Caption: Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice-Snippetsl Lass by Snippets)
One of the highlights of the 2006-17 season has been the emergence of Arrowfield stallion Snitzel as a major force among stallion ranks. It’s not that we didn’t know about Snitzel as this is his eighth season with runners. The fascinating thing with him is that it shows what’s possible once a stallion starts to receive the nation’s very best mares. In Snitzel’s case he’s become the hottest sire around and is poised to take over the baton from his illustrious father Redoute’s Choice at Arrowfield.
Snitzel was a precocious two-year-old and had won four of his five races, including the G3 Skyline Stakes, going into the Golden Slipper. He finished down the field in the Slipper but rebounded at three working his way through the season to take the G1 Oakleigh Plate over 1100m and run a fine second in the G1 Newmarket over 1000m. Until quite recently his was ranked the best by his sire and today only the outstanding Lankan Rupee has a higher Timeform rating.
As things stand Snitzel has a 9.7% black-type winners to runners strike-rate, which places him behind only Savabeel (9.9%) and his own sire Redoute’s Choice (12.5%) among active sires in Australia and New Zealand. He in fact is only one percentage point behind the mark set by Redoute’s Choice (10.8%) after eight seasons at stud. Where he differs from his sire is that he can sire horses that stay better than he himself did. His best runner so far is the 2000m G1 Cox Plate winner Shamus Award. Winning an all-aged championship event in the spring of his three-year-old season was a major achievement for Shamus Award and he followed up a few months later with another G1 win in the Australian Guineas over 1600m. Snitzel’s second-best horse Wandjina was also successful in the 1600m Australian Guineas. Of course, Snitzel has also sired plenty of top-class speedsters, including G1 Lightning hero Snitzerland. It is interesting to note that 27 of Snitzerland’s 37 Group winners have gone through the ring as yearlings. In fact, all ten of his Group 1 winners were sold as yearlings, including the million-dollar Wandjina.
The question now on everyone’s lips is can Snitzel start to match his excellent sire’s remarkable output. Well, if the current season is anything to go by, then, yes, we can expect even more from Snitzel in the coming seasons. And here’s the reason why. It’s all down to the quality of Snitzel’s mares in recent years. In his first four years at stud, the son of Redoute’s Choice covered less than 50 elite mares in total. Then from 2011 onwards, his opportunities started to increase markedly. That year he attracted 28 elite mares, followed by 49 in 2012, 99 in 2013. His current juveniles are from a group of mares that featured 107 elite mares. So, it’s easy to understand why Snitzel has taken off this season and sired a record number of juvenile winners. His current group of youngsters include nine Stakes winners, headed by Australia’s top-rated two-year-old colt Invader, who together with two other Snitzels, Summer Passage and Trapeze Artist, finished first, second and third in the G1 Sires Produce Stakes. Summer Passage is also a winner at the highest level, having won the G1 Sistema Stakes in New Zealand. In all, Snitzel has as many as 12 juveniles that have won or placed at Group level.
And his surge to the top probably won’t end here either as his current yearling crop are from a book of mares that featured 143 elite mares, while his foal crop mares include another 146 of the very best.
Whatever his achievements over the coming seasons, it’s probable that Snitzel will not end his career with a ratio of black-type winners on a par with Redoute’s Choice’s 12.5%. But one measure where he may indeed close the gap is the quality of his elite runners. Currently, Snitzel’s best ten runners have a combined average Timeform rating of 120.3. He’ll need to get to a figure of 124.3 to match his great sire. That’s an average of four pounds per runner, so he’s got plenty of ground to make up, but you wouldn’t bet against him getting very close.
Published June 2017