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Young sires stepping up to the mark

First crop sires are the young pretenders of horse-breeding. They naturally attract attention each spring as industry players wait to see whether investment, mating and sale-ring decisions made up to three years ago will be worthwhile. The 17-strong "Class of 2003" has already opened its account with trial winners for Black Tuxedo, No Excuse Needed & Van Nistelrooy; while Pyrus (True Warrior & I'ma Turner) and Strategic Image (Amber Rose) are both represented in tomorrow's juvenile race at Hastings. We'll take a closer look at them after more two-year-old races have been run.

However, early first-crop results don't always translate into long-term success. The spring results achieved by second- and third-crop sires are often more useful guides to the stallions that will make valuable contributions to the New Zealand genetic pool over the next decade. That also applies to shuttle sires no longer standing here, because they may have foals and yearlings in the pipeline, and will have daughters, and possibly sons at stud in New Zealand. The Classes of 2001 and 2002 now come under close scrutiny as the industry seeks to measure their true worth. How will last season's promising freshman sires stack up with two crops on the track? Will their speedy juveniles train on at three? Will they come up with some new two-year-old stars? And will a crop of blossoming four-year-olds highlight a stallion whose merit wasn't so obvious a year ago?

Seven weeks into the 2006-07 season both groups have begun to answer some of these questions.

Ten NZ-based stallions with two crops of racing age have already had at least one domestic winner. We've seen action from last season's champion first-crop sire Black Minnaloushe, thanks largely to his champion son Jokers Wild, who made an impressive 3yo debut at Hastings on 3 September.

The filly Chartreuse has done a similar job for her sire St. Petersburg, adding a third consecutive Listed Stakes win to her record at Wanganui on 9 September.
Another second-crop sire, Spectatorial, registered the domestic season's first two-year-old winner, Ovation at Wanganui on 9 September. The other seven second-crop sires that have opened their 2006-07 accounts are: Bertolini, Keeper, Postponed, Minardi, Danzighill, Magic Ring and San Luis. Of these, only Minardi is no longer standing in New Zealand.

Keeper heads the list by number of winners with three, although his best earner is stakes-placed Keep The Message, third in the Wanganui Guineas, and already a stakeswinner after the Levin RC Ryder Stakes LR on 29 July.

However, it's an Australian-based second-crop sire, Magic Albert (Zeditave) who has earned most prizemoney to date, with $43,125 from a pair of winners, among them Wanganui Guineas LR winner Alberto. Magic Albert is doing well across the Tasman too, holding seventh position on the Australian second crop list with four winners.

Black Minnaloushe, San Luis and Postponed have returned fire with an Australian winner apiece, and a G3 placegetter in Sydney, Stormpede (Black Minnaloushe).

Current leading domestic third-crop sire My Halo is certainly stepping forward with his four-year-olds. He's already had five winners here this season, as well as single winners in Australia, Macau and Singapore. Six of these eight winners are from his first crop. My Halo's three-year-old daughter Solis, a winner last season, was stakes-placed behind Chartreuse at Wanganui.

Fellow third-crop sires Align (2), City on a Hill, Howbaddouwantit & Pupil have also been represented by Australian winners, three of them four-year-olds.

The season's third Premier Meeting, at Hastings tomorrow, offers several second- and third-crop stallions a chance to advance their claim on breeders' attention. Giovanni (Bertolini) and Always Dreaming (Pupil) take on Alberto in the Curraghmore Stud Premier 3yo event.

Blue Skies (Spectatorial), Magic Tryst (Magic Ring), last season's G2 winner Naturo (Postponed) and Shortblackmini (Black Minnaloushe) meet Chartreuse in the Highview Gold Trail S. G3.

Realign (Race 3) and Out Of Align (Race 10) line up for Align, Keep Alight in Race 7 for Keeper. Third-crop sire City on a Hill is also represented in Race 3 by Crusader Belle and Arctic Ace.

Three second-crop stallions and a trio of third-crop sires also get a chance to add black type to their progeny records in the Canterbury Belle Stakes LR at Riccarton Park. The relevant runners are Kincaple Belle (Bertolini), Citybythesea (City on a Hill), Take D'Cash & Uditagain (D'Cash), Keeperon (Keeper), Halobelle (My Halo), and Dorabella (Postponed).

- Susan Archer


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