A couple of first season sires made an immediate impact with their progeny at the Ruakaka trials on Tuesday.
The Oaks Stud stallion U S Navy Flag recorded his first New Zealand trial win courtesy of an unnamed filly out of Pins mare Stitch, who was victorious in her 750m heat for local trainer Michelle Bradley.
The filly was purchased by Bradley as a yearling for $43,000 out of Valachi Downs’ dispersal sale on plus.gavelhouse.com and she has been rapt with her buy.
“I was pretty impressed with her trial. She is a lovely filly with a great temperament and has a professional attitude. I am really happy with her,” Bradley said.
“With the young ones it is always great to get them out and see what they do in their first time at the trials.
“We purchased her off Gavelhouse in the Valachi Downs dispersal sale. I didn’t actually go down and look at her, I just saw her online, liked the look of her and liked her on type.
“A couple of clients have come in on her and she is just a pleasure to have in the stable.”
The filly is the first by U S Navy Flag in Bradley’s care and she believes she is precocious enough to race at two.
“I think she will go early,” Bradley said. “We will just look after her as she is showing signs that she is wanting to go to the paddock and grow a little bit.
“I will put a saddle on her in the next couple of days just to see how she feels and then she will go to the paddock for three or four weeks, and she will tell us when she is ready to come back in and do it a bit more.”
The Oaks Stud General Manager Rick Williams was pleased to see U S Navy Flag make such an early impact with his progeny.
“She is his first winner at the trials. It is a good start,” he said.
“There is good word about them. I go to the track three mornings a week and I am at the trials a lot, so I get the feedback from the trainers and so far it is extremely positive.
“With the way he is bred and the way he raced I would expect some out at the races before Christmas.”
U S Navy Flag raced 11 times as a juvenile for trainer Aidan O’Brien, with wins in the Gr.1 Middle Park Stakes (1200m) and Gr.1 Dewhurst Stakes (1400m) and placing in the Gr.3 Round Tower Stakes (1200m).
The son of War Front also proved a top-class performer at three, winning the Gr.1 July Cup (1200m) as well as placing second to Romanised in the Gr.1 Irish 2000 Guineas (1600m).
He retired to Coolmore for the 2019 breeding season at a fee of €25,000 and shuttled to New Zealand, with his first two seasons at Valachi Downs before relocating to The Oaks Stud last season where he stood for a fee of $15,000.
He stands for an unchanged fee this season and Williams said there has been plenty of interest following the success of his first season northern hemisphere crop, which includes stakes winners Ocean Vision and Love Reigns.
“He has got one very smart filly (Love Reigns) in America and one very smart colt (Ocean Vision) in France. It has been positive,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, young Waikato Stud stallion Ardrossan also got away to a flying start on Tuesday afternoon where his first trial runner Codigo was successful.
The Stephen Marsh-trained two-year-old settled toward the back of the field in his 750m heat before picking up ground near the turn and finished strongly under hands and heels riding from Courtney Barnes to score by 1-1/2 lengths.
Marsh, who trained Ardrossan to win the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1100m) and Gr.3 Concorde Handicap (1200m), and place in the Gr.1 BCD Sprint (1400m) and Gr.3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m), said the gelding shares similar qualities to his sire.
“This horse is the spitting image of Ardrossan himself. From day one he’s showed us everything we’ve wanted to see,” Marsh said.
“His temperament is outstanding and he’s a natural athlete.”
A son of Redoute’s Choice, Ardrossan is a half-brother to the triple Group One winner Incentivise and the black-type winners Bergerac and Cheyenne Warrior.
He stands at Waikato Stud this season for a fee of $6,000+GST. – NZ Racing Desk