John Messara pays tribute to Bob Hawke

“The death of Bob Hawke will be deeply felt throughout the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry. Bob enjoyed his racing and the industry loved him…”

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara AM pays tribute to former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke AC GCL after Mr Hawke’s death at the age of 89 in Sydney on Thursday 16 May. 

Messara says, “The death of Bob Hawke will be deeply felt throughout the Australian Thoroughbred Racing Industry. Bob enjoyed his racing and the industry loved him.”

“I regard the Hawke Government’s initiative in the 1985 Federal Budget to place the Australian Breeding Industry on the same fiscal footing as its neighbouring competitor, New Zealand, as the foundation of the Industry’s success today. It was the 1985 Budget that gave Industry participants the confidence to invest in the upgrading of the Australian gene pool – and we have seen the results over the past three decades.”

“Bob and a number of his Cabinet colleagues understood the Racing Industry, the employment it creates and the part it plays in Australian culture, especially in communities outside the major cities.”

“I was privileged to know Bob over a long period of time. He assisted the Industry on a trade mission to Japan after he had retired from politics and he was kind enough to open the then newly built Arrowfield Stud at Jerry’s Plains in 1989. His energy, intellect and charisma were formidable and his enthusiasm for racing causes and people never waned.”

Messara concludes, “May this great Australian rest in peace.”

Norzita confirmed for The Autumn Sun

Champion 3YO Filly Norzita, purchased for $1.7 million by Freyer Bloodstock for Arrowfield at last Friday’s Inglis Chairman’s Sale, has been confirmed for The Autumn Sun’s 2019 book…

Champion 3YO Filly Norzita (Thorn Park-Visique by Quest For Fame), purchased for $1.7 million by Freyer Bloodstock for Arrowfield at last Friday’s Inglis Chairman’s Sale, has been confirmed for The Autumn Sun’s 2019 book.

The two-time Group 1 winner is due to foal to Snitzel in August and was offered by Lime Country Thoroughbreds on behalf of the late Dato Tan Chin Nam’s Think Big Stud.

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara says, “Norzita is an absolute queen, a magnificent individual with an elite race record and an outstanding match in every way for The Autumn Sun.”

An unbeaten Group 1 winner at two, The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice-Azmiyna by Galileo) is the only horse to sweep the Golden Rose and Caulfield, Randwick & Rosehill Guineas.

The Autumn Sun was named this season’s Champion 3YO Colt at the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association’s Awards Dinner held on Wednesday evening in Scone. He stands his first season at Arrowfield at a fee of $77,000 inc. GST.

Arrowfield announces 2019 Stallion Roster & Fees

Arrowfield Stud has announced its 2019 roster including three new stallions and a new fee for exciting young sire Dundeel…

Arrowfield Stud today announced its 2019 roster of 11 stallions headed by Champion Sire Snitzel, whose fee is unchanged at $220,000 inc. GST.

Now with a $6.5 million lead in his bid for a third consecutive Australian Sires’ Premiership, Snitzel continues to achieve exceptional sale-ring returns for breeders, with total yearling sales in the past three years of more than $100 million, including this year’s $2.8 million Inglis Easter sale-topping colt out of Ichihara.

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara says, “We are delighted with the racecourse and sale-ring results achieved for breeders, vendors, owners and trainers by Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt and Dundeel over the past 12 months.

“However, we are always mindful of the risks and additional costs of breeding and the highly competitive marketplace we work in, and that shapes our approach to setting fees.”

Messara adds, “This is a pivotal year for us, the first time in two decades that Redoute’s Choice is absent from our roster, and we look back with profound gratitude for all that he contributed to Arrowfield and the industry.

“Our 2019 roster is very much his legacy, with five of his sons and a grandson, and five other outstanding young stallions that 20 years ago even I could not have imagined we would stand at Arrowfield. Collectively, they give us 11 very good reasons to be confident and excited about the future.”

Not A Single Doubt will stand at a fee of $110,000 inc. GST. He has furthered his record as a sire of high-class and versatile performers with 12 stakeswinners in 2018/19, including his ninth Group 1 winner Kenedna. His progeny are keenly sought by buyers who recently paid a career-high average of $528,000 for his 15 Inglis Easter yearlings, among them two million-dollar colts.

Dundeel has stamped himself a potential champion sire in a breakout season of seven stakeswinners from his first 72 runners, including Group 1-winning 2YOs Castelvecchio & Yourdeel, and 3YO Atyaab. The market’s opinion of Dundeel is already clear with a $309,000 average price at Inglis Easter and a top price of $525,000 paid for the Lady Moura filly. Dundeel’s fee is set at $66,000 inc. GST.

