Many goodbyes are difficult, but some are harder than others.
Danzero’s departure from Arrowfield to Rosemont Stud in Victoria last Friday was poignant for everyone who has worked with him in the Hunter Valley.
Danzero holds a special place, not only in the story of Arrowfield, but also in Australian thoroughbred history. His dam Confidentially (Kaoru Star) had been raced by John Messara and Danzero was bred by the Arrowfield Group at the original Jerry’s Plains farm.
Foaled on 15 November 1991, the dark bay colt was one of the 52 foals in the first crop of Danehill, whose acquisition by Arrowfield in 1990 changed the destiny of Australian racing and breeding.
A total of 42 of those first crop foals raced, 10 became stakeswinners and 5 won at Group 1 level.
Danzero won the LR VRC Maribyrnong Trial on debut in October 1993 becoming Danehill’s first Australian stakes winner. A little more than five months later, in March 1994, Danzero opened his sire’s international Group 1 record when he triumphed in the STC Golden Slipper.
Danehill’s final tally of Group 1 winners stands at 89, well ahead of his nearest rival Sadler’s Wells (73).
In all, Danzero won four races and just over $1.3 million before returning to Arrowfield where he stood his first two seasons in 1995 & 1996. He then transferred to the Willis family’s Chatswood Stud in Victoria for the 1997 season.
After selling the yearling Danzero for $55,000, and buying him back two years later for $2.5 million, John Messara famously declared, “We’ll go broke if we carry on like this.”
But Arrowfield’s future was in safe hands with Danzero, who once again led the way for Danehill, this time as a sire of sires, by leaving Champion 3YO Fairway and Group 1 winner Danglissa in his first crop.
Danzero was crowned Australia’s Champion First Season Sire of 1998-99 and steadily built a reputation for quality performers at a wide range of distances and ages.
In 2004 he made history again when his champion son Dance Hero won the Golden Slipper, defeating Charge Forward, Alinghi and Fastnet Rock in race record time of 1.08.60s. That helped Danzero to his second stallion premiership, this time for Australia’s Champion 2YO Sire.
Danzero leaves Arrowfield as the sire of 37 stakeswinners (7 Group 1) among 544 winners and progeny earnings of more than $58 million.
He’s also making his mark as a broodmare sire, with 10 stakeswinners from his daughters, most recently the European G3 winning filly Dalarua who is from the French-bred mare Djenanne.
The Arrowfield team’s sadness at seeing Danzero leave the farm is tempered by the knowledge that he will be very well cared for at Rosemont and warmly appreciated by Victorian breeders.
Rosemont’s owner Anthony Mithen said the reaction to Danzero coming back to Victoria has been quite extraordinary. “I have been run off my feet taking bookings since the day we announced his move to Rosemont,” he said.
“At a $10,000 service fee, it’s little wonder he’s virtually booked out and ready to cover 85 mares this season.”