Kiwi Chronicles

Can High Chaparral establish a sire line?

High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) has made a huge impression in Australasia. The dual Derby winner and six-times Group 1 champion can boast 134 stakes winners, of which 23 have scored at the elite level.

Sixteen of those 23 can claim either Australian or New Zealand Group 1s, whilst ranking one and two are Kiwi-breds So You Think and Dundeel.

In a scene of early, precocious speed, High Chaparral and his sons continue to make noise and So You Think, in particular, went close to knocking off I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) in last year’s Australian Sire Premiership, ultimately finishing second, $550,000 behind after leading for a lengthy period.

His feat of siring three Group 1 winners in successive races last April, is a day everyone remembers. Knights Order landed the Sydney Cup (Gr 1, 3200m);  Nimalee, the Queen of the Turf Stakes (Gr 1, 1600), and who could forget the brilliant tactical ride by Nash Rawiller, angling Think It Over to the outside fence to deny Zaaki (Leroidesanimaux) in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m).

It has been a steady climb for So You Think, who finished just outside the top ten in 2020 and fifth in 2021. For the current season, he sits third.

Three years So You Think’s junior is Dundeel and he, too, is creating attention. With two crops he broke into the Australian top fifty: finished 20th in 2020; 22nd in 2021; 26th last year, and sits 15th currently, adding four new stakes winners since the first 2023 yearling catalogs were published. He went to stud two years after So You Think.

With more than five months of the season still to play out, Dundeel is certain to surpass his seasonal totals of $7.4 million (2021) and $6.8 million (2022). He is virtually on par now, earning $6.75 million so far this season.

This past weekend, Dundeel’s Aquacade made short work of the Avondale Cup (Gr 2, 2400m). She heads to next month’s Auckland Cup (Gr 2, 3200m) as a very warm favourite.

She booted clear from the 300 metres, and was far too good in recording her sixth win and maiden stakes at start 12. From a wide draw, Warren Kennedy found sixth, two out, with a lap to run, holding there in a strungout field past the 1400 metres. She edged closer from the 800 metres and went fourwide from the 600. Continuing to improve, rounding into the straight, she took over inside the 400 metres, but at the 300 booted clear. To the line she was in no danger for an easy win.

“She felt fantastic and she helped me in the race, as it is not easy to get across from that wide gate,” said rider Warren Kennedy. “She found the right spot, relaxed nicely and she turned it on from the 600 metres to power home for a great win. At about the 1000 metres she hit a flat spot but when I asked her, she really quickened and put them to bed. Bring on the 3200-metres now,” ended Kennedy. On that run, the mare will be the hardest to beat.

Aquacade was conceived in Australia, but foaled in New Zealand. She was catalogued but withdrawn from the NZB 2020 Karaka Yearling Sale. Her dam, Irish-bred Forest Of Seas (Sea The Stars), never raced and Aquacade is her only foal to race. Forest Of Seas ranks as a three-quarter sister to St Leger (Gr 1, 1m 6f) second, The Last Drop (Galileo) and appears to be the only representative in Australasia from this European family.

The grandam dam of Forest Of Seas, Dansara (Dancing Brave), is a half-sister to Irish Oaks (Gr 1, 1m 4f) winner Princess Pati (Top Ville), they are daughters of the very good filly, Sarah Siddons (Le Levanstell), winner of the Yorkshire Oaks (Gr 1, 1m 4f) and the Irish 1,000 Guineas (8f).

At Flemington, Dundeel’s Elliptical employed a long, sustained run in the straight to get up in the last stride when taking out the CS Hayes Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m). He was never near the fence from the outset, so this win his second in seven starts was full of merit.

Elliptical was due. Last spring, he finished second in both the Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m); behind Golden Mile (Astern) and Sharp ‘N’ Smart (Redwood) respectively.

For Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay it was a case of not knowing where to look, as they not only own shares in Elliptical but also in the runner-up, Holymanz (Almanzor). The latter had the race in his grasp, narrowly leading at the 200 metres and kept going strongly only to be nabbed just short of the post.