Sensational 5-time Group 1 winner The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice-Azmiyna by Galileo) heads a trio of new sires at Arrowfield this year. An unbeaten Group 1 winner at two, The Autumn Sun is the only 3YO to win the Golden Rose and the Caulfield, Randwick & Rosehill Guineas. He will stand his first season at $77,000 inc. GST.

Also joining the Arrowfield roster is Group 1 winner Real Steel (Deep Impact-Loves Only Me by Storm Cat), a descendant of Champion racemare & blue hen Miesque, also the ancestress of Danehill’s Champion 2YO daughter Rumpelstiltskin, Champion Sire Kingmambo and Champion 3YO Filly Alpha Centauri. A debut winner at two, Real Steel capped a stellar career in Japan with his Meydan Dubai Turf G1 victory on World Cup night in 2016. He is currently serving his first book at Shadai Stallion Station and is offered to Australian breeders at a first-season fee of $16,500 inc. GST.

Arrowfield’s third newcomer is, like The Autumn Sun and Flying Spur, Danzero, Not A Single Doubt, Beneteau & Pariah before them, returning home to begin his stallion career. Showtime (Snitzel-Flidais by Timber Country), a full brother to Group 1 winner Sweet Idea, was sold by Arrowfield for $1.1 million at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale and trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes to race in the best company at two and three. Twice successful in Melbourne at Group 2 level including a defeat of Group 1 winners Hartnell, Grunt & Black Heart Bart in the weight-for-age MRC P.B. Lawrence S. G2 (formerly J.J. Liston S.), Showtime was also placed in the ATC All Aged S. G1 and MRC Futurity S. G1. He will stand his first season at $11,000 inc. GST.

The first yearlings by the Group-winning sprinter Scissor Kick (by Redoute’s Choice) have been purchased for up to $150,000 this season by trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Bjorn Baker, Paul Perry & Kim Waugh, syndicators Champion Thoroughbreds, Triple Crown Syndications, Proven Thoroughbreds, Dalziel Racing & Blueblood Thoroughbreds and agents John Foote & Ric Wylie. Scissor Kick’s fourth season fee is $11,000 inc. GST.

Shalaa, Maurice & Mikki Isle all return to Arrowfield this year, and their first Australian yearlings will be offered for sale in 2020.

The fee for Invincible Spirit’s brilliant dual Group 1-winning son Shalaa remains at $33,000 inc. GST, while six-time Group 1 winner and Japanese Horse of the Year Maurice (by Screen Hero) stands at $27,500 inc. GST and Champion Sprinter-Miler Mikki Isle (by Deep Impact) is again offered at $13,750 inc. GST.

Group-winning 2YO & 3YO Pariah (by Redoute’s Choice) served a full book of quality mares in his first season and remains at a fee of $22,000 inc. GST.

Real Impact rests after serving his fourth book of mares in Japan. His first Australian yearlings have sold this year for up to $240,000 and their trainers include Paul Perry, Matthew Smith, Brad Widdup, Peter & Paul Snowden, Robert & Luke Price, Clarry Conners and Neville Parnham. Olympic Glory, sire of 21 first-crop 2YO winners in Europe last year, will not shuttle to Arrowfield in 2019.

The 2019 Arrowfield Stallion Roster is:

SNITZEL
Redoute’s Choice-Snippets’ Lass

$220,000*

NOT A SINGLE DOUBT
Redoute’s Choice-Singles Bar

$110,000*

THE AUTUMN SUN – New
Redoute’s Choice-Azmiyna

$77,000

DUNDEEL (NZ)
High Chaparral-Stareel

$66,000

SHALAA (IRE)
Invincible Spirit-Ghurra

$33,000

MAURICE (JPN) 
Screen Hero-Mejiro Frances

$27,500

PARIAH
Redoute’s Choice-Secluded

$22,000

REAL STEEL (JPN) – New
Deep Impact-Loves Only Me

$16,500

MIKKI ISLE (JPN)
Deep Impact-Star Isle

$13,750

SCISSOR KICK
Redoute’s Choice-Back Pass

$11,000

SHOWTIME – New
Snitzel-Flidais

$11,000

All Fees inc. GST.
* = Live Foal Terms

 

Australia’s King of Sires Redoute’s Choice dies at Arrowfield

World-class stallion, sale-ring sensation, dominant sire of sires & broodmares and major industry influence Redoute’s Choice has died at Arrowfield Stud…

Arrowfield Stud announces with great sorrow that the Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice died this morning at the farm, near Scone in the Hunter Valley.

