Kiwi Chronicles

When a negative becomes a positive

Despite the arrival of daylight saving time, our New Zealand winter refuses to let go and neither does the rain which caused both Saturday’s Hastings features to be affected, making quite a contrast to the lovely spring conditions for the club’s first day, three weeks earlier.

Presented with a Heavy 8 surface, hot favourite Tokyo Tycoon (Satono Aladdin) floundered in the Hawkes Bay Guineas (Gr 2, 1400m) but worse was to come. The track was further downgraded and Legarto (Proisir) as well as the 2022 Arrowfield Plate (Gr 1, 1600m) champion, La Crique (Vadamos), were both raceday withdrawals from this year’s edition, drastically reducing the quality of the field.

What is a negative for some can become a positive for others and that proved to be the case for Mustang Valley (Vanbrugh) who relished the deterioration of the track, motoring clear after she took over at the 200 metres. The mare was always comfortable, even when travelling wide throughout. From the 800 metres she kept gaining on the leaders and was almost level with pacemaker Callsign Mav (Atlante), at the top of the straight. Inside the 200 metres she looked to come away, was briefly challenged from the 100 metres, but found more late to win convincingly.

Hastings has been kind to the now five-year-old daughter of Vanbrugh (Encosta De Lago) having taken out the Livamol Classic (Gr 1, 2040m) last October. A six-time winner in 26 starts, she is from his initial crop and remains Vanbrugh’s premier representative ahead of one of the better three-year-olds from last season, Wild Night, also bred by Windsor Park Stud.

These two can claim full responsibility for the turnaround in Vanbrugh’s fortunes as a sire. His first crop included 36 foals, followed by 15 in his second, and just 11 in his third. Consequently, from those three crops only 31 have made it to the races, 14 of which have won.

Crop five (now two-year-olds) numbered 31 and his sixth crop, many of which we will see in January, totalled 35. The turnaround, courtesy of Mustang Valley and Wild Night in the last 12 months, has been dramatic. Vanbrugh covered 106 mares in 2022 and with his fertility averaging around 80 per cent, his future looks brighter than in 2019.

As to why Mustung Valley relishes the wet, the finger cannot be pointed at Vanbrugh. His three Group victories including the Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) were all achieved on good tracks.

Planned, no impulse

Retained by her breeder, Windsor Park Stud, Mustang Valley is, so far, the sole winner from her dam, Cream Of The Crop (New Approach) whose granddam is a half-sister to champion Might And Power (Zabeel), also a graduate of Windsor Park Stud.

That connection is the reason that Windsor Park’s Rodney Schick outlayed just $5,000 for the Adelaide winner, presented as a maiden mare at the 2017 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

Kiwi Chronicles caught up with Schick who confirmed that Cream Of The Crop was on his radar as soon as the catalogue was available.

“I was in France a few years back and tried to buy Cream Of The Crop’s granddam Buenos Aries but while on the way to view her got a call to say she was not for sale,” he said.

“At the Magic Millions sale Cream Of The Crop was certainly not an impulse buy but no one else bid. I had a lot more than $5,000 for her. Call it good luck or good judgement!. 

“She is a big, scopey mare, a lovely type and we had already had great success with the family. She is by a good stallion backed up with several more top sires so has nice lines. Good families can sometimes go quiet for a generation but they often bounce back.”

She owes the stud nothing and her line is assured as her first four foals are all fillies. Her 2021 Darci Brahma (Danehill) filly sold last January for $150,000 and she has a yearling filly by Hello Youmzain (Kodiac).

Schick added: “The Hello Youmzain filly is headed for Karaka in January. Cream Of The Crop absorbed her Savabeel foetus last season but she has been served by him again this season and has tested positive. Another filly would be great.”

Zabeel (Sir Tristram) crossed with this family created a freak. Schick is trying for another Might And Power, no doubt. Look back a little further and readers will notice that this is also the female family of the great Sir Tristram (Sir Ivor) himself.

A different Satono Aladdin

The Tote had us believe that Tokyo Tycoon was still the one to beat in the Guineas however, according to Opie Bosson, the previously unbeaten (at least on raceday) gelding was not able to quicken in the ground, plugging away for fifth.

Meanwhile, paternal half-brother Lantern Way got the better of Solidify (Redwood) over the last 100 metres to secure both his maiden stakes success and maiden win at start six, taking his earnings to $136,660. He was due the breakthrough having recorded two black-type placings in his previous five starts.

Last week’s Kiwi Chronicles detailed Satono Aladdin’s rise in fame including Rich Hill Stud’s John Thompson’s mention of Lantern Way who was bred and sold by the stud along with the stallion’s Tokyo Tycoon and the talented Lupo Solitario.

