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Vespa a great fit for Wellfield Lodge

Gr.1 winner Vespa will retire to Wellfield Lodge this spring
Gr.1 winner Vespa will retire to Wellfield Lodge this spring

Group One-winning sprinter Vespa is viewed as the perfect addition to Wellfield Lodge's stallion roster.

The champion two-year-old of his year will begin his stud career at the Palmerston North farm in 2016, following his retirement earlier this year.

"In the last two or three years we have concentrated on strengthening our broodmare band with a number of quality purchases of our own and with clients," Wellfield's Bill Gleeson said.

"We're always looking for opportunities and when this one came along we had to take it – Vespa is an exciting horse who will ideally complement our other two stallions Alamosa and Road To Rock.

"Vespa was a Group One and Group Two-winning sprinter and he also placed at the highest level over a mile. He was a precocious type of horse and when we put our mares over him, there is every likelihood he will leave early types who can then develop into top three-year-olds and older horses."

Gleeson said securing Vespa was a boost for the breeding industry in the central districts.

"The principals in the stallion will be Kevin Hickman (who bred Vespa), Wellfield Lodge, along with Chris & Donna Rutten and John Norwood who raced the horse.

"We have all made a commitment to send good numbers of quality mares to the stallion in his first three years.

"It's great to have Kevin on board; he is involved in the stallion Zacinto in Canterbury and he has a large investment up north (Valachi Downs), so it's absolutely fantastic for the central districts that he's also invested here.

"Vespa provides a tremendous opportunity and there will also be a limited number of shares available in him. We will be announcing the service fee next week."

The winner of seven of his 18 starts and more than $915,000, Vespa was crowned champion two-year-old of 2014 after his victories in the Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes and the Listed Karaka Million.

The following season he won the Listed Northland Breeders' Stakes before venturing to Melbourne where he was a luckless sixth in the Gr. 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude.

He returned home to claim the Gr. 2 Wellington Guineas and, against the older horses, won the Listed Flying Handicap and ran a close second in the Gr. 1 Easter Handicap. He resumed as a four-year-old in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.

"He went a huge race for fifth and was very unlucky, but three days later a problem arose that was sorted at Massey. His four runs after that were solid and his second in the NRM Sprint to Xtravagant did us proud, but he wasn't at his top," said Johno Benner, who guided Vespa's early career before being joined in partnership by Holly Wynyard.

Vespa is a son of Elusive City, who has also sired the Southern Hemisphere Group One winners Xanadu, Famous Seamus and Perfect Fit as well as the French 1000 Guineas winner Elusive Wave.

Sold through Valachi Downs Select Sale draft at Karaka in 2014, Vespa is out of the Fantastic Light mare Miss Avalon who is also the dam of the multiple winner and Group performer Hazzabeel.

It is an international family that features the hugely influential stallion Green Desert, a Group One-winning son of Danzig who produced 12 individual top-flight winners, among them the leading stallions Cape Cross, Invincible Spirit and Oasis Dream.


 

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