The rising 23 year-old son of Danehill and Shantha’s Choice was humanely euthanised after suffering a traumatic loss of mobility which could not be restored, despite intensive care by Arrowfield’s veterinary and stallion teams.
 
Arrowfield’s John Messara said, “Redoute’s Choice is such a big part of all our lives, and right now it’s hard to imagine Arrowfield without him.

“He has given us so much, Arrowfield has been built on his back and he’s allowed all of us and many, many other people to fulfil our dreams and ambitions.

“I thank Muzaffar Yaseen for allowing us to buy into Redoute’s Choice almost two decades ago. Our partnership has always been amicable and it has achieved all that we could hope for, and more.

“I’m grateful to all my team, past and present, who are part of his story, especially those who have cared for and worked with Redoute’s Choice every day, and have ensured that he’s had the long and wonderful life he deserved. There are many tears being shed at Arrowfield today.

“I also thank everyone who helped us launch his stud career, his shareholders, and those who bred to him, and bought, raced, trained and rode his progeny. He has blessed us all.”

REDOUTE'S CHOICE
Champion. Hero. Friend.
1996 - 2019
Redoute's Choice wins the 1999 Blue Diamond S. G1 at his second start.
Redoute's Choice defeats Testa Rossa in the dramatic 1999 Caulfield Guineas G1.
Champion 2YO Miss Finland wins the 2006 Golden Slipper G1.
World Champion Sprinter & Australian Horse of the Year Lankan Rupee
John & Paul Messara with Redoute's Choice at Arrowfield in 2014.
Redoute's Choice with Stallion Manager Joe Hickey, August 2018.
The magnificent Tanya Bartlett statue of Redoute's Choice greets visitors to Arrowfield.
...the rarest of thoroughbred horses...
previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

PHOTOS:  Bronwen Healy; Martin King 

Redoute’s Choice was the rarest of thoroughbred horses, who exceeded even the lofty expectations of his glorious physique, powerful pedigree and brilliant racing career, to become a world-class stallion, a sale-ring sensation, a dominant sire of sires & broodmares and a major influence for years to come. 

His death comes in a season of fresh recognition and achievement, including his 34th Group 1 winner Galaxy Star, a trio of million-dollar colts at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and a spectacular 3YO campaign by his best racing son, The Autumn Sun, who won his fifth Group 1 race, the Rosehill Guineas, last Saturday.

The Autumn Sun’s place on the Arrowfield roster is already reserved, alongside four other Redoute’s Choice sons: record-breaking Champion Sire Snitzel, leading sire Not A Single Doubt, Scissor Kick, whose first yearlings are being offered at 2019 sales, and Pariah, who served his first book in 2018.  

Almost 13 years after he won the first of his three General Sires’ Premierships, Redoute’s Choice remains a top 5 sire and is likely to secure his first Australian Broodmare Sires’ title this season with earnings of $15.2 million and 15 stakeswinners to date, among them Group 1 winners Extra Brut, Amphitrite and Arcadia Queen.

Redoute’s Choice was bred by Muzaffar Yaseen, foaled on 15 August 1996 and retained to race in the now-famous yellow, red, lime & orange Teeley Assets colours. Mr Yaseen sent him to Melbourne trainer Rick Hore-Lacy who prepared the strikingly handsome colt throughout his 10-start, 5-win, $1.6 million racing career.

He made headlines and history immediately, after winning a Listed Race at his 2YO debut on 20 February 1999 and lining up a mere seven days later in the Blue Diamond S. G1, which he won by two lengths from his great rival Testa Rossa.

His Spring 3YO campaign began with a 1200-metre weight-for-age victory in the Manikato S. G1 and peaked in the heroic, one-for-the-ages battle with Testa Rossa for the Caulfield Guineas G1, won by Redoute’s Choice only in the final metres.

Redoute’s Choice returned in the Autumn to add a fourth Group 1 success, defeating Miss Pennymoney and Intergaze in the C.F. Orr S. G1, and retired to Arrowfield as Australia’s Champion 3YO Miler.

He served 134 mares in 2000 at a fee of $30,000 which did not increase until his fifth season, in 2004. That was after the appearance of his first stakeswinners Not A Single Doubt and Tahni Girl, the 2003/04 Champion First Season Sire title and his first million-dollar yearling.

