Kiwi Chronicles

The cupboard is bare of Satono Aladdin’s this sales season

If you are looking for a yearling by Satono Aladdin (Deep Impact) this sales series, you are out of luck. Not one is available and the reason is the same issue used by many to explain much that has caused recent problems in the world. The thoroughbred industry has not been immune. It has been very challenging.

Yes, blame Covid. While the world went into lockdown, the stallion did not shuttle from Japan to Rich Hill Stud in 2020 so the yearling catalogues for 2023 are bare. For Rich Hill Stud, this must be so frustrating, because the stallion has made quite a statement with his first two crops, the second crop throwing up a genuinely topclass runner in Tokyo Tycoon.

Saturday’s Karaka Million (RL, 1200m) saw a star who looks to have an exciting future, judging by the way he managed a way out of a very awkward spot at the 300-metre mark then moved out for clear running. Once balanced, he powered home, going away at the line in a very impressive performance.

That was not the entire story, however. Prior to his being pocketed, he was a clear last at the 800 metres, but caught the tail rounding into the straight, where Craig Zackey had him improve quickly along the rail, only to run into traffic. Once out with a lane to the finish, he took several bounds and flew past the leaders as if they were tied to the ground, cutting out the 1200 metres in a sharp 1:10.04 seconds.

The youngster’s jockey, recent South African import Zackey, can claim credit for the heady ride, but he, in turn, was full of praise for the two-year-old’s performance, stating: “All credit to Tokyo Tycoon. He’s a superstar”.

A trial winner in early November, Tokyo Tycoon stepped out at Te Rapa late that month over 1100 metres to win in businesslike fashion, before heading north to Pukekohe on Boxing Day. On a Good 4 track, his run that day gave a glimpse of his potential, running out the 1100 metres in 1:02.89 seconds, the last 600 metres in 32.84 seconds. There were signs of greenness, but he was untouched to score by two lengths and remain unbeaten.

Second at Pukekohe that day was his stablemate, Viva Vienna (All Too Hard), ridden by Zackey, who, when offered the ride on Tokyo Tycoon, must have thought all his birthdays had come at once. He had the best view in the house of Tokyo Tycoon’s ability.

Keeping his calm after such a tardy beginning was Zackey’s masterstroke. “Mark left it up to me and I thought I’d leave it up to the horse. After falling out of the gates like that, losing ground, getting back on his feet, finding a rhythm again and then to go and hunt down eight or nine lengths in the straight, that is what a good horse is made of”.

In Tokyo Tycoon’s first two races, he began well and was always within striking distance of the leaders. Dropping out as he did in the milliondollar dash then flying home when clear is a clear indication of the horse’s talent. He can sit anywhere and find what is necessary at the right time. Such versatility is a huge plus. This boy is going places.

Ellis finds seven

So, where did he come from? He is graduate of the delayed to March 2022 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale and purchased by Te Akau’s David Ellis for $125,000.

According to trainer Mark Walker, Tokyo Tycoon was the last syndicate to be completely filled. “I think the best horse on the day won the race and it just goes to show that anyone can own a racehorse”, said Walker. “He wasn’t an overly expensive yearling and he has a great syndicate. He was actually the last yearling that we could sell.

Walker also made the observation that David Ellis’s record is quite incredible. “You go anywhere in the world and try and find someone like David Ellis that has bought seven consecutive winners of any big race in the world. You have got to take your hat off to him”.

Thankfully, Satono Aladdin was able to resume his southern hemisphere duties in 2021. All About The Coin (Starcraft), Tokyo Tycoon’s dam, did not produce a foal in 2022, but Rich Hill Stud’s John Thompson reports that the mare is back in foal to Satono Aladdin to an early service. The stud will be praying for a filly, no doubt.

While there is no full relation available during this sales series, Tokyo Tycoon has a half-sister by Vadamos (Monsun) up for grabs: Lot 24 in Book 1 on day one, next Sunday.

The filly’s value just went through the roof. All About The Coin, their dam, won three times, once as a two-year-old, and Tokyo Tycoon is her second winner. She ranks as a half-sister to two stakes winners, including Group 2 Sydney winner and twice Listed winner Messene (Lonhro). He also finished second in the Railway Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) over in Perth.

All About The Coin’s granddam, Mam’selle Giselle (Kenmare), is a halfsister to the great Zabeel (Sir Tristram), so the Vadamos filly on offer has a nice connection to a very good family. Zabeel is not the only top stallion from this family. Zabeel descends from Vaneuse (Vatellor), a three-quarter sister to another champion sire, Le Filou (Vatellor).

Satono Aladdin’s first New Zealand crop includes the Melbourne Blue Sapphire Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Grand Impact as well as Sacred Satono, recent winner of the Bonecrusher Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m). The latter ran home strongly in a dead-heat for fifth in Saturday’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (RL, 1600m).

We will never know how good his daughter Koshu might have been. She won her only start impressively in Sydney, but went amiss and had to be retired. Apparently, she was a bit special.

The stallion himself remained sound through five seasons of racing and won each year culminating with a Group 1 over 1600m in Tokyo as a six-year-old. At five, he scored two Group 2s bowing out with eight career wins and more than 450 million yen (approximately NZ$5.3 million) in earnings. He knew how to run.

Rich Hill riches

An amazing season shows no signs of abating for Walton’s Rich Hill Stud, the stud enjoying an outstanding day when two of their stallions sired the winners of both milliondollar races.

