Multiple North American Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti will stand at Arrowfield Stud in 2012.
Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat – Chipeta Springs by Alydar) won seven Group 1 events and over US$6 million before retiring to serve his first book of mares at Castleton Lyons Farm in Kentucky this year.
“Gio Ponti’s superlative record will stamp him one of the all-time great American turf horses,” Arrowfield’s John Messara said. “His athleticism, good looks and Tale of the Cat’s proven compatibility with Australasian bloodlines make him a very exciting addition to our roster.”
Trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti was a stakes-winning juvenile whose Group 1 victories all came in the 1600m to 2000m range. Four of them came consecutively in the Santa Anita Frank E. Kilroe Mile, Belmont Manhattan Hcp, Belmont Man o’ War Stakes and Arlington Million.
His other triumphs at the elite level included a second Man o’ War and two runnings of the Keeneland Turf Mile.
Gio Ponti was also in contention for the end-of-season Breeders’ Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. It took the great Zenyatta to defeat him in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic and a year later he was runner-up to champion mare Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Remarkably, 19 of Gio Ponti’s 29 starts were in G1 company and he won or placed in 15 of them – a record that earned him three Eclipse Awards, as the Champion US Older Male of 2009 and Champion US Male Turf Horse in 2009 & 2010.
Gio Ponti is the best performed son of successful stallion Tale of the Cat who has sired 74 stakeswinners, including 20 bred in the southern hemisphere, among them Group 1 winners Glamour Puss, Gathering and Tell A Tale.
“Gio Ponti is a beautifully made, athletic horse whose conformation is perfectly suited to Australian racing conditions,” Arrowfield’s Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer said after inspecting the stallion in November 2011.
“Gio Ponti’s consistent brilliance in top-class turf company at a mile and his electrifying turn of foot off a strong pace make him a very appealing option for Australian breeders and owners who place a premium on those attributes.”
Gio Ponti’s 2012 service fee at Arrowfield will be announced shortly.