It was in the 2004/05 racing season that Redoute’s Choice, with 137 runners from two crops of racing age, emerged as a potential champion stallion and the inheritor of Danehill’s crown. He unleashed a staggering 15 stakeswinners, four at Group 1 level: 3YO filly Lotteria and 2YOs Fashions Afield, Stratum and Undoubtedly. Only Danehill and Zabeel headed him on the Australian General Sires’ Premiership and his 2005 Inglis Easter Sale results included the Tugela colt, sold for a then all-time Australian record price of $2.5 million.

He served a full book of 196 mares in 2005 and continued to serve at least 100 mares each year until the last two seasons when his book was restricted to 74 and 45 mares.

Redoute’s Choice claimed his first General Sires’ Premiership with three crops racing in 2005/06, the season of six Group 1 winners: Champion 2YO Miss Finland, Snitzel (Oakleigh Plate), God’s Own (Caulfield Guineas), Nadeem (Blue Diamond S.), Fashions Afield (Flight S.) and Lotteria (Myer Classic).

His second Premiership came in 2009/10, the year of diversely gifted  fillies, the dual Group 1 winning-sprinter Melito, Queensland Derby winner Dariana and Toorak Handicap winner Allez Wonder.

That season also marked the arrival of his statistically most notable crop, eventually the source of 21 stakeswinners from 107 named foals – a remarkable strike rate of 19.6%.  Flag-bearer for that 2009 cohort was World Champion Sprinter, Horse of the Year and five-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee who helped propel Redoute’s Choice to his third and final Premiership, in 2013/14.

Snitzel’s second-place finish in 2014 resulted in a father-&-son Premiership quinella unprecedented in Australian thoroughbred history and signalled the passing of the baton to the next generation of the Danehill dynasty at Arrowfield.

Redoute’s Choice now has 22 stakes-siring sons, 10 of them also Group 1 sires. They are responsible for 279 stakeswinners, while his daughters have left 86 stakeswinners, including 13 at Group 1 level.

International recognition of Redoute’s Choice’s contribution to the Australian thoroughbred industry has grown steadily in recent years. Only last month leading bloodstock analyst Bill Oppenheim announced that his APEX A Runner index of 3.82 earned him the No. 1 spot among Australasian sires, ahead of Snitzel, I Am Invincible, Savabeel and Fastnet Rock.

John Messara said, “It is a great consolation to me that Redoute’s Choice leaves us at the top of his game, having sustained his greatness as a sire from start to finish, across the full span of his career.

“His legacy to Australian breeding and racing is immense, through his sire sons, his broodmare daughters, his final crops still to come and all the people he touched over the past two decades.

“Thank you Redoute’s, for everything.”

John Messara to receive 2019 Longines & IFHA International Award of Merit

Industry leader John Messara will receive the 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit, which recognises distinguished horsemen and horsewomen for lifelong contributions to Thoroughbred racing…

Industry leader John Messara has been chosen to receive the 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit, which recognises distinguished horsemen and horsewomen for lifelong contributions to Thoroughbred racing.

He will be honoured during a ceremony on Thursday 11 April in advance of the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes G1 that Saturday in Sydney.

Representatives from both Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) will be in Australia to celebrate Messara’s achievements. As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the IFHA, Swiss watchmaker Longines and the IFHA conjointly created the Award of Merit in 2013 in order to honour public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing.

Messara has been a key figure in Australian racing for more than three decades, and he is the owner and chairman of Arrowfield Stud in New South Wales. The highly successful and respected farm, which was founded in 1985, identified, purchased and launched the career of breed-shaping champion sire Danehill in Australia and now stands his champion sire son Redoute’s Choice and champion sire grandson Snitzel.

Among his many titles, Messara has served as chairman of Racing New South Wales (December 2011- December 2016), inaugural chairman of Racing Australia (January 2014-December 2016), vice-chairman of the Asian Racing Conference (2014-2016), president of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (2007-2008), and inaugural chairman of Aushorse (2001-2008).

Previous accolades Messara has received include Life Membership of the Australian Turf Club (2016), the Thoroughbred Breeders NSW inaugural Heroic Award (2011), and appointment by the Australian government in 2008 as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Messara, who was born in 1947, attended the University of New South Wales. After graduating in 1968, he commenced work with Edwin V Nixon & Partners (Arthur Young & Co), chartered accountants, before joining the firm of Ralph King & Yuill, Member of the Sydney Stock Exchange, and establishing their European branch in Geneva, Switzerland. He returned to Australia and was elected a Member of the Sydney Stock Exchange in 1973. 

That same year, Messara married his wife, Kristine. They have four children: Dr. Louise Messara; Paul Messara, Group 1 trainer and manager, Arrowfield Stud; Michael Messara, a director of the Arrowfield Group; and media presenter and producer Susanne Gray.

