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New Zealand Sires on the Rise: Pentire

With 164 foals from three crops now of racing age, Pentire (Be My Guest-Gull Nook by Mill Reef) is gathering enough momentum to give breeders some confidence that he will deliver on the promise of his classic pedigree and superlative racing career.
By the sire of classic winners Assert (Irish & French Derbys), On The House (The 1000 Guineas) and Valentine Waltz (French 1000 Guineas) from a three-quarter sister to Irish & English Derby winner Shirley Heights, it's hardly surprising that Pentire's own best seasons were at three and four. An outstanding member of the remarkable crop that included the unbeaten Derby winner Lammtarra, Singspiel, Swain and Pilsudski, Pentire won the Irish Champion S. G1 at three, and the Ascot King George & Queen Elizabeth Diamond S. G1 a year later. Rated 132 in both seasons, Pentire found only Lammtarra (ATR: 134) ranked above him by Timeform as a three-year-old, and in 1996 was the top-rated mile-and-a-half performer trained in Britain. Only Generous (139), Montjeu (137) and Stravinsky (133) among sires currently standing in New Zealand have been awarded a higher annual Timeform figure.

Pentire shuttled between Shadai Farm, Japan and Rich Hill Stud, Matamata for five years, 1997-2001, but remained in New Zealand after the 2001 southern hemisphere season. He stood his first four seasons here at $16,000, but that was reduced to $12,000 last year and this season his fee is $6,500.

This service fee history reflects the challenge faced by New Zealand studs with stallions likely to leave the classic, staying and older weight-for-age performers for which New Zealand is famous. Without news-making two-year-olds in their early crops, these sires are often discounted by studs after their first three or four seasons to maintain foal numbers while they build up a critical mass of older progeny with more opportunities to compete in Group races at 2000 metres and beyond.

Pentire's yearling sale results have followed a similar pattern. His first crop was well-received at the 2000 Australasian yearling sales with 35 lots sold from 40 offered at an average of $76,242 - a solid if not spectacular return. Eighteen of those 35 lots sold for more than $50,000. Twenty-nine of forty lots sold in 2001 at an average of $56,793, and this year 25 of 39 lots sold at an average of $24,550, considerably less than a break-even price on a $16,000 service fee.

However, at least 20 yearlings from Pentire's first two crops were sold to Australian trainers and agents, and that may ultimately prove a more significant feature of his early sales history than his average prices. Robbie Laing, Bart Cummings and Gai Waterhouse were return purchasers in 2001, and it was Laing who produced Pantani to win the South Australian Derby in May, giving Pentire a Group 1 winner from his first crop, albeit in a race better known for highlighting future stayers than the best three-year-olds of their generation.

From a commercial viewpoint, Rich Hill Stud will be hoping Pentastic, a brave third in both the Group One Victoria and AJC Derbys, is more typical of what his sire produces. With those performances, and placings in the Group One Rosehill and Canterbury Guineas, he must be rated the best horse so far seen by Pentire. Pentastic opened his four-year-old campaign with a good third over 1410m at Caulfield on 31 August.

Murray Gregory at Rich Hill Stud has supplied the following list of progeny to watch out for during this make-or-break period of Pentire's stud career. It's interesting to note that almost all of them are among the higher-priced of Pentire's yearlings sold to date:
Pantani (1998 g. ex Dewamar by Marscay; bred by Wayne & Vicki Pike, and Gavin & Sharon Pike; sold NZ Premier $52,500) - being aimed at the spring Cups in Melbourne; due to start this Saturday at Flemington.
Pentastic (1998 c. ex Miss Minden by Bellotto; Oamaru Stud, Victoria) - another spring Cups prospect.
Little Miss Quick (1998 f. ex Annifrid by Zephyr Bay; Colin & John Thompson; NZ Premier $130,000) - has won two of her last three starts and nominated for the spring Cups in Melbourne; starts in a Listed 1400m event on Saturday at Flemington.
Zanna (1999 f. ex Posing by Truly Vain; Peter & Pat Payne, Auckland; sold NZ Premier $87,500) - impressive winner last start; holds nomination for VRC 1000 Guineas.
Gold Attire (1999 c. ex Accent On Gold by Deputy Minister; Clear Valley Stables & Robert Lithgow; NZ Select Colts, $82,500) - narrowly beaten first start and trainer David Hall rates him highly; lines up at Flemington this Saturday; nominated for VRC Derby.
Sir Pentire (1999 g. ex Privilege by Sir Tristram; M.A. McHoull; NZ Select Colts $61,000) - another Robbie Laing purchase; looks a classic performer for 2002/2003; nominated for VRC Derby.
Davidoff (1999 g. ex Ellena Dawn by Drums Of Time; J.F. & P.B. Donnison; NZ Premier $75,000) - rated highly by the Moroney stable and VRC Derby nominated, starts this Wednesday at Sandown.
He's Hot Right Now (1999 g. ex Philadelphia Fox by Dahar; Terry Jarvis; NZ Premier $80,000) - another Moroney-trained three-year-old; impressive trial winner at Te Aroha last season; resumed with an odds-on win at Warrnambool on 2 September; nominated for VRC Derby.
Perfect Shadow (1998 g. ex Hanalei by Sir Tristram; Bob Morris & the late Maurice Paykel; NZ Premier $250,000) - has hit form recently in Hong Kong; could go through to top class this season.
Penash (1998 f. ex Kuda Kasih by Bassenthwaite; Alan Galbraith; Australia Easter $A55,000) - city winner last start over 1800m; could be prominent in fillies and mares races during the spring in Victoria.

New Zealand-based progeny that Rich Hill Stud suggest following during the spring/summer racing include:
Five Pennies (1998 f. ex Jolly Mask by Marscay; Deb & Mrs R.A. Walter; NZ Select $36,000; trained by Roger James)
Lord Belvedere (1998 g. ex Fair Isa by Vice Regal; J.E. & M.E Crawford, D.W. & N.K. Stuart; Don Sellwood)
Penny Gem (1999 f. ex Gemscay by Maizcay; Alan Galbraith, John Thompson & Waitaria Holdings; NZ Premier $75,000; Moroney/Scott)
Scintillating (1998 g. ex Hit by Straight Strike; Colin & John Thompson; NZ Select $52,500; Herberts)
Lavish (1999 f. ex Soleil A'Mour; Graeme & Helen-Gaye Bax; NZ Select $26,000; Mike Breslin)
Imperial Lord (1998 g. ex Imperial Ivory by Imperial Prince; Dr M. Shum; NZ Select $38,000; Donna Logan)
Enchant (1998 f. ex Captivating by Kaapstad; Sian Elias, Hugh Fletcher & Alan Galbraith; raced by her breeders; Paul O'Sullivan).

Pentire Progeny Update
(SH foals, to 25 August 2002)
164 RAO/47 runners/18 winners (1xG1; 1xGP; 1xSP)/14 placegetters

Information sources:
Arion Pedigrees
Australian Bloodhorse Review
NZTBA 2002 Stallion Register
Rich Hill Stud
Note: yearling sale averages quoted above treat $A and $NZ as equal.

- Susan Archer


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