Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) President Adrian Hancock will be very interested in the outcome from New Zealand’s Horse of the Year Awards next month.
“Australian-bred horses have a real chance of taking out three categories,” Hancock enthused. “It won’t come as a surprise if (Group One) Diamond Stakes winner, Heroic Valour, takes out Champion 2YO while Rangipo, who won the New Zealand Derby, Great Northern Guineas, Avondale Guineas and Waikato Guineas, has got to be a real show for Champion 3YO gong.
“Last season Aussies were named Champion 2YO (Marky Mark), Champion Sprinter (Sacred Star) and Filly of the Year (Platinum Witness) … the year before that there was Costa Viva (Filly of the Year) and Bounding (Champion Sprinter) … and the year before that, Ruud Awakening was Champion 2YO.
“Reading about fast Australian horses anywhere in the world is hardly news, but the category that I’m particularly interested in is Champion Stayer.
“Last season, Graeme McCulloch’s horse, Mongolian Khan – bred in Tasmania – was named Champion 3YO, Champion Stayer and Horse of the Year, while this time around he’s again been nominated as Champion Stayer.
“However, I notice that Benzini is also nominated which means two of the three contenders for the New Zealand Champion Stayer this year were both bred in Australia.
“There’s a line of thinking – one with which I agree – that Australians breed the best sprinters, but suggestions that we can’t breed, or don’t want to breed, stayers is something of a furphy.
“The 2010 Melbourne Cup winner, Americain has covered nearly 400 mares in his first three seasons at stud, while 2013 Melbourne Cup winner, Fiorente, covered over 300 in his first two springs.
“Dalakhani was very popular in South Australia as well and his yearlings sold exceptionally well, and he seems to have a very good replacement in the High Chaparral Group One winner, Free Eagle.
“And, while we’re on the subject, well done to Tyreel Stud, whose home-bred, The Conglomerate, won the Group One Durban July over 2200m in South Africa on Saturday night.”
Toby Liston, whose family-owned, Three Bridges, stands Rangipo’s sire, Stryker, also claims that Australian breeders are more than capable of producing quality staying types.
“Our client, John Thompson, decided to send his mare, Holloway Castle, to Stryker,” Liston points out. “John always wanted to breed a New Zealand Derby winner … he just didn’t think he’d have to come to Australia to do it!
“I reckon Rangipo is more of a miler and that’s probably what he’ll be confined to during the Melbourne spring, but obviously he was able to extend that brilliance to a mile and a half … certainly enough to win a New Zealand Derby anyway.”