Kiwi Chronicles

Four studs, four stories

Four leading New Zealand studs each had varying stories to tell this week. They experienced the highs, as well as the exasperations associated with racing and breeding.

Grabbing headlines is not new for Waikato Stud’s Savabeel (Zabeel). Even when he sires the winner of the first two-year-old race for the season it is old hat. He did it two years ago with Cool Aza Beel who became Champion Two-Year-Old and is now at Newhaven Park in New South Wales about to start his own stud career. 

Savabeel’s Cincoro, off two trial wins, stepped out at Wanganui in the first two-year-old race of the current season to win handily. Winning trainer Stephen Autridge rates the filly. 

Meanwhile, in Melbourne there are whispers that Savabeel might have a Derby contender in Forgot You, from the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young stable. He was quite impressive over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley, backing up the promise shown in three starts last season.

Forgot You is pure Waikato Stud. His dam is by O’Reilly (Last Tycoon) and his third dam is by Centaine (Century). He descends from Georgina Belle (Pakistan II), a mare that Garry Chittick went to great lengths to acquire, finding her in California. Georgina Belle is central to the successes that the stud has enjoyed.

Bellacontte (Burgundy), the O’Learys Fillies Stakes (Listed, 1200m) winner at Wanganui on Saturday, also traces to Georgina Belle. Her grandam is by Centaine and her third dam by O’Reilly.

O’Reilly and Centaine: Ever present in Waikato Stud’s great history.

Tivaci (High Chaparral) too, continues to make noise, his Newcastle winner Never Been Kissed going back-to-back to remain undefeated in two starts. The filly, with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, is owned by the Chitticks.

Never Been Kissed is the product of four Waikato Stud sires, namely Tivaci, Savabeel, Pins (Snippets) and O’Reilly and is yet another descendant of Georgina Belle. Her grandam Tootsie (Pins) and Bellacontte’s grandam, Goodgolly Itsdolly (Centaine), are half-sisters.

Tivaci, with five recent winners, three of which are from Savabeel mares, is clearly on his way. His first black-type winner may be just around the corner.

Ocean Park (Thorn Park) got into the act at Eagle Farm, his Ocean Treaty taking her record to five wins in her last six starts. The five-year-old mare began her career in Victoria but since transferring to Queensland has been in great form despite a couple of longish breaks. This time last year she won four on the trot including at Doomben.

Ocean Treaty is a half-sister to a Western Australian Oaks (Gr 3, 2400m) winner, First Impressions (Rip Van Winkle). Her dam, Listed winner and Group 1 placed Striker (Van Nistelrooy) is a half-sister to four stakes winners, including champion sprinter-miler Calveen (Canny Lad).

Waikato Stud and Mark Chittick kicked off the week with their announcement that Listed winner and Group placed Banquo (Written Tycoon) will join their 2021 stallion roster.

Banquo’s immediate attraction is his being the first son of last season’s champion Australian sire, Written Tycoon (Iglesia). The latter’s first title put a stop to the four successive premierships racked up by Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice).

Blood-wise, Waikato Stud has revisited some of their former success. Their O’Reilly is a son of Last Tycoon (Try My Best) who is also the sire of Iglesia, Written Tycoon’s dad.

Century (Better Boy) features as the sire of Banquo’s third dam as well as being the sire of the stud’s former champion Centaine.

Banquo, a brother to Group 1-winning sprinter Booker, will join the lineup of Savabeel, Ocean Park and Tivaci, each of whom had an impact on part one of this week’s stud stories.

The second stud to celebrate is Cambridge Stud. Their Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice) is, sadly, no longer with us but the stallion is not going to let us forget either. The aforementioned Bellacontte became his fifth stakes winner and the filly made the O’Learys Fillies Stakes her maiden stakes win and second career win at start five.

The first southern hemisphere representative of the stud’s exciting Almanzor (Wootton Bassett), Gibraltar Rising, was the talk of the first two-year-old race for the season.

