Brood­ing on lessons from the past

The Sportsman Weekend - - Chartform Chartform -

LONG in­volve­ment in the Aus­tralian thor­ough­bred in­dus­try, through its highs and lows, has taught me a few things and the huge prices paid for brood­mares and brood­mare prospects at last week’s Magic Mil­lions Gold Coast sales set a few alarm bells ring­ing in my mind.

Ad­mit­tedly, the mar­ket was fu­elled by a lot of over­seas in­vest­ment but I can’t help but re­call a num­ber of past down­turns in the breed­ing in­dus­try which is al­ways sen­si­tive to Aus­tralian and world eco­nomic con­di­tions over­sup­ply of rac­ing stock.

With more than 40 new, un­proven stal­lions re­tir­ing to Aus­tralian studs this spring, many stand­ing at high fees, it seems me many breed­ers may strug­gle to ob­tain rea­son­able fi­nan­cial re­turns in the next few years if to­day’s buoy­ant mar­ket for wean­lings and year­lings turns down, as it may well do if pro­duc­tion of stock in­creases be­yond de­mand and while the top of the mar­ket gen­er­ally holds up, horses in the mid­dle and lower price brack­ets are the hard­est hit.

A decade ago, over­pro­duc­tion was a ma­jor con­cern in the Ir­ish breed­ing in­dus­try which 2007 pro­duced 12,633 foals. Fol­low­ing world­wide GFC in 2007/08 that fig­ure dropped to 7,546 by 2012 – so over­pro­duc­tion was no longer a worry.

Bet­ter fi­nan­cial con­di­tions, though, have since then seen the Ir­ish foal crop in­crease to 9,381 in 2016 and again num­bers may start to be a prob­lem, an ex­pe­ri­ence which pro­vides lessons for breed­ers in this coun­try. IRE­LAND’S great trainer Ai­dan O’Brien was last Satur­day seek­ing his sixth suc­cess in the Derby at Ep­som, send­ing a team of six to tackle the clas­sic, five them by Galileo, first of his Derby win­ners back in 2001.

The odd horse out, so to speak, was 40/1 out­sider Wings Of Eagles, a son of 2011 Derby win­ner Pour Moi (Mon­t­jeu), the only re­cent Derby win­ner for Cool­more part­ners not trained by O’Brien – but sad­dled by cham­pion French men­tor An­dre Fabre.

With Dou­glas Macarthur (Galileo) sent out to en­sure a strong pace, ev­ery­thing seemed to be go­ing to plan as sta­ble elect Cliffs Of Mo­her (Galileo), with Ryan Moore in the sad­dle, hit the front in the fi­nal stages be­fore Padraig Beggy brought Wings Of Eagles with a late swoop to seal a three-quar­ters of length vic­tory which was soft in the end.

Third placed Cracks­man (Frankel), just a neck fur­ther back, and fourth Em­i­nent (Frankel) may be the im­provers from the race and may clash again with Wings Of Eagles in next month’s Ir­ish Derby.

For Pour Moi, pre­vi­ously a shut­tler to New Zealand, the Derby win may res­cue his ail­ing stud ca­reer in Ire­land where he has moved from Cool­more’s main farm to a satel­lite farm and is be­ing ad­ver­tised as a dual pur­pose stal­lion suit­able for breed­ers of jumpers.

Wings Of Eagles is a half-brother to three win­ners, two them stakes placed, from the well per­formed French mare Ysol­dina, a daugh­ter of Ken­dor (Ken­mare), shut­tler for a short time some years ago to Ar­row­field Stud in NSW.

Ysol­dina won France as a twoyear-old and placed in six black­type events, in­clud­ing a third in the French One Thou­sand Guineas.

Run in tor­ren­tial rain 24 hours be­fore the Derby, the 2017 Oaks was won dash­ing style (five lengths) by Jud­dmonte Farms’ home-bred filly En­able in race record time of 2:34.12, beat­ing Cool­more’s odds-on favourite Rhodo­den­dron (Galileo) with Al­lur­ingly (Fast­net Rock) an­other six lengths away in third place.

Line­bred 3 x 2 to Sadler’s Wells, En­able comes from the first crop of her dual Group 1 – win­ning sire Nathaniel (Galileo) while her su­perbly re­lated, stakes-win­ning dam Con­cen­tric is a daugh­ter of Sadler’s Wells, the sire of Galileo.

The clas­sic scene moved to France last Sun­day when Bram­e­tot had a nar­row win in the Prix du Jockey Club (Gr. 1, 2100m), short­ened French Derby, at Chan­tilly which fol­lowed on from his ear­lier nar­row tri­umph in the French Two Thou­sand Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).

Bram­e­tot is the star of the first crop by French sire Ra­jsaman (Li­namix) while his Ger­man-bred dam Morn­ing Light (Law So­ci­ety) is out of stakes win­ner Mosella (Su­rumu), a half-sis­ter to six times cham­pion Ger­man sire Mon­sun, sire of Mel­bourne Cup win­ners Fiorente, Pro­tec­tion­ist and Al­mandin. CHAM­PION sire Deep Im­pact (Sun­day Si­lence) added to his tally of Group 1 win­ners in Ja­pan last Sun­day when six-year-old stal­lion Satono Aladdin downed Lo­go­type (Lo­hen­grin) by a neck in the Ya­suda Ki­nen (Gr. 1, 1600m) at Tokyo.

It was the eighth and most im­por­tant win of Satono Aladdin’s 25-start ca­reer this brother to Group 1-win­ning filly Lach­esis is out of yet an­other top qual­ity Amer­i­can mare brought to Ja­pan for breed­ing, Storm Magic (Storm Cat), win­ner of the Breed­ers’ Cup Oaks in her rac­ing days.

Magic Storm’s dam Foppy Dancer is by Fap­pi­ano from stakes win­ner Wa­ter Dance (Ni­jin­sky), a half­sis­ter to cham­pion Lit­tle Cur­rent and other ma­jor win­ners. GLO­BE­TROT­TING Cool­more star High­land Reel (Galileo) has come back as good as ever as a five-yearold, record­ing a com­fort­able suc­cess first-up in last Fri­day’s Corona­tion Cup (Gr. 1, 2400m) at Ep­som.

Now win­ner of five Group 1s in Bri­tain, the United States and Hong Kong, W.S. Cox placeget­ter should one day re­turn to Aus­tralia as a stal­lion and be­ing out of Aus­tralian-bred Hveger (Dane­hill – Cir­cles of Gold, by Marscay), a placeget­ter in two Oaks and sis­ter to Elvstroem, he should be well sup­ported by breed­ers who value both pedi­gree and dura­bil­ity. DAR­LEY re­verse shut­tler Se­poy (Elu­sive Qual­ity) con­tin­ues to have much greater suc­cess as a sire in Europe than in Aus­tralia, with his daugh­ter Unforgetable Filly last week win­ning a Listed event in Bri­tain to be­come his fifth stakes win­ner.

The for­mer cham­pion Aus­tralian two-year-old is yet to have a stakes win­ner at home, so it would not sur­prise if Dar­ley soon de­cides to base him per­ma­nently in Bri­tain or Ire­land with the Aus­tralian stal­lion mar­ket be­ing so com­pet­i­tive.

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