In a game of opinions I have to disagree over Anamoe
Regardless of how Bella Nipotina (Pride Of Dubai) – this season’s Manikato Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner – goes tomorrow in The Quokka (1200m), the $3.5 million earner holds immense value and would be high on the list for any commercial breeding operation.
Co-breeders and part-owners Michael and Brad Christian and Michael’s wife Siobhan Miller are not ruling anything in or out, but they do hope to have her join their broodmare band at Longwood Thoroughbred Farm in Victoria, which is also home to Bella Nipotina’s dam Bella Orfana (Star Witness).
So, what’s next for Bella Nipotina?
“That’s a great question. Our inclination with all our partners is that we will breed from her. As for racing on, she is five-year-old mare and, ideally, we’d like to go to stud this year, but the temptation is there (to race on) given the way she is going,” Michael Christian told me.
“We will obviously see what happens on Saturday, but if she comes through it in fine fettle and races the way she has in pretty every one of her starts during her career, then we will give serious consideration as to whether we press on and race on for another year. Certainty, no decision has been made on her future.”
As the stud farms roll out their service fees for 2023 and breeders consider their mating plans, what the stallion landscape will look like in five years’ time is an interesting one with heavyweights Snitzel, I Am Invincible and Written Tycoon in the twilight of their respective stud careers.
Inglis’ Sebastian Hutch suggested in the aftermath of the Easter sale – a select catalogue of around 450 yearlings each year – that the depth of the stallion ranks dictates the size and make-up of the feature catalogue.
“The strength of the stallion population is a hugely important part in putting the catalogue together and we’re in a very fortunate position where it looks like there’s a really exciting group of stallions coming through. First–crop stallions, second–crop stallions, third–crop stallions, et cetera, who are going to potentially make up the foundation of this catalogue in years to come and supplement the progeny of the likes of Snitzel and I Am Invincible, Zoustar, Written Tycoon, et al,” he said.
“Our market is a very good one, but it is very much a market in transition. Stallions leading the way at the moment primarily aren’t going to be the ones who are going to be active in five years’ time, so we’re all looking to see who are those stallions who are going to be the next big stallions in Australia.”
Hutch believes there are a number of stallions capable of stepping up to the plate.
“Hopefully we’re looking at an Easter sale in five years’ time and having the likes of Justify, Trapeze Artist and The Autumn Sun significantly represented because, on the evidence of what we’ve seen from them so far, they all look – along with any number of other stallions like Russian Revolution and Capitalist – to be stallions with the potential to be major drivers of the Easter Yearling Sale catalogue in years to come.”
Every race, someone’s opinion is staked against someone else’s and that’s what makes the game so great. You don’t know the answer until after it’s over and, even then, you can be right and not get paid and wrong and still win.
But I must stick up for our Aussie Anamoe – Godolphin’s gun stallion prospect and nine-time Group 1 winner – after English journo Maddy Playle, from ANZ’s sister publication Racing Post, labelled the brilliant four-year-old as “mentally weak” after his Queen Elizabeth Stakes’ defeat last Saturday at the hands of import Dubai Honour.
Mentally weak, Anamoe is not. He’s a four-year-old bull, just months away from entering the Kelvinside breeding shed: he has won seven of his nine starts this season, from 1400 metres to 2000 metres, which demonstrates his versatility, soundness of limb and I’d argue mental toughness, when many a stallion can have other things on their mind by this stage of their racing careers.
And that’s not taking into account he had his first start as two-year-old in the Debutant Stakes (Listed, 1000m) on October 10 and raced a further five times at two. Two seasons on he’s still going strong.
I am in Perth for The Quokka this week, thanks to RWWA and Perth Racing, and the long flight over gave me time to finally read some of Horsetrader: Robert Sangster and the Rise and Fall of the Sport of Kings, first published in 1993, and in an early chapter a paragraph or two detailed how John Magnier of Coolmore fame paid particular attention to a stallion prospect’s temperament and how those traits, particularly negative ones, may be imparted onto his progeny and make them more difficult to train.
Whether he races at Royal Ascot or not, Anamoe is one great racehorse and potentially a super stallion.
Bren O’Brien’s By The Numbers column is compulsory reading and his piece on Wednesday about trainers and their success with two-year-olds this season was insightful. If you haven’t read it, see it here.
Peter and Paul Snowden trained a phenomenal 50 juvenile winners in 2019-20, 41 in 2020-21 and 24 last year. They have trained seven so far this season.
What those numbers show is just how hard two-year-old racing is. The colts’ funds, in particular, are trying to get to the elusive summit – the Golden Slippers, Blue Diamonds, Inglis Millenniums and Magic Millions – and the father-and-son Snowdens have been represented in all the big ones, but fell agonisingly short this year.
They had Don Corleone finish runner-up in the Blue Diamond and fourth in the Slipper, while King’s Gambit (third) and Empire Of Japan (fifth) were also close up in the Slipper. They also had the first and equal second favourite in the Magic Millions – Empire Of Japan and Sovereign Fund.
Stating the obvious, but a length in racing can change the fortunes – and postcodes – and stats don’t always tell the whole story.