New Zealand Sires on the Rise: Woodborough

When Bank Note (ex Take Note by Lanfranco) won the Wanganui Guineas LR for owner John Wells on 31 August he provided Woodborough with his first three-year-old, and third overall stakeswinner, after Shinnecock and Ultra Vires, who won the WRC Wellesley S. LR in successive seasons.

Woodborough's sire Woodman was Head of the Irish Two-Year-Old Free Handicap in 1985, and has twice been champion sire of two-year-olds in both the United States and France. His dam Performing Arts won twice at two and ran third in the Irish 1000 Guineas G1; his second dam Noble Mark won four races as a two-year-old including two Group 3 events and was given an annual Timeform rating of 120. With this kind of pedigree Woodborough's own precocity was easy to predict. He won twice from six starts at two including the Curragh Anglesey S. G3, and was three times Group One-placed in Ireland, England and France. Timeform rated him at 110 and described him as "a very useful youngster."

Windsor Park Stud stands two former New Zealand champion sires of two-year-olds, Volksraad (1996-97 and the New Zealand general sires' premiership winner in 2001-02) and Star Way (1984-85). Although, like them, he was New Zealand's leading freshman sire of his year, 2000-01, Woodborough's career has begun more slowly than either of these horses, but to be fair they are very hard acts to follow. Star Way left five Group One winners from his first crop: champion two-year-old Star Board, Waverley Star, Shankhill Lass, Starjo, and Field Dancer, while Volksraad sired champion New Zealand two-year-olds Thriller and One Under from his first and third crops, and the very good juvenile filly Zola from his second crop. Both stallions won the two-year-old sires' premiership with their first crops.

Owned by Windsor Park in partnership with Ballyhane Stud, Ireland, Woodborough began stud duties here at a fee of $4,000 in 1997, and in Ireland a year later. Twenty of his southern hemisphere first-crop yearlings sold for an average of $31,000, and nineteen second-crop yearlings averaged $29,171. His third crop hit this year's very difficult New Zealand yearling market and averaged less than $20,000.

Local owners, trainers and agents are most active where yearling prices are under $50,000 or so. That's largely why the majority of Woodborough's southern hemisphere progeny have raced within New Zealand, where they've compiled a record of 16 winners from 40 starters and almost $400,000 in prizemoney. His fee was increased to $6,000 last year and remains at that level this year.

With 155 foals of racing age from his first three crops more can now be expected of Woodborough and Bank Note's sparkling stakes win may be the first sign of a very good season for the son of Woodman. Plenty of breeders will be hoping so: Woodborough served his biggest books to date in 2000 (117 mares) and 2001 (113 mares). As it happens, his current two-year-old crop is his smallest to date, numbering 37 live foals. Windsor Park Stud notes that Woodborough has likely types among the two-year-olds in the Roger James and Paul O'Sullivan stables.

Information sources:
Arion Pedigrees
Australian Bloodhorse Review
NZTBA 2002 Stallion Register
New Zealand Stud Book
Windsor Park Stud
Note: yearling sale averages quoted above treat $A and $NZ as equal.

- Susan Archer


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