Like mother, like daughter in Guineas triumph

“She’s a beauty!” was John Messara’s reply to one of many messages of congratulation after Stay With Me’s outstanding victory in Saturday’s $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas 1600m G1.

It was an especially meaningful success for Messara, fellow owner-breeders Alan Jones & John Leaver, and the Arrowfield Stud team because Stay With Me is a home-bred daughter of Street Cry and champion filly Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice), and the 41st Group 1 winner bred by Arrowfield since 1985.

Miss Finland, bred & raced by the same three-way partnership, won the 2006 Thousand Guineas en route to Australia’s Champion 3YO Filly title and was trained by David Hayes, who now prepares Stay With Me with his nephew Tom Dabernig.

The race didn’t start well for Stay With Me who missed the jump, forcing jockey Dwayne Dunn to settle her near the rear of the field and ride for luck. However, that may have worked in the filly’s favour because she switched off while Take Pride set a solid pace up front.

Dunn began to push Stay With Me forward at the 600-metre mark and 300 metres later, just after the turn, the filly was in clear air with room to run. And run she did, hitting the lead 100 metres out to win by 1.75 lengths from Jameka, with Badawiya third. Stay With Me’s winning time was 1:35.89, a half-second faster than Press Statement ran to win the Caulfield Guineas thirty-five minutes later.

Watch Stay With Me’s Thousand Guineas win.

David Hayes said, “Top marks to Dwayne, he obviously had a lot of horse under him, but he rode her perfectly after the start she had.”

Criterion, winner of the Caulfield Stakes, and Stay With Me gave the stable a memorable Group 1 double.

Stay With Me has now won three of her six starts and taken her earnings to almost $420,000. A decision on the filly’s next start has yet to be made, but Hayes indicated that the VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes & Myer Classic are all options under consideration.

Miss Finland, whose five Group 1 victories included the 2006 Golden Slipper, is also the dam of stakes-placed city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet) and a 2YO colt by More Than Ready, purchased for $500,000 by Katsumi Yoshida at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.  Arrowfield’s queen has since produced a 2014 filly by Animal Kingdom and she recently foaled a colt by Dundeel. 

Stay With Me is the 18th Group 1 winner for her sire Street Cry, who died just over a year ago, and the fourth Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire, after Sacred Falls, Zoustar & Pasadena Girl, who finished a game fourth in the Thousand Guineas.

Left of Centre today, Mainstream tomorrow

It is an interesting, but generally overlooked fact that last season the two best two-year-olds Vancouver, by Medaglia D’Oro (Golden Slipper) and Pride of Dubai, by Street Cry (Blue Diamond) are both by shuttle sires, neither of whom ever raced on turf.

This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom that only locally grown sires, proven in Australian conditions will succeed Down Under. Of course, perennial leaders such as Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock, Snitzel and Lonhro are all outstanding home grown products.

But the continued racetrack success of the progeny of Street Cry, and the recent rise of Medaglia D’Oro, indicate that stallion success might be the combined result of many factors – not just where they were born or raced, or even the specific surface.

Successful stallions clearly need to be very good racehorses, they also need to have a prepotent x-factor and, most importantly, suit the gene pool here in Australia.

Therefore it is likely no coincidence that both Vancouver and Pride of Dubai are both out of Danehill mares.

Consider this, if Street Cry and Medaglia D’Oro were retiring to stud in Australia today a brief CV for them might read:

Street Cry, son of Machiavellian from a Troy mare, raced solely on dirt, won the Gr 1 Dubai World Cup 2000m as an older horse as well as the Gr 1 Stephen Foster over 1800m at Churchill Downs afterwards.

Medaglia D’Oro, son of El Prado from a Bailjumper mare, raced solely on dirt, ran in the US Triple Crown without winning, top older horse winning the Whitney and the Donn Handicaps both at 1800m and placing 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup over 2000m

So on paper both would be considered in the marketplace today very left of centre on pedigree, performance and profile. But they are both resounding successes. Why?

Firstly both are obviously prepotent, i.e they have that certain something, an X factor, which enables them to reproduce speed and class into their offspring at an above average rate. This is confirmed by the fact they have been major successes in both hemispheres.

But significantly, both also suit predominate female bloodlines available here in Australia – namely Danehill. In Street Cry’s case he has a whopping 23% SWs/Runners from Danehill mares including Pride Of Dubai and Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.

Medaglia D’Oro has an even more remarkable 33% SW/Runners from mares by Danehill or sons of Danehill including his two best horses Vancouver and Nostradamus.

But why do they suit the Danehill bloodlines?

Well, one opinion could be their outcross representation, and Danehill blood explodes when mixed with outcross blood, maybe because he was so inbred himself. (The converse is also true: inbreeding to Danehill has so far proved disappointing).

Secondly, they are a considerable physical variation that provides the size, scope and ultimately the stamina sometimes lacking with the typical Danehill type. Both were top class 2000m dirt horses, but bred to run on the turf and excel as older horses.

Street Cry emphatically won the Dubai World Cup – arguably the best 2000m race for older horses. The same race has been won by Singspiel and Dubai Millennium, and Medaglia D’Oro was a close second at the conclusion of a stellar career in 2004. Hence, the improving status of the Dubai World Cup as a “stallion-making” race.

Arrowfield bought Animal Kingdom to Australia, seemingly deviating from their previous well-trodden path to stallion success. Many breeders may ask, why? The answer lies in the nature of the stallion business: with such long lead times involved, one must be ahead of the curve and not following it. That is the reason Arrowfield bought Danehill in 1989, at a time when a son of Marscay may have been perceived a far more popular choice.

