One of the biggest triumphs for buyers is having the intuition and courage to invest in the progeny of a subsequent boom first season yearling sire, with perhaps none bigger in recent years than 2017 Freshman Yearling Sire Zoustar, writes Renée Geelen.
The rock star son of ill-fated Northern Meteor, now shuttling to Tween Hills Stud in the UK, achieved the almost unthinkable when his first crop 3YOs filled all three placings in the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington recently. Likewise, also from the same crop of freshman yearling sires, Spirit Of Boom exploded out of the blocks with a wave of 2YO stakes-winners.
It's that type of potential that ensures the buying bench gravitates towards the progeny of stallions whose first yearlings are catalogued.
And in 2019, there are a multitude of exciting young stallions with their first crops about to enter the yearling sale rings, many of them card-carrying members of the Gr1 winners’ club – albeit that distinction is no guarantee of stud success.
Nonetheless, all eyes will be on the progeny of Golden Slipper winner Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro) as well as other 2YO Gr1 winners Pride of Dubai (Street Cry) and Press Statement (Hinchinbrook). Pride of Dubai won the Gr1 Blue Diamond and the Gr1 ATC Sires Produce, while Press Statement picked up the Gr1 JJ Atkins Stakes at 2, and the Caulfield Guineas at 3. Champion 2YO in Singapore Super One (I Am Invincible) also has the hallmarks of a precocious sire in the making, while Gr1 winner (and unbeaten as a 2YO) No Nay Never (Scat Daddy), has produced the goods in the north with Gr1 winner Ten Sovereigns. Creating plenty of interest is Outreach (Exceed and Excel), the stakes-placed full brother to Golden Slipper winner Overreach.
Tough sprinter Trust in a Gust (Keep the Faith) won the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and the Gr1 Toorak Handicap, while Real Impact (Deep Impact) brings a strong Japanese influence to our shores. Real Impact won the Gr1 Yasuda Kinen at 3 among many other group races before moving to Australia where he won the Gr1 George Ryder Stakes against the odds straight out of quarantine.
Kermadec (Teofilo) won the Gr1 Doncaster Handicap as a 3YO against the older horses, a feat as rare as hen's teeth, while fellow Darley freshman Exosphere won the stallion-making Gr1 Golden Rose (also won by this season’s boom stallion Zoustar). Two different kind of horses, Exosphere and Kermadec both bring exceptional qualities to the table, and neither would surprise if they emerge as high class sires. If you are looking for speed and toughness, it’s hard to ignore the progeny of Criterion (Sebring), a winner at group level from age 2 to 5, including the Gr1 Australian Derby, Gr1 Rosehill Guineas, Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and Gr1 Caulfield Stakes. Free Eagle (High Chaparral) improved every season, winning the Gr1 Royal Ascot Prince of Wales Stakes as a 4YO (after being a winner at 2, and a group winner at 3).
Horses like I Am Invincible, Not a Single Doubt and Written Tycoon prove that a stallion doesn’t have to win a Gr1 to make it to the top as a stallion, and there are several quality racehorses who won at group level among the list of stallions with their first crops being yearlings in 2019. The likes of Bull Point, Dandino, Headwater, I’m All The Talk, Jabali, Nostradamus, Panzer Division, Rich Enuff, Rock Sturdy, Scissor Kick, Spill the Beans, Va Pensiero, and Valentia are also joined by other freshman sires: Ready for Victory, Sports Edition, and Skyclad.
Among those young sires above, Vinery's Headwater (Exceed and Excel) was bred to be an out and out sprinter, being out of Gr1 Oakleigh Plate heroine River Dove. The precocious 2YO clubbed his rivals in the Gr2 Silver Slipper to such an extent he was immediately made Gr1 Golden Slipper favourite. He returned in the Autumn to defeat older horses in stakes company – a great sign of a quality 3YO, and good judges have been impressed with his stock. For his part, Jabali (also by Exceed and Excel) was blazingly quick, the highly rated Gr1 Blue Diamond runner-up competing in black-type races in 13 of his 17 starts.
After winning on debut as a 2YO, Panzer Division (Redoute's Choice) was thrown straight into the cauldron of 3YO group action, finishing an eye-catching runner-up to fellow Arrowfield Stud colt Scissor Kick in the Gr3 Up and Coming Stakes, before a brilliant win in the Gr3 Ming Dynasty, and a close-up fifth in the Gr1 George Main Stakes. The afore-mentioned Gr3 Up and Coming Stakes winner Scissor Kick is a spectcular type who ran right up to his great looks. A city 2YO winner whose two early 3YO black-type wins were franked by a slashing second in the Gr1 Golden Rose, Paul Messara labelled Scissor Kick the best horse he'd ever trained after winning the Gr3 Eskimo Prince. That's a big statement given the Gr1 winners he's saddled up.
There's the old expression that one can never be rich enough, and it's quite possible trainers may never have sufficient progeny of Woodside Park Stud's Rich Enuff. He is the fastest son at stud of his own superb sire Written Tycoon, evidenced by a Listed victory on debut, prior to thumping four Gr1 winners in the Gr2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at his next start in the fastest straight six by a 3YO at Flemington this century. The Gr1 Caulfield Guineas runner-up also won the Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude, and he looks to have a great future ahead of him.
Any one of the stallions covered in this introduction has the ability to be a sire of note by this time next year, or the year after. The trick, like always, is to discern which one or more...