John Messara is the first Australian to receive the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit. Previous winners include the Magnier family and trainer Aidan O’Brien, the driving forces behind Coolmore and the Ballydoyle Racing Stable in Ireland; Yutaka Take, legendary Japanese jockey; the Romanet family, long renowned leaders in both the French and international world of horseracing; Jim Bolger, leading Irish trainer, owner and breeder; Alec Head, past champion trainer and patriarch of prominent stud farm Haras du Quesnay; Seth Hancock of historic Claiborne Farm in America; and the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio, former chairman of the South American organisation for the promotion of Thoroughbreds (OSAF).

About Longines
Longines has been based at Saint-Imier in Switzerland since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. Longines has built solid and lasting ties with the world of sport over the years, with a wealth of experience as timekeeper for sports championships around the globe and a partner of numerous international sports federations. Renowned for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of Swatch Group Ltd., the world’s leading watch manufacturer. Known by its winged hourglass logo, the brand is today present in over 150 different countries.

About the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA)
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its 60 members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.

Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

  • Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW)
  • Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
  • International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
  • World Rankings
  • The fight against Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
  • Harmonization of Race Day Rules
  • Certification of IFHA Reference Labs
  • Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally

The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Arrowfield’s tribute to Nick Columb

John & Kris Messara, Paul & Alice Messara and the entire Arrowfield team join many thoroughbred industry people around the world to mourn the death of our great friend Nick Columb on 10 August…

John & Kris Messara, Paul & Alice Messara and the entire Arrowfield team join many thoroughbred industry people around the world to mourn the death of our great friend Nick Columb, in Girona, Spain on 10 August after suffering a stroke ten days earlier.

Of course, this would be much more entertaining and scandalous if Nick was still here telling us about his own drama-filled life, as he so often did in hilarious, sharply observed episodes. It’s some consolation for us that Paul Messara and Martin Story spent a few days in Japan last month with Nick at his entertaining best, holding court and telling outrageous stories in his inimitable style. 

Nick’s ability to rise again from failure, change tack and adapt to different times and opportunities meant that people met and knew him in several thoroughbred industry roles: as the stunningly successful high-rolling owner and buyer of the 1980s, the energetic owners’ advocate of the 1980s and 1990s, and the globe-trotting bloodstock consultant of recent years. Yet they only hint at the significant impact he had on the Australian and international racing community and on the many people who have paid tribute to him.

John Messara says, “Nick Columb was the staunchest friend, always fearless, constantly innovative and deeply passionate about horse racing and so much else. He leaves an unfillable gap in Arrowfield’s world, and so many good memories and reasons to be grateful for his incomparable life.”

The high drama of Nick’s life began just after World War II in Bucharest when his parents and the infant Nick fled from the Soviet occupation of Romania, eventually emigrating to Australia in the early 1950s. 

Educated at Brighton Grammar School, Nick attended the Law Faculty at Monash University for two years until, as he explained, he “started falling asleep in lectures.” A cadetship at the Melbourne Herald (now the Herald-Sun) followed and he worked as a journalist there for almost ten years, covering crime, the Courts and all sports, including racing.

After a period as the National Marketing Director for the George Patterson Advertising Agency, Nick launched his own successful business, eventually investing in a pub, private hospitals and the Morning Star Estate at Mount Eliza.

His passion for the turf was sparked, as it was for so many in that generation, by Saturdays spent with his punting father at the races and at 18 Nick leased his first “hopelessly slow” horse with a couple of mates. Some years later he bought a filly named Teversham who did a little better, being denied victory at the Avoca Picnic Races only by a judge who awarded the race to his cousin’s horse. At least, that’s how Nick told it!

Undaunted, he persisted in racehorse ownership, through an expensive and very fast Vain colt who suffered knee chips, a share in Full On Aces and success in the 1981 Golden Slipper and AJC Sires’ Produce and the purchase of a horse from a drunken Kiwi one night in a Melbourne bar. Syndicated with the help of Tommy Smith, that horse was Little Brown Jug (he raced as My Brown Jug in Australia) who won the St George and the Alister Clark and famously savaged Manikato in the C.F. Orr.

Then along came the first of the horses that elevated Nick’s profile an owner and cemented his long friendship with trainer Ross McDonald. That horse was Magari, who swept through the 1982 Melbourne Spring Carnival winning what are now the Sir Rupert Clarke, the Toorak and the Cantala Stakes.