Dundeel, the racehorse

He gave us some thrills, at three, taking out the Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m), Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m), Rosehill Guineas (Gr 1, 2000m) and Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000), then ending the season with a second to Reliable Man (Dalakhani) in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m).

At four, he returned, landed the Caulfield Stakes (Gr 1, 2000) in the spring and in the autumn got his revenge by winning the rich Queen Elizabeth Stakes, retiring with ten wins, four Group 1 placings and earnings of $5.4 million.

From a great female line, Dundeel is a grandson of New Zealand Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Staring (Fiesta Star) and descends from a sister to prolific winner Dalvui (Targui). His is the Epitaph (Absurd) branch of the writer’s all-time favourite Eulogy (Cicero) family.

Galileo via Frankel assured

Via Sadlers Wells’ son Galileo, Frankel is hot favourite to continue this line, but what are High Chaparral’s chances?

Outside of So You Think and Dundeel is Toronado, High Chaparral’s best performer to race solely in Europe. His stakes winners tally stands at 30 and they are proving quite versatile. Two of his four Group 1 winners are the sprinters Masked Crusader and Shelby Sixtysix. To those you can add Group 2 and 3 sprinters Tactical, Mariamia, Wild Chap and Toro Strike.

Contributer began his race career in England, but collected a couple of Australian Group 1s before landing at Mapperley Stud in Matamata. After a quiet spell, he has added three new stakes winners recently, including the vastly improved Campionessa.

Redwood represents High Chaparral’s second northern hemisphere crop and came to New Zealand in 2012 at the height of High Chaparral-mania. His 11 stakes winners feature last week’s impressive Sharp ‘N’ Smart. If his trainer, Graeme Rogerson, is correct, we can expect Sharp ‘N’ Smart to hog the headlines over the coming weeks. His giant will-to-win is exciting.

Group 1 miler Tivaci enjoyed a successful 2021-22 season, siring a Group 1 winner in his first crop (Never Been Kissed). His second crop featured the top filly Wolverine. Expect the stallion whose best racing season was at four to start adding to this list. Waikato Stud supported the stallion with many of their best mares and his first crop are four-year-olds.

Waikato Stud is a High Chaparral believer. In 2020, during the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, they made the decision to retire Dundeel’s Super Seth earlier than originally planned. Brilliant winner of the 2019 Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m), running down the multi-talented Alligator Blood (All Too Hard), Super Seth means that the stud has two stallions from the same sire line.


Although So You Think’s sire record is presently superior to Dundeel’s, there is an interesting development regarding their sire sons.

D’Argento and Peltzer represent So You Think, the former retiring to stud the same year (2020) as Dundeel’s Castelvecchio and Super Seth.

The D’Argentos averaged $100,000 in Book 1 at Magic Millions (top $230,000) and $62,143 at the Inglis Classic Sale (top $90,000). He was not represented at the NZB Karaka Sale (Book 1).

Castelvecchio’s stock sold strongly on the Gold Coast, averaging $180,000 and a high of $360,000. One sold at Karaka for $180,000 while at the Classic Sale he averaged $83,125 with a top of $200,000.

Super Seth has also been well accepted by buyers. His Magic Millions Book 1 stats read seven sold for an average of $230,000 and a top price of $450,000.

$625,000 was Super Seth’s top price at Karaka (Book 1) where 33 sold at an average of $160,000. Those are good numbers given the quantity. At the Classic Sale, just one was catalogued, selling for $170,000.

So You Think’s Peltzer has foals on the ground, so it will be another 12 months before we can gauge how buyers will react, but Dundeel’s sons have certainly caught the attention of major buyers so far.

And that’s not all

High Chaparral wasn’t finished on Saturday. The other feature event, the Avondale Guineas (Gr 2, 2100m) went to Desert Lightning (Pride Of Dubai), whose dam is by High Chaparral.

Like Aquacade, Desert Lightning was conceived in Australia, but foaled in New Zealand, at Little Avondale Stud. He was sold at the 2021 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale, fetching $150,000, when purchased by his trainer, Peter Williams.

