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New Zealand Group One winners review

Private breeders, owner-breeders, buyers with modest budgets, studs standing out-of-favour stallions and owners of mares from old Australasian families can all take heart from New Zealand's Group One race results to date this season.

to 1 April 2006
Breeder(s), Location Sale details
Green Perfume-In Margaritaville (Northjet)
John Comber, Taihape & John Powell Raced by John Comber
Zabeel-Show Games (Showdown)
Lorna Moore, Victoria Raced by her breeder in partnership
Frenchpark-Fortiare (Shearwalk)
Cambridge Hunt Ltd, Waikato Raced by Jack Georgetti & Mrs G.E. Kenny
Danehill-Grand Ecehzeaux (Zabeel)
Peter & Philip Vela, Pencarrow Stud, Waikato Sold $1.1 million 2004 NZ Premier; raced by a syndicate including his breeders
Personal Escort-Sovereign Command (Bold Venture)
Wayne & Karen Stewart, White Robe Lodge, Otago Sold $20,000 2000 NZ Festival
Jahafil-Miss Distinction (Bletchencore)
Kieran McCarthy, Hawke's Bay Raced by her breeder in partnership
Bahhare-Shock Attack (Inviting)
Robert & Jessica Thomas, Canterbury Sold privately
Black Minnaloushe-Miss Rory (Rory's Jester)
Jo Wilding, Charles Wong, Bee Teck Hong, Canterbury Sold $40,000 2005 NZ Select
Slavic-Santa Barbra (Piperhill)
Willow Park Ltd, Waikato (Greg Meads) Raced by his breeder in partnership
Pins-River Century (Centaine)
Waikato Stud 2001 Ltd, Waikato Raced by her breeder
MACAVELLI MISS (AUS)Vettori-Syrenka (Polish Patriot) B. McGregor, NSW Sold $A8,000 2001 Inglis July Winter Sale
MISS POTENTIAL (AUS) Dolphin Street-Richfield Rose (Crested Wave) Bill Borrie, Waikato Owned & trained by her breeder
Pentire-Tuff One (Prince Raider)
Michael Fraher, Canterbury, & Peter Fraher, Auckland Raced by his breeders
Cape Cross-Just Cruising (Broad Reach)
Dick Karreman, The Oaks, Waikato Raced by her breeder
Danske-Ballini (Balmerino)
Jack Georgetti & family, Marton Sold $30,000 2003 NZ Select
Almutawkel-Rory's Helen (Rory's Jester)
Trelawney Stud Ltd, Waikato Sold $50,000 2004 NZ Select
Pentire-Excelo (Centro)
Graeme Gimblett, Hawke's Bay Sold $45,000 2003 NZ Premier

Younger sires make their mark...

So can Emerald Lodge, Rich Hill, Waikato and Windsor Park Studs, homes of Danske, Pentire, Pins and Black Minnaloushe. These four stallions, three of them less than eleven years old, have either maintained their commercial appeal, or significantly enhanced it this season with new Group One winners. Pins, in particular, has leapt over the threshold of success, adding five new stakeswinners to his record, including two Group One winners, El Segundo in Australia and New Zealand Oaks winners LEGS. His first two crops totalling 173 foals have now turned up nine (5.2%) stakeswinners, and Waikato Stud, never slow to respond to market trends, in both directions, has already increased his fee from $15,000 to $25,000.

Whakanui International Stakes winner SNAZZY is one of three new stakeswinners this season for Danske, who will remain at Emerald Lodge Stud, Canterbury after his recent sale to the Stud. (The others are Sapphire Belle and three-year-old filly Molta.) Danske has surprised breeders by throwing progeny that appreciate time and distances of 1600 metres and beyond - rather more like Danske's damsire Sir Tristram than either his sire Danehill, or his own brilliant female family. Or himself, for that matter. Six stakeswinners (2.2%) from the 273 foals in his first three crops isn't remarkable, but his large foal numbers and steady stream of winners - 34 in New Zealand so far this season - are setting him up to improve that statistic in the next 12 months.

