There are obvious similarities between Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Storm Boy and his granddam, the champion racemare Seachange, according to The Oaks Stud General Manager Rick Williams.
“They have a similar racing action the way he gets down low to the ground, just like his grandmother,” Rick Williams told RaceForm this week.
“I have been watching him go through from his first start and it’s been great actually, he is shaping up to be a very special horse and it just brings back good memories.”
Storm Boy is from the second crop of the American Triple Crown winner Justify and is out of Seachange’s Fastnet Rock daughter Pelican. He completed an unbeaten hat-trick in Saturday’s A$3million feature, having won on debut in Sydney before taking out the Gr. 3 BRC B J McLachlan Stakes.
The well-built bay was a A$450,000 purchase from the Coolmore Stud draft at last year’s Gold Coast Magic Million Sale. He was bought by trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in partnership with Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds, and last week the same trio purchased his half-brother by Pierro for A$375,000.
Pelican was bred on a foal share arrangement by The Oaks and Coolmore and partners.
“Coolmore and their partners bought us out when she was a yearling,” Williams explained. “She went through the sales for $450,000. She was very talented but had issues, she won two races at two, and when she appeared in the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale in 2020, Dick and I thought we would buy her back.
“Unfortunately, she was withdrawn just before the sale and is now owned by Kate and Tom Magnier and Robert and Barbara McClure. We didn’t get the chance to buy her back, but we’ve still got a lot of daughters and granddaughters from that family.
“Seachange who has ceased breeding, was an unlucky broodmare in many ways, but it’s good to see that it’s coming through in another generation.”
Seachange was the New Zealand Horse of the Year in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 as well as the Champion Sprinter title in 2007-2008. She won 14 races, seven them at Group One level – the New Zealand 1000 Guineas, Telegraph Handicap, Waikato Draught Sprint and both the HBJC Mudgway Partsworld Stakes and Stoney Bridge Stakes twice. She was placed at Group One twice in Australia and in New Zealand on another three occasions.
At stud she produced seven foals, six to race and four winners including Divan, the winner of three races in Victoria and was placed second in the Gr. 3 Bendigo Cup. Seachange’s half-sister Keepa Cruisin added to the family page with wins in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic and Gr. 3 Desert Gold Stakes as well as placing in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas and New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes.
“We have a couple of nice Darci Brahma daughters of Seachange in Sea Goddess and Rising Tide, and Seven Seas, a stakes-winning Roc de Cambes mare out of the family, has a Darci Brahma colt in Book One at Karaka,” Williams reported.
“As well Keepa Cruisin has some nice Sakhee’s Secret mares we are breeding from in Coasting and Justa Secret. Coasting has Antrim Coast going around at the moment and he is still our Derby hope for this year.”
Storm Boy wasn’t the only highlight for The Oaks last weekend as the stud’s young War Front stallion U S Navy Flag was represented by two winners on the new StrathAyr track at Ellerslie.
So Naive was impressive finishing over the top of a smart field two-year-olds, while Fortunate Son won the three-year-old 1500 in a tight finish over the talented pair Tulsi and Talisker. So Naive and Fortunate Son have now recorded two wins apiece from three starts.
Trained by the Wallace/Cooksley partnership, So Naive will start next in Saturday week’s Karaka Millions 2YO and rates well at fourth in the order of entry. The Andrew Forsman-trained Fortunate Son holds a nomination for the Gr. 1 Trackside NZ Derby.
Another member of U S Navy Flag’s first crop, Pendragon, is second in the order of entry for the Karaka Millions 3YO following his win in the Gr. 2 Auckland Guineas. That win completed a hattrick for the Moroney/Gerard-trained gelding, who is also headed towards the Derby.
U S Navy Flag, whose first crop also includes dual stakes winner Chantilly Lace and multiple stakes-placed To Catch A Thief, initially shuttled to Valachi Downs, but when that stud was wound up Williams expressed an interest in purchasing him from Coolmore.
“We had used him as a stallion and I liked what I had seen of his weanlings,” recalled Williams. “He had the pedigree and the race record. Coolmore came back to us after a couple of months and we put a syndicate together and bought him.
“As a second season sire, he is certainly doing well. He is going just as well as Darci Brahma was as the same stage, and he has some nice three-year-olds out there. We are happy with his progress, and we are getting good feedback on his horses.”
US Navy Flag will be represented by seven yearlings – all colts – in Book 1 at the upcoming National Yearling Sales Series, with four of those in The Oaks draft. Another nine yearlings by the former star European sprinter are catalogued in Book 2 at Karaka.