The youngster clearly has talent but had trouble negotiating the last corner, heading towards the outside rail before maintaining a strong run to the line for third. He must have covered at least an extra three lengths yet stuck to his task really well. Right-handed next time?

Brendan Lindsay’s wife Jo has a very smart filly in Zouzarella (Zoustar), a decisive winner of the Atlantic Jewel Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Moonee Valley.

She was never on the track yet once in the straight kicked away impressively to win by two lengths and remains unbeaten in two starts. Her maiden win, featuring a similar strong finish, was also at Moonee Valley just two weeks back.

Purchased by Cambridge Stud CEO Henry Plumptre at the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the filly has firmed as favourite for the Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) at Caulfield next month.

Her dam won six, including three in Melbourne, and her bloodlines reveal an interesting double up to Fairy King (Northern Dancer), the brother to Sadler’s Wells and three-quarter brother to Nureyev (Northern Dancer).

Fairy King is the sire of the filly’s grandam and also grandsire of her paternal grandsire Northern Meteor. 

Her third dam Zaborowska (Top Ville) ranks as half-sister to Italian Oaks (Gr 1, 2200m) winner Zabarella (Clouet). Her fourth dam, Zannira (Sovereign Path) is from a half-sister to Runaway Bride (Wild Risk), dam of champion Blushing Groom (Red God).

Story three is somewhat mixed, a combination of triumph and exasperation. Rich Hill Stud is sure to have experienced both last Saturday afternoon.

Here in New Zealand their Proisir (Choisir) sired his sixth stakes winner, Soldier Boy, who showed promise for his connections last season at two. After three placings he was given his opportunity in the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) then put aside.

In Saturday’s Wanganui Guineas (Listed, 1340m) he took over at the 100 metres then held out the favourite, Yeaboi (Belardo), for his maiden win.

Soldier Boy’s sister, Vancooga, was a solid second in last season’s New Zealand Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) which might indicate that Soldier Boy could extend his races to 1600 metres and beyond. 

Rich Hill’s afternoon was not over but ended in frustration. Riodini (Proisir) made a bold attempt to nail his biggest win since joining the Waterhouse-Bott establishment.

He led the Chelmsford Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m) field into the straight and had what looked like a winning break at the 300 metres. Even with a 100 metres left he seemed to be in control but a desperate late lunge by Think It Over (So You Think) saw him relegated to second, officially by a half-head, although the margin looked less than that.

A Group 3 winner at Ellerslie prior to his Sydney sojourn, Riodini was third in last year’s Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) and having found his form again might give the same race another shake this year.

An hour after the Chelmsford, Rich Hill Stud turned their attention to Moonee Valley and the prospect of a victory by Elephant (Shocking) in the Feehan Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m).

Unbeaten in five starts (four in New Zealand) heading to the Feehan, Elephant is a very exciting and talented galloper, but taking on Group 2 quality at his first attempt at stakes class was quite ambitious, yet he almost pulled it off.

Rolling away from the fence half way down the short Moonee Valley straight was the difference that saw Superstorm (Sebring) grind along the rail and snag the nose win. Elephant had it won everywhere but the very last stride and lost no admirers. This time the official margin was a nose but Elephant could have used a trunk as his nose was just not quite long enough!

Victory would have resulted in automatic entry into next month’s Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) so plans may need to be tweaked, the Toorak Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) being a possible target.

Story four takes us to the northern hemisphere, at least racing-wise.

Sam and Catriona Williams of Little Avondale Stud have at least three reasons to celebrate. That’s the individual stakes winners score by their Time Test (Dubawi), whose initial crop is making quite a statement all around Europe.

Time Test is about to start his fourth season at LA Stud. His book is already full and his supporters can be excused for having growing smiles on their faces.

Last January at the NZB Karaka Yearling Sale, the Time Tests sold up to $220,000. That particular lot was a colt out of the Mapperley Stud draft and he was a cracking type.

Before his stakes and Group winning form at three and four, Time Test himself had three starts at two for a win at Sandown and was twice second. 