Issatoora, his dam, was a $90,000 buy at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, Bruce Perry being the agent. She had had three foals at that time. Desert Lightning is her fourth and two colts, both by Per Incanto (Street Cry) were foaled in 2020 and 2021.

Her family is one the premier families in the Australian Stud Book. Her dam, Murjana (Giant’s Causeway) won at Group 3 level in Adelaide, while her grandam, Twyla (Danehill), is a three-quarter sister to brothers Redoute’s Choice and Platinum Scissors, as well as to Al Maher, all by Danehill (Danzig).

Current American star, In Italian (Dubawi), a dual Group 1 winner of the 2022 Diana Stakes (9f) and 2022 First Lady Stakes (8f) is a granddaughter of Celebia, (Peintre Celebre), Murjana’s half-sister. This is a wonderful line.

The Guineas was just reward for Desert Lightning, who, prior to his breakthrough stakes success, placed second in the New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and placed third in the rich Karaka Million 3YO Classic (RL, 1600m).

He broke from the stalls quickly, but was immediately taken hold of to drop back to sixth starting the first bend. A spreadout field compacted at the end of the back straight and he held seventh (rails) but at the 600-metres, Vinnie Colgan pushed out, found traffic so went wider rounding into the straight. At the 400, he was widest, one of five across the track at the 300-metres, headed inside the 200, but fought back hard to get on terms. In a torrid battle, he gradually got the better of Waitak (Proisir) to edge a head in front at the post for his second career win, at start ten.

Trainer Williams was especially pleased to get the better of Waitak, having lost that runner earlier this season. Waitak was the subject of a transfer to the stable of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott.

Almost shut out

Of the 15 stakes races run in our two countries on Saturday, only one was sired by a New Zealandbased stallion, Westbury Stud’s Reliable Man (Dalakhani).

Annavisto, from the stable of Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, has come back strong this preparation and gave her opponents a galloping lesson in the Tony Bourke Memorial Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m), her third stakes win and career seventh at start 17. She also won the 2022 running of this race, when it was named the Frances Tressady Stakes, the race’s official name.

Fresh up after 34 weeks, she led out, was tackled at the 1200-metres, but kept the lead past 1000 metres. Her lead was a length from the 600 and straightening for the run home, she went further in front. At the 300, she slipped clear, put four lengths on them near the 100-metres, then eased to the line for a comfortable win.

Her dam, Avisto (Tavistock), won three Listed races, two at Ellerslie including the Great Northern Foal Stakes (1200m) at two. Avisto’s half-brother is Morphettville Guineas (Listed, 1600m) winner Celtic Tiger (O’Reilly).

Annavisto’s grandam and third dam were both stakes placed winners, the latter, Galway Lass (Rhythm), finishing second in the Auckland Cup (Gr 1, 3200m). Fourth dam, Ballycairn (Zabeel) is a half-sister to New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m) winner Deianira (Taufan).

Equine industry chips in

In the aftermath of devastating floods caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in the Hawkes Bay region, NZTR, the NZTBA and Dunstan Feeds have swung into gear regarding the effects on the horse world.

Coordinating with MPI Animal Welfare Emergency Management, a significant sum of money has been raised within the first days. As well, feed donations have been made to the local distribution centre, Waipukurau Racecourse, Hastings Racecourse and the Riding for the Disabled Arena in Napier.

At the heart of the effort is the Hawkes Bay Racing Club who have provided their stables as emergency shelter for displaced horses with vet services available from the SPCA. Facilities such as showers, food, Wi-Fi and power are provided for those in need.

Trainer Roger James has set up a bank account for donations. Anyone wishing to donate to this mighty cause can donate to the following account: 

02 0360 0059698 25.

Monetary donations were boosted when Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay allocated their share of the winning stake from Aquacade’s win in the Avondale Cup.

In conjunction with, several stallion services will be auctioned tomorrow evening, February 22, the proceeds going to the above fund.