Two crops ahead of Danske is Pentire, the only stallion with two New Zealand Group One winners this season in XCELLENT, now unfortunately injured, and Auckland Cup winner PENTANE. From 265 foals in his first four crops Pentire has left ten stakeswinners (3.7%), but what's most impressive is that five of them are Group One winners, from 1200 metres to 3200 metres. The quality of his best horses has allowed him to take the lead on the New Zealand general sires' list with only 37 runners and 14 winners.

Black Minnaloushe now has a commanding lead on a strong group of first crop sires after JOKERS WILD's victories in the two Group One Sires' Produce Stakes races, at Ellerslie and Awapuni. In all, Black Minnaloushe has had three winners from eleven New Zealand runners, the second-largest representation among freshman sires, after Bertolini (17 starters).

...but Zabeel is still the king

Cambridge Stud's champion sire Zabeel, sire of ARC Galaxy S. G1 winner BAZELLE, has had a much bigger season in Australia where he's been represented by 174 starters, compared with only 52 in New Zealand. He's had nine Australian Group winners this season, including two at Group One level, Lad Of The Manor and Railings, and is holding third place behind Redoute's Choice and Desert King on the general sires' table with $A6.2 million in progeny earnings. That's a tremendous year, even by Zabeel's own exceptionally high standards and his dominance has not yet been seriously challenged by another New Zealand-based sire.

Missing in action

Five horses on the list are by sires no longer standing in New Zealand: Almutawakel, Bahhare, Cape Cross, Green Perfume and Slavic.

Injury has prevented Almutawakel from returning to Haunui Farm since 2001, but his solitary, 52-strong New Zealand crop has already won him last season's champion two-year-old sire title, and he's not finished yet. WAHID has followed up excellent juvenile form with outstanding Group One victories in the Levin Classic and New Zealand Derby, while Chettak, previously Group-placed, picked up the Wellington S. G3 after Wahid's relegation. These two, and three stakes-placed horses are among the 16 Kiwi-bred winners by the Dubai World Cup winner, now based permanently at Derrinstown Stud in Ireland.

Bahhare's three New Zealand crops have produced four (2.4%) stakeswinners from 167 foals: Group One winners HURRAH and Dowry, stakeswinner Successor and Hurrah's full-brother Best Gift who is performing so well in Hong Kong. He's also had three Group One placegetters at middle distances: Star of Gretchen, Our Bahhare and Charliehorse (3rd 2006 New Zealand Derby G1). Bahhare, who stood at Rich Hill Stud, is a good bet to improve on his record here and in Hong Kong, especially as his final, now three-year-old crop matures.

Any stallion that can leave a champion two-year-old colt and a classic-winning filly from a single crop is going to be missed, and that's certainly true of former Cambridge Stud shuttler Cape Cross, sire of SEACHANGE and Kindacross. They are among the seven stakeswinners from his first two New Zealand crops and it's likely that number will increase, especially if his progeny improve with age as Cape Cross himself did.

Green Perfume and Slavic prove the adage that even a poor sire will leave at least one really good horse, in their cases BALDESSARINI and KRISTOV. On the whole, Green Perfume had better opportunities at Chequers Stud, leaving stakes performers to mares by Vice Regal, Danehill, Deputy Governor and Western Symphony, and an overall 2.1% SW/foals. Slavic, who stood here at Wedgewood Stud and Glenmorgan Farm, is the sire of four New Zealand-bred stakeswinners, 1.9% of his foals.

The unfashionables

The Group One winners' list also features three stallions who remain here, but are not considered fashionable by broodmare owners and buyers. Yet Frenchpark, Jahafil and Personal Escort have each left a New Zealand Group One winner before (to take just one example) glamour shuttle sire Montjeu who served more, and much better mares in four seasons than they did in their first nine, ten and six years at stud respectively.

