For the last five years Waikato Stud has been the leading vendor at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka and looking at the calibre of their impressive draft this year, a repeat could well be on the cards.
Resident stallions Savabeel (AUS) and Ocean Park have had a fantastic spring and once again last season Savabeel topped the three stallion premierships; the Dewar Award (sire whose progeny have accumulated the highest combined stakes earnings in Australia and New Zealand), Centaine Award (sire whose New Zealand conceived progeny have accumulated the highest stakes earnings worldwide) and the Grosvenor Award for the leading sire by earnings in New Zealand.
Add to that the first yearlings by the Group One All-Aged Stakes winner Tivaci (AUS) and the last yearlings by the versatile Pins (AUS) and you can see why Waikato could be on track for another record-breaking sale.
“Australia is our shop window, and it’s all about selecting what we believe are the right stallions to perform there,” explained Waikato Stud’s stud master Mark Chittick.
“Australian racing is the best in the world, and we need to produce a product that will perform in that environment. With Savabeel (AUS) and Ocean Park the success this spring has been overwhelming and I believe we have a strong foothold in numbers.”
It has been a phenomenal spring for the former W.S. Cox Plate winner Ocean Park with the deeds of Kolding catapulting him into second position on the Australian Sires Premiership. Not only did Kolding win the inaugural $7 million ATC Golden Eagle from a seemingly impossible position, but he also took out the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap and the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap.
Impressively, his daughters have also performed with merit, with Oceanex winning the Gr.2 VRC Matriarch Stakes, and Tofane the Gr.3 VRC Furphy Sprint, and the Gr.3 Bass Strait Beef Steak Stakes.
Champion barn mate Savabeel (AUS) has been represented by the Group two winners The Chosen One (Herbert Power Stakes) and Acting (Thousand Guineas Prelude), the Group Three winner Top Of The Range (Bendigo Cup) and the Listed winner Craftsmanship (SAJC Hill Smith Stakes) this season.
“With Ocean Park its was always going to happen,” Chittick said, “and his recent success has been huge at that massive top level, he has gone very close in his career but the last 12 months the tide has certainly turned. We are very proud of what he has done especially in such a tough echelon.
“Chris Waller has always been a massive supporter of Ocean Park, he knows what a super athlete he was, and he has continued to come back and buy every year, it’s great for him to be rewarded with a horse like Kolding.
“We only have 85 yearling boxes, it’s an ideal number of yearlings to produce and prepare. Logistically from our point of view we produce around 150 foals a year, and apart from a few fillies that we keep, it suits us to sell the rest as weanlings, and this is what has happened to some of the Ocean Parks we have bred, subsequently we only have five in our draft, but there are total of nine in Book One, and a further seven in Book Two.
“Our filly out of Glad is a lovely filly with a beautiful pedigree, and my pick of the colts is out of My Locket, he is a nice big strong colt, with a lovely pedigree.”
Glad is a stakes-winning Pins (AUS) mare, from the same family as Black Caviar and All Too Hard, plus a whole host of stakes winners descending from Song Of Norway, who left 11 winners from 12 foals. The My Locket colt is a half-brother to My Pendant, who has now won five races in Melbourne and ran a nice fifth in the Gr.2 VRC Let’s Elope Stakes. His dam is a half-sister to Miss Keepsake and Villifye, and this is the family of Grosvenor, National Gallery, Lonhro to name a few from this illustrious family.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the yearlings in the Waikato Stud draft of 81 are by Savabeel, who is represented by 20 colts and 16 fillies. Such is the calibre of the colts that Chittick admits to having difficulty trying to single out one individual as a standout.
“It’s really hard to say, the main thing for us is getting as many to the sales as you can. But they are all very, very nice individuals, beautiful colts. They come in all shapes and sizes,” he said.
“If I have to make a call, my top picks and they are cracking colts, are the colts out of Magic Dancer, Simply You and Tiara.”
The colt out of Magic Dancer is her first foal.
She was a Group Three winner at two and is the daughter of Dazzling Belle, who was also a stakes winner at two, and the winner of seven races in total. Dazzling Belle has also left two other stakes performers in Manten and Perkins.
Simply You is a winning O’Reilly daughter of the dual Group One winning champion mare Glamour Puss, and a three-quarter sister to the stakes-winners Rare Insight, Escadaire, and Bonny O’Reilly. This is one of Waikato Stud’s original foundation families and consistently produces winners.
This colt is bred on the same cross as the group one winners Costume, Diademe, Embellish and Savaria, the Group Two winners Cold Play, The Chosen One, Splurge, and Chintz, and the Group Three winner Love Affair.