Nick bought Magari’s dam Aurea in foal to Century and with a Century filly at foot that raced as Centaurea and gave Nick one of his biggest thrills when she won the 1985 Australasian Oaks, ridden by Lester Piggott.

This was a golden era for Nick as an owner and he visited the Group 1 winner’s circle regularly over the next few years, thanks to three spectacular fillies, all bought at the New Zealand yearling sales.

Courtza carried Nick Columb’s famous colours to victory in the 1989 Golden Slipper G1. (PHOTO: Martin King, Sportpix)

Tristarc (Sir Tristram-Renarc) took 14 races to break her maiden, but eventually won five Group 1 events including the 1985 Australian Derby and Caulfield Cup. Million-dollar earner Imposera (Imposing-Calera) won the 1988 Australasian Oaks and Caulfield Cup and a year later Courtza (Pompeii Court-Hunza) earned 2YO Championship honours after completing the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double. 

The crash of the early 1990s slowed Nick’s activity as an owner, but not his advocacy on behalf of Victorian and Australian owners, a task he pursued with typical vigour. His philosophy was simple: “Without owners there is no racing. We ‘feed’ everyone – trainers, jockeys, strappers, vets, float drivers, grain merchants and race club committees. Without horses out on the tracks there’d be nothing to bet on. Indeed, all we’d see is grass growing!”

Although he later said it was “mostly banging my head up against closed officialdom’s doors”, Nick’s 15 years as Chairman of The Racehorse Owners’ Association (TROA) were far from fruitless. The SuperVOBIS Scheme, current owners’ privileges and facilities and wider distribution of prizemoney are all achievements to which Nick, among others, contributed.

Nick’s experience as a buyer of bloodstock, his vast network of industry contacts and deep understanding of the thoroughbred business led him to his last professional role as the head of Hong Jockey Club’s purchasing team for the Hong Kong International Sale.  The strong growth of that Sale and graduates including Champion Stayer & dual Group 1 winner Pakistan Star are results that Nick and his colleagues rightly celebrated.

Nick had many passions outside racing, notably the Western Bulldogs (formerly Footscray) AFL Club. He spent almost a decade on the Club’s board and, despite a turbulent year as President in 1989, he remained a loyal Bulldogs fan. (They defeated North Melbourne 92-85 on Sunday which would have pleased him!)  

A flirtation with city politics gave Melbourne the opportunity to elect a really interesting Lord Mayor in 2008, but as he always did, Nick rose above the failure of that campaign and continued to enjoy life, racing, football, friends, family and the other things he loved: “travel; good music; fine food and great red wine; and above-average sheilas.”

Nick is survived by his children Adrian, Georgia & Nick with his first wife Bev, Raphaela & Romany with his second wife Rosanne, and grandson Charlie.

Magnificent Shoals leads home Arrowfield Group 1 quinella

Sensational at Flemington in the Spring, dominant at Randwick in March and now magnificent at Morphettville in May.

That’s the story of Shoals’ season for her owner-breeders Arrowfield & Jonathan Munz after meeting and beating three Group 1 fields of quality fillies and mares. 

The daughter of Fastnet Rock and The Broken Shore has firmly established herself as Australia’s best 3YO filly and one of the most valuable distaff performers of any age in the country.

Saturday’s  victory in the $1 million SAJC Robert Sangster S. 1200m G1 was made even sweeter for Arrowfield by Secret Agenda’s gallant second placing, sealing a graduate Group 1 quinella for the farm. 

Secret Agenda (Not A Single Doubt-Negotiate) was a $120,000 buy from Arrowfield’s 2014 Magic Millions draft by Blueblood Thoroughbreds. Her sterling 4-season, 7-win, $1.5 million career includes the 2017 Robert Sangster Classic G1.

Watch Shoals win the SAJC Robert Sangster S. G1.

Three Group 1 wins in her first 10 starts stamp Shoals as something special and trainer Anthony Freedman and his team can be proud of preparing her for peak performances at 1600, 1400 and 1200 metres in two campaigns this season.

“What next for Shoals?” is the question that Jonathan Munz and John Messara are now considering.  The Freedman stable reported on Monday evening that Royal Ascot, at least for this year, is off the table, in favour of The Everest at Randwick in October, subject to accessing a slot.

In the meantime, Shoals’ excellent recovery after Saturday keeps open the possibility of a start in the $1 million Goodwood G1, also over 1200m at Morphettville on 19 May.

It has been a remarkable few weeks for The Broken Shore (by Hussonet), whose third foal is last month’s  $2.3 million Inglis Easter sale-topper, a full brother to Shoals. 

