Monday’s Gr.2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) winner Surprise Baby has provided a stunning return on investment for connections of the Kiwi stayer, who purchased the son of Shocking for just $5,500 from online auction gavelhouse.com as an unraced three-year-old.
The Paul Preusker-trained four-year-old has proved a revelation, winning four of his six starts and becomes the seventh stakes winner for Rich Hill Stud stallion Shocking, who also sired last year’s Adelaide Cup winner Fanatic, the Group One winner of the New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
Bred by Rich Hill Stud, home to Melbourne Cup and Australian Cup winner Shocking, the stayer is the 14th stakes performer for the young sire.
“He was a nice horse,” Rich Hill Stud Managing Director John Thompson said.
“I took him to the New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale and couldn’t sell him. I decided that he would make a Ready To Run horse and he just didn’t breeze up that well on the day.
“I still liked the horse, so I put him in work with Margaret Falconer with the idea of winning a trial and getting him sold.
“He proved a bit difficult and he never got to the trials early in his three-year-old season, so I thought we’d missed the boat.”
As a result, Thompson decided to list the untried galloper on gavelhouse.com, where he fetched $5,500 to the bid of Australian owner John Fiteni.
“John bought the horse off gavelhouse pretty much sight unseen,” Thompson said. “He rang up and Paul Preusker came over to look at him after John had bought him.
“Paul said they were looking for a nice staying horse and I said to him that if he could get him to relax, he might make a nice staying horse and that he would be more a four or five-year-old because he was just mentally a bit immature.
“He has won four from six races and an Adelaide Cup and it is just a phenomenal training performance. He had a real dash at the end of the two miles and he is one of the most exciting young stayers in Australia.”
While Thompson was left lamenting the sale of the progressive stayer as well as his dam Bula Baby, the affable studmaster could see nothing but positives for his young sire Shocking.
“His dam is a Kaapstad daughter of Miss Tessla, so she had a pedigree, but she hadn’t done a whole lot and I sold her on gavelhouse as well for $400 I think,” Thompson said.
“From a breeder’s perspective it’s not a great story but thank god I’ve still got Shocking.
“He had three winners on Sunday, he had three winners the weekend before and he had a very impressive maiden winner in Arctic Shock at Pakenham last week.
“He has got Formidable, who won a stakes race in New Zealand and was sold to Hong Kong where he is called Tianchi Monster. He has won three of his past four starts and is a good chance in Sunday’s Hong Kong Derby (2000m).”
Thompson said the numbers of mares that patronised Shocking ebbed and flowed as it often can with staying stallions.
“He is probably typical of a staying sire in that he got good support for his first two years and then as his progeny were only two-year-olds, the support drops off,” he said.
“The same thing happened with Pentire and the same thing happened with Zabeel.
“He has got a lot of nice young horses around and he has good numbers of yearlings this year on the back of siring an Oaks winner in his first crop.
“There are not many horses that can sire two-mile winners and he has sired back-to-back Adelaide Cup winners, so he is certainly one of the most promising staying influences in Australasia.” – NZ Racing Desk