Charge Forward in a class of his own

Looking for a Group 1 sire standing for less than $20,000, who averaged more than $100,000 at both the Magic Millions (Book 1) and Inglis Easter Sales in 2015?

That search produces just one result: Charge Forward.

His eight yearlings sold at Australia’s two major sales averaged $115,000, with a top price of $180,000 for the Laissez Faire colt bought at Magic Millions by Tony Gollan & John Foote from the Arrowfield draft.

It’s surely no co-incidence that this colt and the next two most profitable Charge Forward yearlings sold in 2015 are all out of Danehill-line mares.

Charge Forward’s statistics show that he’s sired 7.1% Stakeswinners/Runners from Danehill or Danehill-line mares.

To put that figure in perspective, only Redoute’s Choice among last season’s top 10 active Australian sires have a better lifetime strike rate from all his runners. And all of the stallions in that group are standing at considerably higher fees than Charge Forward.

In all, 17 of Charge Forward’s 29 stakes performers are from Danehill-line mares, and 12 of them either won or placed in stakes company as juveniles. 

It’s a pattern that started early, when Charge Forward’s first-crop daughter Headway (ex Chatelaine by Flying Spur) emerged as his first stakeswinner and progressed to victory in the VRC Coolmore Stud S. G1. She has been followed by another four stakeswinners out of Flying Spur mares, notably the brothers Road Trippin’ & Crack A Roadie who together earned around ten times their combined purchase price. 

Brilliant Group-winning sprinter Solar Charged, from a Danehill mare, appeared in Charge Forward’s second crop, and then came the Group winners Cavalry Rose, Direct Charge & London Lolly whose dams are by three different Danehill sons (Danske, Redoute’s Choice & Lion Hunter).

It’s the same story with several of Charge Forward’s six-figure earners last season: First Light Racing’s multiple city winner Face Forward (ex Endearment by Danehill), Moonee Valley winners Pathways & stakes-placed Fast Cash (both out of Choisir mares) and Singapore winner Good News (ex Rezyana by Redoute’s Choice).

However, it’s a rare rule that doesn’t generate exceptions and Charge Forward’s success isn’t limited to Danehill-line mares. Dual Group 1 winner Response, Group 2 winner Shrapnel and last season’s two-time Group 3 winner Slightly Sweet are from mares by Match Winner, Snippets & Dubai Destination.

In the past couple of years, daughters of Charge Forward have made a splash at broodmare sales, as breeders seek outcross mates for stallions with Danehill close up in their pedigrees. Cavalry Rose & Solar Charged each made $650,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions National Sale, and at the same sale this year Response, in foal to Snitzel, was knocked down for $1.5 million to Katsumi Yoshida.

It’s a pair of talented 4YO mares that are likely to lead Charge Forward’s team this Spring and fittingly, they are both Jason Coyle-trained homebreds for the family of the late Phillip Esplin, a founding director of Arrowfield and the breeder of Charge Forward.

Something Secret (from juvenile stakeswinner Secret Land by Secret Savings) has made a very good impression in provincial company, winning at Wyong & Gosford last month.

Slightly Sweet already has two Group victories on her eight-start record and is about a fortnight away from a trial after returning from her winter break in superb order.

Gai Waterhouse’s 2YOs include what she describes as a “nice colt” called Tribal (ex Mozambique by Redoute’s Choice) for Ron & Deb Gilbert. The Gilberts have already achieved success with Charge Forward as the breeders of Shrapnel, a two-time Group winner, and twice Group 1-placed at three.


Arrowfield-sired mares make Millions

It may seem to a casual observer of the bloodstock business that juicy investment returns are reserved for colts.

Certainly, the multi-million-dollar deal-making buzz around prospective stallions is intoxicating and, when the deals are completed, very rewarding, even life-changing for their fortunate owners.

However, fillies can generate significant results too. The Select Session of this week’s Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale featured six mares sold for $1 million or more, and four of them, including the two most expensive mares, are by Arrowfield stallions. One of them was also bred & sold as a yearling by Arrowfield, and another is in foal to Snitzel.   

The top-priced mare was Group 1 winner Sweet Idea (Snitzel-Flidais), bred by Arrowfield & Katsumi Yoshida and bought as a yearling from Arrowfield’s 2012 Magic Millions draft by Gai Waterhouse & James Harron. They paid $240,000 on behalf of a group of owners who enjoyed three wonderful seasons of racing with Sweet Idea, winner of 8 races (five at Group 1 & 2 level) and $2.4 million.

On Wednesday she was offered by Widden Stud on behalf of her owners and one of them, Nick Vass, paid $1.6 million to own her outright. All-up, excluding training & racing costs, Sweet Idea has returned 16 times her original purchase price, and she still has a breeding career ahead of her.

The Sale’s second-highest price was the $1.5 million bid by Arrowfield’s Jon Freyer on behalf of Mr Yoshida for dual Group 1 winner Response (Charge Forward-Live It Up), bred by Andrew & Laska Bowcock and sold for $50,000 to Barry & Midge Griffiths at the 2008 Inglis Easter Sale.

Response earned more than $800,000 on the track, was sold for $840,000 after her retirement to SF Bloodstock  and her first foal, a Fastnet Rock filly, made $1,050,000 earlier this year. She has a weanling colt by Exceed and Excel and is due to foal to Snitzel this Spring.

Not A Single Doubt’s Group 2-winning daughter Villa Verde, knocked down for $1.1 million to James Bester & the Deep Field Syndicate, was originally sold in utero when her dam Young and Free was sold for $10,500 by Arrowfield as agent in 2010. 

The buyer, Melbourne breeder Todd Lichti, sold Villa Verde as a yearling for $95,000 to trainer Shaun Dwyer acting for his clients Mike Buys and Rob Willis. The brilliant grey mare earned them more than $650,000 prizemoney which, together with this week’s sale, means she has covered her original price 18 times over.  

Rounding out this quartet of million-dollar mamas was Varenna Miss (Redoute’s Choice-Mica’s Pride) whose status as a Group 2-winning daughter of a champion sire & leading broodmare sire was enhanced by the multiple Group One success of her younger half-brother Criterion.

Like Response, Varenna Miss was presented by Newgate Farm and, in foal to Pierro, was bought for $1 million by Emirates Park.

She was originally purchased for $80,000 as a 2YO by Glenn Fraser from her breeder Twin Palms Stud and won more than $360,000 in a career that featured a BRC QTC Cup G2 victory and a pair of Group 1 fourths.