The changing of the guard at Cambridge Stud has been ushered in with the addition of an international Group One star to the 2018 stallion roster.
The iconic nursery has purchased the Southern Hemisphere breeding rights to the champion European performer Almanzor.
The triple Group One winner will be syndicated to stand in New Zealand, his arrival coming at a pivotal time for the farm as it moves into its next phase with the recent sale of the property to Brendan and Jo Lindsay.
“Our purchase of Almanzor is a further vote of confidence in the New Zealand industry,” Brendan Lindsay said.
“He will be the first European champion three-year-old since Montjeu to stand in New Zealand, so having access to a horse with his credentials is hugely significant. We will be throwing our full support behind him.”
Trained in France by leading conditioner Jean-Claude Rouget, Almanzor was a debut winner over 1400 metres at two and progressed to win his next two starts, including a 1600-metre Listed event.
As a three-year-old, he established his European champion credentials with Group One wins in three different countries. Almanzor’s first top-level win came in the French Derby (2100m) before defeating the best of the older generation at weight-for-age in Ireland and England.
In a vintage renewal of the Gr.1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m), Almanzor swooped from near last to defeat seven individual Group One winners. He then completed a five-win sequence with another dominant performance in the Gr.1 Champion Stakes (2000m) at Ascot, downing a field that included four Group One winners.
“Almanzor was a truly outstanding racehorse, he was the highest-rated turf horse in world in 2016 alongside Winx with a Timeform rating of 133,” stud chief executive Henry Plumptre said.
“He displayed an exceptional turn of foot and also has an outcross pedigree which is so sought after by Australasian breeders.”
Almanzor is from the first crop of Iffraaj’s champion two-year-old son Wootton Bassett, who has quickly established himself as one of the leading sires in France.
He has produced the leading two-year-old of 2017 in Wootton, the current favourite for the Gr.1 French 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Last week the Lindsays, Plumptre and stud manager Marcus Corban travelled to France to inspect Almanzor at Haras d’Etreham, where he is currently standing his first season.
“Almanzor is an imposing stallion with a remarkable temperament to go with his physical presence,” Corban said. “He’s an exceptionally good-looking horse, I couldn’t fault him.”
Almanzor will stand his first season at Cambridge Stud at a fee of $30,000 + GST alongside champion sire Tavistock ($65,000 + GST) and leading second crop sires Burgundy ($12,000 + GST) and Highly Recommended ($10,000 + GST). – NZ Racing Desk.