Lantern Way became stakes winner number five for the son of Deep Impact (Sunday Silence) and was a $40,000 purchase by his trainer, Lisa Latta, from Book 2 of the 2022 NZB Karaka Yearling Sale.

His granddam, Say No More (Pentire), was a quality mare and winner of two Group 1 miles, namely the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes and the Thorndon Mile. Thanks to John Thompson for pointing out that Rich Hill Stud’s Pentire (Be My Guest) also features as the damsire of Sotono Aladdin’s Pennyweka and Lupo Solitario.

Proisir strikes again

Taking all before him last season was Proisir (Choisir), whose five individual Group 1 winners laid the foundation of a maiden New Zealand Sire Premiership.

Two of those five, Legarto and Prowess, each had one start in Australia. Both won. Legarto stormed home in the Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and Prowess dealt with a highclass collection of three-year-old fillies in the Vinery Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m).

So far this season in New Zealand Legarto’s flashing home for third in the Tarzino Trophy (Gr 1, 1400m) was the stallion’s best stakes effort, until Friday evening.

The Moonee Valley meeting revealed yet another Proisir filly with, not only talent, but also a rare quality of huge determination to get the job done. Her name is Coeur Volante and her racing style is not dissimilar to Legarto’s in that she has a propensity for getting back and making it difficult for herself when the business end of the race is unfolding.

On debut, last May at Sandown, she probably should have won but was severely checked twice when looking for a run. How she ran fourth when the race was virtually over shows her fierce determination.

MidJune at the same track, she was taken to the outside once straightened and maintained a strong run, which included a sharp sprint to level up to the leader, then went on for a smart win.

Last Friday night’s Scarborough Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) saw her get into trouble again. She ran up along the rail to be handy enough for the run home but ran into a pocket. There was no room but somehow she found a tiny lane but had to shove her way through. No sooner had she found space than she ran into a tiring runner and had to switch back towards the inner. That available turn of foot was produced and she shot through and put the race away.

Ballymore Stables’ Paul and Mike Moroney found Coeur Volante at the NZB 2022 Karaka Yearling Sale (Book 2), outlaying $90,000. An attractive, dark bay, she is the second winner from Shanina, a Testa Rossa (Perugino) winner of five races. Shanina’s other winner, Hasstobemagic (Scissor Kick), was Listed placed. The filly was offered via Kelly Van Dyk’s Prima Park draft on behalf of the breeder, Fairdale Stud’s Duncan Fell.

Winning trainer Mike Moroney is a believer. “We brought her back to target the Thousand Guineas and that’s where we’ll head towards,” he said. 

Ambitious plans but the way she attacks the line she has shown enough to be a threat to any three-year-old filly in Australia. Is it too early to call her a star? Perhaps, but do not be surprised if she goes on with it.

Coeur Volante represents a nice family, even if it went quiet for a generation. Her granddam, Feisty Rose (Fusaichi Pegasus) is a half-sister to Sydney Listed winner, Rose Of Peace (Hussonet). Both are daughters of one the best Australian three-year-old fillies of her crop, Rose Of War (Danehill) who landed four stakes races (two of them at Group level) and ran second in the VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m).

Rose Of War herself was half or full sister to three stakes winners while her dam, Savana City (New Regent), was also a top-ranked three-year-old filly and included the Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) among her eight wins. This is a strong female family and Coeur Volante might be the next.

Where and who

Advanced years provides no excuse for taking shortcuts but the writer did just that last week regarding the background of Golden Rose (Gr 1, 1400m) victor Militarize (Dundeel) in last week’s Kiwi Chronicles.

Thanks to Mark Chitty, of Haunui Farm, for alerting me that Militarize was not in New Zealand “for mere weeks” as the column incorrectly stated. In fact he was in New Zealand for 13 months, long enough to benefit from our superb growing conditions, as well as to be exposed to all-important early education. Thanks Mark. Good point.

Why a horse’s suffix is determined by their place of birth rather than their place of conception, remains a valid question.

Earlier in the year Kiwi Chronicles discussed this same topic as there was not only the example of Militarize but also the reverse example of Little Brose (Per Incanto), winner of the prestigious Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m). Little Brose was conceived in New Zealand yet foaled in Australia. He has the AUS suffix but our industry is more than happy to claim him as one of ours. His breeder is a New Zealander, addressed in the following paragraph.

Readers may well understand such a conundrum, furthered by Chitty who asked a similar question: “The conundrum re AUS or NZ bred applies also to any breeder query. Is the breeder the person who mates the mare in the first place and gains the conception, or the owner of the mare when she foals down?

That question might be answered with a question: Who paid the service fee?

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