The eight year-old mare’s work-in-progress also includes 2YO filly Tides, retained by Arrowfield and Pineciff Racing, a weanling colt by Medaglia d’Oro and a fourth Fastnet Rock foal due this coming Spring.

Hussonet mares are compiling an impressive record with Danehill sons. Shoals and another Arrowfield graduate, dual Group 1 winner Majmu (by Redoute’s Choice), head the nine stakeswinners from 87 runners bred that way.

Shoals supreme in Group 1 Surround Stakes

The Arrowfield brand has been carried by some outstanding fillies over the past three decades, most sold as yearlings to achieve Group 1 success for many happy owners outside the company.

One of them, last season’s Group 1 winner Secret Agenda resumed with an ebullient victory at Flemington yesterday for the Bluebloods Thoroughbreds syndicate that purchased her for $120,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale.

Other recent Group 1-winning female Arrowfield graduates are Sheikh Hamdan’s Champion Filly Majmu, Oaks winner Abbey Marie, and Group 1-winning sprinters Snitzerland & Sweet Idea.

Occasionally, the Stud is either left with an unsold filly, like 2010 Coolmore Classic G1 winner Alverta, or chooses to keep a particularly well-bred filly, such as Champion 2YO & 3YO Filly Miss Finland and her 1000 Guineas-winning daughter Stay With Me. All three are now valuable members of the Arrowfield broodmare band – so valuable that they respectively have a yearling filly, a weanling colt and a positive test to Japan’s supersire Deep Impact.

The briefest glance at the pedigree of 3YO filly Shoals, brilliant winner of Saturday’s $500,000 ATC Surround S. 1400m G1, explains why Arrowfield and co-breeder Jonathan Munz elected to retain her.

By two-time Champion Sire Fastnet Rock from a Hussonet half-sister to three-time Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice, Shoals had sufficient value in utero for her mother The Broken Shore to command a $1.9 million final bid at the 2014 Magic Millions Teeley Dispersal.

Sent to the Melbourne-based Freedman stable now headed by Anthony & his son Sam, Shoals showed early ability, winning her 2YO February debut and stepping up immediately to Group 3 success, then victory in last April’s ATC Percy Sykes S. G2.

She opened her 3YO campaign by winning the MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. G1 in September, then filled the runner-up spots in the Tranquil Star S. G2 and the 1000 Guineas G1 before scoring a heroic, all-the-way victory in the VRC Myer Classic G1 on Derby Day.

The only below-par performance in her nine-start, $1.3 million career came at her Autumn campaign debut last month, when she was unplaced at Caulfield. A complete review of the filly’s physical status turned up nothing and Sam Freedman offered the most likely explanation for that uncharacteristically poor run.

“She had a month off and blew right out, did very well in the paddock and was probably a little flat first-up, it’s all we can put that down to.”

Shoals’ emphatic performance at Randwick backs the stable’s conclusion. She bounced out well from gate 4 and settled comfortably behind the early leader Shumookh, so was in the perfect position for Josh Parr to peel her out and challenge at the top of the straight. Shumookh fought on while the favourite Alizee struggled to make ground from the rear and Torvill (by Not A Single Doubt) & Rimraam began to steam home down the outside. 

Shoals had the race under control at the 200-metre mark, but kept fighting to defeat Torvill by a half-length, with Rimraam third and Shumookh fourth.

Watch Shoals win the ATC Surround S. G1.

Major Autumn targets in Sydney now beckon, including the T.J. Smith Stakes, the Doncaster Mile and the Queen of the Turf Stakes – and Shoals is nominated for all of them. A future Royal Ascot and July Cup campaign is also on the table. 

In the meantime, Arrowfield is preparing Shoals’ full brother for next month’s Inglis Easter Sale, raises her half-brother by Medaglia D’Oro and eight-year-old The Broken Shore, who hasn’t missed a beat in her breeding career, nurtures the Fastnet Rock foal she is due to deliver next Spring.

Partnership punt pays off with Myer Classic win

Some of the biggest punts in racing have nothing to do with totes or bookmakers.

One of them, the $1.9 million purchase of in-foal broodmare The Broken Shore by Jonathan Munz & Arrowfield, paid off on Derby Day at Flemington, when her daughter Shoals withstood every challenge to win the $500,000 VRC Myer Classic 1600m G1.

As Jonathan Munz said, “We backed ourselves when we bought the mare from the Teeley Dispersal and this is the best result we could have wished for.”

The 3YO filly, bought in utero with her mother, has barely missed a beat in her five-win, 7-start career. With only 50 kg to carry, she was favoured to give the Myer Classic a big shake after her gallant second to Aloisia in the Thousand Guineas G1 three weeks ago. 