Arrowfield’s Jon Freyer says, “For some time it has been apparent to us the Australian market desperately needs an injection of new blood. So we began the search for a truly elite colt with a complete outcross pedigree, highly compatible with the very Danehill blood we introduced twenty five years ago. An outcross pedigree of its own was insufficient. World class racing ability was also necessary as the proof of the ‘genotype pudding’. In Animal Kingdom we believed we found that horse.”

Animal Kingdom has very similar credentials to both Street Cry and Medaglia D’Oro. His pedigree is an eclectic mix of the best bloodlines from all around the globe. His remarkable talent confirms the value of those bloodlines and his stunning versatility enhances the overall proposition. His bloodlines should also suit Danehill genetics admirably. His sire, the Champion miler Leroidesanimaux is from the immediate family of the leading European sire Dansili (by Danehill) who is himself a brother to no fewer than 4 major Group 1 winners, also by Danehill.

Animal Kingdom was a remarkable racehorse too. He won the Kentucky Derby at his first try on a dirt surface. This had never been done previously and in all likelihood will never happen again. In fact, his only starts on dirt were in the three Triple Crown races. He was unfortunate not to win the Triple Crown – with the unluckiest of Preakness runs, and injury struck during the Belmont.

After a nine month break Animal Kingdom ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf in world record time to the subsequent Horse of the Year, Wise Dan. He then went on to win the stallion-making race, the Dubai World Cup, in a breeze, beating a stellar field.

The success of Street Cry and now Medaglia D’Oro has convinced Arrowfield their strategy is correct.

Maybe Animal Kingdom is the next big thing in Australia.

Arrowfield is more than happy to bet on it.

Arrowfield bred their Champion mare Miss Finland to Street Cry and have produced the highly promising filly Stay With Me. Miss Finland has subsequently produced a lovely filly by Animal Kingdom.

Stay With Me sensational in Listed win

Champion filly Miss Finland was simply exceptional on the racetrack, winning five Group 1 races during a stellar 11-win, $4.6 million career, including the Golden Slippper and the VRC Oaks.

Now she has a daughter in something close to her own mould. 3YO filly Stay With Me (by Street Cry) didn’t just win Saturday’s MVRC Atlantic Jewel S. LR: she put it away with the authority of a filly on her way to stardom.

Stay With Me jumped well enough from gate 13, then settled back and wide with only a couple of runners behind her.  She held her place with cover and made ground mid-race, then quickened up before the turn which she rounded with alacrity, before powering clear to win by 1.5 lengths in 1:11.37.

Her performance was franked by the good efforts of the runner-up, juvenile Group 1 winner Pasadena Girl and Jameka, a further 1.5 lengths away in third place.  Not A Single Doubt’s daughter Don’t Doubt Mamma was an eye-catching fourth.

Watch Stay With Me’s Atlantic Jewel S. LR win.

Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said, “She’s a high-class filly and I thought there was a lot of merit to her win.

“She drew a wide gate today and she had to sit back, she was caught deep, and she showed an excellent turn of foot. She’s got a lot of improvement in her. Her coat is a bit of a patchwork quilt and she’ll improve.”

Dabernig’s uncle and training partner David Hayes also prepared Miss Finland and, like her dam, Stay With Me is owned by the long-standing breeding & racing partnership of Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones.

Stay With Me is the 90th stakeswinner by Street Cry, and the 36th stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire. Her principal Spring target is the $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas G1 – won by her mother nine years ago – on 10 October.

Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice) retired to stud at Arrowfield in 2008 and adapted beautifully to her new life as a broodmare.

Her first foal to race, Woodbine (by Hussonet), has compiled a respectable record in Sydney from the Gai Waterhouse stable, winning three city races and earning black type in the ATC South Pacific Classic LR at three. He will do his future racing from the Chris Gangemi stable in Perth. 

Stay With Me is the first of Miss Finland’s fillies to race. Woodbine’s sister Miss Helsinki has a yearling filly by Smart Missile and last month delivered a filly by Dundeel, while Stay With Me’s year-older sister Tuusula foaled a colt by All American on 22 August.

Katsumi Yoshida purchased the More Than Ready-Miss Finland colt for $500,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and last year Miss Finland produced a filly to Animal Kingdom that will be retained by her breeders. The champion mare and stakes producer is due to foal to Dundeel later this month.

Stay With Me earns black type on debut

It’s a tough gig being the daughter of a champion filly, but Stay With Me took the first step out of Miss Finland’s shadow when she flew home for second in Saturday’s $120,000 VRC Talindert S. 1100m LR.

The race was won by the Peter Moody-trained filly Pasadena Girl, also having her first start and, like Stay With Me, from a Redoute’s Choice mare.  She is the 34th stakeswinner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire.

Miss Finland won the 2006 Talindert Stakes before finishing second in Nadeem’s Blue Diamond S. G1 and, two starts later, carrying the Arrowfield silks to a memorable Golden Slipper victory.

Stay With Me (by Street Cry) is raced by her breeders Arrowfield Stud, John Leaver & Alan Jones and trained by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig. Hayes also directed Miss Finland’s 11-win, $4.6 million career.

Miss Finland, also the dam of stakes-placed multiple city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet), has a More Than Ready colt in Arrowfield’s draft for the Inglis Easter Sale, a weanling filly by Animal Kingdom and is in foal to Dundeel.