The progeny of Raise the Flag are doing just that in Australia for the White Robe Lodge stallion.
It could not come at a better time for the former Juddmonte horse, whose book of mares has started to wane in recent years.
“Like any staying stallion they take a while to get established and they need a few crops on the ground,” White Robe Lodge studmaster Wayne Stewart said.
“I think people have just sent their mares to him two or three times and they are just waiting to see what happens.”
Out of Juddmonte’s outstanding broodmare Hasili, Raise the Flag is a half-brother to multiple Group One winners Banks Hill, Heat Haze, Intercontinental, Cacique, Champs Elysees along with standout stallion Dansili.
The impeccably-bred son of Saddlers Wells was a promising racehorse that looked set to live up to his breeding before injury curtailed the racing career of the Prince Khalid bin Abdullah-owned entire.
“They (Juddmonte) thought he had quite a lot of potential, but he broke down after his first start,” Stewart said.
“We originally found out about Raise the Flag through (bloodstock agent) Ric Wylie, who put us onto Juddmonte racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe.
“He knew a bit about us as he used to work for Tommy Smith years ago when a good horse we bred in Alibhai was over there.
“I immediately liked his pedigree as soon as it was put in front of us. That is what White Robe Lodge has been about from day one.”
A deal was brokered and he joined White Robe Lodge’s stallion roster in 2010. His acquisition is starting to bear fruit for the Otago stud farm with several of his progeny performing well in Australia for leading Victoria trainer Darren Weir.
“He’s probably got around ten on his books at the moment and you can’t have them in a better stable than that,” Stewart said.
They include Listed Tasmanian Oaks winner Parthesia, multiple stakes placed mare Unfurl and impressive first start winner Golden Flag.
“Golden Flag is a three-year-old that won his first start the other day and was bought by Ric Wylie at Karaka for $37,500,” Stewart said.
“He had him up north and then transferred him to Darren Weir’s for his client. He should make a lovely staying horse.”
Parthesia, who is out of a three-quarter sister to Gr.2 Wellington and dual Gr.3 New Zealand Cup winner Blood Brotha, was another New Zealand Bloodstock sales graduate. Bloodstock agent John Foote went to $20,000 at the 2015 South Island sale to secure the filly for Weir.
“Darren told me that he really liked Parthesia as a two-year-old,” Stewart said. “She was a November foal and from that family you’d think she’d be a top four or five-year-old mare.”
No Raise the Flag has been more impressive in recent starts than the four-year-old Yogi. The notorious slow starter looks to have a bright future after emphatic wins in his last two starts.
“It will be interesting to see how he progresses now. Darren told me they had a very good opinion of him,” Stewart said.
The talented gelding will line-up again for Weir next Wednesday at Ladbrokes Park Lakeside over 2100m.
Stewart has fielded a few inquiries from breeders ahead of next season with Yogi’s dam Malozza already booked to visit the stallion, who will stand at an unchanged service fee of $4000 + GST.
However, the majority of attention he has received has come from Australian trainers and owners wanting to buy Raise the Flag’s progeny.
“Stable clients of Michelle Payne just bought a two-year-old half-sister to Who Shot Thebarman by Raise the Flag off of us,” he said.
“The owner of Parthesia and Unfurl has just bought another yearling filly off us and has taken it to Australia, while we sold another filly to clients of Mick Kent who said they liked what they were reading about Raise the Flag’s progeny.”
Stewart is excited about the prospects of his stallion and the type of horse he is leaving, but acknowledges there will be strong competition for mares next season.
“With the number of mares in the South Island it has dropped back a lot,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of competition down here with the likes of Zacinto and Highly Recommended. There are only so many (mares) to go around at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, Stewart is welcoming the addition of new season stallions Prince of Brooklyn and Verdi to the South Island market.
“It’s all good for breeding, it gives people more opportunity and variety,” he said. “I think it will be good for the South Island Sale too with the introduction of these horses.”
Buoyed by Raise the Flag’s recent success, Stewart is excited for the future and is hoping his progeny can deliver at group level soon.
“He’s got some nice horses and the best is yet to come. He leaves a good correct horse and they have great temperaments too. It would be nice just to get that Group winner over there,” he said. - NZ Racing Desk.