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Carnegie makes it big - and goes to Australia

New York's Carnegie Hall is renowned as one of the world's great performance venues. Strauss, Mahler, Menuhin, Gershwin, Bernstein, Callas, Garland and The Beatles are among the big names that have appeared there since its opening in 1891.

Naming a colt after such a place runs the risk of derision if his performance on the track or at stud fails to live up to the aura of the name. The risk is considerably higher if he's a son of champion sire Sadler's Wells and Arc winner Detroit.

But Carnegie has lived up to his billing. He made it to the Group One stage as a racehorse by winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. He's now winning critical acclaim with his first crop of New Zealand-bred three-year-olds.

Carnegie was first brought to New Zealand from Shadai Farm, Japan in 1997 by the Triumph Partnership, comprising Ra Ora Stud, Haunui Farm and Trelawney Stud. He stood the 1997 and 1998 seasons at Trelawney, serving a total of 129 mares and producing 83 foals - not large numbers by modern standards. (Compare, for instance, his contemporary O'Reilly who covered 195 mares in his first two seasons, producing 145 foals).
Carnegie did not shuttle in 1999 - hence no southern hemisphere yearlings for sale this year. He returned in 2000, serving sixty-three mares, and about 120 mares in 2001.

Trelawney studmaster Brent Taylor acknowledges the relatively modest size of Carnegie's first three books here, but says there was nothing modest about their quality. "Carnegie's appeal would be nothing without the quality mares he served in New Zealand. The support of New Zealand breeders has been critical to his success."

Brent takes pride in seeing the Trelawney Stud brand on both of Carnegie's Group One winners, Carnegie Express (bred by Queenslander John Hawkins) and Victoria Derby winner Amalfi, bred by the stud. The brand, a T with upraised arms, is also carried by Trelawney-bred Group 3 winner Pernod (Centaine) and previous Group 1 winner Hill Of Grace (Zabeel) who, in a frustrating winless season, has nevertheless added more than $250,000 to her earnings with a second, a third and two fourths in Group One events.

On the same day as Carnegie Express' Rosehill Guineas victory, Carnegie's two-year-old son Rohatyn won the VRC Australian Cup Carnival S. 1000m LR. Add Sircarn Damon, who won the Geelong RC Derby Trial S. LR and ran fifth in the Victoria Derby last spring, and Carnegie now has four stakeswinners from 23 starters in Australia.

It is disappointing, though not unexpected, that Carnegie's new owner Darley Stud has chosen to stand him at their own base in New South Wales. This was always going to be a risk for New Zealand breeders using shuttle stallions in which they have no equity, and whose owners have no base in this country. No sooner has Carnegie been established with the support of New Zealand studs and broodmare owners, than he is moved to where his owners believe they can capitalise on his success.

However, local breeders do have two crops of Carnegie's progeny to sell as yearlings in 2003 and 2004.

- Susan Archer