By The Numbers

Where does Hitotsu fit?

The announcement this week that three-time Group 1 winner Hitotsu has found a home at stud at Arrowfield prompts a deep dive into the stallion records of winners of recent Australian Classic races.

Whether you look at his pedigree, being a son of Japanese hero Maurice (Screen Hero), or his remarkable race record as a winner of two Derbies and a Guineas, it’s easy to see why Hitotsu is somewhat of a unicorn as a stallion prospect.

The news that his breeders Arrowfield had secured him to stand at stud this season at an opening fee of $22,000 (inc GST) will ensure he gets every chance to succeed as a stallion, but he also faces the challenge of being a stamina-oriented horse entering a breeding industry enamoured with speed.

He becomes the 11th winner of the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) since 2000 to graduate to the stallion barn, while he is the tenth Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) victor to stud this century and the 13th to have won an Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) in that time frame.

But he is also, of course, the only colt to win all three of those races. The only other winner of that treble, Mahogany (Last Tycoon) was a gelding, while the last winner of the two feature Derbies to graduate to a career at stud was 1971 winner Classic Mission (Persian Garden), in a time when both races were held in the spring.

That gives you a sense of why, from a race-profile perspective, Hitotsu is such a rare article. He only raced eight times, with those three feature wins coming in his final three starts before injury ended his career.

It makes him a hard horse to compare historically, but perhaps the best approximation is to look at the recent stallion-producing record of those three Group 1 races and the 31 colts in the 21st century who won these Classic races and went on to stud careers.

We’ll start off with the Victoria Derby, which features five future champion Australian stallions on its honour roll, Chester (Yattendon), Grand Flaneur (Yattendon), Wallace (Carbine), Maltster (Bill Of Portland) and Spearfelt (Spearhead), but none since 1924.

Of the ten Victoria Derby-winning colts since 2000 who have gone on to stud careers, three have produced Group 1 winners, and eight have stakes winners to their name. The only two not on that stakes-winners list are Prized Icon (More Than Ready) and Ace High (High Chaparral), whose oldest crops are two.

Westbury Stud’s Tarzino (Tavistock) has been doing his best for the reputation of Victoria Derby-winning alumni, with 39 winners among his first three crops to the track, including two Group 1 winners, Gypsy Goddess and Jungle Magnate (now racing in Hong Kong as Beautyverse).

The 2002 Victoria Derby winner Helenus (Helissio), who started his breeding career in Western Australia, produced Group 1 winners Ethiopia and Cedarberg for his owner Trevor Delroy, as well as five other stakes winners.

But the most successful 21st century Victoria Derby winner by stakes winners has been 2003 victor Elvstroem (Danehill), who features Group 1 winner Hucklebuck among his 13 stakes winners. Upset 2008 winner Rebel Raider (Reset) is the sire of six stakes winners.

Overall, Victoria Derby-winning stallions of this century have produced 33 stakes winners from 1,575 runners, at a stakes-winners-to-runners ratio of 2.1 per cent.

To give a point of reference with Hitotsu’s introductory fee of $20,000 (ex-GST), the average first-season service fee for those ten previous winners of the Flemington-run Classic has been $13,050 (ex-GST). Hitotsu’s fee is the highest for a Victoria Derby winner since Elvstroem began his career at Blue Gum Farm at $35,000 (ex-GST) in 2005.

Progeny records of Victoria Derby-winning stallions since 2000

Winner Year won Foals Rnrs Wnrs SW G1w SW/R
Ace High 2017 75 4 0 0 0 0.00%
Prized Icon 2016 85 5 0 0 0 0.00%
Tarzino 2015 173 98 39 2 2 2.04%
Preferment 2014 215 79 27 1 0 1.27%
Polanski 2013 92 48 19 1 0 2.08%
Monaco Consul 2009 128 80 37 1 0 1.25%
Rebel Raider 2008 408 233 129 6 0 2.58%
Benicio 2005 337 249 106 2 0 0.80%
Elvstroem 2003 832 618 349 13 1 2.10%
Helenus 2002 224 161 82 7 2 4.35%
Total   2569 1575 788 33 5 2.10%

The Australian Guineas was run at Group 1 for the first time in 1987 but inside its first decade it produced two future Champion Australian stallions in 1990 winner Zabeel (Sir Tristram) and 1996 winner Flying Spur (Danehill).