Frenchpark has followed up Avondale Cup winner CREIL with recent Trentham stakeswinner State Of Origin; add stakeswinner Chokin Stardust and that's a modest 1.9% SW/foals from his first six crops. These three horses, as well as his next-best winners Mactomack and Mr Multiwin, have come from his two biggest foal crops, in 1998 and 1999. His 27 yearlings sold since 1999 have averaged just under $10,000. Frenchpark stands at Richfield Thoroughbred Farm.

It's a similar story for Cheveley Stud's Jahafil, whose brilliant daughter GEE I JANE comes from his 39-strong crop of 2000. The 205 foals in his first six crops have produced four stakeswinners (almost 2%), but his foal numbers have fallen sharply since 2000. Jahafil has had 15 yearlings sold since 1998, achieving an average price of $11,466.

Personal Escort has met more mares and had a better time in the marketplace than Frenchpark and Jahafil. He received solid support in his first six seasons at White Robe Lodge, averaging 58 foals in each of those crops, and since 1998 he's had 46 yearlings sold for an average of almost $20,000. He's left stakeswinners Burton, Perceptible and this season's Wellington Cup winner ENVOY from his first three crops, as well as nine stakesplaced winners, but his overall SW/foals figure is less than 1%. He's currently 13th on the New Zealand general sires' list with prizemoney of $445,234.

Owner-breeders and inexpensive yearlings

Owner-breeders account for nine of New Zealand's 17 Group One winners this season to date. That's hardly surprising, considering the strong Kiwi tradition of breeders who also race horses, and the weak domestic market which has made it very difficult for many breeders to sell their horses profitably.

That figure includes Peter & Philip Vela, who kept a share in DARCI BRAHMA after selling him for $1.1 million as a yearling. He's easily the most expensive of the seven winners on the list that were purchased at public auction. The other six were purchased at non-premier sales for an average price of around $32,000.

Private breeders dominate

Fourteen domestic Group One winners this season have been bred by private breeders that is, broodmare owners who don't stand stallions. That includes the Australian-based breeder of Macavelli Miss, and the Vela brothers, whose Pencarrow Stud operation is larger than most New Zealand-based stallion-owning studs. The remaining three horses - Legs, Seachange, Wahid - were bred by Waikato Stud 2001 Ltd, Dick Karreman of The Oaks and Trelwaney Stud.

Old ANZ families going strong

Twelve of our 17 Group One winners this season belong to female families that have been active in Australasia for at least four generations.

Miss Potential is from one of our very oldest families, descended from Nightlight (GB), imported to Australia 140 years ago. She was an outstanding broodmare, dam of Lantern (Melbourne Cup, Victoria Derby), My Dream (Victoria Derby & Oaks) and Miss Potential's 13th dam, Sunshine (Victoria Oaks).

Pentane and Xcellent can both claim nine generations of New Zealand ancestry, the former descended from Hebrew Maid (GB), foaled in 1904, and the latter from Lady Wayward (GB), born in 1905.

Darci Brahma and Hurrah share tail-female descent from Easter Rock (GB), a family that has also produced Te Parae's great broodmare, Sunbride, dam of Straight Draw, General Command and Ilumquh.

Gee I Jane and Wahid, descended from mares imported here eight and four decades ago, have added to the marvellous record of the Paradigm family. Legs is a member of the prolific Australian tribe of Teppo (GB), exported to Australia almost a century ago. Snazzy is a fifth generation descendant of Nooriss (IRE) (1947), Creil's fifth dam Beneficiary (GB) arrived in Australia in the late 1920s and Envoy belongs to the Volifox family, descended from Roscommon (GB), imported to New Zealand in the first decade of last century.

Among the remaining five Group One winners, Macavelli Miss claims Sir Tristram's third dam All Moonshine as her sixth dam and Bazelle is descended from dual Irish classic winner Majideh (1939), dam of leading US sire Gallant Man.

Two Group One races remain to be held in New Zealand this season: the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes for fillies and mares, at Te Aroha this Saturday; and the Easter Handicap at Ellerslie on 15 April.

- Susan Archer


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