It's In The Blood


Sometimes things run so smoothly you wonder why it isn’t this simple all the time.

Five years ago, Matthew Sandblom’s Kingstar Farm bought an imposing-looking mare from a strong family named Sweet Bouquet (Dream Ahead), surprisingly easily at $40,000.

They put her to the famously sub-fertile Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt) and she got in-foal.

The colt was a stunning type, Kingstar predicted he would be their first $1 million yearling, and he was – knocked down for exactly that at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast sale.

And now he’s called Emirate, he’s won two from two – including a 2.4-length romp at Rosehill last Saturday – and he looks like being special.

“He was a beautiful colt from day one,” Kingstar’s Conor Phelan tells It’s In The Blood of Emirate, a colt from the same female line as the mighty Shaftesbury Avenue (Salieri).

“We did think he was potentially one of the best horses Kingstar has produced. He was a trouble-free, normal, professional horse who did everything right, and he helped us earn one of our stripes as our first million-dollar yearling.”

To prove it’s not hindsight talking, there’s a trove of material in the bank on the young Emirate, from a visit to Kingstar before sale season by an ANZ Bloodstock News team, who were told he was an obvious yearling on whom to focus.

Admittedly, there have been one or two plan adjustments along the way.

After her purchase in 2019, Sweet Bouquet was covered by Capitalist (Written Tycoon) but slipped. She then needed two tries with Extreme Choice the following year to get in foal, though that’s a better strikerate with him than many.

Emirate was bought by Aramco Racing’s Singapore-based owner Boon Chua, in conjunction with bloodstock buyer Rick Connolly and Extreme Choice’s former trainer, Mick Price, with Yulong Stud later taking a share. But after winning a Cranbourne jump-out for Price last December, in impressive style, he was transferred to Sydney and Chris Waller, as Aramco moved to consolidate some interests with the Rosehill behemoth.

After a spell, he debuted with a Warwick Farm two-year-old maiden win over 1000 metres on a Heavy 9 on May 8, then followed with last weekend’s powerhouse victory over 1300 metres when a short favourite, beating an early season winner in Sovereign Hill (Written Tycoon).

Some slight concerns about over-taxing have led to the colt being spelled rather than chasing Eagle Farm’s JJ Atkins (Gr 1, 1600m) later this month, but major things are expected looking ahead to the spring.

Looking back, Kingstar was delighted to acquire Sweet Bouquet off the track for just $40,000 from Glenesk Thoroughbreds at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare sale.

A $31,000 Inglis Classic yearling sold – neatly enough – by Emirates Park, she’d had three homes as a racehorse, boasting only a Bathurst maiden win amid 13 starts, though she was tried in decent company in her second run when sixth in the Inglis 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m), which is now the Inglis Millennium.

But racetrack prowess, or its absence, wasn’t chief in the minds of the Kingstar team, with Sweet Bouquet hailing from a richly successful Emirates Park family.

Her dam Ghaliah (Secret Savings), though also only a maiden winner, at Kensington in 2006, had been a superb broodmare. In a fairly rare accomplishment, her fifth of nine foals Melagrana (Fastnet Rock) had been bought by Northern Farm’s Kazumi Yoshida for $200,000 at Inglis Easter 2014, and had gone straight to Japan where she won seven of 20 including one at Grade 3 level in 2017 and another in Listed class.

Ghaliah’s eighth foal – one after Sweet Bouquet – was Santos (I Am Invincible), who’d won the Skyline Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) in 2018 (and is now at New Zealand’s Highview Stud with a Group 1 winner to his credit in Ulanova).

And Ghaliah’s fourth foal, two-time winning mare Profound Wisdom (Al Samer), had thrown Sebonack (Capitalist), who would win Caulfield’s Chairman’s Stakes (Gr 3, 1000m) on debut in 2022 before a fourth in the Blue Diamond (Gr 1, 1200m).