Over in Europe success is building, beginning with Time Test’s first winner named The King’s Horses, the victory occurring at Milan, Italy in mid May. He also won his second start then became Time Test’s first stakes performer when finishing third in the Premio Premi Passi (Gr 3, 1200m) at Milan.

Time Test’s first stakes winner is the cleverly named Tardis who won at her third start then went back-to-back when claiming the St Hugh’s Stakes (Listed, 5f) at Newbury in mid August.

Stakes winner number two is Rocchigiani who is unbeaten in two starts in Germany, winning at Group 3 level at Baden Baden on September 1.

The very next day, at Salisbury, Romantic Time also scored at Group 3 level in the Dick Poole Fillies Stakes (6f), her third win in six starts, having secured a win at Sandown at her fourth start.

Sunset Shiraz has yet to win but must be close. In three attempts she has placed three times including a last start second in the Debutante Stakes (Gr 2, 7f) at the Curragh.

Other winners are Turn Back Time, a last start winner at Lingfield who preceded that with three placings, plus Justice Protecol who won at his second start at Chelmsford on September 2.

Catriona Williams’ response to the good news: “Thursday night was a big night for Time Test and we are stoked for everyone who has backed him. Watch this space.”

In other news….

The route from weanling purchase in Queensland, then over to New Zealand for the NZB Karaka Yearling Sale, off to Singapore to win eight of nine races then back to Australia for a Group 2 win in Melbourne, would be a rare path for any thoroughbred, but that is exactly the path taken by The Inferno (Holy Roman Emperor), who raced as Inferno in Singapore.

Taking Singapore form to Australian success is quite rare as well. The late Laurie Laxon was keen to try Singapore star Stepitup (Hussonet) in Melbourne, thinking he was a big chance in the Cox Plate but it never eventuated.

The Inferno, now a five-year-old, was two for two at two at Kranji, bagging the Listed Golden Horseshoe (1200m). At three, he raced three times, won twice, including the Saas Fee Stakes (Listed, 1200m) and suffered his first and only defeat there at start five.

At four he went undefeated in four starts, taking out three of Singapore’s richest and most prestigious races; the Lion City Cup (1200m), the Singapore Guineas (1600m) and the Singapore 3YO Classic (1400m), leaving the country as Singapore Horse of the Year and with more than $S900,000 in the bank.

Trainer Cliff Brown admitted to not working The Inferno sufficiently for his Australian debut but on Saturday corrected the formula for the McEwen Stakes (Gr 2, 1000m). 

The gelding was widest into the straight but between the 100-metre pole and the 50 metres he was too quick to put them away and score comfortably by a length in 59.48 seconds on the Soft 6 surface.

After such an impressive performance and with a record of nine wins in only 11 starts, the speedster will surely be discussed as a prospect for The Everest.

The Inferno’s dam, Spina Rosa (Redoute’s Choice) is a three-quarter sister to AJC Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Lotteria (Redoute’s Choice) and the gelding himself is bred 2×3 to Danehill (Danzig).

The local scene

From the same sale as Zouzarella is Te Akau’s Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), a David Ellis purchase who was very convincing in winning the Northland Breeders’ Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Not seen since her Eclipse Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) success back on January 1, Imperatriz looks like a star in the making and remains undefeated in three starts.

A length off the lead at the 200 metres, her acceleration to the 100 metres was decisive and she looked to have something in reserve at the line. The tangerine and blue look to be a force, yet again, in the upcoming fillies’ Classics.

The main attraction on the card was the Foxbridge Plate (Gr 2, 1200m) and was expected to be a match between Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and Tavi Mac (Tavistock) but neither were to figure in the finish.

Instead, Team Rogerson spoiled the party with Mascarpone (Shooting To Win) who ran some mighty good placings in the best of company last season with only a Listed win to show for it.

Forming a line of four across the track at the 200 metres, he burst into the lead and had the rest in real trouble at the 100, and although the lead shrunk very late to a neck, he never looked like being beaten.

Graeme Rogerson purchased Mascarpone from the same 2018 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale as The Inferno.