Prior to the Karaka Millions 3YO Classic (RL, 1600m), the odds of Proisir (Choisir) siring the winner looked very good, most believing that Legarto was the one to beat. That belief was sound as the filly was unbeaten in all five starts, which included a classy win in the New Zealand Thousand Guineas (1600m) and a huge win, making up at least ten lengths in taking out an exciting Eight Carat Classic (Gr 2, 1600m) at Pukekohe on Boxing Day.

The barrier draw had a major impact on the result. While Legarto drew one, Prowess, another daughter of Proisir in the race, drew barrier five and was able to sit two out and was always in a handy spot, whereas Legarto was shuffled back in the early scramble and settled well back.

Prowess’s co-trainer, Roger James, summed it up perfectly: “I was quietly confident. We got the draw where we weren’t going to be locked away and that was going to be a big advantage and so it proved”, said James, adding, “It is pretty special. I think this is as good a crop of three-year-olds we have seen assembled in this race and I think there is any number of them that will hold their hand up in Australia”.

Although Legarto deserved to be favourite, the field was indeed very strong. Second home was Wild Night (Vanbrugh), who had five successive wins leading into the race and who gave the winner plenty all the way to the line.

In any other year, Prowess might have been favourite, as her lead up form was superb, with a last start win in the Auckland Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m), her third win in five starts before Saturday.

At her third start, she was an unlucky third to Legarto in the Soliloquy Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m), then ran a splendid third, against the boys, in the New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m), a half head and a neck behind Pier (Proisir). That name Proisir is everywhere.

For the Classic, the filly showed remarkable courage in the long Pukekohe straight. She was away fairly and sat sixth (two out) inside the 1200 metres. There was no change near the 800, but rider Warren Kennedy sent her forward, three deep, from the 600 metres and rounding into the straight she was fourth, four deep. On straightening she took over second then grabbed the lead at the 300m. She went clear soon after but then the challenges came yet she held them off convincingly by three quarters of a length.

Bred by Hallmark Stud and sold by them at the 2021 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale, Prowess remains the most expensive progeny of her sire, realising $230,000. Most likely, Proisir’s stock will be all the rage this year, such are his terrific results. Three of the country’s top four three-year-olds are by him and both Group 1 classics fell to him in the shape of Pier and Legarto, not forgetting Group 1 sprinter Levante and Dark Destroyer, who took out the first race at that level of the season.

The stallion has a substantial lead on the New Zealand Sire Premiership and, even with six months to go, will take a power of heading.

Trainer Roger James was the filly’s purchaser and his judgement has been spot on. She has a real future according to rider Warren Kennedy. “I knew there were some crack three-year-olds in the race but she did everything right and she showed that she is a filly to be reckoned with”, said Kennedy. “Once she goes 2000 metres she will be even better so there are lots of things to look forward to with her”.

Mark Baker, of Hallmark Stud, was feeling pretty happy after the race. “We have the mare at home and she is back in foal to Proisir”.

Fine fillies

Te Akau’s day was not confined to Tokyo Tycoon. Their two fine fillies, Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) and Maven Belle (Burgundy) added to an already highly successful season.

Imperatriz is a class act and while the margin of her win in the Westbury Classic (Gr 2, 1400m) wasn’t massive, she was in full control a fair way from home.

“It was a workmanlike win with 59 kilos and Opie (Bosson) didn’t knock her around”, said trainer Mark Walker. “He took bad luck out of the equation when he popped off the fence at the 1000 metres and I was pretty confident from then on. I still think there is a bit of improvement to come looking ahead to the BCD Group Sprint”.

Imperatriz skipped last week’s Telegraph Stakes (Gr 1, 1200) won by Levante (Proisir) due to the timing of the race. “I just thought a big trip (to Wellington) after two weeks was a bit to ask. I just felt the extra week would suit. Resisting the temptation is hard to do, a Group 1 compared to a Group 2, but the owners were supportive and it worked out well,” said Walker.

Bosson added: “We got a beautiful run, cruised to them and when she hit the front, she just waited for them a little bit”.

Te Akau home-bred filly Maven Belle is putting together a most impressive career which has seen her defeated just once in seven starts. That defeat was in the Sistema Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) in which she was third behind Licketysplit (Turn Me Loose) and Dynastic (Almanzor). “She was desperately unlucky in that Group 1 last year and should be unbeaten”, said Bosson.

“It was a rough race today, she just about got run off at the first turn. I wasn’t too sure whether we had it at the line, but I just threw my hands and hoped for the best. She has the will to win and she got there”.

At two, Maven Belle was rewarded with a Group 1 after the luckless third, taking out the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m). She was an easy winner in her return as a three-year-old, at Pukekohe on January 8. “The quick turnaround from her first-up run wasn’t ideal”, said trainer Mark Walker, “but I thought when I saw her in the parade ring today that she looked far better in the coat.

Maven Belle was bred at the Te Akau farm and her close-up family has been very active of late. Maven Belle’s dam, stakes-placed Doyenne (Kilimanjaro), is a half-sister to triple Group 1 sprinter, Levante and another half-sister, stakes-placed Miss Isle (Bachelor Duke), is the dam of recent Listed winner Sophmaze (Derryn).

See you in two weeks

Kiwi Chronicles is taking a break. Next week’s NZB Karaka sale beckons. It is going to be exciting, so, see you there.