Sweet Bouquet’s second dam Elated Lady (Vain) had thrown four Emirates Park-bred stakes winners, among 14 live foals. Three were full siblings by Snaadee (Danzig) in Group 2-winning fillies Adeewin and Fatoon, and Listed-winning gelding Jivago. The last was Mutawaajid (Redoute’s Choice), who won two Sydney Group 2s before a British campaign in 2007, where he was fourth in the Haydock Sprint Cup (Gr 1, 6f). Fatoon later gained more fame as the dam of Fat Al (Al Maher), winner of the 2012 Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) amid four stakes victories.

And Sweet Bouquet’s third dam – Emirate’s fourth – was British import Lady Upstage (High Line), dam of the aforementioned six-time top-tier winner Shaftesbury Avenue, plus another minor blacktype victor.

The pedigree was strong, but perhaps more than nicks and crosses being at play, Sweet Bouquet was an ideal type to put to the compact Extreme Choice, in whom Sandblom shares ownership.

“With Extreme Choice, as much as you’d love to delve into all sorts of pedigree theories, it can often be just as much a case of which mares are cycling when,” Phelan said.

“But Sweet Bouquet is certainly a big and strong type, young and fertile, and that certainly fits the bill with Extreme Choice.

“She’s such a beautiful-looking mare, good sized, with plenty of length and good bone, and she moves well. So it wasn’t a surprise when Emirate came out looking as good as he did. He was a big and strong colt, an exceptional first foal.”

That said, there are a few suggestive nicks in Emirate’s pedigree, though not much recent, with a 4mx5m of Mr. Prospector (Raise A Native) the only duplication in his first five generations. He does come through loud and clear  though, as sire of Extreme Choice’s damsire Hussonet, and as the grunt in Ghaliah’s sireline (Mr. Prospector-Seeking The Gold-Secret Savings).

Emirate has a handy duplication of the great Wilkes (Court Martial), gender-balanced at 7f x 5m, through his star daughter Anjudy in the female family of Extreme Choice’s sire Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice), and with Vain being the sire of third-dam Elated Lady.

As for mares, Emirate has the breed-shaping Natalma six times in his first eight generations, seven through her famed son Northern Dancer, with four of the six running into Extreme Choice. 

And further back, on both sides within his first nine removes he has full brothers Bull Dog (Teddy) – five times across both halves, through three daughters and a son – and Sir Gallahad (Teddy) three times, via two daughters and a son. That means a very healthy dash of their blue hen dam Plucky Liege.

Sweet Bouquet has had two more foals, though with a couple of bumps along the way. After throwing Emirate in 2021, she missed to Lord Of The Sky (Danerich) and Deep Field (Northern Meteor), the latter then encountering the fertility problems presaging his retirement.

That meant a late cover – on Christmas Eve – from Kingstar’s Time To Reign (Time For War). The subsequently late colt, born the following December 8, was second-top lot at last month’s Inglis May (HTBA) Yearling Sale, bought by Tullimbar for $120,000.

Sweet Bouquet next went back to Extreme Choice – when Newgate opened him up to a limited amount of northern hemisphere-timed covers last year – and again clicked with the siring sensation, on the first try this time. A filly was born on March 10, with Kingstar as yet undecided whether to keep or sell, as they are for her dam’s cover this spring.

“The filly is a cracker, and we’re thrilled that she’s a filly. To get a full sister to Emirate is very exciting,” says Phelan, looking ahead to hopefully more of the same from a mare serving Kingstar well.

“We were delighted to get Sweet Bouquet, especially for that low price. She’s from a very nice family, with plenty of depth, and it looks like Sweet Bouquet will put a lot more black type on the page.

“With the fashion in which Emirate has been winning, and the ratings he’s pulled out of it, he’s been pretty impressive. He very much looks like a future stallion prospect if he can prove himself at the next level. He’s shown he deserves the chance at least.”


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