stakeswinners contributed only 43% of his total earnings – a good indication of the deep quality that characterises Snitzel’s stud record.

Nine fillies and mares joined the list of Snitzel’s stakeswinners in 2016/17, headed by Group winners French Emotion, Elle Lou, Sweet Redemption, Teaspoon & Diddums. Like most of his Championship season’s best male performers, they all remain in training.

Invader was his top-earning juvenile, contributing $960,125 to the $4.9 million that won Snitzel the 2YO Sires’ Premiership by a comfortable margin from his former Arrowfield barnmate Manhattan Rain, sire of the Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.

Remarkably, Snitzel’s list of 31 Australian stakes wins during the season includes only one of Australia’s million-dollar races, the ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce S. G1. He made the most of it though, siring the first three horses home, Invader, Summer Passage & Trapeze Artist to complete the country’s first single-stallion Group 1 2YO trifecta since 1982.

Invader headed Snitzel’s eight list-topping Australian 2YO stakeswinners this season, a quarter of his national record-setting tally of 32 juvenile winners of 46 races. (Three New Zealand winners from his 2014 crop gave him a final tally of 35.)

It was the same story on the 3YO Sires’ Premiership, where Snitzel ended the season on top by earnings (just over $6 million, more than $1.3 million in front of Sebring), winners (68), wins (120), stakeswinners (9) and stakes wins (11).

His principal 3YO earner was Russian Revolution, winner of the ATC The Galaxy G1 in March, and two other Group races last Spring. He was one of ten Snitzel stakeswinners who emerged in the first five months of the season and, along with Redzel, he progressed to elite success in the Autumn.

Snitzel’s Australian stakeswinners were prepared by 13 stables with Peter & Paul Snowden enjoying most success, thanks to Group 1 winners Invader, Redzel & Russian Revolution, Snitzel’s last stakeswinner of the season, Calanda, and Detective, who will do his future racing in Hong Kong.

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott sent out five Snitzel stakeswinners, including Group winners Farson & Sweet Redemption, while Diddums, Trapeze Artist & Samantha took Gerald Ryan’s career tally of stakeswinners by his former stable star to twelve.

Snitzel did his bit to promote the Australian thoroughbred offshore, with the help of Group 1 winners Heavenly Blue (South Africa) & Summer Passage (New Zealand) and dual Group 3 winner Young Man Power (Japan). They boosted his 2016/17 worldwide statistics to 29 stakeswinners (5 at Group 1 level and nine of them juveniles) of 36 Group & Listed Races, for total prizemoney of $20.4 million.

Snitzel’s dominance of the 2016/17 season extended to Australia’s major yearling sales. He was the Leading Sire by aggregate at the Magic Millions & Inglis Easter Sales, and ended the auction season with total sales of $41.7 million and 111 lots sold for an average price of $375,732.

His five million-dollar yearlings were headed by the Top Cuban colt and the Response filly, both sold for $1.7 million by Arrowfield at Inglis Easter.

Snitzel’s achievements are magnified by the class of the stallions behind him in the top 15, among them six other Champion Sires (Street Cry, Fastnet Rock, Lonhro, Redoute’s Choice, Exceed and Excel and Encosta de Lago), his fellow Redoute’s Choice sons, Not A Single Doubt & Stratum, and an impressive group of emerging younger sires.

Snitzel has set the bar exceptionally high for all of them, as well as himself, but with three large, superb quality crops in the pipeline, and a dazzling book of mares visiting him at his 2017 fee of $176,000 inc. GST, his passage to greatness may have only just begun.

Arrowfield graduates rock it everywhere

It’s that time of year when the breeding season is almost done, the first yearling sale catalogues – for Magic Millions, Inglis Classic & Karaka – are out and buyers start tweeting photos from farms throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Right on cue, a bunch of weekend performances in three states and two countries turn the lights up on the success that Arrowfield graduates accumulate all year round.

The highlight came at Ascot in Perth where Rock Magic (Redoute’s Choice-Rockabubble by Bubble Gum Fellow) stormed home for third in the $1 million WATC Winterbottom S. 1200m G1.

Watch Rock Magic’s 3rd in the WATC Winterbottom S. G1.

There was plenty of drama behind Rock Magic’s career-best effort, because he’d sliced his near-fore hoof in the days leading up to the race. Trainer Chris Gangemi, his staff, farrier and vets were determined not to repeat the gelding’s 2015 scratching from the race and called on stable mentor, leading Hong Kong trainer Caspar Fownes, for advice.

Rock Magic passed the official RWWA veterinary examination on Friday morning and, with the addition of bar plates, took his place in the field. However, his troubles weren’t over, because the 7YO gelding ended up being shuffled backwards before the turn and when a gap finally appeared, he was bumped on the way through it. To make third, less than a length from the winner Takedown, was outstanding. 

As described on the Gangemi stable website, “There were a lot of tears and hugs with the realisation among the group of what Rocky had just done…No matter what Rocky does from here, he has provided his group of owners some of the greatest moments in their life.”

Bred by Arrowfield & John Leaver’s Planette Thoroughbred, Rock Magic didn’t find a buyer at the 2011 Inglis Easter Sale, so began his career for his breeders from the Paul Messara stable. He won three of his first four starts as an Autumn 3YO and added a fourth success a year later before his sale as a rising 5YO to a large group of owners led by Gangemi Thoroughbreds. Since then he’s earned more than $700,000 from eight wins (five at Group 3 and Listed level) and nine placings from 24 starts in the West.

In South Africa, 3YO Snitzel colt Heavenly Blue continued his progress with a second placing in the Turffontein Dingaans H. 1600m G2, won by another promising colt, Singapore Sling.

A $200,000 Form Bloodstock buy from the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale, Heavenly Blue has won two of his four starts for trainer & part-owner Mike de Kock, who commented last week, “Heavenly Blue is your typical Classic horse. I haven’t got to bottom of him yet. I thought he ran a cracker last time. It was too short and he raced too green. He’s a big runner but if he does have a shortcoming, it’s his inexperience.”

Heavenly Blue was bred by Arrowfield & Cloros Bloodstock from the El Prado mare Simply Carina, who has a Snitzel filly entered in the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale.

Back in Australia, Snitzel’s 2YO daughter Zinzi’s toughness prevailed in a tight battle over 1200 metres at Eagle Farm. The win at her third start confirmed co-trainer Gillian Heinrich’s good opinion of the filly who will be set for January’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (R) LR.

Watch Zinzi win at Eagle Farm.

Zinzi, out of Group 1 winner Clean Sweep (by End Sweep), was a $47,500 Magic Millions Gold Coast purchase from Arrowfield.

A fourth Arrowfield graduate, 3YO colt Canny Rocket closed out the weekend with an easy win as hot favourite over 975 metres at the Swan Hill meeting on Sunday. He’d posted three thirds in strong New South Wales company before a transfer to Darren Weir and his first Good4 track which he appeared to relish. 

Watch Canny Rocket win at Swan Hill.

Canny Rocket, the 35th winner for Australia’s current leading sophomore sire Smart Missile, is out of Cannarelle (by Canny Lad), making him a half-brother to I Am Invincible. He was bought for $150,000 by Ian MacPherson at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale.