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High Chaparral’s Rekindling too strong in Melbourne Cup

Les Young | 16.11.2017

The margin was only a long neck but British-bred three-year-old Rekindling (High Chaparral) proved superior to older stayers in taking out last week’s Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) at Flemington after a perfectly judged ride by jockey Corey Brown.

Raced by members of the Melbournebased Williams family and a group of Australian friends, Rekindling gave senior partner Lloyd Williams an unprecedented sixth success in the race that stops the nation, a sequence which started 36 years ago in 1981 with Just a Dash (Whiskey Road) then continued with What a Nuisance (St. Puckle) in 1985, Efficient (Zabeel) in 2007, Green Moon (Montjeu) in 2012 and Almandin (Monsun) last year.

Unlike any of the earlier Williams winners, Rekindling was not prepared in Australia but in Ireland by 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien, son of Aidan, the man who recently broke the world record by training 27 Group / Grade One winners worldwide in just one racing season. Ironically, it was the Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer (Galileo) that Rekindling defeated at Flemington.

Breeders, The Pocock Family, sold the future Melbourne Cup winner for 60,000 guineas (about $102,123) to Camas Park Stud at Tattersalls December Foals Sale in 2014. He was later sold privately to his present owners and no doubt has been a very profitable buy as, after just 10 starts, Rekindling’s earnings are estimated to be more than $4,100,000.

For Rekindling’s sadly deceased sire High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells), Melbourne Cup week was a time of triumph as only three days earlier his son Ace High had scored a decisive victory in the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) and another gelded son, Cismontane, had a gritty win in the Lexus Stakes (registered as Hotham Handicap) (Gr 3, 2500m) showing all the fight and courage for which his father was renowned. Two days after the Melbourne Cup, High Chaparral had the second and third placegetters in the VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m). Stakes winners by High Chaparral now total 108 with 20 of them successful at Group One level.

We wrote glowingly of High Chaparral here recently following Ace High’s win in the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) noting this outstanding racing son of 14 times champion UK sire Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer) died at 15 years in Ireland early in 2014, shortly after returning from Australia where he stood the 2013 season at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley farm.

The extent of the loss to international breeding of High Chaparral is only now being appreciated but he has a number of high class sons standing at stud to be his legacy.

Toronado formerly shuttled to Swettenham Stud in Victoria but this season in Australia standing are such top class High Chaparral sons as So You Think (Coolmore, NSW), Dundeel (Arrowfield, NSW), Monaco Consul (Kingstar Farm, NSW), Free Eagle (Cornerstone Stud, South Australia) and Alpine Eagle (Armidale Stud, Tasmania). New Zealand also has a strong group of High Chaparral stallions in Contributer (Mapperley Stud), Redwood (Westbury Stud), Tivaci (Waikato Stud) and Wrote (Highview Stud).

High Chaparral, a Group One winner at two years, went on to greatness as a three and four-year-old, capturing The Derby (Gr 1, 1m4f) / Irish Derby (Gr 1, 1m4f) double, the Irish Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 1m2f) and in the United States landed two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (Gr 1, 1m4f), one in a dead heat.

Rekindling is the eighth foal of his dam Sitara (Salse) and her second stakes winner after his brother Golden Sword (High Chaparral), now at stud in South Africa, winner of the Chester Vase (Gr 3, 1m4.5f), a multiple black type winner in Dubai and runnerup in the Irish Derby.

Sitara’s five foals to race are all winners while an unraced daughter, Skimmia (Mark Of Esteem), has been a good producer (see accompanying catalogue pedigree).

This is a truly deep family packed with black type winners, among them Irish Oaks (Gr 1, 1m4f) winner Chicquita (Montjeu), champion UK three-year-old filly Alexandrova (Sadler’s Well), a noted producer, Australian stakes winner Tall Ship (Sea The Stars) and Haggle (Pivotal), a Group Three winner in France last week.

Tracing back through the tail female line of Rekindling we come to his eighth dam, Major Holliday’s famous foundation mare Lost Soul (Solario).

Rekindling’s dam Sitara has two interesting foals still to race, a 2016 colt from the first crop of Australia (Galileo) and a 2017 filly by another new sire, Gleneagles (Galileo), scheduled to go through Tattersalls upcoming December Foal Sale.

Construction of Rekindling’s pedigree is based on breeding a Northern Dancer (Nearctic)-line sire to a mare by another Northern Dancer-line sire in Salse (Topsider).Northern Dancer features three times in the pattern of 3m x 4m x 6m. Salse carries a 4m x 3m double of the stout Princequillo (Prince Rose) while also in his background is a duplication of the brother and sister, Nasrullah (Nearco) and Malindi (Nearco).

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