Spur is still Flying high

There are many paths a stallion’s career can take, but the hardest trick is putting a final flourish on an outstanding stud record.

Champion sire Flying Spur experienced many highs and a few lows during his 17-year stud career, but when he retired in the Spring of 2012, there was more than enough evidence on the board to ensure he will always be a gold-plated name in a pedigree.  He had earned the right to retreat gracefully off the stage, leaving the limelight to his barnmate Redoute’s Choice and the young guns of the next generation.

However, the now 23-year-old son of Danehill is working from a different script. In the three-and-a-half seasons since he left the Arrowfield stallion barn, 15 horses have added 30 Group & Listed stakes wins to his record, and his worldwide, lifetime progeny earnings have increased by $22 million to almost $128 million.

Although, inevitably, Flying Spur’s racetrack representation will diminish and the flow of winners will eventually stop, it’s not happening yet. 78 winners and $4.1 million kept him in last season’s top 30 Australian sires, and right now, he’s 17th with 52 winners and $3.3 million.

That’s largely thanks to 3YO colt Mahuta, from Flying Spur’s last full crop, who has progressed from maiden class to multiple Group success and $1.6 million prizemoney in less than six months.

4YO Arrowfield graduate Traveston Girl won twice in Listed company last November & December, while Hazard, Okahu Bay & That’s A Good Idea – already stakeswinners – have placed in black type company.

Across the Tasman just over a year ago, Sacred Star became Flying Spur’s 12th Group 1 winner, earning the title of Champion New Zealand Sprinter. He returned last Saturday to win the ARC Darley Plate LR, his ninth victory in a $678,000 career.

Flying Spur is now only one winner away from a century of stakeswinners and, given the durability of his stock, it will be no surprise to see him add a few more beyond that milestone.

At the same time, his sons, and especially his daughters are building a powerful second-generation legacy. Flying Spur’s value as a broodmare sire is well-established by 62 stakeswinners, six of them Group 1 winners including Preferment, Speak Fondly and leading sire Sebring. His sire sons Magnus (11 SW lifetime), Casino Prince (12 SW) and Jet Spur (7 SW) all appear among the top 35 stallions on the current Australian General list.

Buyers looking for a touch of Flying Spur’s magic can start with the 15 Inglis Easter Sale yearlings out of his daughters, including Turangga Farm’s handsome filly by Charge Forward from Chatelaine. The Charge Forward/Flying Spur cross has an excellent SWs/runners strike rate of 13.5% and this filly is a full sister to the best of them, Champion 2YO Filly & 3YO Group 1 winner Headway.

98th stakeswinner for Flying Spur

The Darren Weir-trained Mahuta has become the 98th stakeswinner for champion sire Flying Spur with a strong all-the-way win in Saturday’s $120,000 MRC Gothic S. 1400m LR.

The 3YO colt came into the race off a six-length maiden victory at Kyneton on 8 October and defied his double-figure odds by taking early control of the pace and kicking hard after the turn to hold off Holler, with Flying Light 3.5 lengths back in third.

Jockey Mark Zahra said, “He won well. He was a bit aggressive going to the gates so I wanted to have him where he was happy. He got to the front, relaxed and gave a good kick.”

A member of Flying Spur’s final crop, Mahuta was bred by John Johnstone and purchased for $35,000 from the Redbank North draft at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. He is a half-brother to stakeswinner Anlon, from the unraced Vahine (by Zabeel), a three-quarter sister to top-class 2YO filly Isolda who has left Group 3 winner Bid Spotter to Redoute’s Choice.

Flying Spur, now living out a well-earned retirement at Arrowfield, has enjoyed notable success with mares by sons of Sir Tristram. Mahuta is the 12th stakeswinner from 93 runners bred that way, a group that includes Sleek Chassis (Blue Diamond Stakes), dual Group 1-winning juvenile Juanmo, and Rosehill Guineas winner Dealer Principal.

Mahuta has bolstered Zabeel’s position on the Australian Broodmare Sires’ list, but not quite enough to overtake Flying Spur, represented as a damsire on Saturday by two stakeswinners, Dothraki at Randwick and Vezalay at Caulfield.

The champion son of Danehill remains Australia’s leading sire of broodmares this season with $3,190,484 prizemoney and six stakeswinners, just ahead of Zabeel with the same number of stakeswinners and earnings of $3,112,523.