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Group One results at Ellerslie confound commercial reality

Race results have a way of confounding the so-called "commercial realities" of thoroughbred breeding. The outcomes of the first three Group One races at this year's Summer Carnival at Ellerslie certainly support the view that selling yearlings and breeding racehorses are quite often divergent activities.

Buyers will look in vain for 2004 New Zealand Premier Sale yearlings by Yamanin Vital, sire of New Zealand Derby 2400m G1 winner Cut The Cake. Actually, he's never had a Premier Sale yearling. He does have two colts in this year's third-tier Festival Sale though, both in the draft of White Robe Lodge which stands the son of Sir Tristram at a fee of $1500.

Westbury Stud's Kilimanjaro, sire of Derby placegetters Mount Street and Masai has slightly better representation: two Select Sale lots, and two Festival Sale colts. He had only one first-crop colt in the 2002 Premier Sale, and none at that level last year.

Rhythm, sire of the first two home in yesterday's Auckland Cup 3200m G1, last shuttled to New Zealand's Cambridge Stud in 1999 and so has had no sale yearlings since 2002 when two lots sold for $50,000 and $62,500. Rhythm now stands at Paul Higgins' Baerami Stud in New South Wales.

It may be a little surprising that a Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner by Mr Prospector has turned out to be a sire of fine stayers in the southern hemisphere, but it's hard to argue with the evidence provided by his eight Kiwi-bred stakeswinners. They include champion stayer Ethereal (four Group One wins: Queensland Oaks, Caulfield Cup & BMW Stakes, all at 2400m; and the Melbourne Cup, 3200m), Tapildo (New Zealand Oaks, Singapore Raffles International Cup) and now Queen Elizabeth H. 2400m G2 and Auckland Cup winner Upsetthym and the Cup runner-up Galway Lass.

Sire of the Cup's third placegetter My Governess is Chequers Stud's thoroughly proven but seriously under-appreciated resident Deputy Governor whose three Premier colts for Karaka 2004 include a half-brother to Filly of the Year The Jewel. He also has fifteen Select Sale lots, and four yearlings in the Festival Sale. He had five lots at the 2003 Premier Sale, where his only six-figure price was $120,000 for the colt from dual Oaks winner Domino.

Possibly the most exciting race of the Carnival so far has been the Railway Stakes 1200m G1, in which brilliant three-year-old filly Pay My Bail set the pace, kicked on and fought very hard but just failed to withstand Vinaka's powerful finish.

Vinaka's sire Volksraad began his stud career at a $2500 fee but left the lower end of the marketplace behind some years ago and now stands at $22,000. He is a particularly reliable source of early-maturing speed, superbly marketed by Windsor Park Stud and strongly supported by the Stud's breeder and buyer clients, and has twice been New Zealand's champion sire.

About half of Volksraad's 26 stakeswinners have black type form in two-year-old races, but he's also left several very good performers that have maintained or improved their form with time, for example: G1 Dantelah, G1 Star Satire, G2 Bahnhof Zoo, G3 Blackrock College, G3 Voltaire, G3 Volkaire, G3 Bahira, G3 Foxy Blonde and this season's New Zealand Cup G2 winner Torlesse. At Karaka this year Volksraad, whose 2000 fee was $30,000, has his biggest representation in the Select Sale where he has 37 lots catalogued. He also has 18 Premier Sale yearlings.

Pay My Bail's sire Justice Prevails, who began his stud career at Auckland's Haunui Farm in 1994, now stands at Phuttocks End in Southland at a fee of $2000, last had a Premier Sale yearling in 1999, had no yearlings sold in 2003 and is not represented in any sale at Karaka 2004. He now has five stakeswinners and Pay My Bail, from the family of G1 Shifnal Prince, is easily the best of them.

Third placegetter in the Railway was Tully Dane, by Coolmore's deceased super-sire Danehill who has eleven choice lots in the New Zealand Premier Sale and is odds-on to post the highest average once again. Tully Dane, bred by the Good Faith Partnership, made $625,000 at the 2000 New Zealand Premier Sale. He was one of 13 Danehill yearlings to sell for $500,000 or more that year. The most expensive, at $A1.5 million, turned out to be G2 and G1-placed Kempinsky, whose full-sister Diamond Like was an also-ran in the Railway.

The New Zealand yearling sales have an outstanding record as a source of Group winners but none of the three Group One winners at the Carnival to date has contributed to it. Cut The Cake was entered for the sales but injured himself and was later syndicated by breeder Paul Moroney. Breeders Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan withdrew Upsetthym from the 1999 Select Sale and then leased her to the Pepsi Syndicate, while Vinaka is raced by his breeders Ann & Jim Gibbs.

The NZTBA warmly acknowledges these information sources:
Arion Pedigrees, the New Zealand Stud Book and the Australian Bloodhorse Review

- Susan Archer