War Decree ensured Inglewood Stud received plenty of bang for their buck as backers at Riccarton of one of the key lead-ups to the Classics on the track next month.
The War Front stallion is resident at Gus and Bianca Wigley’s farm, sponsors of Saturday’s Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1400m), and made his presence felt with a trio of winners on the undercard.
“It was a really good day and the stallion had been threatening to do something like that for a while, so to put it all together on his day was great,” Gus Wigley sad.
Stephen Marsh’s Burn To Shine won the event named in War Decree’s honour from Trobriand and Lantern Way with the visiting North Islanders to renew their rivalry in the upcoming Gr.1 Al Bast Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) on November 11.
The former now shares the third line of betting with Lantern Way at $8.50 with Trobriand the second fancy at $6.50 behind $1.75 pre-post favourite Crocetti, an unbeaten son of late Inglewood stallion Zacinto.
War Decree was firstly represented on Saturday by the lightly raced Terri Rae-trained filly Sugar, who claimed the opening maiden event over 1400m.
Spartan later claimed his second success from five appearances for local conditioners Russell McKay and Ashley Harrington and the Inglewood graduate Turf War landed the closing event for the third win of his 11-start career for trainer Samantha Wynne.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback and War Decree will be serving between 60 and 70 mares, we’ve got 10 going to him and the rest are clients,” Wigley said.
“There is a good degree of optimism here in the South Island, which is nice, with a boost in prizemoney and certainly more people willing to breed this year.
“There had been a drop off in the last 10 years in mares down here, but there are lots of new faces and new people breeding and good old clients so it’s really positive.”
Sugar is part-owned by War Decree fans Andrew Stuart and Riversley Park’s Sam Beatson and will head toward the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
“She won really well and Andrew walked a mare into the stallion this (Monday) morning,” Wigley said.
“He has partnered up with Sam Beatson, they’re good mates, and breeding six mares to the stallion this year so it’s great to have their support.
“They are also in the ownership of Luvnwar, so they will have two War Decree fillies in the Guineas.”
Also trained by Rae, Luvnwar has won one of her three starts and was a last-start third in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m).
War Decree’s oldest crop are now four-year-olds with his leading performer to date the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) winner Val Di Zoldo.
“The disappointing thing about War Decree is that he leaves such a good type and we wanted to put them in front of the Australian buyers, but his first crop that went to Karaka was in the COVID year and none of them were there,” Wigley said.
“We just didn’t get many over to Aussie from that first crop, which was disappointing, but they are making their way over there now and in Hong Kong which is really nice for the horse.
“Zacinto did a great job for us and War Decree has taken over the mantle. He’s exceptionally fertile and he’s got the most amazing libido.
“He’s the most amazing stallion to have around and hopefully he’ll have a good Cup week down here in front of his home crowd.”
War Decree is a son of War Front and won three times during a light career for Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien, racing exclusively in Group company following his debut win.
He was successful in the Gr.2 Goodwood Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old and the following season added the Gr.3 Diamond Stakes (2000m) to his record.