And so she did, as jockey Dean Yendall perfectly executed the pre-race plan to use Shoals’ gate speed to take up a forward position,  settle her just off the lead, then strike hard and put pressure on her older rivals, all carrying 57 kg.  

Shoals had the race under control 300 metres out, but Yendall had to call on her fighting spirit as Eckstein, Dixie Blossoms and Beneteau’s daughter Prompt Response threw everything into the finish.

The filly’s class and courage took her through the last 50 metres for a narrow but decisive victory, much to the delight of Jonathan Munz, Pinecliff Racing Manager Rocket Douglas and Team Arrowfield led by Paul & Alice Messara.   

Shoals had visibly progressed since her Guineas second, and both her work last week and Aloisia’s Moonee Valley Vase win indicated that a more serious 1600-metre test was within her capability.

Trainer Anthony Freedman has had sole responsibility for Shoals this season, after brother Lee’s departure for Singapore. He said after the Myer Classic, “We got confident when Aloisia won last Saturday. 

“We decided to keep something up our sleeve for this race. She was incredibly tough today. There’s no reason she can’t win a few more Group Ones.”

Her status as a Group 1 winner – and Group 2, Group 3 & Listed winner – enhances Shoals’ already substantial value as a daughter of champion sire Fastnet Rock and a Hussonet half-sister to champion sire Redoute’s Choice. 

Shoals’ story is a new chapter in the book of one of Australia’s most illustrious female families. The prospects of Shoals’ Autumn campaign, plus her 2YO full sister Tides, their yearling full brother and a colt foal by Medaglia D’Oro give Jonathan Munz and Arrowfield much to look forward to.

Snitzel & National Colour honoured with TBA Awards

Arrowfield’s Champion Sire Snitzel and Klawervlei Stud’s wonderful broodmare National Colour were honoured with three 2016/17 awards presented by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia at Coolmore on Sunday morning.

Snitzel secured the coveted Champion Australian Sire award after establishing a new Australian record for progeny earnings of $16.2 million, and equalling Danehill’s record of 26 Australian stakeswinners for the season. They included Group 1 winners Invader, Redzel & Russian Revolution.

Snitzel was also crowned Champion Sire of 2YOs with eight individual juvenile stakeswinners and total earnings of almost $5 million. The son of Redoute’s Choice also set a new Australian record of 35 2YO winners, including three in New Zealand.

Leading broadcaster and breeder Alan Jones AO accepted both awards on behalf of Arrowfield.

He said, “It’s been a wonderful year for Arrowfield and I’d like to thank the whole team there who have done a wonderful job, as they do in all studs. We couldn’t survive without the work of the staff and they do a fantastic job.

“It’s been a remarkable year for Snitzel, he equalled Danehill’s record for the most stakeswinners in a season which is quite extraordinary, so we are very honoured, very privileged and very thankful.”

Following the TBA National Awards, Thoroughbred Breeders New South Wales (TBNSW) made two presentations.

The title of NSW Champion Broodmare Of The Year was awarded to the South African-bred National Colour, dam of Sheikh Hamdan’s colts Mustaaqeem and Rafeef, both by Redoute’s Choice, both bred by the Arrowfield & Klawervlei Stud partnership and both prepared by Mike de Kock to win at Group 1 level on Champions Day at Turffontein on 6 May.

Foaled in South Africa in 2002, National Colour (National Assembly-Rainbow Cake by Mr Eats) was herself a three-time Group 1 winner and Joint South African Horse of the Year in 2005/06. She is the dam of three winners, including Rafeef and Mustaaqeem, from four named foals, has a yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice and is due to foal again to the three-time Champion Sire this Spring. Her just-turned 2YO filly by Snitzel was bought for $675,000 by Paul Messara at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.

The full list of 2016/17 National and NSW Award Winners is:
TBA Award Winners
Champion Australian Sire: SNITZEL
Champion Australian Sire of 2YOs: SNITZEL
Champion Australian First Season: PIERRO
Australian Broodmare of the Year: VEGAS SHOWGIRL – dam of Winx, unbeaten in eight starts inc. six Group 1 races last season
Breeder of the Australian-bred Exported Racehorse of the Year: MR ENRIQUE COJUANGCO – breeder of Hong Kong Champion Rapper Dragon.
TBNSW Award Winners
NSW Champion Broodmare: NATIONAL COLOUR
President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: MR ROB MANWARING – breeder of Group 1 winner Capital Gain & dual Listed winner Grande Rosso.