The colt out of Tiara is another bred on that successful cross. Tiara is a winning granddaughter of the Gr.1 Auckland Cup winner Royal Tiara.
Of the fillies, Splits is a favourite. Splits is a sister to the Listed winner Wolfwhistle, a blood sister to the Group One placed Tiptronic and a three-quarter sister to the Gr.1 WATC Derby winner Guyno. She is a daughter of the dual Group One winning Champion filly Legs.
Absolutely Me is a winning full sister to Rare Insight, being a daughter of Escada and a half-sister to Glamour Puss. This is her first foal.
According to Chittick, picking a top colt from the Tivaci (AUS) draft is about as hard as picking one of out of the top Savabeels. Tivaci has 16 yearlings in the draft, 10 colts and six fillies.
“The big thing with Tivaci is that they are just like him. They are imposing strong consistent animals and he has stamped the majority of them. They are great types who are very easy to prepare, with great brains. He is a very exciting horse going forward I honestly believe if he is still standing at Waikato Stud in 15 years’ time, he will be a very easy horse to breed.
“He has the High Chaparral (IRE) factor and we know that Zabeel crosses well with Sadler’s Wells, so we have worked out our best young Savabeel mares to send to him and cross the other way.”
Chittick’s favourite filly is out of Elusive Lady, a winning half-sister to the Gr.1 Avondale Cup winner The Mighty Lions, (dam of the stakes winning High Chaparral (IRE) mare Vaquera), the Listed winner Marenostro (10 wins) and the stakes placed winners Promise Keeper and Grandissima.
The colt to look out for is out of Kansas a winning O’Reilly mare who is out of the stakes winning Pins (AUS) mare Breezy, who in turn is a three-quarter sister to stakes place Pin Up ( the dam of Sports Illustrated) and a half-sister to the stakes winners Dahlia’s Legacy and Neo Star.
With only two crops of racing age Sacred Falls yearlings have sold well to date, and this summer Waikato Stud has 16 yearlings to present, nine fillies and seven colts. Chittick is particularly taken by the colt out of Savodara, who is in the same mould as his full brother who sold last year for $380,000. He is out of a Savabeel mare, who is a three-quarter sister to Bhandara, and a half-sister to Sharvasti, and Shastri being out of the stakes- winner Vedodara.
The pick of the fillies is bred on the successful O’Reilly/Zabeel cross being out of Dee I Why and is a full-sister to Shoshone, a impressive two-year-old winner last season.
This year sees the last yearlings of the versatile stallion Pins and he is represented by three fillies and two colts. The fillies are all out of young mares and are all well-related from great Waikato Stud families.
The filly out of Brampton Loco is a three-quarter sister to the Group Two winner Pimm’s Time, and she descends from the Champion mare Emancipation. Cheex is a daughter of the stakes performer Miracle Miss and her filly is thus a three-quarter sister to the two-year-old stakes-winner Maritimo. The third filly is out of Hurry a winning Savabeel mare and is closely related to Packing Pins.
The two colts are also out of young mares, with the first being the first foal of Holiness an O’Reilly mare who is from the same family as Metal Bender and the stallions Keeper (AUS) and Castledale (IRE). The other is out of the Zabeel mare Zaburn.
Pins was a champion sire in his day, and last year he was represented by the New Zealand champion three-year-old Madison County – who will continue his racing career in the United States – he sired nine individual Group One winners and over 75 stakes-winners and was a great loss to the breeding industry.
“Too right it’s a great loss,” Chittick said, “he was a great stallion for us, as a breeder and a vendor and a great stallion for the purchasers as well.
“What you saw was what you got, he left sprinters, and distance horses all over the world, so we have really missed him in the breeding shed. But now we have the current success of Savabeel and Ocean Park, and we have the young horses Sacred Falls and Tivaci to follow on, along with Super Seth. That is why we have invested $60 million in stallions in the last 15 years.
“To this end we have purchased the major shareholding in Super Seth a real Group One racehorse with a good turn of foot, who is capable of racing against the toughest and the best in the racing world. He is already a Group One winner
and will continue to race on in the Autumn.
It’s a method we have used with success before, with stallions when you can get hold of them you have to buy what you want.
“We are looking forward to Karaka, it should be a pretty good sale, it should lift on the back of the success we have had in Australia in the spring. I just believe it’s a good value sale, a lot of good racehorses have come out of it.
“There is definitely more than one reason to come to Karaka this summer, there are plenty of opportunities there to buy horses that have been raised in the best conditions in the world.” ✦