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.

Flying Spur closes on 100 stakeswinners

A milestone century of stakeswinners is well within the grasp of Arrowfield’s retired champion sire Flying Spur after a tremendous sequence of results last Saturday.

His daughters Okahu Bay and Hazard supplied a Group 3 double at Morphettville while his son That’s A Good Idea capped a fine season with success in Listed company at Scone.

They took Flying Spur’s lifetime tally of stakeswinners to 97, a figure that, with his final crop only 2YOs, can be expected to increase over the next year or two.

3YO Okahu Bay defied punters’ expectations to lead all the way in the 2500-metre $115,000 SAJC SA Fillies Classic G3 for her owner-breeders Alan & Colleen Jackson.

Trainer Phillip Stokes said, “We knew she’d run the distance…She got into a nice rhythm and she was strong at the end.

“We’ve brought her up slowly through the provincials. She hasn’t had any hard runs and we got her to peak on the day so it’s great.”

Okahu Bay is the third live foal of Acacia Bay (by Rodrigo de Triano), a Sydney-winning half-sister to Group 1 winner Calveen, Group winners Kosi Bay & Fireworks and Listed winner Striker.

Godolphin’s talented mare Hazard went into the $115,000 SAJC Proud Miss S. 1200m G3 with a reputation for consistency earned during a  four-season, eight-win career that lacked only a stakes victory. A perfectly judged ride by Ben Melham helped her put that right, by finishing over the top of Miss Promiscuity and Nadeem Lass.

Co-trainer Lee Freedman said, “Hazard is probably the mare that has been knocking on the door to win a black type race…I can’t really fault her.”

Hazard is the fourth stakeswinner from the excellent broodmare Dawn Attack (by Fantastic Light), also the dam of Group winners Antelucan, Crucial and Java, and herself a half-sister to Champion Irish 3YO and successful sire Desert King.

That’s A Good Idea ended the day with his eighth career win in the Arrowfield Stud-sponsored $140,000 Scone RC Ortensia S. 1100m LR, a result that also helped to secure the meeting’s Golden Whip award for jockey Hugh Bowman.

Trained by Peter & Paul Snowden for Colin Charlwood, That’s A Good Idea was bred by the Estate of the late Bruce Reid from the stakes-placed Sunday Silence mare Sunday Service, also the dam of stakeswinner Kneeling.

There’s good evidence of Flying Spur’s ability to improve his record as his last few crops mature. His seven current season stakeswinners have all come from his 2009 and 2011 crops,  and his 4YOs earn, on average, three times more than his younger progeny.

Flying Spur’s 5YO stakeswinners this season are dual Group 1 winner Sacred Star (who goes for his third consecutive Group 1 success in Saturday’s Doomben 10,000), Hazard, That’s A Good Idea & Singapore star Zac Spirit, while his current 3YOs feature Okahu Bay and Perth stakeswinner Boom Time.

He has several 3YOs who look capable of progressing to success in stakes company. Among them are four fillies, all with leading trainers: Traveston Girl (Group 1-placed for Tony Gollan),  Ataab (Group-placed in South Africa for Mike de Kock),  Aerobar (with Gerald Ryan in Sydney) and Down the Hatch (with Robbie Griffiths in Melbourne).

Those fillies are already valuable as future broodmares, given Flying Spur’s great record in that department: 56 stakeswinners, five of them Group 1 winners. 

Fourth on the current Australian Broodmare Sires’ list with $7.8 million prizemoney, Flying Spur appears as the damsire of eight stakeswinners this season. They include Preferment (VRC Victoria Derby G1), Group 2 winners Moonovermanhattan & Speak Fondly, Group 3 winners Heart Testa, Thump and, in England, Royal Razalma.

Flying Spur’s sire sons haven’t made the same impact as his daughters, but he does have eight stakes-siring sons, headed by Casino Prince (9 SW including Champion 3YO All Too Hard), Magnus (7 SW) and Jet Spur (6 SW).

Now rising 23, Flying Spur grazes peacefully at the farm he helped to build, but he still shines brightly as a first-magnitude star in Danehill’s extraordinary dynasty.