The 2000 edition, when the race was run at 2000 metres, was won by Pins (Snippets), who would be a Champion sire in New Zealand and Hong Kong, producing ten Group 1 winners and 88 stakes winners from his base at Waikato Stud.

Since then, three Australian Guineas winners have gone on to become Group 1-producing stallions, Reset (Zabeel), Al Maher (Danehill) and Shamus Award (Snitzel), all with five elite winners apiece.

Al Maher leads that trio when it comes to stakes winners, 36, while Reset has 35 and Shamus Award 21. All but one of the nine Guineas winners since 2000 to progress to stud have produced stakes winners.

All in all, that collection of stallions, which includes Grunt (O’Reilly), whose oldest crop are only two, have produced 200 stakes winners from 4,516 runners, a stakes-winners-to-runners ratio of 4.43 per cent.

Meanwhile, the average first-season service fee for an Australian Guineas-winning stallion since 2000 has been $18,389 (ex-GST).

Progeny records of Australian Guineas-winning stallions since 2000

Winner Year won Foals Rnrs Wnrs SWs G1w SW/R
Grunt 2018 140 9 1 1 0 11.11%
Palentino 2016 256 97 21 0 0 0.00%
Wandjina 2015 351 262 172 4 0 1.53%
Shamus Award 2014 540 323 210 21 5 6.50%
Al Maher 2005 988 764 491 36 5 4.71%
Reset 2004 1093 822 515 35 5 4.26%
Delago Brom 2003 548 396 211 5 0 1.26%
Dash For Cash 2002 864 625 411 10 0 1.60%
Pins 2000 1543 1218 847 88 10 7.22%
Total   6323 4516 2879 200 25 4.43%

It might be somewhat of a surprise that the Australian Derby has produced the most future stallions of any of the three races since 2000, with 12, but the deep history of the race does feature four winners who became Australia’s champion stallion Grand Flaneur, Maltster, Heroic (Valais) and Robinson Crusoe (Angler).

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the three most recent Australian Derby-winning stallions before Hitotsu are yet to have their first runners, Quick Thinker (So You Think), Levendi (Pierro) and Jon Snow (Iffraaj).

The most successful of the other nine winners since 2000 that have gone to stud is clearly Hitotsu’s future barnmate and 2013 winner Dundeel (High Chaparral). Dundeel already has seven Group 1 winners and 24 stakes winners. The other three Derby-winning stallions to have produced elite-level winners in this time are Starcraft (Soviet Star), with two, and Nom Du Jeu (Montjeu) and Don Eduardo (Zabeel) with one apiece.

In all, this collection of Australian Derby winners since 2000 have produced 71 stakes winners between them from 2,324 starters, a stakes-success ratio of 3.06 per cent.

The average first-season service fee for those 12 stallions has been $13,438 (ex-GST).  

Progeny records of Australian Derby-winning stallions since 2000

Winner Year won Foals Rnrs Wnrs SWs G1w SW/R
Mongolian Khan 2015 301 136 57 1 0 0.74%
Criterion 2014 16 11 8 0 0 0.00%
Dundeel 2013 695 436 263 24 7 5.50%
Roman Emperor 2009 116 71 42 2 0 2.82%
Nom Du Jeu 2008 322 187 89 4 1 2.14%
Starcraft 2004 938 630 360 20 2 3.17%
Clangalang 2003 414 277 159 6 0 2.17%
Don Eduardo 2002 564 365 183 12 1 3.29%
Universal Prince 2001 308 211 98 2 0 0.95%
Total   3674 2324 1259 71 11 3.06%

* Jon Snow, Levendi and Quick Thinker yet to have runners

Looking at Hitotsu from a pedigree perspective further emphasises his unique nature. He is the first son of Maurice to go to stud anywhere in the world and stands alongside his own sire as the only descendants of that aspect of the Roberto sireline – tracing back through Screen Hero, his sire Grass Wonder, and grandsire Silver Hawk (Roberto) – to stand in Australia.

The dam side is far more familiar to Australian breeders. Hitotsu will be the 12th stallion on an Australian roster in 2023 with Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) as a broodmare sire and the third new face of that profile this year, joining fellow Group 1 winners Anamoe (Street Boss) and Artorius (Flying Artie).

Meanwhile, Hitotsu’s maternal grand-dam, She’s A Meanie (Prince Salieri), now has three descendants at stud in Australia, with her son Love Conquers All (Mossman) and grandson Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar) already active.

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