Darley’s Australian stallions paraded before discerning breeders at Kelvinside (NSW) and Northwood Park (Victoria) last weekend.
The Kelvinside roster at Aberdeen comprises 17 sires headed by Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry. A son of Machiavellian, he has flag-bearers in both hemispheres but none better than all-conquering mare Zenyatta. She will attempt to improve her perfect record to 19 from 19 in the G1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park on October 2.
Closer to home, Street Cry has Shocking gearing up to defend his Melbourne Cup crown and he is a firming favourite for this year’s 150th anniversary after winning the G2 Makybe Diva Stakes on Saturday.
His stablemate Whobegotyou opened Street Cry’s Australian Group 1 account in the 2008 Caulfield Guineas. He was a beaten favourite in the 2009 Cox Plate behind So You Think but can atone this year after a cracking first-up effort behind the same horse in the G2 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield last week.
Street Cry’s fee has risen to $137,500 this year and other Darley sires with price hikes include Lonhro, Shamardal and Commands.
Lonhro was a clear winner of the third-season sires’ premiership in 2009-10 and he can become a Champion Australian stallion within five years. “He has an exceptional book lined up including Makybe Diva,” Darley nominations manager Alastair Pulford revealed. “He still looks like he could go straight back into work.”
Lonhro has been joined by his outstanding son Denman at Kelvinside this year. He was a Group 1 winner of the Golden Rose for Sheikh Mohammed and captured the imagination of Australian racegoers with a striking resemblance in looks and ability to that of his old man.
Australian newcomer Medaglia d’Oro also took the eye at Kelvinside within a week of leaving quarantine as did USA Eclipse Champion Bernardini.
“Medaglia d’Oro sired 24 stakes performers in his first crop in North America including Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra,” Pulford added. “His yearlings have been very popular at the Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton sales and we fielded lots of enquires after he paraded.”
Bernardini also drew praise from onlookers at Kelvinside last Saturday and news that he sired Group 3 winner Theyskens’ Theory at Goodwood has also helped bookings.
Theyskens’ Theory is a three-quarter sister to G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy and has been installed an 8-1 favourite for the 2011 English 1000 Guineas. She has upcoming entries for the G1 Fillies Mile at Ascot and G1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp next month.
Pulford also singled out Flying Spur sire Shaft as a viable alternative at $7,700 a cover. “Shaft won the G2 Silver Slipper at his first start and he’s siring precocious types. His first crop are yearlings and that fee will look value for money at next year’s sales.”
DARLEY (KELVINSIDE) ROSTER
Street Cry $137,500
Medaglia D’Oro $88,000
Exceed And Excel $66,000
Street Sense $38,500
Henny Hughes $19,250
Canny Lad $16,500
Time Thief $13,750
Ad Valorem $11,000
All fees inc gst
Darley’s Managing Director Henry Plumptre assured Victorian broodmare owners Northwood Park was an integral part of its Australian operation at last Sunday’s open day.
Sheikh Mohammed purchased Northwood Park well before he bought Woodlands from the Ingham family. Northwood Park was owned by Barrie and Midge Griffiths who bred G1 winners Tawriffic, Mannerism, Azzurro and Northwood Plume on the Seymour property.
The popular couple bought it in 1977 from the family of A G Hunter. It’s been a thoroughbred nursery for over 100 years – a fading headstone on the property identifies the grave of 1925 Melbourne Cup winner Windbag.
“Sheikh Mohammed is committed to the Victorian racing and breeding industries,” Plumtre continued. “Darley has sponsored Flemington’s Australian Cup meeting for the last three years and our next high-profile stallion acquisition will stand in Victoria.”
Northwood Park is set on 2,200 acres with 7km of Goulburn River frontage and its facilities were used by the local community as a recovery unit after the Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009.
Sheikh Mohammed also supported the Protect Our Industries campaign to stop the encroachment of mining operations in the Hunter Valley.
Northwood Park has eight stallions on its roster this year headed by English Derby winner New Approach. “Northwood is one of the most beautiful farms in Australia,” Plumtre said. “Sheikh Mohammed will develop Northwood into Victoria’s premier breeding facility.”
New Approach is a son of Galileo and his first Super VOBIS foals are on the ground. He was a G1 winner of the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket before training on to take the English Derby plus the English and Irish Champion Stakes against older horses at three.
The Dewhurst is a stallion-making race and its honour-roll since the turn of the century is highlighted by Rock of Gibraltar and Shamardal. Earlier winners include Scenic, Diesis, Storm Bird, Mill Reef and Nijinsky.
The King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga is the North American equivalent of the Dewhurst and its 2006 winner Hard Spun will cover his third book at Northwood Park this year. King’s Bishop luminaries include Tale of the Cat and More Than Ready.
Hard Spun is one of the last sons of Danzig to stand at stud and his first northern bred yearlings averaged $204,000. His first local crop will be catalogued at the 2011 majors.
Northwood Park has an exciting new Australian connection this year with the retirement of Von Costa de Hero. The Encosta de Lago colt was a G2 winner of the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and was beaten a whisker by Sebring in the G1 Golden Slipper. He was also G1 placed in the Caulfield Guineas and Australian Guineas.
Von Costa de Hero will be joined by Red Ransom stallion Domesday who has been relocated from NSW to Northwood Park. He is already fully booked at a $11,000 and, at that price, is arguably the best value sire in Australia.
Perth owner-breeder Bob Peters bought a Domesday nomination at the Victorian North East Breeders awards last month. He beat Bob Scarborough with a bid of $41,000.
Darley set Domesday’s fee before his colt Pressday dominated Queensland’s juvenile division in the G1 T J Smith Stakes and G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm.
Domesday finished last season with the best winners-to-runners strike rate among Australia’s freshman sires last season. He has been represented by the stakes performers Pressday, Divorces, Exchanges and Domesky while Darley’s homebred city winners Backgammon and Giresun have both been nominated for the G1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick in October.
“Darley is here for the long-term,” Plumptre explained. “To that end, Sheikh Mohammed has assembled an outstanding roster of stallions at two world-class studs.”
DARLEY (NORTHWOOD PARK) ROSTER
New Approach $33,000
Hard Spun $22,000
Von Costa De Hero $16,500
Any Given Saturday $13,750
All fees inc gst