Stal­lion pro­duc­ing stel­lar prog­eny

Thorn Park is a stud show­ing his wares and pro­duc­ing win­ning prog­eny. Waikato Times rac­ing edi­tor Ai­dan Rod­ley talks with Wind­sor Park Stud man­ager Rod­ney Shick about Thorn Park and his de­vel­op­ment

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

IT IS AS though Thorn Park is fully aware of the mod­ern dig­i­tal era. It is not new for a news­pa­per to re­port on a stal­lion clinch­ing pre­mier­ship hon­ours for the first time. But in the dig­i­tal era, news­pa­pers are re­ly­ing on on­line video con­tent to com­ple­ment tra­di­tional print me­dia to stim­u­late a new age of tech­nol­o­gysavvy read­ers.

To sat­isfy that de­mand, Rac­ing Times brought in staff videog­ra­pher Mike Scott to shoot footage for an on­line ar­ti­cle on the stal­lion.

And didn’t Thorn Park know it. He was the star and ready to strut his stuff.

Wind­sor Park Stud man­ager Rod­ney Schick and stal­lion han­dler Sam Roberts had the chest­nut stal­lion glis­ten­ing and with the in­ter­view and pa­rades done, he knew ex­actly what would ap­peal to on­line view­ers – a splash and a roll in the mud.

Schick said Thorn Park the per­former is all part of a per­son­al­ity that has made him a favourite at the stud.

‘‘He’s very easy to have around,’’ Schick said. ‘‘His per­son­al­ity is much like Star Way’s. He’s a cheeky bug­ger. We love hav­ing him around. He’s a great breeder. He’s just an easy horse to man­age.’’

But an en­dear­ing per­son­al­ity is not enough, a stal­lion needs to be­come a suc­cess­ful sire and Thorn Park is show­ing he has what it takes.

This sea­son, his three-year-old son Jimmy Choux has been the dom­i­nant clas­sic-age per­former.

Noth­ing says proven stal­lion like a derby or guineas win­ner, and this sea­son Jimmy Choux has given his sire’s pro­file a price­less boost on both sides of the Tas­man.

Thorn Park has also been rep­re­sented by Aus­tralian group one-placed Cen­ten­nial Park and New Zealand group one win­ners The Party Stand, in the New Zealand Stakes, and Vey­ron, in the Easter Hand­i­cap.

It’s a great achieve­ment for him and the stud,’’ Schick said. ‘‘It was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic to see Jimmy win the 2000 Guineas, then our Derby and then to go on to Aus­tralia and win the Rose­hill Guineas was the ic­ing on the cake.

‘‘He’s had three in­di­vid­ual group one wins this sea­son. He’s the only sire to do that in the south­ern hemi­sphere this year.’’

Thorn Park has also bro­ken Volk­sraad’s sea­son-earn­ings record with his prog­eny bankrolling $2.97m with a month to run.

Un­beaten in two starts at two, the Spin­ning World stal­lion ad­vanced to dual group two win­ner and group one Aus­tralian Guineas’ placeget­ter at three, be­fore adding to his three group wins as a four-year-old to a ca­reer-defin­ing win in the group one Strad­broke Hand­i­cap at his fi­nal start.

The Strad­broke tri­umph was an in­cred­i­ble boost for Wind­sor Park, which had bought him prior to the race, be­liev­ing he al­ready had enough ap­peal to stand at stud with­out a group one suc­cess to his name.

‘‘The big thing we loved about him as a race­horse was he had a huge turn of foot,’’ Schick said. ‘‘ He could reel off some great sec­tion­als. He could come from the back of the field and then win his races well.

‘‘He’s a magnificent look­ing horse. I re­mem­ber my­self and Mike [Mo­ran, stud mar­ket­ing man­ager] go­ing to see him. He only had to stick his head over the box and we knew he was the horse we had to buy.

‘‘He was an ex­cit­ing race­horse and it was re­ally that sheer bril­liance that we like to see in him and he’s thrown that in his prog­eny. He couldn’t han­dle the wet but ob­vi­ously his prog­eny can han­dle both firm tracks and off tracks, which those good horses have shown.’’

A ris­ing 12-year-old, Thorn Park’s old­est prog­eny are ris­ing six-year-olds and Schick is con­fi­dent his best years at stud are ahead.

‘‘He’s got some good horses with Jimmy Choux go­ing on and Vey­ron is re­ally only just get­ting started. And then you’ve got the likes of Magic Briar com­ing out and she’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing filly, and Cen­ten­nial Park in Aus­tralia.

‘‘He’s got some re­ally ex­cit­ing horses and I think next sea­son should be an­other good one for him.

‘‘He’s been well sought af­ter. By hav­ing Jimmy go to Aus­tralia and win a group one there, and with Cen­ten­nial Park be­ing over there and be­ing group one placed, we’ve got mares com­ing from Aus­tralia this year so he’ll serve a lovely book as well.’’

Hast­ings trainer John Bary has re­vealed A$3m aims for Jimmy Choux, him­self a great stal­lion prospect now and likely to be the high­est-rated three-year-old in Aus­trala­sia this sea­son.

Schick has also been buoyed by Thorn Park’s suc­cess in Hong Kong – last week­end his sons Del­ish and Gift As Gift com­bin­ing to credit the stal­lion with a win­ning dou­ble at Sha Tin.

Wind­sor Park has set Thorn Park’s ser­vice fee for next sea­son at $20,000 plus GST, a sharp rise from the $13,500 plus GST fee he com­manded last year.

But Schick said the horse has truly jus­ti­fied the price in­crease and the move hasn’t put off breed­ers, who have been quick to book their mares to the hottest sire com­mod­ity of the mo­ment.

‘‘We’ve been for­tu­nate over the years. We’ve had some re­ally suc­cess­ful stal­lions,’’ Schick said. ‘‘ Our re­la­tion­ship with Cool­more has al­lowed us to have some nice in­ter­na­tional flavour come in. We’ve had the likes of Star Way, Kaap­stad, Mon­t­jeu, Volk­sraad, Tale Of The Cat, High Chap­ar­ral and now Thorn Park.

‘‘We’ve had some re­ally nice stal­lions here and hope­fully we’ve got some nice ones com­ing up.’’

Thorn Park: is prov­ing him­self to be a new-age stal­lion of some stand­ing.

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