Sydney Group 2 winner Niagara will stand his first season at Lime Country Thoroughbreds in New Zealand this year.
Niagara (4h Encosta De Lago – River Song by Fusaichi Pegasus) was a 6 length maiden winner at Canterbury as a spring three year-old. Sent to Melbourne by trainer Gai Waterhouse, he was the victim of traffic problems when third to Sabrage and Sangster in the G3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
The curtain closed on an unlucky spring carnival when he was nailed in the last stride by So Swift in the G2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
Resuming in the autumn, Niagara was runner-up in the LR Eskimo Prince Qualilty (1200m) before sealing a stud career with a front-running victory in the G2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill. “He is a cracking individual and to achieve what he did from an 11 race career is impressive,” Lime Country operator Jo Griffin said. “His pedigree features six individual Australian Group 1 winners. He fits the bill perfectly for us.”
Niagara is out of an unraced half sister to G3 winner Murjana (Giant’s Causeway) and the dam of G1 Railway Stakes winner Gathering (Tale Of The Cat).
Griffin and her husband Greg have placed a $5,000 (plus gst) fee on the newcomer at their Hastings property which is based on the old Okawa Stud site.
Historic Okawa Stud was home to the Lowry family for several generations and they stood champion stallions Faux Tirage and Three Legs, the sire of Japan Cup winner Horlicks.
Legendary Kiwi mare Desert Gold was bred there as was champion fillies Mop, Key and the horse whose name was a perfect match for his character – Game – a winner of 26 races.
The Griffins inspected Niagara in Australia last week on the recommendation of New Zealand bloodstock consultant Gordon Calder. “Seeing him in the flesh fully confirmed the glowing reports we had been given,” Jo Griffin said. “He is an exceptional looking horse as you would expect from a $620,000 yearling.”